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Texas Red Dirt with Spur 503
by Mark Elswick; photo by Daniel B. Akers
Todd FritschSo, you consider yourself a true fan of Texas Music? If so, can you differentiate between it and Red Dirt music? Furthermore, is there even a noticeable distinction between the two anymore?

Old school Texans and Okies alike will swear that the discrepancy used to be obvious. For example, The Outlaws, Waylon and Willie, are associated with that distinctive Texas sound. On the other hand, Bob Childers is the true definition of Red Dirt music. This “Dylan of the dust” jammed to a slightly different country chord— Red Dirt style.

Today, however, the line separating the genres has gone from distinct to, well, thin. Making the waters cloudier yet is one of Texas’ hottest acts, Spur 503. This three-time chart-crashing band is doing its part to erase the line even more—if not totally. Since the members are based just south of the Oklahoma border, band member Jason “Fuzzy” Smith says there is no specific tag that the band falls, or wants to fall, under.

“They’re growing closer every day,” the bass player pointed out about the musical styles. “It’s been a natural morph. Spur 503 is where Red Dirt and Texas Country meet.”

Country music listeners of all ages obviously agree with the Fuzz Man’s Perfect Point of Intersection theory. Not only has the band been a hot commodity on the airwaves in both states, but it has also been the subject of several local magazines and awards. Spur 503 was a finalist in 15 categories at the prestigious Payne County Line Awards Organization. Additionally, Spur is a twotime Band of the Year recipient. These accolades are even more impressive when one considers the fact that the band is only in its fourth year of existence, and, like a wildfire, its popularity is spreading by the minute.

Much of the ensemble’s success should be attributed to the members’ die-hard work ethic. Spur 503 members Chance Cody (lead singer), Josh Long (fiddler, keyboardist…), Adam Doty (Drummer), Eric Mayfield (lead guitarist), and Smith never miss a performance without a demanding excuse.

Most weeks will find these tireless weekend warriors traveling throughout Texas and Oklahoma. This particular weekend found the gracious hosts making a three-hour, round trip to Paris, Texas, on Friday. The next night, the band was scheduled to make an appearance in Jacksonville— a five-hour journey, both ways. As is consistent with the accessible personality of the band’s players, despite the glaring time crunch, the members took time out of their busy schedule to share some thoughts for the everincreasing fan base.

“It’s growing every day,” added Smith about the Spur 503 faithful. “ We have incredible fans. From Myspace (www.myspace. com/spur503) to RFT (www.radiofreetexas. org) to magazines, it’s been huge. We try to talk to everyone at our shows, but it’s hard.”

Aside from the fast-paced touring life, Spur 503 has been a frequent visitor to the Texas Music Charts. Fan reaction to the debut disc, I’m Ready, has been outstanding. First, the band’s debut single, “Into You,” reached # 11. The follow-up, “That’s What’s Wrong With Me,” climbed to # 22. Following that sophomore release was “Back to Austin.” At time of writing, the third single was still aboard the charts.

With the success of Spur’s initial album, many would think that the band’s members would have become self-centered, even egocentric, due to their new country-star status. Quicker than Tony Romo went from backup to star, Smith interrupted, dispelling that possibility. He said the band members will never forget their roots or the audience members as they adjust to the newfound status.

“It’s an attitude more than anything,” the musician added. “We’re still working on it. We’re very confident, not cocky, on stage. It’s really flattering to realize that people are taking money out of their own pocket to see you.”

Not surprisingly, the band has come a long way since its first-ever live performance at a street festival in Antlers, Oklahoma, “for 800-some people.” Just four years later, Spur 503 is headlining shows for packed houses throughout the aforementioned states.

Creating a tremendous buzz in the TMT community is the anticipation of the outfit’s sophomore CD, Raising The Bar. Expected to hit the market in August, the disc has Spur 503 followers overly anxious. With three chart makers on the fast-climbing band’s resume, along with a strong following (if the musicians’ first effort is any indication)Raising The Bar will find its home on the charts for a long, long time.

Feel free to call Spur 503 Red Dirt. Or, call it Texas Country. However, it really does not make a difference. As for the musicians themselves, they would obviously choose to keep all genre labels out of the equation. As Smith so eloquently, decisively, and quickly stated: “Spur 503 is where Red Dirt meets Texas Country.”

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