Cowboy's Nightmare Band - Houston, TX
Cowboy's Nightmare - Country Music Roundup - Click to Enlarge
Cowboy's Nightmare - Farm Aid - Click to Enlarge
Cowboy's Nightmare - Article - Click to Enlarge
Cowboy's Nightmare Letter from Willie Nelson - Click to Enlarge
Cowboys Nightmare "Luck" - Independent
Written by: William Michael Smith

Some chord of Zen perfection is struck when an all-female country band calls itself Cowboy's
Nightmare. Don't let the glossy photographs of these six well-groomed Houston ladies lead you to
make the mistake of thinking they are just some cutesy, eye-catching novelty act with a gimmicky
name. Their songs, all originals, are rock solid, and their playing and production is right on the
money. Their Luck cd is filled with great hooks, great voices, and a plethora of tasteful country
licks.

It just goes to show how upside down the music business is today that these ladies, with only this
one independently released CD to their credit, have already had two #1 singles and a #3 on the
English independent release country charts. It doesn't take many listens if it takes more than one,
it's been too long since your last hearing test to understand that the Cowboy's Nightmare sound is
commercial radio friendly without veering across the line into the schmaltzy false sentimentality and
saccharine pop sounds that make up many of the current country hits on the US charts. Willie
Nelson heard them and immediately extended a personal invitation to appear at his Farm Aid show
in 2000. Now that's an endorsement any Texas country band would kill for.

These ladies may all have manes of Texas big hair and plenty of showbiz makeup and costuming,
but they also put plenty of oomph in their performance. They aren't some little dainty group of
wallflowers dinking around making soft, sensitive, pretty tea party appropriate sounds with their
instruments. Like much of what passes for "Texas country" today and is entirely acceptable at
"country" venues, many of their tunes use rock beats, rock progressions, and plenty of big guitar
licks. There is even the occasional sidetrack into a countrified power pop sound with lush, full
harmonies. I suspect their opening track, "More Like Your Mama," is what Brooks and Dunn might
sound like after a sex change. It's a hard-edged, uptempo, big-sound country rock track with lots of
electric violin and lead guitar. The sound is of a quality that would allow one to assume this record
was made in a Nashville studio, but the sound is pure Texas circuit. "More Like Your Mama" was
one of the tracks from Luck that scored a #1 in England.

Lead singer Jeni Natchez has a full, husky, Tanya Tucker honky tonk voice with a great East
Texas/Louisiana inflection (and a bit of sassy bad-girl growl when she needs it). She's a natural
singer and never more so than on the Cajun romp, "Fool's Gold." Guitarist Dana Starr gets in plenty
of tasty hot licks, and fiddler Jonna Lee Garrett has that syncopated Cajun sawing down pat. The
lyrics are stone honky tonk.

Fool's gold is what you win
When you bet on the likes of him
He's a man no woman could hold
His love is fool's gold

Whether it's the full blast of a track like "Hot Little Mama" or a carefully arranged ballad like "All I
Need To Know," Cowboy's Nightmare is impressively professional sounding for a first-cd group.
Most of the women have formal musical training and served apprenticeships in local rock bands
before making the switch to the amped-up country that is the Nightmare specialty. Drummer and
group founder Joni Lovvorn and bassist Ramona Gerene provide a Rock of Gibraltar foundation for
soloists Jonna Lee Garrett (violin) and twang-heavy guitarist Dana Starr. Keyboardist Shauna Pryor
fills out the arrangements, provides the Cajun accordion sounds, and also plays acoustic and bass
guitars, mandolin, and washboard. Gerene doubles on keyboards, harmonica, and a variety of
horns, blowing a mean sax solo on "Hot Little Mama." Every member of the band sings. With so
much talent in one band, Cowboy's Nightmare is able to expertly handle a wide range of country
and rock sounds and to mix up their set with more variety than most bands can manage.

Give Luck a fair listening and you'll discover a multi-talented band that can work almost every corner
of the country genre, equally at ease with a ballad, a Cajun stomp, or those Nashville style
rocking-big-beat country anthems reminiscent of Brooks and Dunn or Hank Williams, Jr. It's a nice
novelty that Cowboy's Nightmare is an "all-female band," but forget about that. This is a just a solid,
hard-working Texas county band. I'm sure that just like any other ensemble, they just want to be
judged by the music on the disc. If it's good enough for Willie Nelson, it's good enough for me.