EXCLUSIVE: Interview with No Dry County

Americana folk-rock band No Dry County has worked hard over the years, making a name for themselves across Texas and beyond. Now, three years after their debut release The Night Before, the band are back with their brand new album Panhandle Music.

You can listen to Panhandle Music below:

No Dry County recently took time out of their busy schedule to chat to us about their latest album Panhandle Music, who they would like to collaborate with and their plans for the future.

1. Firstly, can you tell our readers a bit about yourselves, how you met and how the band came together?

No Dry County is truly a product of the Lubbock music scene and more specifically our home venue, The Blue Light Live. Influenced by and made up of artists who have called the panhandle and west Texas home, NDC has had 9 members over 8 years with different makeups and musical stylings from alt-country to rock & roll in that span.

2. Growing up, who were your musical inspirations?

I was personally influenced heavily as a young songwriter by the likes of Robert Earl Keen, Paul Overstreet and Jason Isbell, captivated by their ability to tell stories and provide social commentary through song. As a band, we’ve always leaned toward the alternative side with groups like Kings of Leon, Thriftstore Cowboys and Explosions in the Sky making up our musical palate.

3. It has been three years since you released your debut album The Night Before back in 2015, and your second album Panhandle Music is now out. Can you tell our readers what they can expect from this album and how it differs from your first?

I think the most significant change is in the approach from a writing perspective. It’s somewhat of a concept album in that we really tried to depict the experience of life in the Texas panhandle from the lens of different characters. Previously we’ve almost exclusively drawn from our specific viewpoint which was limited in scope as a group of musicians in their twenties at the time.  Furthermore, we were more intentional in our attempt to make the whole album sound like our region, the persistent wind, magnificent thunderstorms and wide open spaces you would encounter driving through the Palo Duro Canyon or past miles of cotton fields and ranchland.

4. If you could choose any artist to collaborate with, who would it be and why?

I’ve been fascinated with the songwriting of John Fullbright. He has an incredible ability to capture a moment or feeling and communicate it precisely to the listener. Also, he’s a fantastic pianist which I’m a sucker for. If you haven’t listened to “From the Ground Up”, it’s well worth your time and money.

5. With your new album Panhandle Music, can you let us know about the inspiration behind the album and if you each have a stand out track?

Guitarist Bristen Phillips joined the band shortly after the release of “The Night Before”. Moving back to Lubbock from Dallas after years in indie-rock band Odis, he began to champion the idea that the Panhandle has cultivated its own unique sub-genre of music influenced by trailblazers like Bob Wills (Turkey, TX), Buddy Holly (Lubbock, TX), Waylon Jennings (Littlefield, TX) and countless others. We talked at length about someday recording a concept album that presented that theory but it wasn’t until we began tracking with producer Adam Odor (Yellow Dog Studios) that we realized that album was possible with the sounds we were getting in the studio. With that theme in mind, I would suggest 3 songs (“Tucumcari”, “Mountain of Clouds” and “Hey Thunder”) written by Bristen that really tie the whole record together as standouts. Placed at the beginning, middle and end, those tracks serve to set the stage, bring the listener back to centre and wrap up the album almost like one cinematic theme song with three movements.

6. In your careers, what would you say has been your biggest highlight so far?

I think the times we’ve toured nationally have not only been highlights but also served to broaden our perspective as a band. I think it’s easy to get comfortable touring regionally to find a niche and box yourself into one sound or catering to a specific listener group. Those experiences gave us some freedom to branch out a bit creatively. More specifically I think back to the first time we sold out a little dive bar in Denver. I had laryngitis and was only able to make it through a few songs but with the help of drummer Matt Newsom, opening band Midwest Rebellion and many in the crowd, we were able to not only make it through the show but it turned into a very memorable night. I think at one point we had 15-20 people on that tiny stage sweating and shouting together.

7. Being musicians, you get to record and release music, as well as play live shows to your fans. Which aspect of being in the band would you say you enjoy most?

There’s nothing like the live show. It’s like a drug the release you get when your able to connect with people through music you’ve written. The live show has been the lifeblood of No Dry County and something we’ve tried and honestly never really been able to capture in the studio, with this last album coming the closest. All of that said, I’m becoming more addicted to the creative process in recent years. Collaborating with stalwarts in our scene like Alan Crossland, Jay Saldana, Josh Serrato and Adam Odor, and together growing an album is incredibly satisfying.

8. What would you like to achieve next as a band?

Personally, I’m ready to get back in the studio. By the time an album is packaged, promoted and released, you look up and you’re almost a year from the most exciting part of creating the music. We’re in the “storyboard” process of planning the next project and excited to push our limits even further. Also, I’d like to support the Dixie Chicks if/when they record and tour a new album.

9. What plans do you have for the rest of 2018?

We will play release shows through the fall taking Panhandle Music to all of our favourite cities and hopefully be on the phone with Adam Odor about pre-production on the next record.

10. Finally, do you have a message for your fans?

Our shows have always been full of friends who have told friends about us or given our music away. So in that sense, I don’t feel like we have fans but rather a ton of friends who will hopefully continue to share our music with others. Thank you and see you out there soon!

Thank you so much to No Dry County for taking the time to chat with us!

To keep up to date with the band, make sure to follow them on social media.




Finally, don’t forget to share your thoughts on our interview with No Dry County by tweeting us @CelebMix.


Written by Lynn Macgillivray

I'm Lynn - a writer, accountant and lover of all things music (especially a good boyband). Twitter: @xxitslynn
Email: lmacgillivray92@gmail.com