Deep Ellum saw a stacked show on Saturday night inside the Limbo Room at Ruins, featuring Drugstore Cowboy and Alex O’aiza, as well as show opener Ken LaFlaire.
Hailing from Texas, Drugstore Cowboy is composed of Grant Thompson and Carter Davis. Thompson, originally from Grapevine, and Davis, a Celina native, have been collaborating for over 8 years, and in 2021 decided to move out to Nashville.
“Carter and I met back in 2015 originally at Opening Bell,” Thompson said. “We used to be together in a band called Ciity, then him and I reconnected in 2019 and started making tracks together for what is now Drugstore Cowboy. [Regarding the move to Nashville] We had both been living at home all our lives, and first we were talking about going to LA. Then COVID hit. I had some friends in Nashville and dug around a little bit, and found us a house.”
A fun fact about the band’s name: Davis learned that his grandfather was a “drugstore cowboy.”
“He basically owned a pharmacy that also sold Western wear in a small town in Texas,” Davis said. “Its like a hodgepodge that probably shouldn’t go together, but it works. That’s kind of the genesis of our sound.”
Their collaborative process is a fusion of styles and talents. While some songs originate as fully written pieces brought by Carter, others are built from scratch, weaving Grant’s mastery of production with Carter’s melodic prowess. Their sound defies easy categorization, often described as a meeting point between Kings of Leon and Frank Ocean.
Although the album Hillbilly Idols was originally released in 2021 just before their big move to Nashville, the record was just pressed to vinyl this year with the help of their friends at Field Day Records – and Saturday was a homecoming celebration for it.
“We’d been talking about it for a while, and it just kind of came along,” Thompson said. “Last year, we were focusing on the Maverick album – where we did collaborations with only Dallas artists. Most artists do collaboration records later in their careers, but we were in Dallas and wanted to put it together. [The collaborators included] Loren Kole, Mitchell Ferguson. That’s also how we met Ken LaFlaire.”
Other featured artists on Maverick include Garrett Owen, Sage Baker and Bogart Brothers.
In 2023, Drugstore Cowboy has released four singles – “Green Flag” (Feb), “Big House” (May), “In a Bind” (Jun), and “Ass in My Hand” (Aug) – with plans on a couple more before the end of the year. One is “a singer-songwriter vibe” and the other is a Gorillaz-esc hip-hop inspired track.
There will be 10 songs featured on a full collection that will bring the singles together, narrowed down from over 50 songs the duo have written together since Idols.
“As you’re trying to put yourself out there, you don’t want to put out any songs that are sub-par,” Davis said. “We’re building to a full album, but it’s all the best ones we have. We did a voting process and a rating system, we got to pick a few songs each. It sounds scientific but it was just us drinking beers in a hot tub,” he laughed.
“When it comes to music, if it can make and impact on people’s lives, it could help people through the day,” Davis said. “We’re really appreciative of anyone who listens.”
Thompson adds, “I definitely think moving forward people will kind of understand it more with each release we’re gonna put out. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Drugstore Cowboy will be playing “a few shows a month here and there,” including Chicago, Dallas and Nashville. Their next big show is at the Cambridge Room at House of Blues Dallas with BabyJake on October 23.
At just 26 years old, O’aiza (a Dallas artist currently residing in Grand Prairie) is an embodiment of hope and excitement, often described as alternative pop, with pop at its core.
“I think I like seeing people’s eyes sparkle with wonder when they see something that’s exciting or feel something that’s exciting,” O’aiza says. “I know what music does for me in my life, I want to do that for other people.”
“Let You Go” delves into themes of personal growth and the complexities of romantic relationships. Co-written with Jojo Centineo and Alex Whitcomb, the song explores the maturity of recognizing when it’s time to part ways, even when feelings run deep.
“I wrote it with them when I was in LA. It’s a record about exploring a romantic connection with someone, where both of us were really vibing. It just ended up happening that the person wasn’t ready to be committed – she was sorting stuff out for her own. And so was I,” O’aiza said. “I respected where she was in her journey, and the best decision was to step away and let life happen to us. It’s about respecting the journey of both people. It’s the reality that we’re in different spots and being okay with it.”
“The best stuff comes from people who are truly passionate about what they do. Those are the people you want to work with, and I really appreciate that about the Coffee Pot team,” O’aiza said. “They love the art form. It’s a privilege to work with people like them.”
As an independent artist, Alex is committed to refining his craft and taking his performances to the next level. While his solo endeavor is largely self-driven, his passion for music and dedication to growth shine through.
“I’m sitting on a lot of music, like – a lot of it,” O’aiza laughed. “But I’m working on marketing strategies and what I want to showcase at the right time. This is stuff I’m really proud of; I think people will be surprised. The next time someone sees my show, I want them to be like, ‘Wow – night and day difference, tighter.’ I want it to be more theatrical, more of an experience.”
There’s no O’aiza shows currently on the horizon, but it won’t be long before he’s ready to show the world what he’s been up to.
“I’ve been doing this for 7 years now. I’m in the point of my life where I’m understanding my value as a musician and a songwriter, and also as a human,” O’aiza said. “I feel like a lot of things are aligning. It’s cool to see how much you’re truly capable of, where it’s going to go and how it’s going to materialize. Clarity has hit; I have a clear head and I know where I want to go. I feel like there’s power in that.”
Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT.
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