It was a cold wintry Friday night in the heart of Dallas where the Appalachian band 49 Winchester was set to take the stage at the Sundown at Granada and warm things up. As we got parked and headed to the venue you could see everyone scurrying around trying to brave the cold and make it to their destination for the evening. As we entered the sundown at Granada the band was finishing up their soundcheck and you got a little sample of what was in store for the fans that night. Upon walking up to the stage, you could see that this band filled every inch of it with members and gear and many Fender guitars just waiting to be picked up and put to work. As it got closer to time for the show to start the staff was clearing out the chairs and tables from in front of the stage to make room for everyone to get up close and personal with the band tonight. More and more people began piling in and making their way to the bar and then the stage to pick their prime spots for the show to start soon.
As the time came for this amazing band to take the stage you could see them making their way through the crowd stopping along the way to talk to fans who were eager and happy to see them back in Texas for a show. Unquestionably everyone was ready to see this alt-country band mixed with some punk and soul tendencies from Virginia show us how they get down up there in Virginia. Anxiously awaiting the start the band one by one made their way up onto the stage and grabbed the gear and got ready to kick things off and give these fans what they had been waiting on. When the band struck the first chords of their opening song Fortune Favors the Bold, the fans quickly went from talking and moving around to being intently focused on the singer as he stepped up and began singing the verse to the song. The opening song Fortune Favors the Bold is not only a great song it is the title to the latest record that will be out on May 13, 2022, on New West Records and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on it and begin diving into this latest collection of songs from them. As the band made continued to make their way through the extensive catalog of poetry set to music, they even threw in a couple of covers songs from classic country legends like George Jones and a few others. Winding their way down their setlist they came to what was a crowd favorite as they got louder upon them striking the first chords of Everlasting Lover and Isaac stepped up to microphone and began belting out the lyrics another one of the great songs. The crowd was really enjoying this set that they brought for us to all experience and enjoy this night was met with dancing, whistles, yells, and singing the word along with the band. Again, they started playing the notes for another crowd favorite So Damn Sweet and Isaac smiled out at the crowd and strolled up to the microphone and began serenading them with the lyrics to a slow love song and the crowd sang along word for word with them. You could tell this was one of the ones with a classic country feel listening to the steel guitar and mixed with some soul and you hear the incredible guitar tones. They played another couple of songs that included a cover of the Outlaw Waylon Jennings Waymores blues mixed with Long Hard Life before taking a short break to get ready to bring us another intense set of great music.
After they took the quick break, and the fans began getting back to their spots the band started making their way back up onto the stage and got set for the rest of their incredible set they prepared for us and kicked it off with Hillbilly Daydream about making some moonshine back in the holler. As they got to another one of their fan favorites Veruca Salt they brought their guitar-playing brother Jake Quillin up on the stage with them so he could play a few songs with them. As the end was nearing Isaac told the crowd that the next song that was highly requested Hays Kansas included an incredible jaw-dropping solo that Jake recorded with them on the record when he previously played in the band with them. The music starts up and they count it off and go into the music Jake gave an incredible exhibition of guitar playing as they rocked the venue together and the crowd sang along with them verse for verse. As they ended the song and the crowd cheered and applauded their performance, he told them that was going to be the last song, however, he felt that they had time for a least one more and it was going to be a surprise. This next song is one where they really showed their musicianship and sang a cover of Superstition by Stevie Wonder and they all started playing the blues and funk classic hit and made it their own on this night and gave the crowd everything they wanted from this performance tonight. They all thanked the crowd and said they would be seeing us again and they applauded and cheered and asked for more and then they exited the stage and began interacting with the fans and taking pictures and signing autographs.
I have been listening to this band for quite a while now, however, I had not been able to catch one of their live shows until now. I kind of knew what to expect from their music because of all their different songs going into the venue that night and the variety in which they played. I was not prepared for such an incredible live performance from this band of musicians and being able to see the heart and soul that they pour into their performances for the fans. This is one of those bands that sounds great on the radio, on their albums, and sounds phenomenal live. They have such and wide range and depth to their music that you must see one of their live shows if you are a fan of this band. If you are not a fan of this band or have never heard of them, go see them and give them a chance and they will win you over and then you will be a fan of theirs. I would recommend that if you are a fan of country, alt-country, rock, and blues that you catch these guys’ show when they come through your town as soon as you can. This is one of those bands that you have a total experience in attendance of one of their shows and you not only hear the music you feel it with everything that is in you. I will be going to see them and experience their show again as soon as I can, and they are playing close to us.
Words and Photos by Craig Youngblood