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About Stoney LaRue
Stoney LaRue plays music that combines the rootsy, emotionally honest sound of country with the beer-drinking swagger of heartland rock and a dash of the moody undercurrents of the blues. One of the founding fathers of the Southwestern Red Dirt scene, LaRue's music could be tough and swaggering (as on 2005's The Red Dirt Album and the 2007 concert set Live at Billy Bob's Texas) or personal and thoughtful (2011's Velvet and 2019's Onward), but the sweet growl of his voice and his crowd-pleasing charm were constants throughout his catalog.
Stoney LaRue was born in Taft, Texas, into a musical family -- his father played bass in a number of local bands -- and he grew up listening to the country and Southern rock that would inform his later work. When he was a teenager, LaRue's family pulled up stakes for Oklahoma, and in time, LaRue would become part of the Stillwater, Oklahoma "Red Dirt" musical community, along with likeminded acts such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland, and Mike McClure.
Forming a road band called the Organic Boogie Band, LaRue began storming honky tonks and dancehalls in Oklahoma and Texas, winning a loyal following for his passionate live shows, and in 2002 he released his first album, Downtown, recorded during a concert for a specially invited audience at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa. The album was a solid calling card for LaRue and his group, and they began spending most of the year on the road, playing up to 300 dates a year, but in 2005, LaRue stayed in one place long enough to record his first studio disc, appropriately titled The Red Dirt Album, which earned enthusiastic reviews and cast a stronger focus on LaRue's skills as a songwriter.
In the spring of 2007, LaRue released his third album, which was also his second live set -- Live at Billy Bob's Texas, recorded during a 2006 gig at the famous Fort Worth venue. After several years of a recording hiatus (except for a live EP), LaRue released his second studio album, Velvet, in 2011 on B Side Music Group. It became his first set to reach the Billboard album charts, peaking at number 53. An appearance singing background vocals on Miranda Lambert's 2013 single "All Kinds of Kinds" brought his work to a wide audience, and his third studio album, Aviator, appeared in 2014 on eOne, also reaching a fairly high position on the charts.
For 2015's Us Time, LaRue turned to his fans to help draw up the set list, which included several cover tunes, original tunes that had become favorites with his followers, and unrecorded numbers that were popular at his live shows. The same year Us Time appeared, LaRue received unwelcome publicity when he was arrested on charges of domestic abuse. While his girlfriend disputed the police's version of the events, LaRue issued a statement that read, in part, "I want to apologize to my family, my friends and my fans for the recent circumstances that have come to light. I am going to take some time to work on myself." It wouldn't be until 2019 that he returned with a fresh album, the personal and introspective Onward. ~ Mark Deming
- Taft, TX
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