Pacific Northwest country artist Aaron Crawford hit the nail on the head with a classic line from the title track of his latest release “Honky Tonk Electricity” when he sings, “…Get your country on…”
The founder and original Cascade Country artist has added a new element to his lineup with the addition of Ellensburg’s Kyle Bain on lead guitar.
The former Chuck Boom and Cobrahawk singer/guitarist has switched gears from the classic rock of the Boom and the hard-edge vibe of Cobrahawk to the down-home country sounds of Crawford, who has four studio albums to his credit.
“I had five or six weeks to learn 36 songs and get them into my head and into my notes,” Bains said.
Crawford has four albums out including Modern Day American Dream (2013), Evergreen (2016), Hotel Bible (2018), Honky Tonk Electricity (2021) and is an up-and-coming riser on the rodeo, fair, college and casino tour circuit.
Based in the Pacific Northwest, Crawford pays respect to the roots, instrumentation, and songwriting of traditional country yet likes to blend those flavors with the Seattle sound, including the likes of the grunge icons Nirvana and Pearl Jam, according to his website.
He’s also opened for the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Joe Nichols, Darius Rucker, and Cadillac 3. So, he is a rising star on the country scene.
Bain hit the ground running with a crash course and will be on stage with Crawford with dates at 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim (Nov. 26), the Ponderosa Lounge in Portland, Ore. (Dec. 10) and the New Year’s Eve Barn Burner in Lewiston, Idaho.
Bain has been the second guitar out front singing for the past five years with Chuck Boom and Cobrahawk. Now, he’s transitioned into a lead guitar role in a country brand of music. It’s a new gig, new sound, but it’s still making music at a high level, he said.
“Crawford is modern country, which has a lot of classic rock components to it,” Bain said, who played in Chuck Boom for five years and Cobrahawk for four. “The guitar tones, the solos are a little more classic rock.
“So, it’s not too much different than what I’ve been doing playing with Chuck Boom or Cobrahawk. So far, it’s been an easy transition.”
Chuck Boom lead guitarist Al Kaatz was able to bounce it back and forth from the African rhythms and five-accent hambone rhythm that took Bo Diddley to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame as well as accompany Doug Kershaw’s one-of-a-kind Cajun fiddle that produced 15 albums and numerous hit singles.
Despite what seems like a polar opposite in genre, Kaatz said it’s all part of being a professional and suspects Bain is already in step.
“Kyle’s a good guitar player, but he’s not really experienced. He’s definitely got the chops and can play stuff that I can’t play,” Kaatz said. “Changing styles is not a big deal.
“A lot of musicians are pretty narrow-minded about what they’ll play, but I never liked to get locked into any one thing and I think Kyle is the same way. We’re still friends and he’ll be fine.”
As far as his music, Bain has not been locked into any one way, shape or thing. He played four years in a band called the Dainty Saints Band with Birdie Fenn Cent. He founded Centaur Midwife with Bob Bruya.
He goes by Mr. Kyle in his newest digital release, “Hello Friends,” which was quite literally put together with an assortment of musical friends from Ellensburg.
He tapped into his creative energy base during the COVID-19 lockdown to create the 11-song, children’s concept album that has him excited about his musical journey as Mr. Kyle.
He also did a series of children’s songs for Blippi known as Nicky Notes.
“Aaron (Crawford) knew about my work for Blippi because he has kids. He said, ‘I didn’t know that was you. I always thought that guy can play,’” Bain said with a laugh.
Now it looks like Nicky Notes is ready to get his country on as the newest member of the band backing Aaron Crawford’s rise in the country music industry.