All of my interviews are fun in their own special way, but interviewing Bennie Gray and The Trailer Park Cowboys last Saturday was a blast! I came in to The Brewhouse Bar and Grill watch part of their sound check and to interview the band. I heard the band perform one of my all-time favorite songs, “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis and it was awesome. I headed back to introduce myself to the colorful cast that makes up The Trailer Park Cowboys, to see that they were in a circle working on harmonies, again Awesome. We exchanged introductions but I will use the introductions that are on the inside of their new CD “Because of Drinking”. Bennie Gray is listed as Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, and CEO of all things trailer park. Joining Bennie is Shannon “Beef” Wilson (Bass Guitar, Harmony Vocals, and Hair Care Products), Dida Knight (Drums and Yelps), Scotty Knight (Guitar and Brilliant Ideas), Dave Harper (Guitar, Lap Steel, Keyboards, Percussion, Shotguns, and Tough Decisions), and last but not least Austin Harper (Guitar, Pedal Steel, Mandolin, Baritone Guitar, and Luxurious Hair). Of course all of the fun is certainly translated to the stage as it was adorned with the ever so important Pink Flamingo. (Full disclosure, they told me his name but I can’t find where I wrote that down.) We had a good time joking and laughing as they told me I was their first real interview. (Oh boy, someone didn’t tell them that I am not a real interviewer.)
All joking aside, as big as their personalities are, the music is just as big. Bennie Gray and The Trailer Park Cowboys classify their genre as “Americana” and say they have a very loyal fan base. They are 5 local guys and one rocking lady from Rockmart, Dallas, Cleveland, Cedartown, and Yorkville. Some band members were thinking of retiring, others were just getting started, but what they have found coming together, is a sound that is all their own. You will catch the occasional cover at their show, but with a building repertoire of original music, the fans would rather request their favorite Bennie Gray and The Trailer Park Cowboys song.
The origin of the band’s name is pretty easy, Bennie Gray is the lead singer. The Trailer Park Cowboys is the fun part to explain. The band told me about a bar they played in the earlier days that was across the street from a trailer park. The loyal patrons of the bar would walk from the trailer park to the bar, stay until closing, and walk back to the trailer park. The band started referring to the bar as “The Trailer Park Club” and from that the Trailer Park Cowboys were born. Bennie told me that “we have all known each other for a long time and always wanted to play together, but the timing was always off.” The timing is on now! The band has a CD that is full from start to finish with smartly written lyrics, fun sing-along, deep thoughts, and everything in between. (Full review of the CD coming soon, but I have been playing “Wasted Time”, “Because of Drinking” and “Bitch” a lot.)
The band has opened for Jason Isbell, Drivin’ and Cryin’ among others in the 3 years they have been playing together but they have also transitioned nicely to drawing their own crowd. At their past Saturday night show, the band was recording a video to one of the songs off of the “Because of Drinking” CD and the recording was done in the big style that Bennie Gray and The Trailer Park Cowboys are known for perfecting. They band asked the crowd to film with their cellphones and submit the footage to the band. That footage would be edited to make the video.
Song writing duties fall mostly on Bennie Gray. He told me that it is hard for him to write the songs down but the rest of the band are making him write things down for use in the studio. Bennie has been writing for years and sees that his songs are getting better. Bennie begins writing on the acoustic guitar because if “it doesn’t sound good on the acoustic, it isn’t going to sound good with the full band”. Songs come from experiences that he may be going through but he draws from experiences of friends especially in “Because of Drinking”. Bennie told me that they must “keep writing original music, continue to show growth, and travel to different venues” and the band will continue to grow. Bennie has written the majority of songs on the new CD with some help from Dave Harper. Bennie isn’t your traditional put the pen to paper type of writer. The majority of the songs are stored in his head. He hears a note or two and the songs just seem to develop on their own.
These guys do not want to just gig around on the weekend, these guys want to make this their career. The band loves getting request of their originals and love it even more to see the crowd sing back to them. Bennie said, “it has to be one of the coolest feelings”. You can catch Bennie Gray and The Trailer Park Cowboys playing all around the place and can pick up their debut CD “Because of Drinking” and t-shirts at the shows. I can say that if they keep the formula they have now, this band has a bright future. I would like to end by given Dida Knight a big shout out. I have mad respect for a woman playing drums, and you sister play the heck out of the drums! Visit the links below to see Bennie Gray and The Trailer Park Cowboys’s Facebook Page and a few links to some songs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEn4ngsVYlE (Because of Drinking)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW6pd1Uz_DA (Something I Ain’t)