The Wilder Blue

Sat, Jul 13, 2024

The Wilder Blue


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“There is music. And then there is The Wilder Blue, who feel so transcendent, they’re in a

category all of their own.” —Saving Country Music

The Wilder Blue began in 2019 when Zane Williams, already a seasoned troubadour with seven

solo albums under his belt, pulled together a select group of multi-talented musicians from the

Texas music scene. Their debut album Hill Country (2020) and its follow-up The Wilder Blue

(2022) garnered comparisons to early Eagles and 80’s-era Alabama by interweaving five-part

harmonies with bluegrassy arrangements of folk-rock and country songs.

For their newest release Super Natural in the fall of 2023, the band enlisted Grammynominated

Brent Cobb to produce the album and perform on the title track, a song he and the

band co-wrote in the studio. Brent’s groovy, vintage sensibilities proved a natural fit for a band

with influences as diverse as Little Feat, Del McCoury, and Robert Earl Keen. A cover of the

Eagle’s classic “Seven Bridges Road” also features band admirer Luke Combs, who has added

The Wilder Blue to his 2025 stadium tour lineup.

Twenty years before he was fronting a break-out band, Zane Williams was a solo coffeehouse

performer and aspiring songwriter in Nashville. After moving back to his native Texas in

2008 he eventually became a dancehall staple and respected songwriter with cuts by the likes

of Pat Green, Kevin Fowler, and Cody Johnson. To the surprise of his fans (and the

bemusement of his booking agent), Zane announced the formation of the new group in 2019

by soliciting band names from his fans and promising lifetime free tickets to anyone whose

suggestion was picked. (The winning name “Hill Country” had to be changed just after the

release of their first album due to a trademark conflict, but the winner is still on the guest list for


Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Andy Rogers was the only member of Zane’s

former band to join the new group. Born and raised in Lebanon, TN, Rogers learned bluegrass

chops from an early age and excelled on bass, banjo, dobro, guitar, and just about anything

with strings. Rogers moved to Denton, TX in 2004 to study jazz bass at the University of North

Texas and made a long-term home in the eclectic arts community he found there. Playing in a

series of rock and country gigs eventually led him to join the Zane Williams band on bass and

vocals in 2016.

Looking over the Texas music scene for likely bandmates, Williams sent a text to a singersongwriter

and lead guitar player whose voice had caught his ear a few years before on local

radio. Paul Eason was ensconced at the time in a comfortable guitar gig with Texas staple

Kevin Fowler but was immediately intrigued by the notion of joining forces. Originally from

Houston, TX but living at the time in San Antonio, Eason fronted various bands beginning in his

teens and released two solo albums in the early 2000’s before joining the Fowler band full time.

A third solo album followed in 2016, which showcased his distinctive lead vocals,

southwestern aesthetics, and impeccable guitar playing.

Eason, in turn, vividly recalled meeting a singing drummer named Lyndon Hughes who had

been with the Roger Creager band. Eason and Williams paid a visit to the studio in the

Woodlands, TX where Hughes was working as an engineer, producer, drummer, and vocalist.

Singing together that day on a new song Williams had written called “Dixie Darlin’,” the three

realized they were onto something special. Hughes, a Houston native, brought a wide range of

skills to the new band. His effortless harmony vocals, his versatile drumming, and his ears as

an engineer and producer would end up having an major affect on the shaping the sound of the


After an experimental jam session and some casual demo recordings in 2019, the four

existing members agreed that Rogers would be best utilized playing primarily banjo and dobro

which meant the search was on for a permanent bass player to round out the band. After

several months of searching and two dead ends, the band reluctantly decided to begin

recording its first album without a dedicated bass player. With the first gig only a few months

away, the pressure was building to find someone—-anyone?—-who could fill the role. Which is

when the perfect person happened to come along.

Only in his mid-20s, Sean Rodriguez was already both a road dog and a fixture in the live

music scene of Austin, TX. Originally from Corpus Christi, TX Rodriguez grew up playing

everything from funk to rock to conjunto to country. It’s a diversity reflected in his flamboyant

dress and vintage playing style, delivered on stage with a boot-scootin’ joie-de-vivre that

quickly earned him the nickname “The Boogie Man”. The four existing band members asked

Rodriguez to join them in the studio and play on the final two songs as a trial run. Shortly after

he arrived, the five members of the Wilder Blue first gathered around to sing something

together in the lobby of the studio. “Let’s try “Seven Bridges Road”, someone suggested. The

blend was magic, and the chill bumps on their arms are the same ones fans are now feeling at

venues all across the nation.