As part of the Young Country movement of the early ’90s, Little Texas were responsible for shaking up the country music world with a new, energetic sound that fused the look and attitude of modern rock music with traditional country themes and styles, bringing a much appreciated bolt of life into the genre. For their efforts, country fans the world over richly rewarded the band, buying up over 7 million of their albums, while critics showered them with 3 Grammy nominations plus honors from both the Academy of Country Music (Vocal Group Of The Year) and the Country Music Association (Album Of The Year). Their first radio release in 1991, “Some Guys Have All The Love,” became a Top-10 hit, as did their next single, “First Time For Everything.” After the album First Time For Everything was released, five singles reached the top of the charts. The second album, Big Time, truly was the big time for Little Texas.
The sophomore release, which has sold more than three million copies to date, spawned three No. 1 singles -“What Might Have Been,” “God Blessed Texas” and “My Love” -and captured the group’s first CMT Award, a Billboard award, a Radio & Records award and their first Grammy nomination.
Early in their career, Little Texas was designated as an arena act. They first signed on as an opener on an arena tour headlined by Clint Black. Later, they traveled with Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood on a tour sponsored by Budweiser. After that, they were on their own, with Crown Royal, singing to packed arenas across the United States and Canada. During this time, the band played a part in Common Thread: The Songs of The Eagles, which later earned their first Country Music Association trophy for “Album Of The Year.”
The group’s cover of “Peaceful Easy Feeling” charted well; albeit, without an official release, and with that, Little Texas broke another record in country music history: three different songs on three different charts with three different lead singers, all at the same time. It is a feat that has never been repeated since by any band. The year 1994 also brought the lineup an Academy of Country Music Award for “Vocal Group of the Year.”
Little Texas released their Kick A Little album, and their first true arena-headlining tour began, supported by Keebler and newcomer Tim McGraw with opening act BlackHawk. The tour and the album were huge successes, highlighted by shows in Detroit and Minneapolis, where they sold out the arenas just days after their heroes, The Eagles, had played the same venues. The tour continued on through 1995, finishing as the fifth largest-grossing tour of the year, and over the course of ’94 and ’95, the band received two more Grammy nominations and released Little Texas – Greatest Hits.
After the self-titled Little Texas album was released, Little Texas, the players, needed a break following years of performing a relentless concert schedule. Thus, at the end of 1997, each member went his separate way, opting to spend time with family and friends, and work on individual projects.
Says bassist-vocalist Duane Propes: “At that point it was time for our loved ones to have us back for a while. It all happened for a reason.”
In 2004, the multi-platinum band’s four original members-Propes, Porter Howell (lead vocals and lead guitar), Dwayne O’Brien (vocals and rhythm guitars) and Del Gray (drums) rebuilt the franchise with a completely new sound and they couldn’t have been happier to be back on tour and bringing fans what they do best.
“Everybody still has a ‘What Might Have Been,’ there’s always a ‘First Time For Everything,’ and folks still want to ‘Kick A Little,’ so we decided to take the party back on the road,” shares Propes, referring to the group’s continued rotation at radio and generations of both old and new fans that keep the band playing their classics and putting out new music.
In summer 2007, Little Texas returned to the airwaves, country charts and music video playlists with an album titled Missing Years. In typical Little Texas style, the band broke the rules yet again, choosing to unleash TWO new albums within the span of a month, including the band’s first live album, The Very Best of Little Texas: Live & Loud.
Currently, the lineup’s on the concert circuit celebrating its official 24th year on the radio since their first single, “Some Guys Have All The Love,” hit the airwaves in 1991. The music the band has generated over the years is timeless, and has been featured on hundreds of television programs and sporting events including Good Morning America, American Idol, Don’t Forget The Words, America’s Got Talent & HBO’s “True Blood,” while “God Blessed Texas” has been the theme music for the Texas Ford Dealers commercials since 1998.
This year, Little Texas is breaking new sonic ground with the release of their 8th album, Young For A Long Time. Undoubtedly the band has never sounded more confident, as the chorus of the titular lead off track proudly declares, “Don’t you know by now we’ve got this down / That Friday night fire still hasn’t gone out / We got a rock solid life and a rock n’ roll state of mind / We were born to run / So sit down, son / We’ll show you just how it’s done / ‘Cause we’ve been young for a long time.” The musicianship has only improved with age as well with Porter Howell truly coming into his own as the band’s lead vocalist in addition to his dazzling lead guitar work, and backed by the always solid playing of drummer Del Gray. “Young For A Long Time pretty much runs the gamut of everything we’ve ever done, plus takes us down some new roads as well,” Propes continues, “the vocals are there, the guitar work is there, the party songs are there, the ‘make you cry’ love songs, the songs about Texas. We even dive off into swamp rock and torch music, so each song has a totally different fuel behind it.”
“The four of us appreciate each other and still have a ball on stage,” says drummer Gray of the band’s chemistry on stage after all this time. “There is a comfort level that happens to us when we play together that can only happen with 20-something years of experience.”
Admission fee: $19.95-44.95
Shipshewana Event Center
760 S Van Buren St, Shipshewana