Amarillo’s Cooder Graw back with new music

Posted by Chip Chandler - Digital Content Producer on

by Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

For the first time in more than a decade, Amarillo-born Texas country stars Cooder Graw is back on the radio with a new tune – and, by Friday, back in stores with a new album, too.

Cooder’s “Love to Live By” EP is its first album since 2004’s “Wake Up” and since the band’s 2006 decision to go on a six-year hiatus.

After reuniting in 2012, lead singer Matt Martindale found himself reinspired to write for the band: “I’ve written plenty of others to record, but they didn’t really fit in with what else we recorded (for the EP). … But at some point, we may go back in, record more and add on to it.”

Working with Rich Brotherton, a producer who also performs in Robert Earl Keen’s band, Cooder Graw cut tracks in Austin for the EP, including lead-off single “The Heart of Breaking Up.”

“It’s gone from (No.) 91 to 71 to 51” on the Texas charts, Martindale said. “Hopefully it will continue to stay in the 1 spot and continue moving up.”

Martindale said he “can’t believe” the fan base is still so fired up for the band, which formed in 1996 in Amarillo.

“It’s amazing that radio stations still play us, that people still come to our shows,” Martindale said. “I’m very surprised that there’s anybody out there at all that knows the name ‘Cooder Graw.’”

That’s more than a bit modest: The band played five or six times a week around the region at its height, and its single “Llano Estacado” was licensed by Dodge for a national series of commercials.

Nowadays, the band plays about a dozen or shows a year, including a July 22 gig at Guitars and Cadillacs, 3601 Olsen Blvd.

Other band members include Kelly Turner, Paul Baker, Kelly B. Test, Carmen Acciaioli and Danny Crelin.

The new EP will be available on digital music sites or, for those who want a physical copy, at or at shows.