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Josh Abbott Band rides wave of success

Touring behind “Small Town Family Dream” The Josh Abbott Bheadlines Joe’s Bar April 19.

Touring behind “Small Town Family Dream,” The Josh Abbott Band headlines Joe’s Bar on April 19.

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♦ 8:30 p.m., April 19

♦ Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed

♦ Tickets, $10

♦ (312) 337-3486;

Updated: May 20, 2013 6:10AM

It has been said that there really is no magical formula when it comes to musical success. Yet, to hear singer/songwriter Josh Abbott talk makes one think that the former grad student from Texas just might be on to something.

“I think everything in life is a bell curve, whether it’s the life of your car or the career of a music singer trying to make it in country music,” says Abbott during a recent interview. “Once you hit the top, it’s a downhill struggle to maintain what you are doing. You are always slamming your feet on the brakes so as to not go down that hill too fast. As far as I’m concerned, as long as we are still going up that hill, I’m happy.”

“Going up that hill” has been a trek the Josh Abbott Band has enjoyed since exploding onto the Texas music scene in 2007. Seemingly positioning themselves to follow in the footsteps of Texas success stories ranging from George Strait to the Eli Young Band, the Josh Abbott Band is starting to make some noise nationally with their most recent release, “Small Town Family Dream,” which debuted at No. 1 at the Country iTunes Chart.

Add that to the thrill of making their Grand Ole Opry debut last April, and the Josh Abbott band has every right to feel confident these days, so confident that they took a bold step with the release of their new single “I’ll Sing About Mine.”

“I always thought it would be weird to sing someone else’s song because we usually write our own songs, but when I heard that song on Adam Hood’s new album, I just couldn’t believe that I hadn’t wrote it myself,” laughs Abbott of the musical discovery he made while out on an anniversary trip with his wife in Jamaica.

“The whole song was a little ballsy, talking about hometown pride and knocking on Nashville a little bit. It truly sounded like what I would write.”

The new album also includes the sweet background vocals of fellow Texan and country music’s current ‘it’ girl Kacey Musgraves, whose duet of “Oh, Tonight” on Josh Abbott Band’s 2010 album “She’s Like Texas” deserves to be a classic.

“I don’t think my voice is the strongest or the most classic or the most trained,” says Abbott. “But for some reason when a girl sings with me, she makes me sound better. Kacey has actually sung harmonies on our last two CDs. And then, she blew up. [Laughs] I always told her that someday, I would be opening shows for her. She never believed me.”

If for some reason the stars fail to align when it comes to national success, the Josh Abbott Band could live rather comfortably off the success of their live shows alone. Selling over 223,000 concert tickets in 2012, they seem to hit their sweet spot when up on stage. Coming into town for a show at Joe’s Bar on April 19, Abbott says breaking into the Chicago market has always been on his radar.

“Chicago is one of the cool places that everyone in Texas sees in the distance and wants to play,” says Abbott. “I think Joe’s Bar in particular has really cultivated a love for Texas country, which has definitely helped grow our popularity there. Nationally, we may still be the up and coming band, but I think there is something quite charming to that.”

Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.

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