January 22, 2023 by Jay Minkin
The Shootouts Celebrate Stampede and a Trip to The Opry
What was once a side project from the Ryan Humbert Band in 2015, Ryan Humbert and his lead guitarist Brian Poston’s love for classic country created a fun honky-tonk band playing old school covers called The Shootouts. As with any project, Humbert says “If I believe in something, I want it to be big and won’t rest until I’ve exhausted every tiny detail.” Always trying to find a new edge, Humbert’s vision came complete with vintage dazzling western outfits like the ones Porter Wagoner wore. Talk about a fairytale, this coming February, The Shootouts have been invited to perform on the iconic stage of The Grand Ole Opry.
When that phone call came during a band rehearsal, Humbert was speechless as tears rolled down his face. It is a dream come true for the local singer/songwriter who has been forging a musical career for over twenty years. Humbert has performed solo, with the RHB, with gospel choirs, with big band orchestras, and staged Christmas holiday shows that raises dollars for local charities. Throughout his career, Emily Bates has been by his side adding vocal harmonies and singing duets. Guitar virtuoso Brian Poston fuels The Shootouts with a high-octane twang and shredding solos. Kevin McManus is the latest edition to the band on bass. Extended family members found on The Shootouts recordings include Dylan Gomez on drums, Ryan McDermott on bass, and mentor/collaborator Al Moss on guitar and pedal steel.
After hours of practicing their craft and trying out songs in front of live audiences, The Shootouts had enough material to record a debut Lp Quick Draw in 2019which drew some national critical acclaim. Humbert explains “Maybe we were on to something. It all started to click and make sense after a long-time doing pop rock to follow my heart and passion.” For their follow-up in 2021, Bullseye was produced by Nashville troubadour Chuck Mead and spent 18 weeks on the Americana Music Association Top 30 album chart and No. 42 on their year-end most played records. With the help of publicist Maria Ivey of Nashville’s IVPR, the branding and culture of The Shootouts had everything firing on all cylinders. Bates elaborates “Ryan’s incredible drive and persistence to find that niche and relentlessness to get there was finally paying dividends.”
The Shootouts rapid growth caught the ear of legendary western swing icon Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel, a band influenced by the “King of Western Swing” Bob Wills. Timing is everything in the music business, so it was right back into the studio for The Shootouts to record their third record while Bullseye was still charting with Benson and Sam Seifert producing. The band took their time and reached out to respected recording artists they met along the way like Marty Stuart, Raul Malo, Buddy Miller, and Jim Lauderdale to be part of the new album. Other notables include Nashville session player Mike Daly (guitarist/dobro/pedal steel) and both Dennis Ludiker (fiddle) and Connor Forsythe (keyboards) from Benson’s band.
The twelve track recording opens and closes with the fast ramble of “Better Things To Do” featuring Poston’s guitar and Stuart on mandolin. In-between, the songs weave from AOR Country “Anywhere But Here”, to western swing numbers “One Step Forward” and “Must Be A Broken Heart” to ‘80’s rockabilly sound of “Run For Cover”, “Tomorrow’s Knockin’”, and “Feeling Kind of Lonely Tonight”. The first single released is a slowed down countryfied cover of “I’ll Never Need Anyone More” by legendary Cleveland icon Michael Stanley. Two other beautiful compositions that will catch your ear are the Al Moss penned “Coming Home By Going Away” and “Angel’s Work”. Like the previous two albums, Stampede is named after an instrumental featuring a fiery Poston.
The Shootouts will be performing on The Grand Ole Opry on Friday February 24th. Those with Sirius XM can listen live on Willie’s Roadhouse channel 56 or view on cable streaming via Circle TV. You can nab a copy of the album at your favorite independent record store or The Shootouts official home page shootoutsmusic.com.
This story was also published in The Medina Weekly and Mimi’s Magazine newspapers mailed to homes in Northeast Ohio.