Monahans Band Spreads Texas Music Message

By Andrew Griffin

Special at Odessa American

NEIGHBORHOOD COUNTY When we first spoke with Caleb Young, lead singer and songwriter of West Texas country rock band Caleb Young Band, he was traveling through a remote area southwest of the Midland-Odessa region.

“Sorry, if I lose you, I’m in an area where cell reception isn’t very good,” he said, in his distinct Texas accent.

But luckily the call didn’t drop and Young, who works in the West Texas Permian Basin oilfield, had a casual and relaxed phone conversation about his life and his decision to pursue a career in this unique genre of country music called Texas. Music.

Yes, the Lone Star State brand of confident, muscular, honest American-style sounds that has a following even far beyond state lines.

“I’ve been singing all my life,” Young said. “Since I was little, I have sung in church.”

But it wasn’t until Young was in his early twenties that he faced his “fears of rejection” by entering a song-swapping contest in Monahans, his hometown. It was a success. His musical friend, Austin Grigry, who played guitar and would become his key partner in what would become the Caleb Young Band, was the one who urged Young to enter a “Country Showdown” song contest in Big Spring, Aus. Texas.

“He said to me, ‘You have to get over the fear of being in the public eye,'” Young said. “And of course, every time you do something for the first time, you’re going to be nervous.”

After doing well there, Young performed at the state level at the Texas State Fair in Dallas and he won. And all of that in a matter of months in 2015 – the year his musical aspirations really solidified, with Grigry by his side.

Soon after, Young was playing in Raton, New Mexico, and things were taking off for him in 2016. He had his first group practice in three weeks and everything was going well — up to a point.

But that upward trajectory took a temporary hiatus when Young got divorced, so between 2016 and 2018 Young put her music career on hold, even after releasing new music.

When Odessa-based Texas country musician Chris Brazeal of the Chris Brazeal Band quit music, some of his bandmates joined Young, including bassist Will Doroteo and drummer Lilo Hernandez. Timmy Neves took up pedal steel and the Caleb Young Band solidified after returning to music in 2018.

“Everyone (in West Texas) knows each other. It was natural,” he said.


The day Southwest Ledger spoke to Young, we asked if he had any songs played on Texas Music radio stations like The Ranch in Fort Worth. In fact, the day before, he received a call telling him that “Last Call”, from the EP Down In Flames, had been played to radio listeners to see if they liked it. Young was still waiting for an answer. He later finds out that his song didn’t make the cut – at least this time.

“I see a time when (The Ranch) reaches out to me and asks me to come and play on their station,” Young said with a hint of his trademark confidence.

The other four songs on the five-track EP include “Sounds The Same”, “Southern Ties”, the hard-hitting “Hammer Down” and the title track. Listening to each song, it was easy to hear one of them being chosen as the single.

The Down In Flames EP was recorded last year at Orb Recording Studio in Dripping Springs, near Austin. Since then, Young has been working hard to balance his work with the band and his day job in the Permian oil patch.

Young’s days are full, working for an oilfield chemical company. But he’s always working on new songs, balancing that with time with family and spreading the word about his dynamic band.

“I believe in word of mouth advertising,” Young said of the Caleb Young Band broadcast. He said he was working hard to release a physical CD and for radio DJ fans and potential fans. At the moment, Down In Flames is streaming on online music services.

And CYB’s standout concerts are known for the high energy and rock edge of their muscular country-rock. They’ve played all over the Lone Star State, from Houston, Corpus Christi and Dallas to the smaller venues of Alpine, Snyder and Pecos.

Young said they’re looking north of the Red River to Oklahoma, where Texas Country and Red Dirt music fans love the band’s sound. Young said his drummer, Lilo Hernandez, spoke to people in Weatherford, presumably at JC Cowboys, an established country music venue off Interstate 40.

Big or small, crowds come out for great music and a good time, and from what I hear, they love the sound and attitude of the Caleb Young Band.

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