Jason Boland is riding high after touring steadily behind 2008's "Comal County Blue." The current single from that album, "Bottle by My Bed," is a track that springs from his personal embrace of his own sobriety over the last few years, and confesses the familiar, often heart-wrenching connection between the "emptiness of the bottle" and the "emptiness of the man."
After sobriety and a divorce, that song seems to say it all: "Now I'm going back home / It's down this path I'm led / And I'm no longer empty / Like the bottle by my bed."
Previous hits from the CD, like "The Party's Not Over," a rollicking duet with Robert Earl Keen, and "Alright," co-written with Cody Canada of Yukon's Cross Canadian Ragweed, have also enjoyed radio adoration and become crowd favorites on the tour. The title track, "Comal County Blue," lets the listener ride shotgun with Boland as he cruises his current home in South Texas.
Boland & the Stragglers are back in Bricktown on Thursday for a show at the Wormy Dog, and the singer spoke affectionately of Central Oklahoma.
"I lived in Harrah from the time I was born until I was 18," he said, "so I grew up in Oklahoma City. I get back there to play as often as I can, or just to hang out."
Boland was 25 when he moved to Stillwater in 1993, and by 1995, the singer/songwriter found friendship and inspiration with red-dirt godfather Bob Childers.
"He was a big influence " on all of us, really," Boland said. "That was at The Farm where Bob lived, and the Rangers lived, and the guys from Medicine Show and Mike McClure and lots of others were always there. It was just a great place to hang out, play songs and swap songs."
Texas country-rockers Whiskey Myers will open the Thanksgiving night show. The quintet released its "Road of Life" debut in 2008, and shows surprising depth for such a young band, blending together a sound that's Southern and tinged with influences of Bob Wills.
At a recent Wormy Dog gig, Whiskey singer Cody Cannon said almost all of the band's influences are older than the musicians themselves.
Boland, who once titled an album "The Bourbon Legend," said fans can expect all the songs from "Comal County Blue" on Thursday, as well as Stragglers live favorites like "When I'm Stoned," "Tennessee Whiskey" and "Pearl Snaps."
Jason Boland & the Stragglers with Whiskey Myers perform at 10 p.m. Thursday at Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E. Sheridan. "Collin Hudson