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Newby shares stories during visit to studio

Cody Newby visited Studio Blanket/Tent Fort this week for the column's radio show and shared his stories of music, mirth, mayhem and, most of all, healing. With a song taking off on the national gospel charts, the Walters-based singer/songwriter is enjoying the liftoff.

If you listened to the show, you heard a mean version of Chris Stapleton's "Whiskey and You." It was stellar. With Steve Carr's harmonies and harmonica, the two tackled several tracks you'll be hearing soon. Takes on "Man of Constant Sorrow," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Please Come To Boston" and "Pancho & Lefty" were terrific. He's a man who, when he takes a song, he takes it to its core  and to his.

At the moment, Newby's penned number "When Grandpa Sang How Great Thou Art" is catching quite a bit of buzz on the bluegrass charts. The Kansas City band Sonshine Road's rendition is No. 92 on the national gospel chart and No. 67 on the bluegrass gospel charts this week. Check it out  https://youtu.be/VIDRREu6DCc.

Newby said the band did something special with his song, taking what was initially a country song and giving it that bluegrass twang. Even with a verse cut for time, it works, he said. 

"The song still makes sense without the verse," Newby said. 

That one of his songs is finding success through another band's voice takes some getting used to, Newby said. Sonshine Road opened his eyes to how his songs can be interpreted by others. Producer Jimmy Jack Whitaker heard in his song what the songwriter would have to envision when he offered it to the band. 

"They added banjo and bluegrassed up what I had written as a country song," Newby said. "I really like it and what they've done with it. It was a really fun experience." 

Newby said his influences range everywhere from classic country to hardcore metal and back into the soul groove. It was his granddad who turned him onto "The Possum" George Jones. I'm pretty sure that, if you poke deep, that's his core. But he's a musician with so much more to say.

"Don't even get me started on that (influences)," Newby said. "I'm a connoisseur of all kinds of music, but my heart's with old country."

The first attempt at learning on the fly and playing with others came from cousins sitting on the porch when Newby was 16. He wanted to jam with them and when they began playing chords, he did his best to keep up. Within minutes, his first song was learned: "Folsom Prison Blues." 

Newby said that sometimes a different sound fits a different feeling and emotion. It's learned from spending over half his life with a guitar in hand. He wanted to learn piano but never did  his mom is a "terrific piano player but she was afraid she wouldn't be hard-headed enough to teach me," he said. She did buy his first guitar, a Gretsch electric with a small Peavey amp. He said he would get so enthralled "I played some times 'til my fingers bled." About 13 years ago, he joined his first band, Toby Wayne & Distant Thunder. One week into the gig and he was in the studio cutting rhythm guitar and harmony vocals. He called it an experience that helped shape him. Performances at the old Crossroads Tavern still bring smiles when reflected upon  "It was just a good time."

Newby has a good time any opportunity he has to sing and strum. With his band East Cache Creek, he said it's a dream to create music that seamlessly flows between styles and become its own thing. Their 2016 album "6 Miles From Bowie" is a hallmark achievement, he said. Recorded at Crystal Clear Studios in Dallas, Texas, the band's preparation beforehand paid off to make an efficient three days in the studio. 

"I really feel like we get something out that nobody's heard before," Newby said. "It's my music as a voice, and it's our music as a sound."

The album is filled with Newby's original work. He said more is in the works as the band plots its next recording. He's excited about new material that transcends prior works. Newby said he's ready to have more fun with his musical partners in East Cache Creek. Named after the waterway that works its way through his land outside Walters, he said the band is everything he wants in a creative partnership. With almost a decade of working with guitarist Lynn Moon, he said, the creativity feeds itself. "Man, he (Moon) is just incredible," he said.

The next big showcase for Newby and East Cache Creek will be May 5 when they join Tito Lindsey & Red Dirt Rising for the Cinco de Mayo celebration at Fubar Saloon, No. 4 W. Lee. More shows will be added. Newby said he's going to be making music wherever there's an audience. Musicians make music, he said, and there's a lot more ahead for him and East Cache Creek: "We stay busy."

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How's this for big time music news? Cache native Madison Ward announced she signed a five-album deal with Universal Music's Republic Records. Her executive producer is the legendary Rick Rubin who has worked with everyone from Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys to Slayer and Johnny Cash  and everyone in-between. 

To kick her career off properly, Ward will be on David Letterman's new Netflix series "My Guest." Along with interviewing Jay Z, Letterman is scheduled to interview Rubin and Ward. She also will perform a couple of her new songs.

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Saturday night is going to be a night at the drag races when Farewell, B! Drag Show Extravaganza takes over the Railhead Saloon, 909 S. Sheridan. The show starts around 10 p.m. and you'll want to get there early. Mixing performance, fashion, music and humor like a dirty martini the drag shows have been a hit for the heavy metal Mecca. The small club reached its capacity limit with a show earlier this month.

The farewell with this show is for Michael Mullenix, a.k.a. Episcene, who is planning a move to the Pacific Northwest in the coming weeks. Episcene, Porcelain Vahjeen, Ginger Styles, Mor'Gun Fontaine, Syren, Alotta Vahjeen, Tape and Entity will be putting on a show unlike any other around here.

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The Toyota Texas Music Revolution will make Plano, Texas, the place to be for red dirt this weekend. With a lineup that includes Ryan Bingham, Margo Price, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Gary P. Nunn, Texas Gentlemen, The O's, Buffalo Ruckus, Austin Cunningham, Bird Dogs, Two Tons of Steel, Drew Kennedy and Jesse Dayton, it's a short trip for great music. 

The concert starts Friday at the Amphitheater at Oak Point Park. Day two's performances on Saturday feature two stages of non-stop music.

Tickets are on sale online or by phone at 888-454-4353.

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I hope everyone gets out to Medicine Park at one time or another this weekend for the official kick-off to live music festival season with Park Stomp 2018. I'll mosey out that way this weekend and report back with good stuff for next week's column. 

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I want to give it up to Pearl Jam for keeping their music relevant and challenging, almost 30 years since their inception. The Seattle Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' newest single is catchy, challenging, earnest and contemporary and has me excited for a forthcoming album. It's tough for most bands to avoid redundancy, especially through long careers. Pearl Jam has never chosen the easy path. This latest offering has the fire of a band seeking its breakthrough: nPearl Jam  "Can't Deny Me"  https://youtu.be/Fecw2m0PDDI.

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Newby's visit to Studio Blanket/Tent Fort for this week's "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist was a lot of fun. If it sounded fun, well ... you should have been there. Next week's show will open with a Newby number as we prepare the list for another Mix Tape for your listening enjoyment.

Jokey McJokerson put the set-up on a tee for this week's joke. Here's the punchline:

"Friday."

Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 9:25 a.m. each Thursday (if not much earlier) or stream the half-hour show online: http://s1.phx.icastcenter.com/start/kmgz953/ or www.onlineradiobox.com; or on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: http://www.kmgz.com/. 

#Sundaymonium  Remember that every Sunday night you can listen to a rebroadcast of the prior week's show followed by this week's show: 6 p.m., St. Pat's Special with Robbie McMillan; 6:30 p.m., The Legendary Cody Newby. 

Visit, "like" ("love") and follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/steveoandthescribe/.The two-part video slideshow with audio from the first all-performance episode, along with the very first episode, are found in the "Video" folder. We'll make more, I swear.

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