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Texas band Cooder Graw will bring reunion tour to Oklahoma City
Five years ago, the wear and tear of the road seemed to deal the killing blow for hard-touring Texas country band Cooder Graw.
But memories of the self-proclaimed “loud country” band's rowdy live shows wouldn't die for the group's faithful fans — and ultimately for the band members themselves.
In spring, Cooder Graw — the name is the Texas-drawl pronunciation of the French phrase “coup de grace,” which means “death blow” — embarked on a reunion tour that will cross the Red River on Saturday for a show at the Wormy Dog Saloon.
“We had our differences. None were huge. ... We got tired of each other because we played so many shows,” said lead singer Matt Martindale in a phone interview this week from Amarillo, Texas, which he calls home.
“We all have a different life now and music is novel and new to us. So far, it's been great and the music has been great.”
Formed in 1998, Cooder Graw got off to an auspicious start with the release of its debut album, “Home at the Golden Light,” which credited actor Matthew McConaughey, one of Martindale's fraternity brothers, as executive producer. Grammy winner Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel and chart-topping country songwriter Hayden Nicholas produced the band's self-titled 2000 sophomore effort, which made itself at home on the national radio charts for 13 straight weeks.
The group's second live release, “Segundo,” spawned its first top 10 hit on the Texas country charts with “Willie's Guitar.” A second 2001 offering, the studio album “Shifting Gears,” scored Martindale and his cohorts two more top 10 Texas hits with “New Dress” and “Better Days.” The band's installment in the famed “Live at Billy Bob's Texas” live album series included its best-known song, the raucous “Llano Estacado,” featured in a series of national Dodge truck ads.
Cooder Graw released another album, “Wake Up,” in 2004, but touring practically nonstop eventually took its toll. After eight years of making music together, the band played its last show Dec. 31, 2006, in Fort Worth.
Although he continued to play with his Matt Martindale Band, the singer, like his former bandmates, embarked on a new life. A former assistant district attorney, Martindale, 44, now works as lawyer in private practice, plus he has a wife and two daughters. But music has always been vital to him.