Little Texas bassist/singer on growing up, today's country music and returning to Canyon
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"God Blessed Texas," Little Texas
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
When Little Texas — the multi-platinum country band that first hit big in the 1990s — was signed by Warner Bros., it was the youngest band to ever be signed in country music.
In the nearly 30 years since, what was a six-man band is now a quartet, though they're all original members. They're still releasing new music and touring, including headling the Kickin' It at Kimbrough as part of Canyon's Fourth of July celebrations.
And, according to bassist/vocalist Duane Propes, they've done quite a bit of growing up.
"For 10 years of our lives, we were constantly on the road — at times on the road for six months at a time," Propes said.
That's one reason why the band split ways in 1997 — to learn what life outside a tour bus could be like.
"It made us grow up and get into the real world, to see how normal people live their lives," Propes said. "It gave us the foundation and the stability to do this and not kill yourself — to work smarter and not harder."
While churning out hits like "Some Guys Have All the Love," "God Blessed Texas," "What Might Have Been" and "My Love," the band had three different lead singers between 1989 and 1994, then broke up after the 1997 release of their self-titled album.
"What Might Have Been," Little Texas
Propes returned to his native Texas to work in Houston for a couple of years, then moved back to Nashville to work for Curb Records and then Gibson Guitars.
"I got a real good education as to what corporate America is, and it ain't nothing but adult day care," Propes said. "I'd much rather work for myself."
When the band reunited in 2004, the quartet decided not to tour as strenuously as they had before, sticking mostly to weekend runs.
"We probably have the longest run coming up since we got back together — 10 days," Propes said. "I haven't done laundry on the road in a long, long time."
Though they're still releasing new music — the band's eighth album, Young for a Long Time, came out last year — Propes said they're not expecting to break through on mainstream country radio.
"We just recorded it like we wanted to do," Propes said.
One song — "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" — specifically rags on the state of modern country.
"It's basically completely making fun of the bro-country movement," he said. "We put in 138 cliches in one song that you hear on mainstream radio every single day. The one thing we forgot to put in there was catfish."
But though he said he didn't want to say if modern country is either "good or bad," he did say the overproduced sounds are similar to what his daughter listened to on the Disney Channel when she was younger.
"I'm more on the classic rock side of country, when you didn't ProTool everything to death," he said. "Music today is too perfect. Don't autotune things to perfection. ... That's what made it good, the mistakes. That stuff has heart and soul."
Propes said the band is looking forward to its Fourth of July gig in Canyon — its first time in the city, though Propes himself came through as a child.
"I haven't been to (the area) since I was 12 and saw Texas," he said. "I think we have a day off in town too, and we're planning on staying an extra day. ... I told the drummer we have to get Texas tickets. I've been wanting to go back and see it since (that first time)."
Kickin' It at Kimbrough opens at 6:30 p.m. at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium on Interstate 27 near Canyon. Amarillo band Next to Kin will open. Tickets are $5, and admission is free for children 5 and younger.