One of Roger Creager's main sponsors is Bud Light, fitting considering that the Corpus Christi native is a giant in the Texas music scene. But Red Bull and Energizer Batteries might want to consider jumping on board. Creager, 37, is a wild man on stage and had just as much energy when he began a 95-minute set with the Waylon-esque I Love Being Lonesome as he did when he closed the one-song encore with an impressive cover of the Jerry Jeff Walker classic L.A. Freeway.
And Creager is quite a bit more versatile than your average Texas/Red Dirt, country rock type. He played the saxophone on the jazzy cross-state adventure that is Shreveport to New Orleans, the harmonica on the daydreaming tale of Storybook and dueted with his father, Bill Creager, in Spanish on Rancho Grande.
Creager also had a pretty good six-piece band as well. Allen Huff played the keyboards, but was able to step right in with an accordion on songs like Rancho Grande and Long Way to Mexico. Guitar player Josh Owen showed he may have a promising career as well, playing a cover of Merle Haggard's Swinging Doors while Mr. Energy took a moment to catch his breath and have a drink of water about halfway through the set.
The versatility was great, but the fans came to hear Creager's hits. I'm From The Beer Joint, the top song of 2008 on the Texas Music Charts, was the first single off "Here It Is," Creager's first studio album in 5 years, out last summer.
Creager took some time to revel in the fact that the tunes bested efforts by fellow Texas artists like Kevin Fowler, Aaron Watson and Wade Bowen. But he didn't take too much time resting on his laurels, instead showing fans why he rose from a Texas A&M student performing as a hobby to one of the Lone Star State's premier singers. Love was a strong crowd pleaser with a nice fiddle solo, and the sentimental I Got The Guns always seems to strike a chord.
But there's nothing like hearing The Everclear Song, Creager's signature tune, live in concert. Surprisingly, he didn't wait to perform it as his final song. It's a tongue-in-cheek tune that is ultra popular among Texas Music fans.
The Kyle Bennett Band opened with an hour-long set, making their Big Texas debut. The six-piece band, based in Fort Worth, Texas, did an excellent job mixing it up between songs from their debut album and tunes from an upcoming release in early 2009. They ran the gamut with the songs that ranged from the sentimental Donnelly Drive to the hard-rocking edge of Empty Barrel the heart-wrenching ballad What's It Like, the kiss-off song Adios,the bluesy Black Bird the outlaw sound of The Devil's Arm, the tongue-in-cheek Time to Switch to Whiskey (I've Been Drinking Beer All Night) and finally, the party anthem known as Later On. In the finale, Bennett changed the lyrics from name checking Pat Green and his hit Carry On to the headliner Creager and The Everclear Song