Here’s a lovely little five-piece out of Houston, Texas for your listening pleasure. They’re called F.Co., and you pronounce that “eff koh”. Or at least they do. The band has been together since 1999, and was started up by Thomas Watts and Ryan Mucha. They’ve got at least one award under their belt already: KIKK-FM (R.I.P.) named them Texas Most Wanted Band in 2002. I have no idea what that means, but it’s gotta be something pretty good if it’s from the late, much-lamented KIKK. KIKK was a huge loss to Houston and Texas radio, and it was one of the few highlights of my frequent bidness trips to the Bayou City. Now that it’s gone, I mostly end up listening to the Mexican radio stations and one old-school R&B station when I can dial it in.
Back to F.Co. A couple of weeks, my darling wife threw their new CD, King of Texas, at me. Literally — I almost lost an eye. Don’t worry, everything’s fine. That weekend, I followed my usual routine of putting it in the CD player and driving around with it playing. My first thought was “Hey! These boys are damn good!” You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that comes floating over the transom at TexasGigs HQ, but this one really stood out. They’ve got a real, down-home Texas-y sound immediately appealed to me. I don’t want to use the term basic, but there wasn’t a lot of flashy frippery to get in the way of the good music. Plenty of energy, too — I like that in a young band. They’ve got a couple of slow songs on the CD that I didn’t immediately care for. I was in a mood for some good ol’ honky-tonk stuff, and they dealt it out pretty good. The title track is a hilarious send up of a typical Texas honky-tonk Saturday night, where no matter what your daily grind is, every man is, in some small way, The King of Texas. We’re chock full of self-esteem that way…practically have it running out of our ears. Another feature of this CD is some really good road songs: Roads are a River, 400 Miles, and North to Buffalo. That last is one of those slow songs that didn’t immediately grab me, but it’d make a good late-night tear-jerker when you’re out on the road and not in The Great Republic.
Probably my favorite song on the thing is 18 Wheels of Beer. It’s one of those chugging, blue-collar, workin’ man songs about driving a beer truck for a living. Heh. I bet this song is one of their set closers, or encore numbers. Whatever, it’s one of those must-have sing-along songs that every true Texas honky-tonker loves. (Big Secret: they’ve got a hidden track on here that’s a feedback-drenched surfpunkabilly version of 18 Wheels that sounds like they played it while the Devil himself was poking them in the ass with his pitchfork.) Probably my second favorite is All This Catching Up, which is really a warning about re-hashing and reminiscing with your pards while the little lady is in earshot. And of course Longest Song is great, too – another road song with gratuitous tobacco chewing & spitting.
Over all, I highly recommend F.Co. They’re young, they’re talented, they’re close to their roots. I can’t wait to see ‘em live…I’m so dieing to do the Skinny Wirskye Hayseed Dance to 18 Wheels of Beer. I give The King of Texas, and F.Co four Shiners out of five. The Fat Guy says check ‘em out when they come to your town.
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