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.Chuck Taylor. Texas Top 20 Countdown on Brandon Rhyder As a well respected and a profound songwriter. Brandon Rhyder is one of the brightest stars on the Texas music scene. Having written some amazing "power ballads" that seem to touch the lives of so many with songs like Backroads. Freeze Frame Time. and Mr. Soldier. to the fun-loving-dance-your-heart-out tunes like Between Here and the Front Door. Fingers to the Bone and Home Again. his music is moving and crosses so many age and genre bearers. With a band of some of the best musicians in the business behind him made up of James Hertless (bass and harmonies). Cody Banks (drums and percussion). Ron D'Argenio (keyboards and accordion) and Charlie Richards (electric. acoustic. and steel guitars. banjo and "queen of my roost"). a management team made up of manager Ricky Brown of Ambiance Artists. tour manager Eddie Kloesel and day to day manager Amanda Biediger. a loving wife Kelli and 2 beautiful children Dusty and Mahala. who are his driving force to be the best songwriter that he can. who love him tenderly and support him and his music. Brandon Rhyder is poised to have continued success in his music career and has surrounded himself with a family of people that share the vision he has of where he is going. His band all agree that he is all about the music. "Brandon allows the band as a whole to add to the music. It is like a painter adding different strokes to add depth and demotion to his painting. It is very comforting and is the best part of playing with Brandon night in and night out." Cody Banks had to say about playing on the road with Brandon. With a band that has over 80 years of musical experience between them. it is no wonder why Brandon has added them to the mix. "Playing with Brandon is different. He gives us a lot of freedom to be the musician that we can be." James Hertless says. "It is great to be able to add our own twist to the mix. It is more of a harmony than a band. Just like working with Walt on our last album. it was harmony. We as a band seem to have a chemistry that sets us apart and it is because of Brandon allowing us to be us in a since." Ron D'Argenio. the self- proclaimed "master of the nerd instruments" said. "Brandon is all about the whole band sound and not his sound per say. He is focused on every component of the band sounding as one in it own. but as one as well. I am honored to have the pleasure of being apart of it all." Charlie Richards. the lead guitarist. has a more laid back approach. "Brandon likes to keep it simple. yet unique. Having a sound that touches so many is what he is about. It is breath taking to see the impact on the faces of the fans night in and night out." Coming from the small town of Carthage. Texas. a town that thrives of its oil. gas and timber industries. he was taught to work hard and have strong morals. "It is a blue collar kind a town. just a bunch of folks trying to make a living to provide for their families. It was a great place to grow up.". Brandon said about his hometown. His hobbies are the typical for a small town country boy; hunting. fishing. camping. and cooking. "I love to create. I have a tendency of asking my wife. Kelli. to invite so and so over the night after I get back from the road for dinner. She says but you just got home." He laughed and added. "My love for cooking and songwriting go hand in hand with each other in a since. They are both about creating something that is different. original and entertaining and that is what my music is all about. Music is more gratifying. but I love to cook." As a proud graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology and a minor in Political Science. music wasn't always what Brandon had envisioned doing as career. "I picked up a guitar a few weeks after I graduated college. I started learning cords and as I learned to play a couple. then the writing seemed to come naturally. I have to say I have never seen being a songwriter/performer as my job but more what I do. I feel that what I do is God's calling for me and blessed to be able to live out a dream." Growing up in a small town with a strong family environment. it is no surprise that Brandon is a family man first and foremost. Being on the road for more than half the year with a road schedule that is made up of more than 200 shows and several states. his family takes the focal point of his attention when he is at home. "Being on the road. you either love it or hate it. but there is something that is always different every day. May it be meeting new people. playing a different venue. or just seeing a different part of the country that you haven't seen before. It makes being away from home hard because I wish I could share it with my family. but being home with my wife and kids is much more special when I get the chance to be there." His wife Kelli has this to say on her husband's music. "The best part of Brandon's music is watching him full fill his dream. It is a real and that will never change. It shows in his live shows and in his songwriting. My favorite part has to be the end result when I hear a song that is about our children or our love for each other. Being a stay at home mom while he is out on the road is hard. but is worth every moment of it. We miss him when he is gone. but when he is home we have him all day." With a wide range of musical inspiration and influence from Guy Clark. Ray Price. Waylon. and Willie. to Nirvana. Pearl Jam. and Metallica. he is driven to have a sound that is distinctive and unique. "I have country roots. I may not be the mainstream sound that is coming out of Nashville. but I am on the fringe of country. I feel it is important to have a sound that makes your music stand out when someone turns on the radio and they know that is your music and not 'That sounds like so and so'." With a new CD/DVD. Head Above Water. that was released in early February which was produced by the great Walt Wilkins. and the first single that was released from it. Rock Angel that quickly sky rocketed to the #1 spot on the Texas Top 20 Countdown. Texas Music Chart and the Texas Regional Radio Report. it just goes to show the amazing songwriting and melody composing ability that Brandon possesses. Brandon has the chance to play on some of the most historic stages in Texas like Gruene Hall in New Braunfels. Texas. and Billy Bob's Texas in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. "There is something about playing at places that are full of heritage and history that is humbling and I have had some of my most memorable shows at these places". Brandon says that. "For me the best part of the song writing process is when the song is finished. You record it. sit and play it back. and then hit the repeat and hear it again and again. I don't have one song that is my favorite. they are like my babies and I love them all the same way. If I had to choose one song to play as my 'favorite' it would be Freeze Frame Time. The funny thing about that song is that I wasn't a parent yet when I wrote it but hit the emotions of parenthood right on. The hardest one I have written I would have to say is Again. It is very structured and difficult to play. I can almost guarantee that I will mess it up every time I play it live." As with every song. they all have a story behind them as to where the idea came from for the song. "Mr. Solider is a prayer honestly. I was mowing my yard one day and noticed my neighbor was loading up the back of his SUV with his gear to head to North Carolina to deploy. I had to stop what I was doing because I just couldn't watch any more. I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night and just started writing. The song is one of those songs that just write it's self." Just like Mr. Solider. A Storm Blew In is a song that has a deep underlying message. "That song is about a couple that I have known for a long time. They were together 30 years at the time that I wrote the song and were considering calling it quits and I thought is was ridiculous. So I wrote a song about the ups and downs of a relationship." Brandon shares the stories on two songs on his latest album. "The first single we released. Rock Angel. was written in the 'green room' at Giliey's in Dallas. Texas. I saw a beautiful woman in a Rock Angel t-shirt and thought how odd. a rock. and an angel. I brought a few close friends and family to come listen and they loved it. And with the great success of the song. we have joined forces with Katie Rossersmith of Rock Angel and are releasing a Brandon Rhyder Rock Angel line some time this year." Brandon has written several songs. but not all of them have a real life story. "The song Burn me is entirely fiction. It is not based on anything that has happened to anyone that I know or to me. but we all have that one person that burned us. I had fun writing that song." One of the things that sets Brandon apart is the balance between live and acoustic performances. "I love them both equally. An acoustic show is a laid back show with no boundaries. It is a blast. yet intimate at the same time. On the other hand. a full band show is insane. The level of excitement for one of the live shows is intoxicating and full of life. We strive to have a show that is different. eclectic. and unique." Not only do his performances set him apart. but his willingness to help out for a great cause does as well. "I am honored to be in a position where I can help those in need. It is a great opportunity. We as a band don't always get to do every benefit we are asked to. but we try help out our fans that have helped get us to where we are and to help out whatever cause that we are out playing to benefit." Brandon was once a struggling. up and coming artist at one point and share these words of wisdom to those out on the road struggling. "You have to have thick skin . an hard head. and learn to endure the good as well as the bad. There are people in the music business that can break you down. Practice as often as you can and write. write. write. Also be involved with the business side of things as well that way you have an understanding of the behind the scenes aspect thing of you brand. And last but not least. limit your influences. If you feel like you are starting to sound like someone. then change what you are listening to too ensure you have a sound that stands out from the rest of music out there." Brandon is out on the road rockin the house at a venue near you. Go check out one of his live shows if you get the chance. I promise you won't be disappointed. For more information on Brandon. please check out www.brandonrhyder.com . look him up on Myspace. Facebook. and twitter. You can also purchase his music on www.lonestar.com . and itunes.