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Festival headliner talks music, family, hobbies

Staff writer

Casey Donahew, singer songwriter for a band that bears his name and will headline this weekend’s Chingawassa Days, has a strong sense of identity.

“Genres are all over the place these days, but I play Texas music because that’s where I’m from.” Donahew said in an interview last week. “But mostly we just play Casey Donahew music, and it’s rooted in country for sure.”

For concertgoers who don’t have a basic bio for Saturday night’s act at Chingawassa, the Casey Donahew Band is an independent act based out of Fort Worth.

Donahew has been building a name among country fans for more than a decade. His music is danceable and energetic, but the road to Chingawassa Days hasn’t always been a party.

“When you’re an independent artist it’s hard to get the kind of exposure you need to conquer the world,” Donahew said. “But I’ve already been ten times more successful than what I ever thought we’d be. Anything now is just gravy.”

His band has built its fan base “the grassroots way,” by keeping a rigorous tour schedule, playing throughout the much of the Midwest and across the U.S.

Donahew is no stranger to hard work. He recalled starting out.

“We always said we would drive farther and play for less money than anyone else. It seemed to work for us,” he said. “We just go with the flow and keep on being us.”

Still, Donahew, 38, finds time for family. It helps that his wife, Melinda, is also band manager.

“We have two little boys, a 6-year-old, and an 18-month-old,” Donahew said. “My older boy comes with us on tour sometimes.”

He and his 6-year-old son often fish or do other outdoor activities.

Donahew also likes to rodeo when at home on the ranch.

As a proponent of the right to bear arms, it is only natural he also finds time to hunt.

“I hunt everything,” he said, “whitetail, black buck, doves, big bird, and I spend a lot of time hunting Texas boar. We barbecue some, but some wild pigs get pretty dirty.”

When he’s barbequing, don’t expect to find an exotic imported beer or a hipster microbrew in his hand.

“I keep it real with Coors Light,” Donahew said. “I get on the vodka train sometimes.”

Overall, he lives for live music, seeking new venues like Chingawassa Days to expand his audience.

Donahew said audience members who haven’t heard his music will be hooked once they hear the band play live.

“Big light, big stage, big sound, the bigger the better,” he said. “I love playing live music. We feed off the crowd. I don’t talk a lot, but we like to keep the fans involved. My foot’s on the gas, and I have a heavy foot. I keep the hammer down.”

Last modified June 4, 2015

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