Croy and the Boys
CROY AND THE BOYS STAND OUT AMONGST "AUSTIN'S RISING CROP OF COUNTRY TRADITIONALISTS" (WIDE OPEN COUNTRY) WITH NEW LP 'HEY COME BACK'
"Twenty miles south of Toledo, ninety miles south of Detroit," says Croy and the Boys' front man Corey Baum, wryly describing the rust belt town of Bowling Green, Ohio where he was raised. "Everything is very flat and grey and paved over. Nature has been completely conquered up there."
That background gives Baum a unique viewpoint on country music that is evident on his band's debut LP 'Hey Come Back,' out 10/28.
"The music in that part of the country is very abrasive and discordant, mostly punk and rock 'n' roll," he says. "In junior high, I visited West Virginia, and that was the first time I remember seeing mountains. They were so beautiful. It actually made me realize thatthe reason so much creativity comes out of places like the rust belt is because we have to make our own mountains. There's nothing else worth looking at."
At the age of 24, Baum moved to Austin, Texas on a whim. "I knew almost nothing about Austin. I think I was picturing something more akin to Lubbock," he says. "All I really knew was the country singers that got high were from Austin, so I thought I might fit in a little better there than in Nashville. I climbed into a friend's car with three other people to go on a seven day road trip."
When they stopped in Austin, Baum immediately felt at home. He asked his friends to leave him behind, and they did. That was seven years ago.
"I came down here calling myself a country artist, and very quickly realized that I wasn't, at least not in the traditional Texas country sense," says Baum. "When I first moved to Texas, I was very sensitive to the fact that I was from Ohio, and I didn't have the confidence to fully be myself within the music."
Soon, though, he realized that trying to fit in with someone else's idea of what a country artist should be wasn't going to work. The best country music has always been personal, written from an authentic place. So Baum decided to embrace his unglamorous roots and try to find some beauty in the mundane aspects of his real life, often with his tongue planted firmly in cheek.
"There are lots of beautiful, powerful songs about moments of tragedy, or triumph. Some of us might experience those types of things once or twice in our lives, but the large majority of our time is spent doing dishes and cleaning our house and driving to work. I try and find the humanity in those simple little moments," he says.
Sonically, Baum reaches far and wide for influences, from Ohio punk rock to Texas conjunto. But at its core, 'Hey Come Back' is undeniably a country album. "To me, country music is a rhythm, like cumbia or bachata. As long as you keep that feeling and that two steppin' rhythm going, you can actually stray pretty far from some of the conventions," he says.
Grammy-winning musician Joel Guzman and Michael Ramos (Patty Griffin, Los Lonely Boys) contribute accordion parts on the album, while breakout Austin country singer Carson McHone provides vocal harmonies. The album was produced by Adrian Quesada (Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, Spanish Gold) whose varied resume includes a Grammy win for "Best Latin Rock Album," backing Prince on-stage and producing an album for metal band The Sword.
"Passionate singing, creatively left-of-center arrangement, and a songwriting structure that throws out the rulebook in favor of simply chasing the emotion at the heart of the matter." - Austin American Statesman
“Channels Texas’ diverse musical styles through the filter of someone who grew up in the urban sprawl of the Rust Belt." - Wide Open Country
"A blend of traditional honky-tonk ramblers, cosmic country ballads, and conjunto Tex-Mex that’s both as refreshing as it is a nod to the likes of pioneers Jerry Jeff Walker and Gram Parsons." - New Slang
"Burns with workingman reflections and late-night ponderings" - Austin Chronicle
"Reminds us that life may just be 'Good Enough'" - The Alternate Root, "Top Songs of the Week"
"First foray into the national spotlight." - Roughstock