Music awards win surprises Las Vegas country band

Updated February 28, 2018 - 4:23 pm

They had no speeches prepared, the ’70s-looking dudes seated next to the Southern gospel greats in fancy suits.

The Reeves Brothers didn’t think they’d need any rehearsed words of gratitude at this year’s Ameripolitan Music Awards, which took place Feb. 13 at The Guest House at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

In fact, Matt Reeves was going to the bathroom as the winner in their category — best honky tonk group — was being announced.

They’d driven halfway across the country, but neither Matt, his younger sibling and fellow singer-guitarist Cole Reeves nor bassist Kelly Bishop thought they’d be hearing their names read.

“When they called ‘the Reeves Brothers,’ I was sitting next to Cole, and he just starts clapping,” Bishop recalls. “I had to hit him, ‘Hey, that’s us.’ We had it in our heads that we weren’t winning.”

Yet in a room full of rockabilly, western swing and outlaw country notables such as Junior Brown, the Reverend Horton Heat, Asleep at the Wheel and more, the Reeves Brothers were handed trophies, enjoying a little Jim Beam while seated next to the decidedly more straight-arrow Blackwood Brothers. (“Maybe they thought we were going to be on super-bad behavior and they wanted to see if we’d be on extra-good behavior sitting with a gospel group,” Matt chuckles).

Fellow Vegas country standouts the Rhyolite Sound were also nominated in the category.

The spoils of victory

The Reeves are still soaking in their victory — along with a few Budweisers — on a recent afternoon at Saddle N’ Spurs Saloon, a north-side honky-tonk as authentic as they come in these parts.

They’re already benefiting from their win a few weeks back.

They’ve fielded calls from a handful of booking agents wanting to work with them since the Ameripolitans, are in talks with various drum, boot and amplifier companies about potential endorsement deals, recently booked a string of dates in Texas at venues such as Austin’s iconic Broken Spoke and were just invited to play this year’s South by Southwest Music Conference.

The timing is ideal for the Reeves Brothers, who just last fall put out their fantastic second record, “King of Country Music.”

Largely self-recorded, the album is a modern take on ’70s country, the Reeves Brothers’ wizened, whiskey-ripened voices spinning tales of heavy hearts and heavier bar tabs.

Basically, this is your daddy’s country, updated.

“We listened to Tony Booth’s ‘The Key’s in the Mailbox’ about 50 times,” Cole says of the Reeves Brothers’ sonic inspiration as they were tracking their latest album. “That was the song we went off, trying to make it sound like that on the production side of it, make it kind of trebly, like a ’70s album is, like you would have heard on AM radio.”

Cole’s look is as vintage as his tunes: His father, Jack Reeves, was a noted country singer in the ’70s, and Cole is wearing his dad’s jeans, boots and feather-adorned cowboy hat on this day.

‘Country music is …’

Though Matt and Cole are in their 20s, their sound has little in common with what you’ll hear on contemporary country radio, which makes them a good fit for the ‘ameripolitan’ designation. (Texas country great Dale Watson coined the term to describe what it is he does; he also founded the Ameripolitan Awards, now in their fifth year, where all nominees and winners are decided by fan voting.)

“The main reason he started the word ‘ameripolitan’ was because he got tired of telling somebody, ‘We do country music,’ and them thinking Luke Bryan or whatever,” Cole explains.

The Ameripolitan website expands upon the meaning of this loose genre designation: “By leaving the hopelessly compromised word ‘country’ behind and exclusively using the term ‘Ameripolitan,’ our intention is to re-establish this music’s own unique identity, elevate its significance and help reinvigorate it creatively.”

Above all else, the term isn’t intended to take any sides in the eternal debate over what is and isn’t country — it’s meant to end all the quarreling, period.

“I don’t think there’s much of an argument,” Cole says of how country has changed with a younger audience. “We’re dealing with 20-year-old kids who grew up with what they hear now and that’s all they know. We just grew up on something different.

“Country music is what anybody feels like it is,” he adds between puffs of a cigarette. “I’ve learned to believe that.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like