Kene Terry & the Bourbon Cowboys
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Kene Terry & the Bourbon Cowboys

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Kene Terry thinks performing on stage is great. Selling albums and getting on TV would be good too. But Terry’s not out for fame. He just likes jamming with his buddies.

“I like the camaraderie,” Terry said. “I like when we get together and make it up as we go along.”

Terry, of Clovis, is releasing his first album, “Let You Down,” next week. The title track is a product of the organic, make-it-up-as-you-go style he enjoys.

“It started as a slower song,” Terry said. “When we got to Austin, it kind of emerged as a faster paced song.

“It’s just a cool song. It’s about how you get down in the dumps sometimes, when you feel like you’re getting up to your fill. It’s got bluesy lyrics, but it sounds like a rock song.”

Terry, 24, recorded his album over five busy days last February in Austin, Texas.

He describes his sound as a mix between traditional country and modern rock.

“I call it alternative country,” Terry said. “It’s a long way from mainstream country.”

When Terry was 16, he got a guitar as a present. He dabbled with it, but it was not exactly love at first strum.
“It was hardly even a hobby,” Terry said.

His interest for playing music took off when he went to college. Terry, from Logan, attended college at West Texas A&M, then Eastern New Mexico University.

“When I got to college, I had time to be a songwriter,” Terry said. “I had time to pick up the guitar and time to go to live shows.”

One night, Terry was playing music at a party and he met a handful of other students who liked to make music. They formed a band, Marshall Lane, and played together constantly.

After college, the band split up, but Terry credits Marshall Lane for influencing his style and kindling his fire for music.

“We all influenced each other,” Terry said. “We had always talked about doing an album, but it always fell through. It never happened.”

Terry’s first name draws plenty of funny looks and wrong pronunciations. Kene, pronounced Kenny, said his first name is not a made-up promotional tool.

“It’s my birth name,” Terry said. “I don’t know why it’s spelled like that. Most of the men in my family have a name that starts with ‘K.’”

Although his first name does not have a story behind it, his middle name, Lane, has one with a musical twist.

“My mom couldn’t think of a middle name,” Terry said. “And she liked the Beatles’ ‘Penny Lane.’ I think that’s pretty cool.” - Clovis News Journal/Portales News Tribune/Quay County Sun


Some dreams can be followed from anywhere, be it Clovis, Anchorage, Alaska, or Punxsatawney, Pa. If one is a writer, one can send one’s work to where it needs to be for publication consideration. If one is an artist, unless the work is site specific, it can go anywhere; the creator doesn’t have to go with it.

Other dreams and aspirations — well, you need to follow them; they cannot be handled long distance. If you are Cisti Greenwalt, you have to shoot for the stars by trying out where the women’s basketball league is holding camp. If you are Hank Baskett, you have to go for the goal by showing up where they try pro football hopefuls. (Yes, those puns are intentional.)

Or perhaps your name is Kene Terry, and you are a talented young musician form Logan, by way of ENMU, who produces a unique and poetic sound. Call it Austin sound, call it Texas music, call it alternative country ... whatever you choose. Let’s say, in the words of his friend Ernie Kos, that you face the decision to “take the risk, or to continue to do what you are doing — which is not what you want to do with your life.”

You have to follow your dream, and to do so ... well, you have to take the chance. It’s not a dream you can pursue from anywhere. You have to go to where the music is. Yes, we have a rich musical history here, but you have to expand on that.

Terry, whose brand of music is a sort of metamorphosed country rock, will have his CD-release party on Thursday at the newly open Civic Center. This concert and social event, well worth the ticket price, is scheduled for 7 p.m.

How do I know it’s well worth the price? I had an advance listen to the CD. I don’t know the technical side of music, but I know what I like. By the way, this isn’t the Montgomery Gentry style of country rock. As mentioned above, this is more the Austin sound, with complex guitar arrangements, lyrical themes and stories. Don't get me wrong — I like Montgomery Gentry, too. But ...

This is music you can dance to. Waltz, one-step or slow dance, depending on the cut. This is music you can road-trip to, hearing the stories Terry tells as you eat up the miles to Santa Fe, Taos or someplace equally fitting.

This music, these compositions, could not have been birthed in New York. They could not be mistaken for beach music. Thank God, they have no rap element. Neither are we listening to a good singer cover someone else’s songs. Like past music focus columns, we are talking about original music, born on the High Plains and mesas.

Observations of life, like the “Keystone Cowboy,” a fellow we will all recognize when we hear the song. Ironic twists on familiar themes, like “Here in Spoon River,” maybe an allusion to Edgar Master’s anthology. Love ballads that immortalize relationships we can identify with — love at first sight and love lost.

It takes a lot of courage to step out, making the move, putting yourself on the line musically by exposing your heart and spirit with original work. It takes another spoonful of courage to hit the road, going where you can actually make your dream happen.

Desire — that might be the motivating factor to courage. Wanting to make it happen badly enough to move it along yourself, overcoming the roadblocks. Kene Terry is just such a highly motivated young man.

I loved the music. I love the (for lack of a better word) Austin sound. I love alternative country music in general. However, don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. Show up at the Civic Center on Thursday. Bet you’ll be glad you did. - Clovis News Journal


In a world where musicians take comfort in trying to sound the same as their contemporaries, it is nice to find the occasional breath of fresh air. As a program director for a progressive country station, all too often I can listen to music from the newest act that Nashville has to offer, only to note how proud they might have been in getting the 'Alan Jackson' sound just right, or the 'Tim McGraw vocal inflection' across in their music. Even worse are the cookie cutters that not only try to sound like someone else, but do not even put pen to paper and write their own songs. This, however changed six weeks ago with the release of one CD. Enter Kene Terry...

"Let You Down" stands out as what could be described as the new sound of eastern New Mexico. Just as movements in music come to pass every few years, Terry has staked a claim as the standard bearer for what is good about musicianship and artistry in New Mexico. Although it is not much of a stretch to hear the influences of Texas and Red Dirt music in his songwriting, the distinction of his music mixes that with innovation and a unique use of instrumentation often overlooked in most music styles.

"The harmonica made a reappearance in Alt Country around 12 years ago, and has been a mainstay ever since, but Kene Terry takes it a few steps further. First of all, the interchange between acoustic sounds with gritty distortion at just the right moments comes to mind. In fact, the distortion takes a back seat throughout most of the tracks on "Let You Down" with perhaps the only exception being the title track itself. The overdriven electric guitar will pull you in, the smooth acoustic impressions will keep you there.

"Seldom seen in music genres outside of bluegrass, Kene also utilizes the mandolin heavily in his music. Not unlike salt on the rim of a shotglass, the usage of these strings flavors the rest of the sound to tie it all together. Certainly any of us could take a shot of tequila without the salt, but it just doesn't seem the same. That analogy sums up the mandolin experience within the Kene Terry Band as well.

"Inasmuch that "Let You Down" is a true diamond in the rough, Kene Terry excels in live venues. Sometimes packing in crowds that push the limits of building capacities, it is no wonder why this band has the following that it does. Energy and quality sound are the prime reasons for this, but one thing is apparent beyond that- these guys play from their souls to deliver the best performance possible each night they take the stage. Once upon a time, bands played live in order to support sales of their albums; in Kene Terry's universe, the opposite has happened. Album sales are predicated on great live performances.

"The next time that you are digging through racks of CD's at your local music store, and you are trying to find something that is different from everything else on the market, I encourage you to buy a copy of "Let You Down." For some musical innovation, fantastic songwriting, and incredible instrumental balance, Kene Terry hits the bullseye with this release." - Kevin Robbins, KSEL Radio, Portales, NM


Discography

'Jackalope' - 2009
'Let You Down' - 2006

Photos

Bio

Heavily influenced by artists such as Gram Parsons and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the quartet originally from New Mexico has a distinct flavor that reveals its roots in the land of roadrunners and green chile. It’s been called roots rock, alt-country, country rock, and even shitkicker rock, but KTBC’s sound and style is constantly evolving and growing with the songs sewn and stories written. The Bourbon Cowboys have shared the stage with Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, Shurman, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Randy Rogers Band and many other songwriters and storytellers.

Their current release, Jackalope, was recorded at Johnny Mulhair Studio in Clovis, New Mexico, and produced by Mulhair, a CMA nominated producer who cut his teeth at rock and roll institution Norman Petty Studio. Despite the funny name, this record is a serious Americana album. Recorded with real instruments and real reverbs on an analog tape machine straight out of 1974, Jackalope’s songs run down the road like a big rig through the night. From guitar driven rock and roll to the twang of the pedal steel, this is an album that you'll actually listen to from beginning to end.