Southwest Oklahoma's Resource For News and Entertainment
Saturday September 23rd 2017

‘Round Here with Brad Good

Photo by Mindemann PhotographyIt must come with the territory. Red Dirt country is a sound steeped in tradition and firmly planted in the southwestern soil from which the genre gets its name. Several local musicians have gone on to interpret the essence of the southwest in their art.

One musician who intuitively knows what this spirit sounds like is Brad Good.

Originally from Apache, Brad Good has been making his mark by playing shows at venues across Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri for several years.

He graduated from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and got his start in music sometime about 1993 when his friend Shane McGrew was looking for a bassist and harmony singer in Stillwater. Good went in to audition and the two formed a band with guitarist Rocky Sutton and drummer Tom Privett. With a soulful, raspy voice and plenty of stories to tell, he began branching out as his own artist with their encouragement.

“Those guys kinda took me under their wing, and brought me along on bass — and then eventually guitar — and the writing developed after that. It was just something somebody told me I was good at, so I kept doing it,” he said.

His own sound rests comfortably among music by American rock legend Bruce Springsteen and critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter John Mellencamp as well as Texas country artists like Robert Earl Keen. Good cites those influences, along with a kinship shared with other artists like Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland & the Stragglers, The Great Divide, No Justice and Stoney Larue, as the source for his sound.

“It was a cool time to ‘cut my teeth’ in Stillwater when there was a lot of music happening there,” he said. “The Red Dirt movement there at the time kinda shaped us all to an extent. I grew up listening to southern rock and country and then with the red dirt influence — it all molded me.”

After years of forging his sound and establishing a strong presence in the scene, Good is releasing his first radio single and record this spring.

He went in to record and produce his single, “’Round Here,” with Mike McClure at The Boohatch studio in Ada, and after releasing the song as a single on iTunes and Amazon, Good went on to record and produce a batch of ten more original songs with Salim Nourallah and Matt Gaskins at Pleasantry Lane Studio in Dallas. With a voice tinged by nostalgia, he makes it clear that his roots are integral to his identity. “We grow cotton and we raise cane; we spend our Sundays prayin’ for rain,” he asserts. “Just look at my hands — see them red dirt stains. Anywhere else it wouldn’t be the same.”
The tentative title of the album, “Third Generation Son,” comes from a lyric embedded in “Highway Headed Home,” a retrospective tune that rejoices in finding his way back again. Violins murmur before Good begins to sing. Feather-light guitar riffs wrap the track in feelings of security, making it the perfect song for cruising some back roads in any state you pick.

Each song tells a story, and these tales run the gamut. Some are lighthearted, some are serious, and some are true stories set to a tune. According to Good, each member of the production trio had something to contribute during studio sessions.

“Salim has awesome ideas. He would bounce them off of me, and he and I either agreed or didn’t, and Matt Gaskins was kinda the tie breaker when it came to that. We all had input. They were awesome, and always willing to let my identity come through as an artist without letting me mess things up too bad.”

Good said he gets his inspiration from various places; the fate of a relationship, an instance from his childhood, something that made him laugh or just scenery that captures his attention.

“There’s several of my songs that are definitely autobiographical, and some that are biographical from a friend’s perspective. A couple are straight up fiction, but for the most part, you gotta know it to write it. At least for me.”

He assumes another perspective in “Rich Man,” a timeless cautionary tale that sizzles with battling guitar harmonies and bass lines. Raw and startling, Good warns about living in loneliness — the kind of poverty that can come when priorities are skewed and twisted beyond recognition. “He don’t get no richer, just gets real cold,” Good observes. “Try as he may he cannot make change, and his life unchanged it will remain the same.”

Good also made the record by teaming with musicians Matt Gaskins, Milo Deering, Raegan Felker, and backup vocalist Beverly Perry as well as guitarist Daniel Hines from the Dallas band Left Arm Tan. They fused each part of every song together and Good said he could not be happier with the results.

“We really just pieced it together a little at a time,” he said. “They were great to always make sure my identity came through. I listen to most of the tracks, and think “man, that couldn’t have been any closer to what I had in mind.” And then there’s been some ideas that developed during the process as well.

Some of the material on the record has been incubating for some time, and Good said the songs that have stuck with him have finally manifested on the record.

“Some of that stuff has been floating around in my head for ten years. Some of it came together in five minutes,” he said. “There’s always something I’m working on even though no one knows it usually until I have it done.”

He loves what he does, and his art certainly imitates life — inspiration strikes Good at all hours, and when it does, he is quick to record a few lyrics or a tune that lingers with him even when he less than fully conscious.

“A couple of my songs have been written in my sleep too, actually,” he said. “Just woke up with the whole thing in my head, got up, wrote it down, and went back to sleep — that’s happened — so it comes from all angles, really.”

An audience knows when an artist is in it for the love of the game, and Good said the best part of playing gigs and making music is seeing his work resonates with listeners.

“It’s just a lot of fun — work too, but fun — and when you hit a good lick at a show, and people are diggin’ your stuff and having a good time, it’s really cool. And seeing people singing along to songs you wrote and knowing they relate to them — that’s really cool.

Last month, the Texas Regional Radio Music Awards named Good a future face to look for in 2013. He played a showcase at The Thirsty Armadillo in Fort Worth on April 20 with the other artists and said he was glad to have met these talented singers and songwriters. He also said he is thankful to have made a lasting impression with his music.

“Over the years, writing and singing songs has become what I do,” Good said, “and I feel really blessed to have the opportunity to share my music with folks, and hopefully they’ll keep coming back.”