By Brittany Ward
Aug. 8 2018

The Hangin’ Cowboys are celebrating the release of their second album West and it’s a party.

The Hangin’ Cowboys consist of Shaun Sparks: vocals, acoustic; Jeff “Fanny Ironbottoms” Schnittker: lead guitar; Russ Eikerman: bass; “Small Dave” Merritt: storyteller/key master; and “Mello” Matt Ihrig: drums. The band was able to have Christopher Steffen from Studio PH produce it, who also produced their first album, Happy Hour. A big difference between the albums is West was made with their drummer, Ihrig, and has some good rocking moments. Sparks and Ihrig have been playing together for over 20 years, the creative chemistry is strong to say the least.

Eikerman said “I think we stuck to our roots music heritage but the new album explores a few more psychedelic and rocks spaces.”

The day after the album release, August 12, the band will be opening up for Jesse Dayton at the Bourbon. There will be other shows around town in the near future, keep up to date with their Facebook. For upcoming tours the band has discussed doing some “warrior weekend” and doing quick runs to different states to play a couple shows. Perhaps a third album may be fast behind the second since Schnittker, Sparks and Eikerman write a lot and love doing so. Writing and recording is a must for the group, perhaps even a live recorded album.

“I love the sound of doing a live album, we have a lot of really fun covers live that aren’t necessarily country in origin, could be a rowdy live album actually,” Sparks said.

The album release is taking place during The Honky Tonk Hoedown at the Pla Mor Ballroom. Tickets can be bought here or at the door with some special deals going on for the Folk & Roots Festival as well. One of the ticket specials includes entrance to the hoedown as well as the brand new Hangin’ Cowboys’, West, on vinyl.

The Honky Tonk Hoedown, 2018 Nebraska Folk & Roots Pre-Party starts at 7 p.m. The pre-party will be featuring music from The Hangin’ CowboysClarence Tilton and The Bottle Tops. It also means Folk & Roots Festival is coming up. Though it’s just a happy accident that the album release and the pre-party are the same day, the band likes to think of it as the air-conditioned segment of Folk & Roots. According to Sparks, West was a blast to make.

The Hangin’ Cowboys made an appearance on KZUM’s Tree With Roots on Wednesday, August 8, to discuss the upcoming album and release show. The audio from that interview can be heard below:

Nebraska Folk & Roots will be held on August 24th and 25th at Riverwest Park in Elkhorn, NE. Featuring Becca Mancari, Peter Case, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, and Henhouse Prowlers with 11 Nebraska-acts. Go to the Nebraska Folk & Roots Festival website or Facebook for more information.

You can hear Hangin’ Cowboys and other honky-tonk bands on the likes of Tree With Roots (Weds. 8-10 a.m.); HonkyTonk Heroes (Fri. 9-10 p.m.)

Brittany Ward is an editorial intern with KZUM.