Central Texas State Fair hosts Josh Ward

Josh Ward, one of country music’s hottest stars, brought his band and their pure country sound to the opening night of the 31st annual Central Texas State Fair in Belton on Thursday, Aug. 30. Playing at an outdoor venue, Ward’s music at the Bell County Expo Center sounded the way country music used to. It had the classic twang that makes country, country.
Somewhat based on the sounds of his favorite stars growing up, it is Ward’s own, unique brand.
“We’re the more run-of-the-mill country,” Ward said in his blue jeans, T-shirt and a ball cap in an interview behind the stage prior to the show.
“I was raised up … you know Merle Haggard, George Jones, Keith Whitley … ,” Ward said. “I cut my teeth on those guys, so we kind of got this ’90-ish vibe going on. We’re definitely not mainstream … it’s just not my brand,” he said.
Ward, who has frequented Belton, said he opened for a fellow Texas group, the Josh Abbott Band, last year, but this was his first time to headline at the Central Texas State Fair and he said before the show that he was looking forward to it.
“We’re here to play country music for them, so [if] they show up, they’re going to get a good show,” Ward said.
A majority of the music Ward and his band played at the fair were songs off of their last two albums, “Holding Me Together” and “More Than I Deserve.” However, they did play some cover songs by his country music idols growing up, such as Haggard, Jones and Whitley. The songs that received the best reception from the crowd were “All About Lovin” and “Ain’t It Baby,” a song he played in tribute to the women in the crowd.
The audience, varying in age and gender, were dressed in outfits one might expect to find at a country concert – plaid shirts, tight blue jeans, cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Some people were leaning against the metal stage barrier, getting the closest spot they could to the stage. Some were dancing and singing along to the music, while others were enjoying their corn dogs, funnel cakes and other fair foods. All in all, about 300 people seemed to be enjoying a great show.
After a few songs, Ward gave a special acknowledgment to veterans, active duty servicemen/women and first responders. Ward explained he does this gesture during all of his concerts.
“It was a good concert … I play his music in bars, I’m a DJ,” said Daniel Williams after the show. Regarding Ward’s songs, Williams said, “I like them all.”
Ward’s music style has helped him quickly garner attention on the country music scene, especially throughout Texas.
“It was Texas country. He is a good singer,” Farron Fiedler, a graduate student at Tarleton State University who currently resides in Stephenville, said.
Ward believes his growing favorite sounds in country music will be very popular again. He said it’s on a “10-year turn.” Ward mentioned other country stars, such as Cody Johnson and Aaron Watson, who are also into playing a more pure country sound.
“There’s not a lot of us out there doing it,” Ward said. “They’re digging it.”
Digging it, they are. On his newest album, “More Than I Deserve,” which was released in May of 2018, his single titled “All About Lovin’” made its way to number one on the Texas Regional Radio Chart. According to a press release, it was the band’s 10th consecutive single to top the Texas charts. However, Ward has stayed humble about his regional success.
“We never thought in a million years we’d be sitting here doing what we’re doing,” he said. “Getting the number ones, those are bonuses. That’s the icing on the cake … This is every kid’s dream, growing up wanting to play music,” Ward said.
Although he is popular throughout Texas, Ward’s fan base is ever growing, even as far as the west coast. Ward got his first exposure out west opening for Cody Johnson. He has since had three tours as the headliner, selling out many of those shows out west.
“We have music fans out there,” Ward said. “I wouldn’t have thought it, but the rest of the world does go on … It’s not just in Texas. They love this stuff out there.”
To find the Josh Ward concert schedule, check out https://joshwardmusic.com/index.html#tour.

Author: Thaddeus Imerman

Share This Post On

Commenting Policy
We welcome your comments on news and opinions articles, provided that they allowed by our Commenting Policy.