SHOUT OUT FOR THE SHOOTOUTS – Chris Smith for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show


Chris Smith for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

I can
honestly say that The Shootouts are the best band I have seen performing live
for many years.

Their music, a tantalising blend of honky-tonk
country and showbiz presentation, was already familiar to me; The Shootouts’
debut album “Quick Draw” had earned itself a place in my most played CD pile
and when given the opportunity to meet up with the band earlier this year it
took me about half a nanosecond to accept. 

In the event I met up with them twice in two
days. Firstly I took a cab from my hotel to the famous Rock’n’Roll Cafe on
Elvis Presley Bvd in Memphis – the name and that address enough to kick start a
strong feeling of anticipation and excitement. 
As luck would have it the first person I saw on arrival was Dale Watson
who insisted on introducing me to the band.

The Shootouts came about when vocalist and
chief song writer Ryan Humbert and excellent young guitarist Brian Poston
worked together on one of Humbert’s solo projects and discovered a mutual love
for authentic old style country. Dylan Gomez on drums, Ryan McDermott (bass
guitar) were added to the line up with Emily Bates providing the backing

“We hadn’t really launched the band when we
decided to play a private little gig for my Grandfather’s 85th
birthday” Humbert told me when we met the next morning for a true American
diner style breakfast, “and we invited Emily to sit in. After the gig nobody
needed to say anything, we all just knew Emily was part of the band.”

My visit to see the band was for their
showcase gig at the 2020 Ameripolitan Awards weekend. I was invited not only to
shake hands with all the musicians, I was made welcome at their table and so
also met some of their support team, including Brian Poston’s Mom and Dad (who
are lovely people). I wasn’t the only person the band had been expecting to
pitch up; they had been in conversation with the legendary Chuck Mead (BR549
and the Grassy Knoll Boys) who expressed an interest in producing their next

The gig itself was fantastic. What impresses
me about The Shootouts is that their songs don’t automatically follow the
themes of beer, trucks, whiskey and heartbreak. Some of Ryan Humbert’s songs
are intensely personal; That debut album contains the song “California to Ohio”
which tells of a young US Marine who when given a ten day pass hitchhiked
across America to see his wife and baby daughter. The story is true and the
Marine is Grandpa Ron and the baby Ryan Humbert now calls “Aunt Denise”. 

A similar song will hopefully be included on
the next album, they played it at the Rock’n’Roll Cafe, and it is called
“Another Mother”. Ryan wrote it after his own mother passed away suddenly but
he was keen to put the emotion in a format that anyone could relate to rather
than be just be about his own feelings – the message being we all only get one
Mom and trust me it’s a mighty fine song.

Other mighty fine songs you will find if you
search for The Shootouts on YouTube include a version of ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me
Down” and Whitney Houston’s “I Want To Dance With Somebody” – unlikely choices
for an out and out country band?

Well, no. As was explained to me over that
excellent breakfast, they liked both songs and believe if a song is good enough
you “can paint it any colour you want”. 

Like so many other American country artists
The Shootouts would love to come to Europe and entertain new fans – but of
course the Covid-19 situation has made that impossible in the short term. It
hasn’t however prevented Chuck Mead producing the new album – it is currently
scheduled for an October release and I am looking forward to hearing it very
much indeed. 

You can find out more about this excellent
band at their website
or go search for them on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the music every bit as much
as I do.

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