The Wichitan

Josh Abbott Band draws in crowd

Cora Kuykendall

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Its Thursday night and the line of Josh Abbott Band fans  waiting at Denim & Diamonds goes out the club and in the street.

It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago Josh and band member Jedd were just fraternity brothers. Three albums later, the Josh Abbott Band is packing the house and stealing the hearts of girls all over the country.

The band performed their hit singles like “Oh Tonight,” “She’s Like Texas,” “Taste,” “My Texas” and “Touch.” There wasn’t a single person at Denim and Diamonds not enjoying the music.

The band started in the 2000’s at the Phi Delta Theta House at Texas Tech. Josh, the lead singer, and Jedd (who dropped out), were playing shows and recording some singles.

Its Wednesday afternoon and Preston Waits is leaving the fiddle shop when he calls for an interview. Waits says he has been playing the fiddle since he was 5-years-old when his dad, who had a family band, needed a fiddle player.

He starts to laugh because he used to think that playing the fiddle was pretty un-cool, until he saw Charlie Daniels, his musical inspiration, in concert. He said he remembers thinking how cool Daniels looked with that fiddle, and he wanted to be like that.

Waits joined Josh Abbott a few years ago when Abbott and ex-band member needed a fiddle player for some recordings. Once Waits was on board, he hired several of his friends and the band was complete.

Ever since then, the band has released three albums, their most recent one being Small Town Family Dreams, which was released last May. Lead singer Josh writes most of the lyrics, but the band collaborates along with him during the process.

Most of their songs are upbeat and about Texas. Thursday at Denim and Diamonds almost every person in the audience was dancing. Waits says the best songs to play are these songs because of the audience interaction, which is why the band hates playing at venues with seating.

The favorite places Waits has ever performed was the Grand Ole Opry and Billy Bob’s Texas. But the best audiences are always in college towns with tons of students in the audience

The band loves playing in college towns because of the positive vibes from the crowd. Waits said how its indescribable how involved, energetic, and loud college students are at their shows.

Even though most of their songs seem to be about Texas, that doesn’t stop them from having fans all over the country. As Waits put it “there are misplaced Texans everywhere that tell their non-Texan friends about us”

Maybe part of the reason why college students are so involved is because girls love men with instruments. The band members have all kinds of funny interactions with their fans. The guitarist was once told “oh, that’s why you’re called awkward guitar player”, and one girl asked Waits for a song lyric written in his handwriting so that she could have his handwriting used in her tattoo.

But girl fans aren’t the only ones that ask things of the band. The band has had several instances where males will ask permission to use their show as part of their proposal. The most memorable one for Waits was when a guy put together a slideshow of their love story to be played during one of their ballads. The girl of course said yes.

Something that sets Josh Abbott Band apart from other bands is how much they are involved with their fans. They are very active on Twitter and are well-known to respond to fans tweets and direct messages.

Something that I find to be very cool is the contests they do with fans. Last fall the band held a contest for sororities across the country. Whichever sorority had the most “Josh Abbott spirit” won an acoustic show and meet and greet with the band.

Surprisingly, one of Midwestern’s small chapters beat out other huge sorority chapters and won the contest!

Over the next 10 years Waits hopes to see the band still together and performing. He hopes that the band continues to grow a fan base and that they can slowly start performing in larger theaters and outside venues so that they don’t have to turn away fans from their shows.

The band is in the progress of figuring out what their next single will be and filming their next music video, so look for it in a couple of months!

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Josh Abbott Band draws in crowd