The Stallions Band, including lead singer and guitarist Butch James, singer and guitarist Daryl Wright, drummer Jackie Robertson, bassist Tony Thomas, and singer Terri Clay, have been performing music for the better part of the last fifty years. They have been a local staple for the country music crowd for a long time. In a recent interview with them, they mentioned that some of their current fans are the children of their original fan base.
Although the lineup has changed throughout the years, members of The Stallions have always stayed in touch and kept their love of music at the heart of everything they’ve done. That’s why now, almost fifty years from the start of it all, they are still enjoying doing what they love. Butch and Jackie mention beginning at the ages of 14 and 15 with previous band members, practicing in the basement of Jackie’s father’s church. Jackie reminisces of The Stallions having performed in the past with the likes of Alabama, George Jones, Hank Williams Jr., and Tanya Tucker. They all state musical tastes like Elvis, Hank Williams Sr., Loretta Lynn, John Bonham, and Keith Moon.
Each of the band members discuss a certain family member that introduced them to music, whether that is a parent or grandparent, and most of them state that growing up in a church band or choir was a big influencer in their love for music. Singer and guitarist, Daryl, mentions that his father kept a guitar under his bed and fondly remembers that “he’d let me sit there and strum on it, even when I was too small to see over the guitar. He never told me to put it up. I could play it as long as I wanted to. And then I got into the church choir and learned how to sing.” A couple of band members even tout having had accomplished musicians in the family.
When asked what the most important part of the creative process is for them, a few have their own individual reasons, like playing with top-level musicians and the feeling of getting a song right from beginning to end. But they all agreed that the biggest motivator is keeping traditional country music alive, and to see the crowd’s reaction to their performance. Singer, Terri Clay, mentions that “the crowd’s reaction, watching them live, laugh, dance, and have fun while listening to good music is a huge motivator for us.”
All the Stallions agree that practice is one of the most important rituals that a band can have, passionately discussing the amount of work that goes into preparing for performances and learning a piece of music. They also agree that you must have a heart for music, especially in order to stick with it for as long as they have. Jackie states that he’s “seen people try to learn instruments, but they didn’t have the heart for it. They’ll pick up a guitar and strum for a couple of weeks, then give up on it. You have to be born with music in your heart for you to truly be motivated to stick with it.”
As far as advice for aspiring musicians, this band is a wealth of wisdom. Butch says, “You’ve got to be dedicated and you’ve got to work hard to be successful.” Daryl mentions that musicians “need to be comfortable in intimate atmospheres if you’re going to play locally. Big clubs and stuff aren’t around anymore, so you’ve got to be more comfortable with places like wineries and breweries, and places that seat fewer people.” Jackie quips lightly, “If you’re in it for the money, don’t get into it,” and then adds to that on a more serious note: “you have to do it because you love it.” Tony brings more wisdom with, “You need to follow your own path. Don’t just play what everyone else is playing. Play what you want to play.” And singer Terri sums it all up by expressing, “Just keep living your dream. Whether you make it big or not doesn’t matter. All that matters is if it makes you happy.”
This band’s love for traditional country music shines through in just about everything they do, from discussing local radio stations that play classic country and bluegrass, to humming–or outright singing–any country tune that pops into their heads. Their biggest supporters have been their family members, and as they jokingly state, “all our rowdy friends.” The Stallions Band definitely won’t be needing our rocking chair any time soon.