And now they’ve hit another milestone and will be heading back overseas to play one of the biggest country festivals in the world.
“We got an email from a dude in France in December inquiring about us playing this festival,” Bob Strause said. “It’s the 26th annual Country Rendez-Vous Festival, and it’s in France. A lot of our friends have done it, and we’ve always known about it, and it was unsolicited. They called us, and we’ve made a deal. They average about 10,000 people a day, so we’re going to go freak them out a bit. We’ve got a little raunchy-tonk for them.”
The festival is full of bands from all over the United States who play honky-tonk, bluegrass, country, folk and every other genre in between. JB and the Moonshine Band, who will be playing in this year’s Western Week, will be heading overseas, as well as The Mavericks.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the Mavericks,” Strause added. “(It’s sad) we have to go to France to see them, but it’s going to be cool to see them and hang out with them.”
And it is a bit odd that a country music festival, in France of all places, would draw more than 30,000 fans from all over Europe who camp out overnight just to see a bunch of country musicians, most of whom they’ve never even heard of. But the artists have their obvious reasons for signing up the second they get asked.
“It’s a free trip to Europe,” Strause said with a laugh. “The few people that we knew who had been, like Cody Braun from Reckless Kelly, I called him up, and he said, ‘You’re not going to get rich, but you’re going to get to go to Europe for free, and they’re going to treat you like you’re Elvis Presley, so go.’ So we’re going.
“You can drive an hour almost every night and see somebody play, but these people wait all year for this thing. They camp out for three days, and hopefully we catch them Friday night before they’re hung over.”
And for a band going into their ninth year, the waters seem to finally be calming a bit even though the shore is still far from sight. Once they head back to the states, they’ll be opening for Travis Tritt in October and releasing their new album, Cinco de Psycho, in September. The band is in good shape and good spirits and shows no signs of slowing.
“There’s been a lot of bands that have come and gone since we started. I haven’t done anything but this for eight years. We’ve managed to go across the Atlantic twice. We got to go to Saudi Arabia. Who goes to Saudi Arabia?”
So, by the time this article hits newstands, the band from George West will already be settling in France, preparing for the festival and trying to stay out of trouble.
“We’re looking forward to it, so let’s see what happens.
“We’ll either make a whole bunch of fans or (upset) a bunch of French people... I don’t know.”
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.