Grayson County Band “The Twisted Pistols” moving into Round 2 of Shiner Rising Star contest


Three strong bands showed up to compete in Shiner Rising Star’s Round 1, Week 2 contest Thursday night (Aug. 2) at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Dallas. All three wowed the judges, judging by their comments at critique-time, and Friday morning, the announcment came that it would be Twisted Pistols who would be moving on.

Judges this week were Texas singer/songwriter Deryl Dodd; Tami Millspaugh, Texas Record Chick Promotions; and KHYI radio personality Chuck Taylor. Rules are: each band has 30 minutes and that must include all original songs except for one required cover. At the end of each band’s set, they return to the stage for oral critiques from the judges, who then vote on 10 criteria.

In the Collinsville/ and Denison-based Twisted Pistols are: Zach Hendricks on acoustic guitar and lead vocals; Spencer Whitney on bass and harmonies; Johnny Wilson on lead guitar and harmonies; and Justin Boren on percussion. For their cover, the band performed their version of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Snake Farm,” mentioning that Ray Wylie would be playing Hotter’n Hell Festival the following Saturday. Also, toward the end, Whitney and Hendricks reached into a canvas bag, pulled out play snakes, and threw them out to the audience.

It was the third time for the Twisted Pistols to be accepted as one of the 24 bands to move forward, selected from several hundred entries.

Dodd said the band has a ground sound, commercial, and one he said he could hear on the radio right now. He commented favorably on Wilson’s guitar tone and Whitney’s “strong” bass playing.

Millspaugh commented that from a craft standpoint, “You always want to capture those fans, and to make new fans. The cover song was good, but remember… make it your own… don’t make it osund like the original artist.”

Taylor opened his critique saying, “Last year I was a little bit harder on you guys, and this year you stepped it up a notch.” He commented on the band’s talent of engaging the crowd, then on Hendrick’s style, “The enunciation, make sure you have your vocals strong. Part of the point of music is to get people to sing along and understand the words.”

The other bands competing were Parallel Play from Denton, with Jeremy Drake on vocals, Erin Gayden on upright bass, Jason Miears on banjo, and Pappy McCall on drums. Erin and Tomy also provided harmony vocals. They were a high-spirited group, and probably brought the largest crowd of fans. Their cover was Weezer’s “Surf Wax.”

Jackson Eli was joined on stage by music incredibles Dan Hodan on guitar, Jimmy Duvall on upright bass, and Thad Moore on drums. Their cover was “Hot Rod Lincoln,” and during it Eli engaged the crowd even more by stepping off the stage and walking through the bar.

This Thursday, (Aug. 9) Round 1, Week 3 will be between the Blacktop Outlaws from Denton and including Whitesboro’s Lucas Pittman; Rhythm n Roses from Terrell; and Rev. Leon & The Repenters from Princeton. Music begins at 8 p.m. at Love & War in Texas, Grapevine. For directions, call them at 972-724-5557.