If you love Texas Honky-tonk country – James, Jake and Jesse are three names that should be on your radar. Chris Smith for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

If you love Texas Honky-tonk country –

James, Jake and Jesse

are three names that should be on your

Chris Smith for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show


passing on 8th June at the
age of 67 was sad news to his many friends and followers.  Like many of his background and generation he
started playing music in his teenage years but unlike so many others James
didn’t release his first album until he was 45 years old.

He worked as a truck driver and as a
horse trainer – he reportedly told one interviewer “People act like it’s some
big deal this horse whispering thing. But I’ll tell you something, you can
whisper to ‘em, you can get down on your knees and act like ‘em, but that horse
knows you ain’t a horse.”

Another critic noted that James Hand
sings every song like he had lived the lyrics – and in many cases he had.
Willie Nelson rated him “the real deal”.and Hank Williams III described him as
“a honk-tonkin’ legend”.

I had the pleasure of seeing James
perform twice and both of those shows will live long in my memory. I was
fortunate enough to talk to the man twice as well and found him courteous and
kind as did everyone he met. 

You can read much more about “Slim” on
his website www.jamesslimhand.com  and if you don’t already own at least one of
his albums maybe you will after watching some of his clips on YouTube. – “Men
Like Me Can Fly” , “Floor To Crawl” or maybe something with a little humour
“The Parakeet”. 

RIP James Hand – you will be sorely
missed by every real country music fan.

began his musical career as a Hank
Williams tribute act but has developed into an established favourite in his own
right on that Texas dancehall circuit. When I spoke to him in 2018 he insisted
on telling me he wasn’t talented.

“You look at a man who can take trucks
full of bricks and build you a house that’s a talent; all I can do is remember

He reckoned at the time he probably knew
around 400 songs and said he could sing at least half of them right off without
having to think about it. Playing those Texas venues all bands get asked for
requests; and they always try to oblige, because doing so means money in the
tip jar. Jake told me he puts off doing Hank Williams songs until as late in
the set as possible  “because I know if I
sing one I’m gonna get asked to sing six more right after.”

Jake’s self penned song “Baby Steps” was
the Country Music People magazine single of the year for 2017 – and a fine, authentic
country song it is too. He also admits a debt of gratitude to James Hand who
supported and encouraged him enormously throughout his career.

If you ever find yourself heading to
Texas for a vacation do check out whether Jake and his Million Dollar Cowboys
band are playing anywhere in the same city. You won’t be disappointed.https://youtu.be/K2v8fnP-yCw  is the link to hear that “Baby Steps” single.


may be considered to be the new kid on
the block of these three, but he is no inexperienced novice. Jesse won the Best
Honky-Tonk Male Award at the 2019 Ameripolitan weekend in Memphis. He writes
excellent songs and you can find a whole bunch of them on his 2020 album
“Rollin’ On”.which Rolling Stone magazine described as “irresistible twang”. 

He is another young man who is paying
his dues by criss-crossing Texas to perform in the bars, the beer joints and
those amazing dancehalls where the normal expectation is for the band to play a
three hour set with no breaks (in some venues it’s four hours) because the
management want their customers to stay – to dance, to drink more beers. What
they don’t want is the band to take a break every hour and customers to be
tempted to head out to another bar where the music might still be playing..
These days his tour dates take him much further afield with September shows
scheduled in California, Colorado and Oregon 

Jesse has a distinctive voice which fits
the authenticity of the genre perfectly; you will find several tracks on
YouTube and these have links on his website www.jessedanielmusic.com – as well
as details of upcoming tour dates. I believe Jesse Daniel would be a huge, and
possibly surprise, show stopper at one of the big European country Festivals –
I do hope promoters are brave enough to give him that opportunity.

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