As its one year anniversary approaches, The Houston Horni Tonk Society has been steadily growing its community, creating a space for local artists and serving as a welcome wagon for out of town musicians.
“The goal is to create a community and it feels like we've done that so we wanted to start bringing in bigger artists and potentially explore our options of a festival,” says cofounder Christopher Seymore.
The Houston Horni Tonk Society will celebrate its accomplishments and treat fans to a full day of honky tonk with its Dead or Alive Crawdaddy Jamboree this Saturday, April 22, at Cottonwood. The event will feature founders Seymore and South Texas Tweek as well as performance by Summer Dean and Ellis Bullard.
The event is free with RSVPs and will be followed by an after party at Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge where Patrick B. Ray and other Horni Tonk Society players will jump on stage to keep the music going.
“This event is a reward for our community,” says Seymore. “It’s a free event for that reason and to break bread, hear good live music, dance a little and afterwards go to a party.”
The Horni Tonk Society began last June by hosting Horni Tonk Tuesdays at Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge, providing a place for people looking for a friendly two step and a cold beer.
The Tuesday night residency is unlike many others as it does not simply feature the same band each week but rather a rotating list of local and visiting artists. “Starting at the beginning of the year I changed the format of the way I was doing things,” explains Seymore.
Seymore and his Horni Tonk founders have indeed created not only a fun, weekly event where but expanded their concept to include other venues around town like Shady Acres and the recently renovated Dan Electro's as well finding ways to include out of town artists and get some of Houston’s local bands on bigger bills when touring acts come through Houston.
“We just didn't have a desirable place for touring musicians to start stopping through and now not only are we getting those people stopping through but then they want to send their friends over here too,” says Seymore.
The lineup for the Dead or Alive Crawdaddy Jamboree is a great reflection of the Horni Tonk Society’s vision and each artist has something to celebrate along with their fans. “Everybody can be a part of an organization, not everybody can be part of one singular band so we are giving people the opportunity to participate,” says Seymore.
Austin favorite Ellis Bullard was recently signed to the Atomic Music Group and his debut 2022 album Piss-Hot Freightlining Country Music garnered him loads of well deserved praise for his high energy sound.
Texas talent Summer Dean tells a story like no other with her deep yet feminine voice and rich songwriting. In her latest single “She Ain’t Me” off her upcoming album The Biggest Life produced by Bruce Robison on The Next Waltz, Dean and her band put heartbreak and longing front and center.
“Our circles overlap for sure,” says Dean of Houston’s Horni Tonk Society. “What I like about what they've done is they've created a scene and that’s so important to keeping all of it going. I’m glad they're making a scene for Houston, that’s badass.”
Seymore will be celebrating the release of his latest single “Escape To Huntsville” off his upcoming album due out later this year featuring the unmistakable pedal steel sounds of Kevin Skrla.
The Horni Tonk Society has not only served as a magnet for like minded artists and fans searching for real country music that preserves the art of songwriting and telling a good story through song but has also inspired others to start their own bands.
“That's the first sign of a healthy scene,” says Seymore. “That's the first sign of development to me and part of the goal that we wanted to develop young talent and keep our players here and give them a reason to stay in Houston.”
It’s undeniable that the Horni Tonk Society has created something special for Houston musicians and fans alike. “There is camaraderie in our community now. Nobody is arguing over a piece of the pie, we just made a bigger pie so there's more to go around.”
The Dead or Alive Crawfish Jamboree will take place on Saturday, April 22 at Cottonwood, 3422 N. Shepard with music starting at 4 p.m, The event is free with an RSVP.
The after party will take place at Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge, 3714 Main, 9 p.m, $5-10.