Hot Country Knights Deliver on Promise to Bring Country Back to Its ’90s Heyday
The Hot Country Knights unleashed their debut single, "Pick Her Up," upon an unsuspecting country music community on Thursday (Jan. 23), marking the occasion with an industry-only press conference and Waffle House brunch that morning. Clad in their signature stone-washed jeans and mullet wigs, the Knights made short work of their mission statement to bring country music back to its testosterone-infused, flagrantly '90s heyday.
Fronted by Douglas "Doug" Douglason (who looks and sounds a whole lot like Dierks Bentley, and come to think of it, the two have never been seen in the same room together), the six-piece outfit answered questions, shared stories and offered unsolicited opinions on everything from the state of country music to their mutual admiration for bassist Trevor Travis' mom.
In fact, the Knights decided to throw Bentley a bone and let him produce their forthcoming full-length project. Douglason says he felt sorry for the singer after running into Bentley at a moment, years prior, when the star's career was languishing.
"I gave a really great speech, encouraging him to keep grinding and working at it ... and it must have worked, because apparently he's doing pretty good," Douglason recalls. "He wanted to give us a shot, he wanted to give us a chance, although, actually, we were doing just fine. We had a demo we did over in Trevor's mom's basement. It was gonna get plenty of airplay.
"But, you know, '90s is hot right now, and he wanted to ride the mullet, so to speak. He wanted to ride the Knight train. The 'K' is silent," Douglason adds.
Speaking of mullets, the Hot Country Knights shared a few unreleased songs with the audience at Thursday morning's press conference, including a plaintive, mid-tempo number called "Mullet Over" that begs a leaving love to reconsider her decision. In other songs, the Knights wax philosophical about the call of the open road, celebrate their patriotism and more.
The band has previously mostly concentrated on playing other artists' hits -- "We were out on the road singing a lot of other people's hits, and we called them 'greatest hits' because by us singing them, it made them great," Douglason notes -- but now, the group is ready to foray into original material. With help from -- or in spite of, depending on who you ask -- Bentley's involvement, the Knights are gearing up to release a full-length batch of their signature brand of country.
"This is all original material, and it's the best stuff to come out of Nashville since, like, 1999. I'm excited for the fans to hear it," Douglason notes.
"And I'm excited for them to buy it," adds bandmate Marty Ray "Rayro" Roburn.
From the stage on Thursday morning, the Knights endorsed -- in no particular order -- Preparation H, Chevrolet, Waffle House and an unnamed erectile dysfunction medication. More than anything, though, they endorsed their loud-and-proud brand of '90s country music, cementing their place in the genre by releasing their first single as a duet with Travis Tritt.
"If you want a hit, you gotta get Tritt," says Douglason. There's much more to come following the new single, though: After three decades of spinning their wheels as a Murfreesboro-based country cover band, the Knights are finally gearing up to step into the mainstream spotlight.
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