Fan of the Week: Henry Abuto and His Love for Josh Abbott Band

Everyone has a band or actor whom they admire. That admiration can take many forms. Some of us display posters on our walls. Some of us watch our favorite shows or listen to our favorite bands on a nonstop loop, and some of us take it further and get tattoos to demonstrate our undying devotion to the object of our fandom. However you show your devotion, (as long as it’s healthy, normal devotion), I’m sure the artist would appreciate it. They work their asses off to entertain you and make you feel something with their art. And that’s an incredible thing.

We discovered our friend, Henry, was a MAJOR fan of JAB (Josh Abbott Band) and he was kind enough to give us a deeper look into his fandom. And let me tell you, he has done some extreme things to show his love for this band. Here’s his story.

So, you’re a HUGE JAB fan, eh? What made you fall in love with them?

My passion for JAB started when I heard their song “Taste” at some point late 2008. I was working at a bar in my hometown of Fort Worth, TX and we had some band lined up to play. I stopped working and started watching the show. They were touring to support their first full length album, “Scapegoat” as well promoting their upcoming second album “She’s like Texas”.

What initially drew me, and continues to bring me back to the band, is their musicality. Founder and lead singer Josh Abbott has a voice that has a way of making you feel four different emotions at once. Fiddle player Preston Wait is something else to watch. He plays with the ease of a seasoned player and when he’s on stage, Wait has the confidence of Jay-Z. Guitarist Caleb Keeter is immensely talented and has a graceful humility that is present both on and off stage. A band can’t have heart without an amazing drummer and that is exactly what drummer Edward Villanueva brings. Banjo player Austin Davis brings a homegrown feel to the band and helps maintain credibility as truly traditional. Rounding out the band, we have bass player James Hertless. Besides, being a great bass player, James has some pipes on him as well. whether he’s singing 3rd or 5th harmonies to accompany Abbott’s vocals during their live shows, it’s a treat to hear him sing. The band has a sound that is uniquely Texan and southern. I think that’s one of the reasons so many people identify with their music. You can hear and feel a piece of yourself somewhere in each of their songs.

Have you met any of them in person? 

I have been fortunate enough to meet every single one of the band members and I now consider myself lucky to call them my friends.

What was that like? Were you totally star struck?

In January 2011, they came to Nacogdoches. I took my best friend Cynthia with me. We decided to be a little aggressive to meet them, so after the show we stuck around and by some luck and Cynthia’s extremely good looks, we got invited to hang out with them on the bus. To say we were excited would be an understatement. Cynthia and I were the only black people at the show and thus the only black people on the bus.

The guys are all pretty mellow and Josh is usually the first one to retire to the back to sleep. Someone brought out a bottle of Goldschläger and Cynthia and I began taking shots. First night hanging out with these people and we decide to get completely trashed. (To this day, neither one of us has had Goldschläger again.) I have a personality that would make me normally act star struck but the shots got rid of that. Along with her dignity, Cynthia lost her driver’s license, debit card, and wallet that night on the bus. That was the beginning of me being a complete mess around them. My twerking phase soon followed.

What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done as a fan?

The most extreme thing I’ve done as a JAB fan was probably in 2011 when Cynthia and I, from January to September of that year, saw them once a month no matter where they were playing. We took road trips to Houston, Austin, Dallas, College Station, etc. Looking back, I don’t know how I had the time, energy or money to afford this but those were probably the best eight months of my college career. If there was a soundtrack to my college life, JAB would be it.

How many of their shows have you seen?

Currently, I am at TWENTY shows that I’ve seen. My biggest accomplishment this morning was looking at their tour schedule and seeing which shows I can make it to this summer.

How has your fandom evolved over the years?

Although the guys and their respective spouses have now become people I consider friends (Josh’s wife is without a doubt one of my favorite people on this planet), my excitement and love for their music hasn’t changed one bit. I still fight my way to the front of crowd at their shows. I hold my beer up in the air and sing along like I am seeing them for the first time.

The only difference is that now when the guys play their solos on their respective instruments, I might roll my eyes at all the girls who go crazy. I still go crazy too though. That banjo player! Don’t get me started. Preston does this thing where he’ll lean into the audience with his fiddle for a few seconds and then pull back. On a few occasions, I have literally seen a few girls cry as he does this. Those girls are in good company. I’d be lying if i said I haven’t cried at some point during their shows. In all seriousness, these guys are amazing and talented musicians, and above all, they’re terrific human beings!

All pictures were taken at JABFest2013 in Lubbock, Texas.