Little Texas (band)
|Origin||Nashville, Tennessee, United States|
Little Texas is an American country music band founded in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1988 by Tim Rushlow (lead and background vocals), Brady Seals (lead and background vocals, keyboards), Del Gray (drums), Porter Howell (lead guitar, background vocals), Dwayne O'Brien (rhythm guitar, lead and background vocals), and Duane Propes (bass guitar, background vocals). Signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1991, Little Texas released its debut album First Time for Everything that year. The album's lead off single, "Some Guys Have All the Love", reached a peak of No. 8 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. Little Texas continued to produce hit singles throughout the mid-1990s, including the Number One single "My Love" and six more top ten hits. Their debut album earned a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), while 1993's Big Time was certified double platinum and 1994's Kick a Little was certified platinum.
Seals departed in late 1994 for a solo career, with Jeff Huskins succeeding him on keyboards. After a gold-certified Greatest Hits package and an unsuccessful self-titled fourth studio album, the group disbanded in 1997 and Rushlow also became a solo singer. By 2004, the four remaining original members — Gray, Howell, O'Brien, and Propes, along with new lead vocalist Steven Troy — re-established the group, although Howell took over on lead vocals after Troy's departure. Under the four-piece lineup of Gray, Howell, O'Brien, and Propes, the band has recorded two albums for Montage Music Group: The Very Best of Little Texas: Live and Loud and Missing Years.
Little Texas was founded in 1988. Prior to the band's formation, Tim Rushlow and Dwayne O'Brien began playing together in Arlington, Texas, in 1984. Porter Howell and Duane Propes got together while they were in high school in 1983 and moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University. Brady Seals and Del Gray played in the backup band of country music recording artist Josh Logan. Rushlow, O'Brien, Propes, and Howell first started making music at Opryland as a 1950s show band. With both Rushlow's first wife and Howell's wife, plus two other members, they took the show band on the road, naming their act "The Varsities".
When two of the members left to pursue other interests, they contacted Gray and Seals, whom they had met while playing in Springfield, Massachusetts, in hopes of forging a more country/Southern rock sound. All six members eventually moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where they started playing together. The band played at venues across the United States (around 300 dates a year), eventually catching the attention of Nashville's division of Warner Bros. Records.
1991-1993: First Time for Everything
Warner Bros. signed Little Texas in 1989, and two years later, the band released their debut single "Some Guys Have All the Love". This song, which reached No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard country singles charts, was the first of five singles from their debut album First Time for Everything. After the debut single came the album's title track at No. 13, "You and Forever and Me" at No. 5, "What Were You Thinkin'" at No. 17 and finally "I'd Rather Miss You" at No. 16. The album was certified gold by the RIAA for shipping 500,000 copies in the US.
1993-1994: Big Time
Little Texas' second album, Big Time, was issued in 1993. Their most successful album, it was certified 2×Platinum by the RIAA and gold by the CRIA. It also produced a minor crossover hit in leadoff single "What Might Have Been", a No. 2 country hit that also reached No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 16 on Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks. After it came "God Blessed Texas" and their only number 1 hit on Billboard, "My Love", both of which were also minor Hot 100 entries. The latter also featured Seals on lead vocals. Finishing off Big Time was the No. 14 "Stop on a Dime". In late 1993, the band contributed a cover of the Eagles' "Peaceful Easy Feeling" to the multi-artist compilation album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles. The rendition featured O'Brien on lead vocals, with Denny Dadmun-Bixby of Great Plains on bass guitar and no involvement from Seals. The rendition peaked at number 73 on the country charts.
1994-1996: Kick a Little and Greatest Hits
Kick a Little, the band's third album, was certified platinum by the RIAA. Leading off this album was its No. 5 title track, followed by the No. 4 "Amy's Back in Austin" and No. 27 "Southern Grace". After the album's release, however, Seals left for a solo career on Reprise Records, and was replaced by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Huskins, a former backing musician for Clint Black. Huskins made his first appearance on "Life Goes On" and "Country Crazy", two new tracks that the band recorded for their 1995 Greatest Hits. Both of these songs were released as singles. The former became their final Top 40 hit with a peak of No. 5, while "Country Crazy" stopped at No. 44. Also in 1995, the band sang on the track "Party All Night", a musical track which featured snippets from a Jeff Foxworthy sketch and a sung chorus by the band. This song reached No. 53, and later appeared on Foxworthy's 1996 album Crank It Up: The Music Album.
1997-1998: Little Texas
Little Texas' fourth album was self-titled. Lead-off single "Bad for Us" peaked at No. 45, followed by their two lowest-charting singles, "Your Mama Won't Let Me" and "The Call" at No. 64 and No. 71 respectively. The band also charted that year with a cover of "Kiss the Girl", a song from the Disney film The Little Mermaid which they recorded on The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney. Seals also charted his only Top 40 solo hit that year, the No. 32 "Another You, Another Me". Seals would record a total of three albums between then and 2003. After Little Texas, the band broke up.
Hiatus and status of former members
During the band's hiatus, Del Gray co-wrote Trace Adkins' 2000 single "More". Former frontman Tim Rushlow signed to Atlantic Records as a solo artist that same year, releasing a self-titled album. Although it accounted for four singles, including the No. 8 "She Misses Him", Atlantic closed its country music division in 2001. Rushlow then founded a second band, Rushlow, whose members included his cousin Doni Harris. Rushlow released two singles and one album (Right Now) on Lyric Street Records, but disbanded by 2004. Seals founded the band Hot Apple Pie, which released a self-titled album and three singles in 2005, while Rushlow and Harris founded the duo Rushlow Harris a year later. Porter Howell founded a new band, Hilljack, with Paul Jefferson. The band's first and only album "Stand Up" was released in 2004 in two versions, one of them with Howell as a band member, the other one as a guest musician. The song "Texas 101" (later released by Little Texas on the Missing Years album) is included on the latter version of the album.
Duane Propes, Del Gray, Porter Howell, and Dwayne O'Brien decided to reunite Little Texas in 2004. When Little Texas reunited, Rushlow and Huskins made a legal attempt to keep their ex-bandmates from using the Little Texas name. Also included in the new lineup was lead singer Steven Troy. After Troy left, Howell took over as lead singer. In 2007, the band signed to independent label Montage Music Group, releasing the live album The Very Best of Little Texas: Live and Loud. This album also included Mark Sutton, a supporting member who occasionally plays guitar for the band. The live album was followed one month later by the studio album Missing Years. This album produced three singles, although only one — the title track — made the country charts, peaking at No. 45.
Another studio album with Howell on lead vocals, Young for a Long Time, followed in 2015.
- Del Gray – drums (1988–1997, 2004–present)
- Porter Howell – lead guitar, background vocals (1988–1997, 2004–2006); lead vocals, lead guitar (2007–present)
- Dwayne O'Brien – rhythm guitar, lead and background vocals (1988–1997, 2004–present)
- Duane Propes – bass guitar, background vocals (1988–1997, 2004–present)
- Jeff Huskins – background vocals, keyboards (1994–1997)
- Tim Rushlow – lead and background vocals, rhythm guitar (1988–1997)
- Brady Seals – lead and background vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar (1988–1994)
- Steven Troy – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2004–2006)
- First Time for Everything (1992)
- Big Time (1993)
- Kick a Little (1994)
- Little Texas (1997)
- Missing Years (2007)
- Young for a Long Time (2015)
- Huey, Steve; Sean Westergaard. "Little Texas biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 242. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles (CD insert). Various artists. Giant Records. 1993. 24531.
- CMT.com : Little Texas : HOT TALK: Little Texas in Court, Gilman in Transition