Jamie Richards will make his way to the North Texas Fair and Rodeo from his home in Shawnee, Oklahoma, but most of his band will have a much shorter trip.
Two of the musicians — drummer Brandon Morris and steel guitar player Hank Early — are University of North Texas graduates, Richards said, and lead guitar player Mike Tuck is still in school there.
Richards is scheduled to take the main Budweiser Stage at 9:30 p.m. Monday.
The Okie from Bethel Acres has been cranking out albums and Texas radio hits since 2001, but he doesn’t consider himself a mainstay of Red Dirt music.
“I’m really more just a honky-tonk singer — more traditional,” he said.
Fans shuffling over from the night’s ranch rodeo shouldn’t have to stop moving their feet.
“That’s the kind of music I play,” Richards said of doing a fair or rodeo concert. “I think I play music people can dance to. That’s kind of what we’re known for in Texas.”
That, and a solid radio presence. Richards said his first three singles from last year’s All About the Music have had top-10 chart showings in Texas. Those include “She’s Cold as That Beer She’s Drinkin’” and “I’ll Have Another,” and “Never Gonna Hear It from Me” clocked in as the Texas Music Chart’s No. 64 song of 2013.
Richards said he’s booked more than a dozen full-band shows for August. Last week took him on an arc through Conroe, Austin and Roscoe, then up to Durant, Oklahoma, for a radio show.
“We’ve been spreading out and doing well,” he said. “It’s a slow process.”
Earlier hits include “Red River Runaround,” “They’ve Never Been to Texas” and “I Can Party When I Need To.” The liner notes for 2004’s Between These Lines included an endorsement from George Jones.
As it turns out, Richards has left three-year gaps between each of his five albums.
“It takes me awhile to gather up the songs,” he said. “I like to make the whole album good from start to finish.
“I could turn out a couple songs in a month. That’s quite a bit for me. I don’t write that much anymore.”
Richards said he doesn’t feel a need to increase his output.
“It’s just hard to come up with something that’s really good that hasn’t been done before,” he said.
“I could write a song about floating the river every day, but I think people are kind of tired of that.”
He also doesn’t have to produce a whole album’s worth of brand-new material each time.
“I’m always kind of digging back into my catalog. When I wrote for Curb [Records], I had a couple hundred songs,” he said.
So between the new tunes he writes, the ones he’s already written that his fans haven’t heard yet and other writers’ songs that he comes across, Richards has plenty to sift through. He also has standards for what’s going to make the final cut.
“I sing about drinking beer and all that too, but I think it needs to be more interesting and deeper than just ‘I’m sitting here drinking beer,’” he said.
MATT CRIDER can be reached at 940-566-6906.
When: 9:30 p.m. Monday
Where: North Texas Fairgrounds, 2217 N. Carroll Blvd.
Details: $15 fair admission includes rodeo and concerts. Acoustic sets with Brian “Beerman” Houser, Sonny Burgess and Jolie Holliday are slated for 6 and 11 p.m. on the Bud Light Stage.
On the Web: www.ntfair.com; http://jamierichardsband.com