The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.
And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.
Red Dirt artist Brandon Jenkins grew up knowing music would be how he made his unique stamp on the world.
Even still, his family encouraged the Tulsa native to attend college. Somewhat reluctantly, he enrolled at Oklahoma State University.
“It turned out to be a pretty good choice,” Jenkins said. “I found a pretty good group there.”
That group included Cody Canada, Mike McClure, Stoney LaRue and Bleu Edmondson. In the mid-’90s, the collective helped make Red Dirt music what it is. The old friends still work together, even after hitting it big.
“We are all comrades,” Jenkins said. “We have our own individual units, but as a whole, we are a team.”
Of LaRue, he said, “We’re pretty much best friends. That’s probably the reason I’ve written so many songs with him. Trying to write a song with another person is kind of like masturbating in front of someone: It’s really tough to do. You’ve got to feel really comfortable with somebody.”
Jenkins might be the most unique piece in the set, certainly with the least stereotypical country facade.
“I’m a big guy with a shaved head, ZZ Top beard and sleeved-out tattoos, but I think it suits the music,” he said. “We are more than country, anyway.”
That appetite for individuality translates to how his music is released. Rather than releasing his latest and 11th album, “Project Eleven,” upfront, he began doling out the 11-song effort on Nov. 11, 2011. The last song and a physical release will be unveiled on Sept. 11, the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
“Music business is changing, and it’s adapt or die,” Jenkins said. “You can’t hang on to this paradigm that doesn’t exist anymore. Lots of artists are abandoning the traditional format of albums. People aren’t really buying CDs. This sounded like a good idea.”
Artistically, it also continues his path toward doing something special.
“I could keep putting out the same record over and over again, but at my heart, I want to consider myself an artist,” he said. “To me, that means always being in a state of becoming something.”
Editor's note: This summer, Jenkins, Stoney LaRue, and a handful of other Red Dirt musicians will be flying to Alaska for a series of concerts benefiting the organization Autism Speaks. Head to LaRue's website for more information.