The Rowdy Johnson Band pictured at a past July 4 performance in Benson. Singer songwriter Johnson is front and center.

Dana Cole

san pedro valley news-sun

Cochise County’s very own Rowdy Johnson Band is one of five groups from across the nation selected for an upcoming TV series, “The Real Life of a Country Music Entertainer.”

Nashville TV was in Cochise County earlier this month to film the band’s live performance at the Western Junction Bar and Grill in McNeal, said Ken Whitcomb, RJB manager and spokesman. Locally, the band plays venues in Tombstone, McNeal, Sierra Vista and Bisbee, along with Fourth of July concerts in Benson.

Considered one of the “up and coming stars” of country music – while not heard on Cochise County radio stations – the band is featured on the Gray Beard Records label of Tucson. RJB’s brand of independent music is played throughout the Phoenix area, parts of Tucson, Texas and in most states across the country.

Between local performances, the group has opened or played with the likes of Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, Grand Funk Railroad, Jackyl, Steppenwolf, Ray Scott, Bill Don Burns, and more.  

Known for delivering high-energy live shows, the band belts out songs composed by lead singer and songwriter Rowdy Johnson, while feeding off the fans and playing to the audience.

Rowdy’s songs are reminiscent of country music’s classic outlaws. A prolific songwriter, he takes life’s experiences, both good and bad, and weaves lyrics into soulful creations that replicate such country music icons as Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams Jr., and Charlie Daniels, preferring that traditional country style over the contemporary superstars that dominate today’s airwaves.

“My music represents the voice of the people when it comes to traditional country fans with true country roots,” said Rowdy. “I’ve actually had people tell me that I’m ‘too country;’ that outlaw-style music is a thing of the past. I don’t believe that for one minute. When I write a song, I want you to hear my story. I want that song to move you. And that’s what my songs do.”

Whether it’s “Haunted Guitar” or “Elly May’s Biscuits,” the Rowdy Johnson Band prides itself in delivering outlaw-style, rollicking country songs with that deep-down, home-grown appeal. The band’s high-energy performances merge country music with southern rock, reaching audiences that include veterans, bikers, rockers, country music fanatics and everything in between. The Rowdy Johnson Band plays for a wide array of venues, making appearances at county fairs, rodeos, military installations, honky-tonks and biker bars.

“To have this kind of thing happen to one of Cochise County’s own is a real honor, yet there is not one mention of it on local news or radio,” said Whitcomb. “It is a difficult thing for a struggling group of musicians to make it in this day of decreasing venues, but when a group finally manages to garner national attention, any support from their community is appreciated and helpful.”

Whitcomb says that after the show starts airing its 13 episodes, the Rowdy Johnson Band will be on everyone’s music radar. “The band will be a household name for country music fans everywhere.”

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