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Although he’s nominated for a Gruene with Envy Texas music award as New Artist of the Year, Casey Donahew’s actually got six years, three albums and a legion of fans behind him. Donahew began performing in Fort Worth at the now -defunct Thirsty Armadillo and R Bar when he was barely old enough to drink legally. Returning home from Texas A&M, the guy who proudly hails from Johnson County made the rounds in the area’s smaller club circuit in 2002 and 2003. Donahew gained fans and momentum, and got enough steam behind him to need a band. The band produced more fans, and moved him up from bars to places like Fort Worth’s Horseman Club, which can hold a thousand rowdy folks before the fire marshal complains.
He put out his own record, Lost Days, which featured the song “Stockyards.” A line-by-line listing of Donahew’s favorite Fort Worth places, the song used to be played as the intro for Fort Worth’s now non-operational Brahmas hockey franchise.
In 2005, he garnered the attention of Billy Bob and Pam Minick. Donahew was first featured in one of the occasional “local talent” shows that fills the bill when the World’s Largest Honky Tonk doesn’t have a national act. Pam Minick says what caught her eye about Donahew was the fan support. People, mostly college-age, she observed, flocked to hear him. That earned him his own headlining spot.
There’s do-it-yourself, and then there’s Donahew-it-yourself. Donahew’s relative success has come without a lot of glitz, no mass marketing to speak of, and very little radio airplay. The music is available mostly on-line, and through a few local stores. You can’t go into Wal-Mart to buy it. People hear about the band, he says, from friends who have downloaded music from iTunes and shared it with friends.
“We played for 3,000 people at Billy Bob’s Texas and had never had a song in the Texas top 50,” Donahew said..
Donahew’s “White Trash Story,” recorded on his second, eponymously-titled cd, sums up who he thinks he is. The story celebrates “talking about the good times, and drinking down the bad.”
“Only my real friends can call me white trash,” he says.
In 2008 the band released their third album titled Live, Raw, Real in the Ville which was recorded at one of their favorite small town bars, Bostocks. Owned and operated by Mark Bostock, the band felt this was the right place to record their first live cd. The first single released off this album, “Crazy” (which was co-written by Casey and his wife Melinda) went all the way to the top and hit #1 on the Texas Music Chart in June of 08. The song also came in at #17 on Texas Music Chart’s top 30 songs of the year.