By Brian Ives
You’re probably going to hear a lot about Granger Smith this year, and it’s been a long time coming. He was on nearly every “New Country Artists to Watch in 2016” list, and “Backroad Song” has introduced him to country radio. The follow-up single “If the Boot Fits” will likely gain him more fans. Or, as Granger would say, it will likely “connect” him with more fans. Connection, it turns out, is a concept that is very important to him.
In this wide-ranging interview with Radio.com, Smith talks about his major label full length debut album Remington, his very long road to getting a song on the radio, his Earl Dibbles character and why his alter ego won’t suffer the same fate as Chris Gaines.
You recently did a “Pledge of Allegiance” tour where you led a group of fans in the Pledge of Allegiance in each of the thirteen original colonies.
Yeah, we went to the thirteen colonies, plus Washington DC. Which kinda ties in with the beliefs I’ve always had.
We grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, and there are certain words in there that are lost in today’s rhetoric, words like “republic” and “liberty,” words that have provided us all the right to be equal, the right to follow our dreams; for me, that’s chasing music.
That right is granted by all of these ideals that were put in place before us that we’ve kind of forgotten about. And we thought it’d be really cool to go out the old fashioned way, hand over the heart, and say the Pledge of Allegiance.
You called it the “Granger Cross ‘Merica” tour; you seem to take pride in being patriotic but also making fun of yourself.
Absolutely. It’s a celebration; I’m as patriotic as they get, so if it’s making fun of anything, it’s making fun of me.
Talk about Earl Dibbles Jr. A lot of country singers are funny in person, but humor doesn’t seem to be as essential to what they do as it is with you.
Yeah. It’s interesting you say that. I’ve always had different characters, and there’s a bunch more besides Earl. There’s a bunch of ’em on YouTube, they just didn’t make it famous like Earl did; they didn’t go viral.
And so it’s interesting, because I’ve done that before I was doing music. When I was really little, my brother, who’s my manager, he and I would shoot videos at home. We would shoot different skits and try to be funny; we’d just laugh with each other and play it for our parents. And so that’s been something that’s we’ve always done to have fun, and to release creativity. And so to tie it in with music has been a huge blessing, it’s fun.
But it’s been interesting, because there was a time when Earl first came out and went viral, and there was a disconnect between that and my show. ’Cause like you were saying, sometimes country singers are funny in person, sometimes they’re funny at the show. Well, I was not funny at the show. And a guy came up to me one night at our merchandise table after the show, and he said, “You’re a funny guy.” And I said, “Thanks, man.” And he goes, “But I don’t get that in your show.”
And I was like, “He’s right.” Here’s this funny character, and people are holding up signs saying “Yee yee put a good dip in,” and yet I’m out there just being serious: singing serious songs, being an artist, trying to be cool.
And so that’s when I thought, Earl needs to be part of the show. I need to write a song for Earl, and we’ll throw it into the show, and we’ll just light it up and [I’ll] stop taking myself so seriously. Stop trying to live in the box of being an artist with a stigma.
Earl has no rules. So I stopped being this serious guy and was more of myself; I feel like Earl has helped me be more of myself.
Have you ever seen Bruce Springsteen in concert? At one point, he’ll be singing something really serious like “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” and later on, he’s in this carnival barker persona, introducing the “earth quakin’, booty shakin’, viagra takin’ E Street Band!”
Sure, and that’s what makes Springsteen so endearing is you can go, and you feel like, “He’s one of me. He’s like me, man!” You know. Springsteen will make you feel like you’re sitting around a campfire, just him and you, and he’s playing for you. And you’re in a stadium when he’s making you feel that way. Garth had that same effect on people. So it’s important, and Earl helps me get closer to that state of mind.
Speaking of Garth, the other big alter-ego that comes to mind when you’re talking about country music is Chris Gaines. Did anyone from your team try to convince you, “Hey, alter-egos just don’t work in country, remember Chris Gaines?”
Sure. Chris Gaines was a character built kinda behind closed doors; an album was made, this whole persona was created and then released to the people.
Which is kind of the opposite of what Earl was. Earl was completely organic. It started with just a little video. We weren’t saying, “Here’s an alter ego. Respect this guy, buy his music.” We were just saying, “Here’s a funny video, go to grangersmith.com for more funny videos.”
But it went viral. People latched on, people connected with this character, because I think everyone has an Earl in their family somewhere; they’ve met an Earl; they know an Earl; they’ve heard stories of guys like Earl, and so they connect.
And then as people gravitated to it and wanted more, we made another little video. And then they wanted more, and they were eating it up, and so I wrote a song. And then they ate that up. And then they wanted him live. They were chanting for him at a live show, so we brought him to the live show.
So my point is everything that Earl has become has been kind of drug along by fans. And if they didn’t want that, or if they stopped wanting it one day, I’ll stop bringing it. I’m never gonna ram it down their throat.
Talk about your Yee Yee Energy Drink; it seems to be based on your Earl character, and then it became a “real” product.
That kind of goes back to, we kinda have a homegrown approach to this. My brother is my manager, my best friend is my tour manager. And we’ve kind of built this from scratch. With Earl…. we didn’t have doubters about if Earl would work or not because it came so organic that by the time it did work, that’s when people noticed it. So they couldn’t say it didn’t work because it already had by the time it got to anybody that could doubt it.
And the same thing goes with this energy drink. We were calling Red Bull and Monster and “Hey, we’re a touring band, we drink energy drinks, we’d love to have an endorsement,” and… crickets. No one would listen.
And so my brother and I, we said, “Why don’t we just make our own? We’ll call it Yee Yee Energy. And we’ll drink it; if no one else drinks it, that’s okay, but at least we’ll just have our own little endless supply of our own drink, and eventually the price will make up for it, so we’ll provide it to ourselves.”
That’s how it started, and it wasn’t like, “We’re gonna roll out a national plan; we’re gonna take over; we’re gonna beat out Red Bull; we’re gonna be number one in the industry of energy drinks.” It was never like that. It was like, “We need something to drink; let’s make our own. And if someone else wants it, yeah, we’ll sell it at cost and see what happens.”
Are there people that don’t get the joke with Earl?
I haven’t come across that. Earl is so much of me. If anything, it’s making fun of myself. If you’re gonna argue it’s making fun of anybody, it’s making fun of me. These are my clothes; this is my dad’s trucker hat; these same boots I wear every day. These overalls are overalls I had in high school that I wore, the truck is my first truck; all the damage to that truck, the door is missing, the tailgate is broken, it’s all from when I was going through a crazy teenage phase.
And so if anything, it’s making fun of me and some family members, and it’s celebrating a lifestyle that’s obviously way over the top. So we have a blast with it.
Your path seems a lot different from most other country artists; putting out independent albums year after year for a decade is more like the way rock bands would work.
When I started writing songs, we’d make a five song demo to pitch to everyone, and no one would cut the songs. A month later we’d make another five song demo. We’d pitch it, and no one would cut it. I’m looking at ten songs; I’m like, “I like these, they’re my stories; maybe I’ll just make an album.”
This was in the early 2000s; I’d go to the CD printer and make about 20 of them and give them a name, and then I would go down the street and have a guy take a few pictures, and we’d make a little album cover, and we would call it an album.
And even though nobody was really buying them back in those days, I loved the fact that I could take this collection of songs, my stories, and close the chapter of that book and move on to another chapter.
And that’s the way I’ve always looked at my albums is that they’re kind of diaries, snapshots of my time. Before you know it, over a decade you have a string of seven or eight albums. And then sleeping on people’s couches and eating budget food, sometimes making a little bit of money on a gig and losing money on other gigs, paying the guys [in the band] peanuts.
And we had so much fun back then. It seems like yesterday. And it wasn’t really the starving artist environment that it would’ve been in Nashville, if I was [pitching] songs and no one’s taking them. At least we were in a van or a Suburban or a pickup and beating up the road, and it was all relative. No one was coming to the shows, but we were having fun, and we were playing music, and occasionally we would sell a CD, and it felt good. So it was a long road, but definitely worth it. It’s part of the story now.
I’m sure it helps you to appreciate where you are now.
There’s no doubt. And I’m by no means judging a brand new artist that comes out of the box and gets a major label deal and gets a single on the radio. That happens all the time, and that’s also another path to success. Sometimes they’re very successful.
But the way that I came up, I have a little bit different story, and I know every component of this business because of that. I know how the trailer’s hooked up, I know where the spare tire is, because I had to learn that.
Do you use your touring band on your albums?
After the Nashville demo records I started making all the albums in my house. So we would use my own band, and I would do all the editing, and I became very accustomed to that. It’ll make you become a control freak, if you aren’t one already: making a couple albums out of your house with your own computer will make you become a control freak.
And so we approached this album not too differently. The only difference was I had joined up with Frank Rogers, who I’ve known for a long time; he’s a producer in country music. And he said, “Hey, I wanna work with you on this next project.” This was before my record deal. And I said, “Well, I’m hard to work with. I gotta edit everything on my laptop.”
And he said, “Great.” He said, “I’ll come in, and we’ll share the duties. I’ll take some things, the grueling tasks that you don’t need to be messing with. I’ll help you, and I’ll take up some of that workload for you. I’ll use my knowledge on making hit radio records, and you use your knowledge on who Granger is, and we’ll meet in the middle.”
I guess that after all those years of doing indie records, working with a guy with a radio track record was an attractive idea.
Very attractive; I knew that I needed help. I knew I needed someone who had made hit radio songs before. And on top of me being that control freak, I got to use my own band and do the overdubs at my house and do all the editing. Every single edit was done by me.
And then after all that time, at the end of last year, you’re on everyone’s “country artists to watch in 2016” lists. That must be weird.
“Debut artist,” “overnight success,” “brand new album.” I’ve taken all that in stride, and it really doesn’t hurt my feelings, because I understand that we’re in front of a brand new audience. So in a lot of ways, we are a new artist.
It doesn’t bother me. I understand the jumps that we’ve taken. I understand that my fans that have been with me since the beginning are grassroots; these are fans that find things on the internet and spread things word of mouth. And then there’s a new group who hears the songs on the radio.
And we like both. And both are special, and both are just as hardcore, they just have different ways of finding the music. And I’ll take “the debut artist” tag, if it means that we have a whole bunch of really, really good fans.
You wrote most of your songs, but not all of them. Does it matter to you if you write a song, or someone else wrote it?
It does. Writing has always been a way for me to tell a story, to get things out. Maybe something’s really bugging me. The way that I release that is through music. And so that’s why songwriting’s been so important.
So with the songs that we find, I have to know the writers, I have to know their story, and it has to feel like a song that I wrote. And every once in a while I’ll hear a song, I’ll go, “I felt like I wrote that song.”
And I still go and tweak all the lyrics, and I’ll go into the verses and make new sentences to make it sound like me. Garth [Brooks] would say the same thing. He’ll pick a song if he feels like “this feels like my story.” It’s uncanny sometimes how that happens.
Other than that, I’m not putting it out there that, “Hey, Granger needs songs; send me everything you’ve got.” It’s just not gonna work, because I’m just a little too picky. Maybe I’m not the best businessman because of that, but that’s just who I am.
Talk about the first single, “Backroad Song.”
“Backroad Song” was the first song that I wrote for Remington, this new album, and it was right after I released my last album, and I’d had some success on that record and at the live show with kind of a “feel good, forget about yesterday, forget about tomorrow, let’s live in the moment” [vibe].
And as I was writing, the beginning of the process, getting ideas together, I would take the laptop, and I would take it into my truck, and I would drive around and plug in the aux cable and listen to mixes while driving, ’cause I was thinking, “I need to get right to the source of where this music needs to live, to the actual environment where the final product will be heard,” which is, hopefully, not little white speakers or holding up your cellphone to your ear, but driving, windows down, and living in the moment.
And as I was doing that I was thinking, if I’ve gone this far and I’ve brought the computer in the truck, I might as well take it one step farther and just call it “Backroad Song” and get right to the point. Forget about the breakup of the girls, forget about I lost my job, and let’s just get right to the point. And that’s really how the song came.
The next single is “If the Boot Fits,” which you didn’t write, but it does sound like it could have been you.
That was a pitch by a publisher who wanted me to co-write with those writers. And they said to my brother/manager, “Hey, we’ve got some brand new writers in Nashville, we feel like their style is very similar to Granger. We were wondering if we could set up a co-write some time.”
“Here’s an example of something they just wrote.” Tyler hears it and he goes, “It sounds just like Granger wrote that song.”
He sent it to me and he goes, “What do you think about this song? They were pitching it if you wanna co-write with these guys.” And I said, “That sounds like one of my songs.”
And so we dug into it, and we got into the studio to cut it, and I took a few of the words and made sound more like me.
I’m sure some songwriters can be control freaks too; how did they feel about you changing their song?
I was nervous about that. I didn’t tell them I was gonna change the words, and then I made the final changes in front of the vocal mic. And we just cut it just hoping, “Oh God, I hope they’re not mad at me.”
And so I even emailed them after that. I said, “Guys, the song came out great. I changed up the words in the verses. I hope you’re not mad.” And they’re young, cool guys, and they’re like, “Man, we just can’t wait to hear it.”
So then I met ’em a couple weeks later at a bar, and they had heard it, and I was like, “Guys, what’d ya think?” And they’re like, “We love it, man! ‘Four-by-four 400 horse Chevrolet, blue dress!’”
You have a song “Blue Collar Dollar.” What kind of jobs have you had to have to support yourself?
I’ve been a musician for so long that I’ve always had to have something to supplement that, because there’s a lot of times when it doesn’t pay the bills. You can never really commit to a boss because you gotta go back and play a gig. And you gotta say, “We gotta leave at 11 a.m. on Friday. I know that’s your busy day, but we got a gig. No one’s gonna come to the gig, but trust me, we gotta go.”
And bosses never understand that. And I’ve had guys, I’ve had bosses in the past say, “Man, when’s this music thing just gonna stop? You’re just chasing this dream, and you’re ‘x’ amount of years old.”
But I’ve worked at a barbecue restaurant. I worked for construction companies and house painting companies. I had a lawn service in Nashville. That was the easiest, because I could control my own hours. But my whole gimmick with the lawn service was “I’ll cut your grass for 20 bucks.” Until I started realizing that some lawns are bigger than others in Nashville. But I’d put out flyers, and it said, “Songwriter lawn service. Mowing lawns till I write a hit.” And I put it in probably 500 mailboxes.
I remember I mowed Keith Urban’s drummer’s yard, a lot of songwriters, a lot of publishers. They probably just felt sorry for me.
What made you decide to write your own bio, instead of having your publicist do it?
I would be playing these shows with new artists. And I would say, “I wonder where he’s from?” So I would go to his website, and I would read his bio.
The industry bios were always like, “With ‘x’ amount of singles sold and raising the eyebrows of executives all around, up and down” —it was like, dude, where’s this guy from? Come on, man, what’s his story?
And so I told my publicist; she didn’t love the idea. But I said, “Lemme just write a bio like I’m telling a story, as if someone could digest this right away and just get it, like ‘Okay, I got it. I got who Granger is.’” And so it still probably doesn’t totally impress her that I’ve written my own bio when she could get these hifalutin writers to do it. But anyway…
Tell me about George Strait’s influence on you.
I was playing guitar at about 14, and I saw George at 15. It was actually my 15th birthday. And I was already a big fan, or at least at the time, relatively speaking I was a big fan, soon to be huge fan.
But I was a big enough fan to have joined the fan club, and that was back before everything was digital. You would get mailers, and you would get pictures and newsletters, and I loved all that stuff, all that memorabilia. I would just get it and read through every word of it. The movie Pure Country was already out; it was a hit in the country music family.
And so I saw him in concert at Texas Stadium. And in order to get good tickets, the fan club was offering fan club seating, preferred seating. First come, first serve; like a month before the concert you go pick ’em up at the box office, which opened at 7 a.m. And they had blocked off a big block on the floor of the stadium.
So I was thinking, “I’m just gonna go and spend the night there.” So I went out there and kind of camped out. And I wasn’t the only one, there was probably a hundred people doing that same thing. But by the time I got to the box office, I was about sixth or seventh in line, so when I got there I got second row center, right in the middle. Because everyone else was in groups; they wanted three or four tickets. I wanted one ticket.
So I had that ticket, and I went to the concert, and that’s what changed everything. That day, I’ll never forget it. I got there at noon; that’s when the first band started, Asleep at the Wheel. They started at noon, and it was in June, so the Texas heat was pounding down at Texas Stadium, but that was okay. For some parts of the show, I was one of the only people on the floor, because everyone else was up in the shadows of the stadium or getting drinks.
And I was out there and watched every band, and then by the time George came on, the lights went down, and you just feel that kinetic energy in the sky and people just rumbling, anticipating this concert after they’ve been waiting.
And the lights are down, you see kind of the feet shuffling around the stage in the shadows, and then George comes out, and the light hits him, and the music starts. And I was just in heaven. I just thought, “Nothing else matters in my life. This is my passion. I will follow this. If I’m the rigger on top of the lights or I’ll be the security guy, whatever it takes to get on that bus and travel in something like this is what I wanna do.”
When did you decide to move to Nashville?
That was right in the middle of being in college. So there was a lot of weight on this decision. And I had a couple publishing companies fly in to hear me and the band play some music, and I had that one album out.
And looking back, we were a horrible band. Horrible. There was no tightness between us, and it was a lot of cover songs and a couple originals sprinkled in, and a college following is all we had. So you really would’ve had to have the vision of seeing the big picture with me, ’cause I was baby-faced, and I was so raw.
But a couple companies flew down, and EMI in particular had a really good pitch to me: “Come up here, write some songs, we’ll give you a small draw, we’ll introduce you to a bunch of the older writers, and then we’ll see about you being an artist, and we’ll see if once a couple years go by” — it ended up being seventeen years, but “a couple of years” is what they said — “and we’ll try to get you a record deal.” So I kind of waited on that, talked to my parents; they were fully supportive. Talked to my buddies in college; they thought I was crazy, but they supported it.
And then I made the move. Didn’t know anybody, and I went in there with the intention of learning the craft of songwriting. Learning from every guy that had a hit. The older guys would sit me down, and I would write a line, and they would say, “Okay, that rhymes, but what does that mean?”
And I remember thinking, “I hadn’t thought about what it means, I was just trying to rhyme something and say something cool.” And there was so much I would learn from these guys.
The decision to move was reinforced by meeting these people. And I learned the ins and outs of a studio, which ended up being huge for me.
At some point, you decided to go back to college. Why did you decide to do that: hardly anyone goes back to college after they leave.
A couple things. I was playing Tootsies, and I absolutely hated it. I absolutely hated it, I despised it, and it got to the point where it was the first time in my career — not the last — I thought, “Man, music sucks. Why am I doing this?”
Because I would dread it. I played Monday mornings, 10 am to 2 pm at Tootsies; it was awful. Then I played Wednesday 6 to 10, which was fun — that was the best shift — and then Friday 10 am to 2 am, which was drunks, only drunks.
But all three sets were covers only; it was very strict “covers only” policy. Top 40 mixed with the most famous songs of country music, and you need to keep playing those over and over. No bathroom breaks, you never get off the stage, and music never stops, there’s no dead time. I can respect that; that’s how those companies run on lower Broadway.
But it got grueling, after about a year goes by of doing this every week: grueling. And I’m thinking, “If I have to play this song one more time…” And my creativity was just out the window, it was gone. I would be excited about a song I’d written, but I surely couldn’t play it, so I didn’t know how people would ever react. And I was kind of losing myself.
And this was all culminating with this feeling I had of wanting to finish my college degree. I had half of it, and every year that went by I’d get a little bit further away from the opportunity to finish it. And so it hit me one day: Februarys in Nashville are typically cloudy every single day, cloudy and rainy and about 40 degrees. And I had a girlfriend who lived in Texas at the time, and I went to visit her a couple times in Austin, and it was sunny, 75, not a cloud in the sky, and I was like, “Ah, I gotta move back to Texas.” And so then I got totally passionate about this idea about moving to College Station, living with my uncle, re-enrolling at Texas A&M, starting a band, and playing these new songs that I had written.
And I got so excited about that idea I couldn’t drop it, I couldn’t get rid of it. And it only took about a month, and I packed up everything in a U-Haul and went home.
You’re from Dallas; talk about the importance of coming from that city.
I think when you speak about Dallas, you’re speaking about Texas in general. There’s a mentality that we’re very proud to be Texans, which sometimes comes across in a bad way. But I am very proud to be from Dallas, Texas. Very early [on], I wanted to get out of Dallas. My dad lived there because he worked there providing for his family, and that’s what he needed to do.
And so I just wanted to get out. And maybe a lot of kids grow up that way, “Let’s get out, let’s see what the world has to offer.” And that’s the way I felt, and so as soon as I turned 18 I packed up and I went to College Station, where actually I felt a little bit more at home. And then that same year my parents moved out to a ranch in central Texas, where then my little brother started going to school.
So I kinda go the best of both worlds, I got the life in Dallas, and then I got the life at the ranch. And I feel very blessed to have had the best of both worlds. Me and my wife and kids, we live on 10 acres; we prefer that. But I could say that honestly, because I got to experience both.
There’s a very good argument that if I hadn’t been born and raised in Dallas, I wouldn’t be sitting here at all. Because there was so much opportunity, there was always a stage, there was always a band. I got to play in so many different places. From 15 years old I was able to step into some places and play a couple songs and be around talent that was phenomenal. Leann Rimes was coming up at the same time, and this girl was just like blowing everybody away.
When I talk to people that are from smaller towns, they were always the best in their town. I was never the best. I was always fighting to try to be the best, but I never was, growing up in Dallas. And so I think kinda that competitive spirit is something I use as a blessing, for sure.
I remember when Leann Rimes debuted with “Blue,” it just blew everyone’s minds. I’m sure when people found out you were from Dallas, people would ask if you knew her.
Yeah, and we would do shows with her and her voice would just cut heads off. It was just so incredibly powerful. So yeah, there was so much talent there.
In your bio, you discussed performing in Iraq; that must have been a heavy experience.
It was. And I went over there motivated to try to bring a piece of home and try to say thank you and shake some hands and say “Thank you for your service,” but it ended up being so much more than that. And what I got from these men and women and what I experienced from seeing how hard they’re working seven days a week without breaks –I spent Christmas and New Year’s over there, and there was no difference in Christmastime besides they served turkey and dressing at the dining facility. And I was blown away, like you would think, “Oh, Christmas, maybe they have parties, maybe they open presents.” No. It’s business as usual, seven days a week. You can’t even tell if it’s a Sunday or a Monday or a Wednesday, there’s no difference. They do their job every single day.
And they volunteer to do that so that I can travel around and play music and have fun. And I felt guilty about that, and I felt a conviction to be able to tell people, remind people, that even though it might not seem like it, we’re still a country at war. And those experiences are worth a lifetime to me.
You’ve also played the White House.
I was a history major in college, and so I look at the White House as: that’s our house. It’s not just the President’s house. That’s just where he lives. It’s a part of our heritage; it’s part of our ancestry; it’s a great piece of our American history.
And so to be able to play there was a dream come true, just standing in that lawn and taking the little tours. It seems like it was so long ago now that, it was just 2008 the last time that I did that.
But it was, gosh, it was a huge point in my career. And I remember thinking, and I’ve thought this a couple times in my life, “How did music get me here? How did playing guitar get me here?” It’s amazing.
Let me ask about again about Earl Dibbles; what is your advice for other artists who want to create an alter ego?
The only thing I could really do good in college was write essays. I was horrible at [everything else], but the one thing I could do is B.S. my way through an essay. Even if I didn’t know the subject, I could just kind do it.
And so I thought, at one point I kinda hit rock bottom and I was thinking, man, no one’s listening [to my music], I’ve put out records, I think they’re good, but no one’s hearing them, no one’s coming to the shows. What could I do? And I thought if this was a college class, I would write an essay about it.
So I started writing an essay. This is how much time I had on my hands. I was desperate, so I wrote an essay, and it ended up being [about] the word “connection.” That was the word, that was the focus. How do we connect? How do you find a connection? Where do you search for a connection, and why is connection important?
Connection is everything. Earl is connection. The new album is a connection. The single that ended up going number one was a connection. You could always find that word in any bit of success. In life. Because everything’s about relationships and each other, and so we put the fans first.
And so if I’m talking to anybody starting out in the industry, there’s two ways that you could really do it. You go to the music business side, and you meet the higher-ups who can put you in the right spot to be seen. Or you go to the fans and you build enough fans so that the higher-ups have to pay attention to you. Either way is right; there’s been success on both sides; we just chose to go straight to the fans.
And so I would say to someone starting out, find a connection with those fans. What is your story, and how do you tell your story with them being able to connect to it? Who’s your people, and why do they like you? And whatever that reason is, give ’em more of it.
What were some personas that didn’t make it?
There’s “Live with Lionel,” which I think is really funny in my opinion, but it didn’t really connect. “Freddy’s Enchiladas” I think is another good one. Donny Cowboy’s my favorite. Donny Cowboy’s the ‘90s country, lives in a duplex, rides a lowrider pickup truck with, drinks coffee and smokes cigarettes. I love Donny. He never made it either. Earl, Earl had a connection, and he ruled.