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Arts & Culture

Big Cedar Fever Swings By TPR With Western Sounds

Big Cedar Fever is a western swing trio consisting of San Marcos natives Georgia Parker, Nick Lochman and Ian Lee. Their sophomore EP comes out this Thursday, and their debut full-length is slated to drop early in 2020.

Earlier this month, they stopped by Texas Public Radio's Studio B40 for a recorded performance and interview. During the performance, they played a couple original tunes and covered "Don't Fence Me In" by Cole Porter and "Honeysuckle Rose" by Fats Waller. During the interview, Parker, Lochman and Lee shared their deep historical knowledge of western swing and discussed their personal development within the uniquely Texan genre. 

Western swing has deep roots in Texas. The genre combines elements of country, blues and jazz, and is often performed by musicians with no formal training. 

“You really need to play this music with people, because it's an oral tradition. It’s not something that you can go to school for,” Lee said. “There’s no getting around it. You have to go in there and play it with people.”

Parker provided some historical context for their Cole Porter cover.

“The Roy Rogers movies were becoming really popular in Hollywood, and they moved Cole Porter to Hollywood to write songs for those movies,” Parker said. “He moved out there, and then they started getting all Hollywood on him and telling him how to write his songs, so ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ is a protest song of sorts, like ‘Don’t tell me how to write my music,’ but it’s also just the most classic western song.’”

In addition to the history of their genre, Big Cedar Fever also explored their personal history. Lee and Lochman first played together over seven years ago at a party in San Marcos. 

“I kind of realized that his ability to harmonize vocally was -- he made it really easy. You know, my brother and I have that -- they call it ‘blood harmony’ or whatever you want to call it,” Lochman said. “I mean, it’s just easy. We have the same phrasing, and our voices are just right.”

You can hear their vocal harmonic compatibility on full display for their B40 performance. 

Parker and Lee frequently played with Lochman’s former project, The Railhouse Band, a now defunct house band for a number of venues around Texas. After The Railhouse Band split up, the three musicians formed Big Cedar Fever.

Click or tap the link above to hear Big Cedar Fever's full interview and performance.