Jason Boland & the Stragglers are leading lights in the Red Dirt scene, a grassroots movement that mixes honky tonk, outlaw, and contemporary country, and is powered by constant touring. The Red Dirt sound has two homes, Texas and Oklahoma, and Boland and his band hail from the latter.
They moved to the former to make their fortune. The "Red Dirt" categorization may seem a good fit for the media and fans, but the band has insisted from the outset that they're a honky tonk outfit straight out of the country & western tradition.
Pearl Snaps, their 1999 debut album, received solid regional airplay on college and public radio stations. Their music -- drenched in pedal steel and fiddle combined with a rowdy live show -- began drawing exceptionally large crowds, even when they were show openers. They quickly became a headline act in their own right. Truck Stop Diaries Despite almost non-stop touring, they managed two more studio albums, Truck Stop Diaries and 2004's Somewhere in the Middle.
The second sold enough copies regionally to land them on the country charts. The Bourbon Legend The Stragglers then signed with songwriter Bruce Robison's Sustain Records, which issued The Bourbon Legend in 2006, produced by Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam). This album placed even higher on the country charts. Comal County BlueThe band's live reputation spread beyond their original Red Dirt stomping grounds and reached the rest of the American West and even the East Coast.
With 2008's Comal County Blue, their debut with Thirty Tigers, they broke through on a national level and landed at number 30 on the country charts. Subsequently, it was their first recording to place on the indie charts. Just before the set's release, Boland ruptured a vocal cord during a show. He required surgery, therapy, and substantial recovery time to be able to sing again. High in the Rockies: A Live AlbumWhen he recovered, the band recorded High in the Rockies at four consecutive live shows in Colorado in January of 2010 and released it in April. Their 2011 studio follow-up, Rancho Alto, was co-produced by the band and Shooter Jennings. It charted higher than any previous outing.