Fans of Texas Red Dirt rocker Stoney LaRue have finally gotten the album of new material they’ve waited so long for. Six years after the release of his debut, The Red Dirt Album, and four years after the seminal Live At Billy Bob’s album, LaRue released Velvet in August, which quickly became his highest charting release to date.
“About four years ago is when I actually started the Velvet project,” he says of the album. “I didn’t know it was going to be named Velvet, hadn’t written any of the songs that are on it now, but that’s when I was introduced to Frank Liddell and started making [the album].”
LaRue chalks up the unusually long span between albums to how busy he got after the release of Live At Billy Bob’s. Like many musicians on the Red Dirt circuits, the foundation of LaRue’s fan base was his exhilarating live shows, and it exploded with the release of the live album and accompanying DVD“
A lot of what people usually put merit in was the live show,” says LaRue. “Up until that point—until I’d released Live at Billy Bob’s—it was kind of touch and go. I’d have weekend gigs and that kind of stuff, but after Live At Billy Bob’s came out, it’s been really busy. Up until even now it’s been really busy. But I found time to start collaborating and focusing on what the next step was, and things like that, you know? I think it’s a growth process really and it was unique to my situation.”
In addition to playing in excess of 250 shows a year, his emphasis on the quality of the album likely delayed the release even further.
“People have music in any direction that they look with artists putting out any and everything that they can possibly put out. It’s quantity over quality,” he points out. “You know, I’d still like to look at it like art. You can’t really rush that.”
And now that the album is out, LaRue is back on the road, just as you’d expect. Last month, the tour included a show in Chicago supporting Randy Wells’ Foundation 36. Wells, a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, is a friend of LaRue’s, and the benefit supported American military veterans. The cause is one that’s important to LaRue, and you can hear it in his voice when he talks about it.
“The idea is that we promote the sale of these boots, and when you buy the boots it goes to help transition wounded military veterans from Afghanistan to the United States again,” he tells me. “It’s kind of a rehabilitation situation.”
As for what’s next, you can expect LaRue to stay busy.
“I want to continue to challenge myself creatively,” LaRue says. “I’m not good with complacency. You wouldn’t think that by the spacing between the two albums, but there are a lot of busy things that people don’t get to see other than product. I’ll just be continually writing and touring and hopefully helping where I can.”
By Andrew Miller