They are the embodiment of the adage: “Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet.” The Six String Boys, of College Station, with Josh Spivey on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Evan Beran on lead guitar, Justin Ng on bass guitar and Nick Catalina on drums, are enjoying a journey with (so-far) very few bumps along the road.
I met the band before their gig at Cypress Saloon, a popular dancehall on the northwest side of Houston that has recently featured the likes of Charlie Robison and Jason Boland.
“This will be our first time at Cypress,” says Josh. “It’s pretty cool to be on the same stage that those guys have been on.”
The Boys’ success comes down to discipline, the main facet of the band’s philosophy. Josh, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, has had a dedicated work ethic instilled in him, as all Marines do. This attracted other like-minded musicians to the band.
They are a group that works extremely hard, no exceptions. Practice is twice a week in addition to playing shows every weekend AND demanding day jobs:
Justin Ng will soon be called Dr. Justin Ng, as he is a Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M University. Josh Spivey acts as the Maintenance Supervisor at a student living center in College Station. Nick Catalina is the busy father of a new baby girl, probably the most demanding job of all, in addition to DJ’ing at Rockies Nightclub. Evan Beran works as an Auto Body Technician at Jack Winslow Body Shop.
Justin explains how he juggled the band and his studies: “You do that for so many years, you gotta have an outlet from all that studying. I was in a garage punk band in ’98; that’s how I got started playing bass. There was a good two months where I would work, do a show, go back to work, sleep for two hours, then repeat. I keep the band a high priority.”
Nick was born to dedicate his life to music: “It’s in my blood pretty much. My whole family plays music; my dad played the drums his entire life. I’ve played the drums since I was super little.”
Evan’s road to music shares a similar hint of fate: “I have four brothers and sisters, and they were all in the band in school. I followed suit, then I started listening to AC/DC and thought that sounded like more fun.” [laughs]
Josh had a little less of a humble beginning: “I started playing guitar to get girls, honestly. I got out of the Marine Corps, and all my buddies had guitars and they always had girls around them. Then I started meeting other people who played, and I began getting real into the music.”
Their passion for music caused important people to take notice very quickly. Record labels have set their sights on The Six String Boys, a remarkable fact since the band is only ten months old, and have been playing actual shows for just six months.
“We’re considering some offers from record labels, but we’re still in negotiations,” Josh explains. “Right now we’re trying to enjoy it: you see a lot of guys who get big fast, they forget about the dancehalls.
Our producer lives in Nashville; that’s where one of our singles is: he’s getting studio musicians laying down tracks right now. Not that we want to make the transition to Nashville Top 40. I feel like we’re better suited for what we’re doin’ now. But just the fact that we’ve turned heads in Nashville, speaks volumes about our hard work.”
The Boys’ sound is rollicking Texas country, a refreshing change from the recent trend of brooding artists acting down on their luck. Their songs remind me of the good old days, when Pat and Cory and Roger weren’t weighed down by trying to seem relevant. The Six String Boys are a testament to working hard at being what you are.
“We used to worry about this and worry about that, now we get up there and we just have fun, and it shows in the music.
We’re blue collar, is the best way I can label [our sound],” says Josh. “We sing and write songs that the blue collar Americans can connect with. They’re about hard days at work and long nights with buddies.”
Ironically, these down-home Americans have a dedicated following in Europe and Asia. They can track the origin of the hits on their website:
“Apparently we’re really popular in Europe. Our website gets blown up every day in Germany. I never thought our Texas country would be big over there, but my buddies who’ve played in Europe say Texas country is getting huge. It’s crazy…Europe. I never thought it would be like this.”
Could we soon find the Six String Boys serenading the locals in a German beer garden? We’ll soon find out! For those a little closer to home, catch the band at Buster McNutty’s in Livingston on Friday, June 29th.