Beyoncé isn't the only Texas great who knows how to pull off a surprise album release. Just ask Texas country giants Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen. Next Thursday, they'll roll through Dallas as part of their annual Hold My Beer and Watch This Tour. But fans need not wait that long to hear them: They've released an unexpected new album in advance of the show.
Watch This: Live from Dallas debuted on all major streaming platforms last Friday, July 5. Rogers and Bowen, close buddies for nearly 20 years, remember the 2015 Dallas concert that the album captures as one worthy of immortalizing, according to a press release.
"We dug through the vault," Bowen is quoted as saying in the release, "and found this live recording of a full-band show in Dallas from a few years ago. We were lucky enough to catch what we believe was the perfect night."
Rogers added, "This particular show in Dallas was special. I remember thinking the band was hitting on all cylinders. The banter between Wade and I, the crowd singing along, it was just spot-on. This is what this tour is all about."
Though the duo's annual summer tour began as an old-school song swap powered by just the two of them, more recent years have seen the guys add a full band on stage. Setlists still offer plenty of classic Rogers cuts including "Kiss Me in the Dark" and "In My Arms Instead," as well as beloved Bowen numbers such as "West Texas Rain." But on top of all those tunes, songs the duo have recorded together, including swinging honky-tonk hymns like "Standards" and "Lady Bug," are in the mix now, too.
This summer's tour is more of a triumphant victory lap than a mere done-it-before buddy trip for Rogers and Bowen. Rogers, a Cleburne native, and his namesake band recently released Hellbent, which debuted on Billboard's Top 10 Country Albums chart. And Bowen, who hails from Waco, detailed a turbulent 2018 in the recent documentary Inconsistent Chaos, explaining how vocal cord issues nearly ended his carer and how the death of his nephew and stage manager, Chase Cavender, left him reeling.
As it stands, both artists are as in-demand as they've ever been owing to the new music they keep on producing at an extremely high level. The fact that they've turned a jolly annual tradition into something many thousands of country music fans plan parts of their summers around is impressive indeed.