Turnpike Troubadours Frontman Evan Felker Discusses New Found Sobriety

by Jennifer Shea
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The Turnpike Troubadours have been on hiatus since May of 2019. But now they’re back and ready to play some rollicking Americana music. Next May 14, the band is performing at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre. And they’re looking to add more dates in the meantime.  

Enabling the band’s triumphant return is frontman Evan Felker’s newfound sobriety. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the band talked about what they’ve been up to since 2019, and Felker opened up about what his sobriety means to him.

“I found sobriety and recovery, and that was the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m coming up on two years, completely sober and out of recovery. And a few days after that will be my daughter’s first birthday. So it’s all a big one. I’ve learned so much about how my life was not well-rounded. I mean, I knew that. I knew that it was just one thing. It started out just being music, and then eventually it was just drinking. And that was it for me.”

Turnpike Troubadours Frontman Has Gone Cowboy

Unlike the other members of the Turnpike Troubadours, Felker has not been traveling or playing music much over the past two years. He says that was a much-needed correction after years of giving himself entirely to his music and “let[ting] everything else slide.” He traveled to Oklahoma to visit his family and back again, but that was about it.

Interestingly, getting back to the land and learning the cowboy lifestyle has transformed Felker’s existence. He had some time while he was stuck in rehab to reevaluate how he’d been spending his time, and he says the person he’s become now more accurately reflects who he wants to be.

“There were a lot of things, when I was stuck in a room in a rehab facility, that I thought I really am going to put some time into,” Felker explained. “I wanted to be a decent carpenter or just pie-in-the-sky things like training cattle horses and stuff. Now, I’m really able to do all that! I’ve learned more than ever, this cowboying stuff has changed my life drastically.”

“I’m really, really happy with the things I get to spend my time on now,” he added. “I love music still, but it was time to spend a year or two and catch back up because the person I presented myself to be — and who I thought I was — was lacking in some areas. Now, I feel like myself, and I’m proud of what I’m capable of doing. It’s a nice feeling, it truly is.”

The Band Is Grateful to Be Back

But don’t get Felker wrong – he’s missed the band. And they’ve missed him. The band agreed that the musical chemistry they’d built together was something to be preserved and reinforced, and the time away only drove that point home for them.

“There’s a thing that happens when you’ve worked with someone for a long time that’s just magic,” Felker told Rolling Stone. “The chemistry that we have, and being able to play off of each other without speaking or anything like that, it’s an amazing little phenomenon. And it happens for three or four minutes at a time, and I’m very appreciative of things like that now.” “

Check out the band’s website for updated info on their upcoming shows.

Outsider.com