The Maverick Live Country Club is usually closed on Sundays, but owner Jay Zucker has a soft spot for Texas country.
He'll open the club this Sunday to host one of the Lonestar State's rising stars, the Casey Donahew Band.
Donahew, who is making a swing through Arizona with stops in Mesa and Flagstaff this weekend, sings about a couple of kids living the "Double Wide Dream," the title song off his 2011 album. His newest album, "Standoff," will be available on iTunes April 16.
It will be the fifth album he's recorded in an indie career that goes back more than a decade. A few years ago, Donahew, a native of the Fort Worth suburbs, formed his own label, Almost Country, which feels like a nudge to the mainstream country coming out of Nashville.
"We chose to do it our own way and kind of do the underground way," Donahew said this week from his home outside Fort Worth. "This is just the best path for us. I never wanted to be a Kenny Chesney or anything. I enjoy playing music and I enjoy being in charge of my music."
Donahew, like the Texans who've come before him, including Miranda Lambert and Pat Green, is not Nashville. He doesn't sing about happy endings glossed over with a heavy hand in the studio.
He muses about "Regrets" and plans to give his ex-but-forever-true-love a ring to bridge the gap of a years-long breakup. He gets drunk and prays the sun will "Shine on Me" after a life lived one step behind, then lets out his rebel yell to the backdrop of screaming fiddles paying homage to his homestate and its "One Star Flag."
This is music that breathes a crazy madness, sobering and reflective one song, then upended by a raw and rough-hewn energy that breaks the three-minute, country-radio-friendly rules. It's infectious and fresh, which is what Zucker likes best about Donahew and Texas country music in general.
"I think the biggest difference between Texas country and Nashville country is believability," explained Donahew, a 35-year-old father of a 4-year-old son. "We are just normal guys that like to play music."
Donahew and the band play about half their live shows each year outside of Texas, mostly sticking to Oklahoma and the Midwest. Last year, they played their first Arizona show at a club in Mesa and got such an enthusiastic response that that they added Tucson and Flagstaff on this trip.
"We get up there and give it all we've got for 90 minutes," he said.
Former Foo Fighters lead guitarist Chris Shiflett opens the show with his new country outfit Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants. Tucson duo Cooper Meza Band - Drew Cooper and Matthew Meza - also are on the lineup for the 21-and-older show.
If you go
• What: Casey Donahew Band in concert, with Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants and the Cooper Meza Band.
• When: 7 p.m. Sunday, doors open at 5 p.m.
• Where: Maverick Live Country Club, 6622 E. Tanque Verde Road.
• Tickets: $10 in advance at the club, $15 night of the show.
• Details: www.tucsonmaverick.com or by calling 298-0430.
• Give a listen: To hear samples of Donahew, visit www.almostcountryentertainment.com
"We chose to do it our own way and kind of do the underground way. This is just the best path for us. I never wanted to be a Kenny Chesney ... I enjoy playing music and I enjoy being in charge of my music"
Casey Donahew, Casey Donahew Band
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4642.