Local country band Parish County Line has a motto: We’re not trying to make it big time, we’re just trying to have a good time.
Audiences are having a good time, too. Parish County Line will play its fourth headlining show at the Texas Club on Saturday night. Laine Hardy, the 17-year-old “American Idol” contestant from Livingston Parish, and the New Orleans rock band Neutral Snap are also on the bill.
Parish County Line began when bassist Travis Hood just happened to hear singer-guitarist Derek Shipley performing at Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar on Burbank Drive. Hood noticed that Shipley’s selections included country songs from the 1990s.
“I got to talking to Derek and I said, ‘Man, why don’t you have a band? I would go hear a band play that kind of music,’ ” Hood said last week.
As fate would have it, Shipley wanted to form a band. He told Hood he wanted it to be an ’80s-’90s country-cover band. “Because I love that music,” Shipley said. “I grew up on it.”
Bingo. Hood grew up loving the neo-traditional country music of the 1990s, too.
“When we started Parish County Line,” Hood remembered, “we didn’t want to play a lot of things that were currently on the radio. We play some of those songs, but we don’t like to play songs just because they’re on the radio. We’d rather play stuff that we actually like.”
The artists they like include George Strait, Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt, Clay Walker, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Lonestar and Diamond Rio.
“We grew up riding around in cars with our dads, and that’s what they listened to on the radio,” Hood said.
Hood also saw potential popularity in specializing in ’90s country.
“Because I’d never heard a band,” he said, “especially a band of young people our age, singing and playing that kind of music. But we thought that if we play these songs at fraternities and sororities, these kids who grew up listening to their parents’ radio, the same as we did, would know these songs — and they did.”
Since the band formed in February 2012, they’ve performed at the Texas Club and at such LSU area venues as Uncle Earl’s, Bogie’s and Fred’s in Tigerland. The group also opened shows for Hood’s and Shipley’s music heroes Tracy Lawrence and Clay Walker.
Country music from the era Parish County Line loves has qualities Hood and Shipley gravitate to.
“The lyrics tell stories,” Hood said. “Everything from the good times to the heartbreak.”
“I love the steel guitar and the fiddle and that twangy electric guitar in that ’80s-’90s stuff,” Shipley said. “Today’s country music has techno beats. And I like the ’90s artists and the great songs and lyrics.”
One of Parish County Line’s favorite songs is actually pre-’90s — George Jones’ stone-cold classic from 1979, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” The band played the song for the first time in 2013 on the night Jones died.
“We thought the college kids at Bogie’s wouldn’t know the song,” Hood recalled. “But we played the song because, if we didn’t play a George Jones song on the day he died, we shouldn’t even be playing country music. And when we played ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today,’ I’m telling you, every person in the bar was singing the chorus. Derek looked over at me and I looked at him. That’s when we knew we were playing the right kind of music.”
PARISH COUNTY LINE/NEUTRAL SNAP/LAINE HARDY
WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Texas Club, 456 N. Donmoor Ave., Baton Rouge
COST: $12 in advance, $15 at the door