On Wikipedia, it defines Texas Country as the following: “Texas country music is a rapidly growing sub-genre of American country music Texas country is known for fusing traditionalist root sounds with the outspoken, care-free views of outlaw country.
“Texas country blends these sub-genres by featuring straightforward, truthful lyrics, a “take it or leave it” approach, a “common working man” theme, comical, witty undertones, intense live performances and loyal fan bases.”
And, well, that’s exactly what the two bands this weekend sounded like, but each with its own Texas twist.
The Pear Ratz hit the stage Friday night at Chasers Bar & Grill in Papalote. Coming from the small town of George West, the band seems more influenced by rock ’n roll than country, judging by their all electric ensemble, but that could just be that Bob Strause, the band’s lead singer and founding member, started out in a metal band in the ’80s.
But there are rebel country flourishes throughout the band’s songs as well as vintage country motifs such as boozing, womanizing, cheating and, well, boozing.
On stage, The Pear Ratz laugh and joke with each other throughout the songs and seem cohesively adverse to the lineup changes the band has suffered in the past.
That is most likely due to Strause, who leads the band like a cavalry into every song, plowing through chords and vocals like a cannonball through a wall.
Through his gravely voice, you can practically hear the years on stage behind the microphone and perhaps behind the bar.
If not so, then his lyrics are very convincing.
And on the seemingly opposite end of the Texas Country spectrum sits Dave Fenley and the Good Deal, who played Scores Bar & Grill in Beeville.
While the songs ring true to the definition of the genre, it’s Dave Fenley’s soulful voice that sets the all-acoustic act apart from other Texas groups.
Perhaps it’s the fact that Fenley hails from Lufkin or that his father sings in a gospel quartet that causes deep echoes of compassion through his songs.
The Good Deal does get rowdy, and they do raise a ruckus in their lyrics from time to time, but it’s usually all in good fun.
The band also tears apart cover songs from the likes of Johnny Cash and Tom Petty, only to duct tape them back together in a way only the Good Deal can, coaxing shots and beers out of the crowd as they do so.
Fenley wraps his worn vocal pipes around his fair share of love songs, which he woefully dedicates to his wife, surely sitting at home waiting for her man to return to her.
And you can hear the sorrow of the road weary man clutched in each declaration of separation.
The two bands may be members of the Texas Country club, but they meet on different days and have paid different dues.
The Pear Ratz and Dave Fenley and the Good Deal music can be requested on Kicker 106 in Beeville.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.