Behind the Wagon was formed in late 2006 by the Memphis,Tennessee born vocalist and guitarist Johnny Wagon, drummer Mike Roberts, lead guitarist Billy McCowen, and bassist Freddy “Alibi” Wilson. Freddy left the band shortly after and was quickly replaced by fellow Memphis,Tennessee native William Fears. After months of beer infused practicing and live shows, the four piece band headed into Capricorn Studios in downtown San Diego to record their debut album. Titled The Bottle, God, and the Ones Who Love You in the End, it was released in 2007 and originally featured 11 songs written by the band, but two tracks were added later to bring the total to 13 songs. Dan Glen Fury of Razorcake Magazine wrote of the album, “If you like that country juke box kinda joint with rock songs that are a little country and a little bit southern soul, then you might be into this album. These dudes put on a fun show and know how to party, so go check ‘em out.”
For the next year and a half, the band continued to write new material and to work on their live performance. In 2008, harmonica player “Dead” Dave Standard and guitarist and pedal steel player Ryan Kimble were added to the roster, around six months apart, to help round out the band's sound. In early 2009, the now six piece band went to Lakeside, CA to record their second album with Scotty “Mad Dog” Blinn at Double Barrel Records. The album was released with 11 tracks and was aptly named 11 Songs. Reviewed by Razorcake Magazine, Mike Frame states, “This record really catches fire on the fourth song! After three perfectly fine tunes, Behind the Wagon just nail it, starting with “The Battle and the War” and the record is fantastic the rest of the way through.” Shae Mosley of CityBeat wrote, “Behind the Wagon are adept at churning out all things rootsy and rough-edged on this 2009 release. Lead vocalist Jonny Wagon's cadence and throaty delivery calls to mind Paul Westerberg on upbeat barroom romps like “Have Some Fun Tonight” and “Shakekickers.” But more delicate moments, like the fiddle-laced “Battle and the War” and the moody, Pink Floyd-esque down-tempo number “The Road,” make this a stylistically diverse collection of gritty alt.country-tinged roots rock.” 11 Songs gave Behind the Wagon their first two nominations from the 2010 San Diego Music Awards, in the “Best Americana Album” and “Best Americana Artist” categories.
For the next five years, the group focused on their live shows, touring, and again experienced more lineup changes. “Dead” Dave Standard left the band and a horn section was brought on board to help bolster the band’s sound. The horn section featured trumpet and trombonist Shantih Beeman and Saxophonist Rob Logic. During this time, Behind the Wagon was showcased on the local San Diego music show Sounddiego.
In the summer of 2014, the seven piece band recorded their third album with producer Daniel Crawford, which was titled D.K. Smith. For the first time, the album was released on both CD and Vinyl, with the CD version containing two extra tracks due to the limited space of vinyl. D.K. Smith also earned the band their third nomination from the San Diego Music Awards for “Best Americana Album.”
In 2016, Mike Roberts decided to leave the band, and Tom Esso joined the band as a temporary drummer. Later in the year, Jon Tinker was brought on as the full time drummer.
Early in 2017, Behind the Wagon was contacted by the Padres to write a song about San Diego to be played during their pre-game broadcast on FM 94.9. The song can currently be heard before all 162 of the Padres games on FM 94.9.
Behind the Wagon’s full discography is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and we can be streamed on Spotify.