Beat Cowboys, with Eric Hisaw

Roots music wasn't exactly in style back in the '80s, when future Beat Cowboys singer-songwriter-guitar-slinger Rick Eakens relocated to H-town with his Las Cruces, New Mexico-formed band, the Footnotes. Beat Cowboys opening act Eric Hisaw, another Las Cruces musical vet now living in Austin, gives a desert-dry, in-a-nutshell version of Footnotes history that reads something like a Twilight Zone footnote to a VH1 Behind the Music episode.

"The Footnotes were a roots rock band from Cruces who lived in Houston in the mid-'80s. They got signed to A&M, made an EP, toured with Jason and the Scorchers, Georgia Satellites, Billy Idol and the like. Somewhere on the road, the drummer got shot in the head, which got them on the MTV music news. The Beat Cowboys are some guys I used to play with backing up Rick."

Since the Footnotes' demise in 2003, Eakens has partnered with drummer and studio owner David Wheeler to produce three Beat Cowboys albums at Wheeler's 603 Studio in downtown Las Cruces. According to both men, their goal is "to distill a true Southwestern style of Americana," and with the earthy Dry Season they think they're finally closing in on their Holy Grail. Wheeler describes the Cowboys' live shows as a mix of Footnotes tunes, Cowboys originals and "a couple of old faves from the Standells to Tom Petty."

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William Michael Smith