His dad might have been only a weekend warrior, but Ed Adkins is on the frontline of the battle to keep the "western" in country-western. Adkins, a native of Roundhead, Ohio, a tiny burg between Kenton and Wapakoneta, followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a musician influenced by the old man's country crooners (Faron Young and Carl Smith) as well as his own rock and roll and big bands (Adkins lists Count Basie as one of his influences).
But a twist of fate prevented Adkins from being just a weekend musician. A chance meeting in Columbus with Don Walser's band, for whom Adkins's band opened, gave him a tip that the Derailers were in the market for a bass player. Adkins landed the gig and debuted on the group's third album, Full Western Dress, in 1999.
The Derailers recently released Genuine, their fifth CD since 1996. Though less aggressively honky-tonk than its predecessors, it still delivers fan-pleasing tunes influenced by 1960s Top 40 radio -- both country and rock/pop. If the Beatles had been a country-western band, they probably would have sounded a lot like the Derailers.
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