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PrinceRodriguez, an underground Texana music group from Fort Worth, does a little of everything – originals and covers, vintage and new, rock and country, blues and soul. Jeff Prince and Phillip Rodriguez have been playing music together for more than 20 years and setting crowds on fire with spirited performances. Whether they are channeling a grungy Pearl Jam, a hearty Merle Haggard, or a soulful Van Morrison – or playing their vast repertoire of original music -- they keep crowds hopping.

Country rock gospel folk crap -- but good!” That's how PrinceRodriguez described their music while on stage recently in front of a hundred patrons at a Fort Worth club. The duo then launched into a set that made everyone wonder, “Where in the hell have these guys been hiding and when will they go back?” But seriously, PrinceRodriguez has finally tossed their hat into the Texas music scene with the release of their debut c.d., “Ballad of Pedro Nix.” The boys also plan to become more active in the club scene.

“We've had a blast writing and playing music for years, but we never got around to recording, touring, marketing, or any of that stuff,” Rodriguez said. “Our music has matured to the point that we wanted to put it out there and see how it flies.”

PrinceRodriguez’ songs and lyrics are sometimes deceivingly simple, ala Hank Williams, as poetic as a Leonard Cohen lament, or as angry as David Allan Coe on steroids. Melodies are all over the map, incorporating pop, country, blues, Latino, and soul. Their rhythms are hard charging and wicked – they rarely make it through a set without breaking fingernails, strings, picks, and hearts. Their ballads are simultaneously melancholic and uplifting. Harmonies are precise. And humor runs through their act like pee through a wino. After their recent gig, they sat down over beers to explain why they've decided to promote their brand of Texas roots music after 20 years of obscurity. “Anonymity has its perks, such as people not knowing our names,” Prince said. “However, we’re ready to take the business more seriously now, if only to increase my chances of getting laid.”

“We’re like the Lone Ranger,” Rodriguez said. “We come out of nowhere, play our music, and then ride off in a cloud of dust, leaving people saying, ‘Who were those two guys, and why did they have to stir up so much dust when they left?’ ”

The boys are jokers, but their debut c.d. on Fort Worth’s Reload Record Company is a serious true-to-life concept album about a longtime Parker County, Texas resident named Pedro Nix and his extraordinary life (Nix died in 2002). “Ballad of Pedro Nix” shows depth and poignancy, and the album has been called brilliant by most everyone who has heard it, except for the lady who lives next door to the band’s rehearsal garage, who called it “too dadgum loud.” The c.d. was three years in the making (only Pink Floyd spends longer on albums, and those guys are insane). The album includes some fantastic local musicians, including pianist Robert Cadwallader (of the James Hinkle Band), violinist Nancy Kamm (Zen Bubba Band), steel guitarist Gene Scott (Earl Musick), organist Louie Chambers (Bad Monkeys), and background vocalist Sharon Oefinger (Bad Monkeys, Bella La Blue). The album was mastered by Phil York, who mastered Willie Nelson's Grammy Award-winning “Red Headed Stranger” in 1975 and worked with Willie on many other albums. “Ballad of Pedro Nix” was packaged at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas.

“Ballad of Pedro Nix” tells the story of a Parker County man born in the 1940s on a melon farm, who became a teenaged wanderer after his father died and his mother was institutionalized. Pedro worked as an Oregon logger and an Austin stonemason before becoming a ranch hand in Mexico, where, after a Mescal-fueled night, he was kidnapped into forced labor. He and his captor's betrothed daughter fell deeply in love and eloped, prompting a manhunt. A posse accidentally killed his new bride, forcing the falsely accused Pedro to flee on horseback through the mountains. He returned to Texas and became a vagrant for a few years before turning his life around after meeting a philosophical jailer in Nacogdoches. It's a stirring tale and a unique approach to album making. The liner notes include the lyrics to all 12 songs, along with a story narrative between each song. The musicians are currently working on a second album.

Prince and Rodriguez are both Fort Worth natives. Prince (817-444-1282) still lives in the city and is a professional writer and watcher of squirrels. Rodriguez (817-980-8724) lives near Azle, owns a spice company, and considers himself a modern day Marco Polo. Feel free to call either for booking information.





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