Let It Roll
2007 Texas Music Awards' "Rising Star of the Year", Ryan T Briggs has been charming audiences across Texas since college at Texas Tech. His clean acoustic pickin' style, alluring vocals, and fun and masterful lyrical design have kept his loyal fan base locked in, even during a 4 year absence in which he finished school and worked for The Man in Houston. After quitting the corporate gig, spending 2 years on a music degree (South Plains College, Levelland), and building an established band in Lubbock, Briggs moved to Austin and released his debut CD, LeT iT RoLL Summer 2006. Quickly gaining momentum with increased publicity, greater tour coverage, and rising CD sales, Ryan T Briggs & the Redneck Hippies continue touring Texas in 2007 to promote the album. The album, produced by Mark Addison (Honeybrowne, Guy Forsyth, Redd Volkaert, Ian Moore), combines the best of what Briggs has to offer. Briggs' country and bluegrass influences, combined with Addison's eclectic, rock, and blues backgrounds, resulted in a CD that truly has a unique and genuine sound. With nine original songs (of eleven tracks), it can be described as a country record with a twist of grass and a shot of blues. The song subjects are varied: moving Las Vegas, Nevada to Lubbock via double wide trailer, the contradictions of being a "redneck hippie", falling off a bridge in Austin and deciding to swim to the Gulf of Mexico, lost love, finding love, difficult neighbors, a drinking billy-goat politician, trains, soldiers, growing up, and rolling with the punches. With instrumentation from some of Austin's finest, including Redd Volkaert, Eddie Rivers (Asleep at the Wheel), and Warren Hood, including flattop pickin' by Briggs, LeT iT RoLL has been received very favorably both domestically and on the international front. Something about West Texas inspires folks to pick up a guitar. Although always a singer and songwriter, when Briggs left his hometown of Katy for Lubbock in 1996, he had yet to discover he was a guitar enthusiast. It was in the dorms his freshman year at Texas Tech that he would go to the laundry room in the middle of the night to hack out his first song, written by Robert Earl Keen. By 1999, he was fronting his first band, The Texas Armadillos, at The Blue Light, a local honky-tonk. The temporary halt to Briggs' musicianship and growing popularity came upon college graduation in 2001. He took a job with Arthur Andersen (Houston), where he was greeted by the biggest international accounting scandal in history with the fall of Enron Corporation. Watching from the front row as "corporate excess" took it's toll on thousands, he became disenchanted with the allure of the corporate world. Songwriting and pickin' once again became the centerpiece of his attention, and he soon decided to get out of accounting for a career in the music business. Briggs quit his day job in 2003 and trucked back to the birthplace of his infatuation with music - West Texas. He enrolled in the music program at South Plains College (Alma matter of his former band and many other notable artists, including Lee Ann Womack, Natalie Maines, Doug Moreland, and Dub Miller) to study music theory and surround himself with musicians once again. "For a long time I wrote songs and 'strummed' my guitar, but I wanted to become a real picker,' says Briggs. "...and I had no idea what I was going to discover that would help me the most: bluegrass. God Bless Mark Hill (of Lubbock's Hotfoot Toby) and [SPC instructors] Alan Munde and Joe Carr for introducing me to bluegrass! Now I know what a flattop guitar is for." Briggs spent 2 years living in Levelland, dragging his band around to almost every country music venue in Lubbock. West Texas once again proved to be a great training ground, just as it has for countless musicians for decades. After studying country and bluegrass, music theory, lead guitar, and flatpicking, he headed to Austin, armed with a newfound respect for musical composition. Within a year, Briggs completed his first album and once again began gigging Texas with his new band. In March 2007 he was awarded "Rising Star of the Year" at the Texas Music Awards. With album sales on the rise, a growing fan base, exposure at some of Texas' best venues, and increasing publicity, Ryan T Briggs & the Redneck Hippies are making a mark on Texas Music. Look for them to hit your town soon!