The Panhandlers Share Excitement Over Opportunity, New Music

Texas power-country group The Panhandlers announced the release of their self-titled debut and first single “No Handle.” The Panhandlers will be released independently via artist-driven label The Next Waltz on March 6.  The music video for “No Handle” can be viewed below.  

Videos by American Songwriter

The Panhandlers are a fresh group of down-to-earth, no frills, country guys from West Texas, aiming to make music that resonates with small town, everyday people.  Initially the project was going to be just some guys wanting to have some fun playing cover jams, grew into a powerhouse of Texas country with Cleto Cordero, William Clark Green, and John Baumann joining Josh Abbott.

Cordero said that he was interested immediately. Literally, joining the group after one conversation.

“I got a call from Josh Abbott last spring while I was in Washington DC saying he wanted to form a group with a raw, rootsy sound, somewhat in the spirit of the Flatlanders,” she said.  “He already recruited William Clark Green and John Baumann and asked if I would be interested in being a part of it.  I told him without hesitation, absolutely! Any opportunity to make more music sounds like a good time to me.”

Abbott explains the lineup just seemed like a good fit and what came of it was completely organic.  Initially his idea was to put together a group for a tribute show for country group The Flatlanders.  But the group soon knew their future held more than a set of cover songs.  

“After I asked William, Cleto and John to join, it was just a perfect blend and fit. That led to us coming up with a band name and a desire to do an original album,” said Abbott.  “After a few days of songwriting in Marfa (Texas), we damn near had the entire album! There’s something special about this project; something honest.”

The sentiment was echoed, if not screamed from the hills, by Baumann.

“When Josh called about doing a collaborative project, I was all in. It seemed like a killer opportunity – to write songs as a group and record under Bruce’s direction – it was a no brainer,” he said.

“I wrote “No Handle” really quickly – just about a guy who isn’t happy where he is geographically and doesn’t know why he’s there. It’s really just a song about a guy complaining with a lot of ironic sentiment.”

It was a track that was met with instant enthusiasm, as William Clark Green said, succinctly: “It’s my favorite song on the album.”

Perched on a high plateau in the Chihuahuan Desert, the four began their songwriting journey together for the first time. The band took a very natural approach while recording by playing together in the same room.  And after recruiting producer Bruce Robinson, from label The Next Waltz, The Panhandlers tracked their songs using two-inch analog tape and accurately captured their rural, warm country sound.  During studio sessions, the band tracked each song in a mere two takes.  

The Panhandlers are set to play their debut show on January 8 at The Music Fest in Steamboat, Colorado.  

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