It’s 15 years and counting for Fort Worth-based country singer-songwriter Casey Donahew with the counting part getting into bigger and bigger numbers and the wild ride maybe getting a little wilder.
Last year, Donahew released “15 Years, The Wild Ride,” which revisited some of his earliest hits, such as “Double-Wide Dream” and “Stockyards,” but with updated and fuller arrangements.
He considered it a thank you to fans that had kept the ride going and who often sang along with many of those hits. Donahew comes back to Waco with a Friday night show and ready to keep adding new years to his career.
“I think fans really enjoyed our 15-year tribute and last year was maybe our biggest year ever,” he said, speaking of a year that saw more than 10 sell-out shows and his single “That Got the Girl” become his 17th No. 1 hit.
The year also saw his audience on digital streaming services swell to 70 million on-demand streams on Spotify and Apple and 268 million streams on Pandora. Donahew also has a social media fan base of around half a million followers, not bad for someone who started out before online streaming audio did. “I think at the beginning we got behind the curve,” he said. “With so many records out, it takes a little while for us to catch up.”
To keep that momentum going, Donahew plans to head back to the recording studio next month with Nashville producer Josh Leo. The two worked on Donahew’s 2016 studio album “All Night Party,” which reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums, and the Texas performer tipped his hat to Leo’s expertise with hit singles, having produced nearly 30 No. 1 hits in his career.
“He was really instrumental in how to take that sound to a new level and to get on major radio, it’s got to be at that level,” Donahew said.
Fans at Friday’s Waco concert may get a tease of the new songs, he said, but the direction of the new album is straight-ahead Casey with no turns planned. “I’m making the same kind of music I always have,” he said. “I keep making Casey Donahew records.”
Donahew and his five-piece band are the midpoint of a solid music weekend at The Backyard. Veteran Fort Worth rock band The Toadies return for a Thursday night show with Texas country singer-songwriter and Baylor University graduate Josh Grider anchoring the Saturday night spot.