Red Dirt Country
At mid-afternoon on a Thursday, Spencer Thomas tends the counter at the Texas Pie Company in downtown Kyle. A longtime player in the Austin blues scene, Thomas knows that gigs seldom pay the bills. Even an under the radar gem like his 2007 CD Voodoo Dreams doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to rent and mortgages. Any way you slice it, he's doing the right thing. Thomas isn’t the only one finding life in Kyle appealing. The screen door opens and in walks Johnny Solinger, lead singer for Skid Row since 2000. Solinger sports the requisite flowing locks, scrunched cowboy hat, and cocky-friendly attitude of a rocker. He’s got a firm handshake and a smile for everyone and if someone whipped out a bandana for him to autograph right in front of the pie display, he’d grin and do that too. Replacing Sebastian Bach was no small chore, so the New Jersey boys did the right thing as well and looked to Texas. That’s where they found Solinger, a native “of HEB,” as he calls the Metroplex area of Hurst-Euless-Bedford. He sharpened his vocals fronting Solinger and other bands while performing with fellow upstarts like Pantera. And when Skid Row called in 2000, he was Johnny on the spot.