“I’m fortunate to still be out here doing what I love and grateful every time a crowd shows up to cheer me on.” Photo by Jason Lee Denton
Red Dirt Rising
Terry McBride is the real deal. In four decades in the Nashville music scene, he has recorded with Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, Reba McEntire and more. His band, McBride & The Ride, charted a number of Top 5 singles in the 90s, and recently announced they’re reuniting.
Last October, he released an album, “Rebels & Angels.” His song, “She Shows Up” is currently a Top 20 single on the Texas Red Dirt chart, with his first single from his album, “Callin’ All Hearts” recently went to number one.
And on August 5, he’s playing here, at Cheatham Street. “Cheatham Street Warehouse has been part of the Texas honky tonk landscape since I was in high school,” McBride said. “I had friends that went to college in San Marcos and we would go see some of our favorite Texas artists in the late 70s.”
McBride first played Cheatham Street back in the 80s while playing bass for Delbert McClinton and Rockabilly singer Rosie Flores, but this time, he’ll be headlining the show. “I’m thrilled to finally be taking the stage on my own,” he said.
Though billed as a Nashvillebased songwriter, Terry McBride bridges the span between the two great hearts of country music: Tennessee and Texas. Born in Taylor, his father was a singer and musician who played for recording artist Jimmy Heap, who was popular in the 40s and 50s. After a brief time in Las Vegas, the family settled in Lampasas when McBridge was three, where he grew up and went to high school before moving to Austin.
“I cut my teeth on country music at an early age and started playing in bands while still in high school,” McBride said. “I later toured with my father for three years after graduation. I was a singing bass player and ended up landing gigs with Lee Roy Parnell, Johnny Duncan, Rosie Flores, Bill Carter & The Blame, Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Delbert McClinton.”
While building these relationships with big Texas performers, he began to travel to Nashville to pitch the songs he’d been writing while living in Austin. He left McClinton in ‘87 to focus on songwriting and ended up auditioning for a bass position with Austin artist Bill Carter & The Blame.
“Bill was putting a band together to go out on the road and open for Stevie Ray Vaughn,” McBride said. “I got the gig and that tour is still one of the highlights of my starving musician days.”
McBride calls that a turning point in his career. While on tour, he played some of the songs he’d been writing and recording with Bill Carter and his frequent co-writer, Ruth Ellsworth, a songwriting team who wrote for Vaugh and the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
“They liked what they heard and suggested we start writing country songs, which took us to Nashville and eventually landed me a record deal with MCA,” McBride said. “We were hoping to get a George Strait cut but I ended up getting a record deal instead.”
Radio success soon followed for McBride & The Ride, prompting him to move to Nashville for a few years after.
Though McBride can boast an impressive list of collaborations with well-known artists over the years, when he talks about his musical influences, he returns to his roots.
“My biggest influence growing up was my dad,” McBride said. “As a young boy, I wanted to be just like him. He was my mentor, teacher and hero.”
Even though McBride’s father was a touring musician, their family owned a ranch in Lampasas, where they worked cattle and sheep.
“I even got paid in sheep one year for working cattle all summer,” McBride recalled. “I sold those to buy some show lambs. My first official band was put together so we could compete in the FFA talent team.”
The band went to State in 1974, performing at the HemisFair in San Antonio in front of the Texas FFA delegation. “We came in second place, which was heartbreaking at the time, but fortunately years later I was able to overcome that minor setback.”
As McBride started to focus on his music, his attention turned to Austin and the Outlaw Country sense, which had just begun to blow up in the 70s.
“Growing up in Lampasas meant that the music I loved was just down the road,” McBride said. “I could get in my car and in an hour I could be sittin’ at the Armadillo World Headquarters hearing Jerry Jeff Walker, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Gary P Nunn, The Lost Gonzo band or at the Rome Inn listening to Doug Sahm with a 10-piece band. Later, Joe Ely would become one of my favorite artists. I loved his honky tonk style that rocked like nobody else.”
McBride also credits the iconic Willie Nelson as a profound influence on his work. “I fell in love with him at an early age and was hooked on his singing and songwriting from his album that I discovered called ‘Phases & Stages.’ ‘Shotgun Willie’ was next and there was no looking back after those two albums. Willie is still one of my favorite artists to this day.”
McBride’s love of music goes deep. He received his first guitar for his ninth birthday, and grew up traveling with his Dad. He has toured on and off for most of his life and still enjoys being on the road.
“Maybe more now than ever,” McBride said. “I’ve only been touring solo for the last three years or so and I enjoy being able to sing my songs and tell my stories. Having people show up that want to hear me is still a thrill and something I certainly don’t take for granted. I’m fortunate to still be out here doing what I love and grateful every time a crowd shows up to cheer me on.”
Which is one of the reasons McBride is looking forward to the Cheatham Street show on August 5.
“These intimate shows are more personal,” he said. “There’s a connection that happens between me and the audience you just don’t get in an arena or festival concert. I had a fan tell me once that he didn’t like hearing artists perform acoustically, but after coming to one of my shows it wasn’t what he was expecting and completely changed his mind. That’s one of the best compliments I could hope for. ”
Catch An Evening with Terry McBride at Cheatham Street Warehouse on Thursday, August 5 from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. This is an 18+ show. For tickets and more information, check the website at cheathamstreet. com or eventbrite. com/e/an-eveningwith-terry-mcbridetickets-155837645593
An Evening with Terry McBride
August 5, 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Cheatham Street Warehouse Tickets: cheathamstreet.com