The Western Express Bring Together A Wealth Of Influences For An All-New Brand Of Texas Country Music On Lunatics, Lovers & Poets

The Western Express Bring Together A Wealth Of Influences For An All-New Brand Of Texas Country Music On Lunatics, Lovers & Poets

Album out now

Austin, TX – August 5, 2022 – The Western Express’s nuevo-retro country sound may be gaining popularity, but they’re not chasing trends. “My first real concert was the Judds at the Houston Rodeo in the late ‘80s. I sang George Strait songs at every talent show I could enter as a kid,” says Stephen Castillo, one half of The Western Express, along with Phill Brush. “I’ve just always been immersed in it.” Their sound is real, and it goes deep.

Today, like-minded fans of the eras of country music that inspire The Western Express will be delighted to dive into the band’s all-new full-length album, Lunatics, Lovers & Poets. Drawn to the tragic or notable lives of writers and performers such as Dean Dillon, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Watchhouse, and Chavela Vargas, Brush and Castillo’s unique set of influences are balanced with classic country troubadours like Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, and Alan Jackson. It is through this lens that they refract a sound all their own. Touching on classic pop country, Latin blues, gospel, and even a little outlaw, The Western Express are cultivating their one-of-a-kind brand of Texas country.

Fans can hear The Western Express’s eclectic mix today. Stream or purchase Lunatics, Lovers & Poets now at this link, check out the music video for “Flower of the Rio Grande” here, and see a full list of The Western Express’s tour dates below or at

Lunatics, Lovers & Poets In The News:

KUTX premiered the album-opening “Honky Tonk Saints,” and called Lunatics, Lovers & Poets “A non-stop nine-song direct route to authentic cross-country twang.”

Texas Lifestyle Magazine shared the music video for “Flower of the Rio Grande,” praising its “Swaggering, moody Mex-Tex feel.”

Earlier this week, AmericanaUK premiered the video for “Honky Tonk Saints,” calling the song “a musical slice of joy…clear talent, quality music.”

The Western Express performed “Flower of the Rio Grande” on Fox 7’s Good Day Austin.

More About Lunatics, Lovers & Poets: Lunatics, Lovers & Poets was produced by rockabilly star John Evans (Emily Bell, Hayes Carll, Corb Lund). “John is a childhood hero of mine. Over the years, he’s always been very encouraging and very helpful,” Castillo says. “Without him, we would have had a decent record, probably, but it would not be what it is. He was making decisions deliberately, quickly, and concisely. He facilitated a cohesive sound out of a record that may not necessarily have had one without his touch.

In addition to Evans’s sonic choices, the nine songs on Lunatics, Lovers & Poets work together despite their differences—much like Brush and Castillo themselves—because of Castillo’s strong, but not self-important, songwriting decisions. There’s an old-school storytelling style masking deeply personal reflections in “Flower of the Rio Grande,” and “Leyenda,” unflinching honesty over upbeat melodies in “Trust Me, You Can’t Trust Me” and “Emptying Me,” and straightforward, dancehall-ready love stories in “You and Me and the Neon” and “Lovin’ You for a While.”

n Lunatics, L“I took the craft of writing these songs seriously,” explains Castillo, who wrote much of the album during a solo trip to West Texas in the fall of 2018, “but the songs themselves don’t take themselves very seriously.”

Lunatics, Lovers & Poets Tracklist:

1. Honky Tonk Saints

2. Flower of the Rio Grande

3. You and Me and the Neon

4. Trust Me, You Can’t Trust Me

5. Leyenda

6. Lovin’ You For A While

7. Last Apology

8. Emptying Me

9. Quesadilla Mamacita

Catch The Western Express On Tour:

August 6 – Kerrville, TX – Trailhead Beer Garden

August 7 – Helotes, TX – John T. Floore’s Country Store

August 17 – Austin, TX – The Broken Spoke 

August 24 – Bertram, TX – Globe Theatre

September 7 – Bertram, TX – Globe Theatre

September 8 – Austin, TX – Broken Spoke

September 9 – Houston, TX – Continental Club

September 11 – Memphis, TN – Hernando’s Hideaway

September 13 – Nashville, TN – Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge

September 16 – Caddo Valley, AR – Betty’s Big Country Dancehall

More About The Western Express: Phill Brush and Stephen Castillo, together known as The Western Express, met via Craigslist in early 2018 and bonded over their shared love of first-rate songwriting and the country hits of the 1980s and ‘90s. While they’re aware of the renewed interest in those eras of country music and the major-label artists leading that surge in popularity with radio-friendly hits, they’re no bandwagon act: Brush spent his youth in Texas Hill Country, while Castillo was born in Houston and raised in Nacogdoches, TX. Their debut album, Lunatics, Lovers & Poets, produced by rockabilly star John Evans (Emily Bell, Hayes Carll, Corb Lund), features nine songs written by Castillo and inspired by a wide range of genres and styles, from Country Music Hall of Fame members Dean Dillon and Willie Nelson (whose 1950s radio show is the band’s namesake) to Emily Frantz of the bluegrass duo Watchhouse and ranchera singer Chavela Vargas.


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