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Bandits seek fame in Texas country world

By Mitzi Y'Barbo
On February 8, 2012

With only a year under their belts, The Backroad Bandits have come a long way from their Sulphur Springs roots.  The band has acquired a loyal following that continues to grow, and their experiences have taken them across the state of Texas.

They classify their music as "genuine, homegrown Texas country music." Member Jordan Owens said,

"It's country in a sense, but grittier," drummer Jordan owens said.   

Along with Owens is Colton Joe Smith on bass, Heath Robinson on electric guitar, keyboard and rhythm, Matt Prewitt lead vocals and guitar, and Jacob Mazoch on lead guitar.

Robinson, Mazoch and Owens played together in band at Sulphur Springs High School.  They used to get together to play a more of a rock and roll style of music.  Prewitt said, that rock and roll sound "creeps into our music, with a hint of Lynard Skynard now and then."

Prewitt said that in high school, while others cruised the Sulphur Springs strip and hung out in parking lots, they used to hop in his truck and go riding through back roads in the county. 

"When it came time to find a name for the band," Prewitt said, ‘Backroad' had to be in it, since that's who we were."

The second part of their name comes from simple wordplay.

"We're not really bandits or crooks, Bandits just started with a ‘B' so we used it," Owens said.

All of the members except Smith went to school together in Sulphur Springs. They met Smith when all but Prewitt attended A&M-Commerce. Prewitt is planning to attend Fire Academy in the future, but is currently "working to support my music habit."

All members of the band juggle heavy schedules of classes, jobs, practice and shows.

"It can difficult balancing the band, work, school, family, girlfriends, etc., but luckily we're surrounded by the most supportive people in the world," Robinson, who joined the band in May of last year, said. "They understand us and stand by us."

Each has been willing to give their efforts toward the ultimate goal of becoming a big time country band; but, these hopes are coupled with the reality of the music business.

"All of us want to make it big," Mazoch said, "but as we all know it's a lot easier said than done, which is the reason we all have back up plans."

The first show the band played was at Muddy Jake's in Sulphur Springs, with just their usual customers in attendance.  Since then, their fan base has grown tremendously.  They now travel across Texas, and in February will have a show in Oklahoma at the Wormy Dog.

Prewitt said their fans travel with them to shows, and when performing at East Fork, there can be as many as 400 or so there to see them. 

In September 2011, the band released an EP titled "One at a Time" of six original songs.  Owens said the title represented how the music should be heard. 

"Although they are all generally the same style," Owens said, "they all have a distinct sound and personality and should be considered independently."

The songs may stand out individually, but all of the members provide the inspiration that creates them.

"Everyone in the band is capable of writing lyrics and music and does," Prewitt said. "Sometimes in practice, one of us will have an idea, then we all start ripping on it and end up with a new song by the end of practice that night."

Mazoch said the chemistry that goes into creating the songs stems from the fact that all of the band members are so close.

"One thing we have over most other bands is that we are all best friends," Mazoch said.  "Since this is the case, we stick with each other during the rough times and always have a great time. Making it big as a band is one thing, but to do it with your best friends makes it even better."

Combining this togetherness with one thing they enjoy the most, Robinson said, is what makes Backroad Bandits a worthy cause.

"I honestly don't want to do anything else in life than to play music," he said.  "I love playing music and I love my friends. That's what the Bandits are about. I think the best thing about the Bandits is, at the end of the day. We are all still great friends."

The Backroad Bandits will be playing in Commerce on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Drunken Mule, as the opening act for Phil Hamilton.

"Coming down off stage after a show and having someone come up and say how mush they enjoyed our music," Prewitt said, "is just awesome. That's as good as it gets for me."

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