It's a cool Tuesday night in the northern suburbs of Houston. Scooter Brown, Josh Ward and Josh Norman were playing an acoustic show at a roadside bar, Nico's Place, off U.S. Hwy. 59 in Kingwood, Texas.
Scott Brown of the Scooter Brown Band has been playing lots of acoustic shows in the Houston area this winter
There were dedicated fans, for sure. But many of the people were enjoying their drinks and talking to their friends.
It's a safe bet that Scott "Scooter" Brown made a good impression upon those fans Tuesday night. He's been building a fan base in Texas Country, especially in Greater Houston, playing venues like Dosey Doe's, Tumbleweeds Texas, Big Texas Dancehall and Saloon and little bars in and around the city.
Last month, he played the five-man jam at Big Texas - along with Ward, Norman, John T. Slaughter and Jody Booth.
He really enjoys the acoustic shows - where it's just singers and their guitars. He gets to tell stories about his songs. On his latest album - "Between Hell and Texas" - Brown wrote 12 of the 13 songs, many of which are getting lots of play on Radio Free Texas
"I like the acoustic shows because they're more intimate. When you have a full band, you're playing your show and you talk a little bit to the crowd. You kind of explain a little bit about what the song is - how you wrote it."
So how did a Nebraska-born, Colorado-raised guy become a rising star in the Texas Music Scene?
Brown was born in Omaha, Neb. and lived in Taylor, Texas - outside Austin - until he was 8, and he moved to Littleton, Colorado.
Growing up on early 90's country music like Daryle Singletary and Joe Diffie along with classics like Waylon and Willie, Brown was a baseball player, not a singer.
He didn't start thinking about music until he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. Some of his fellow Marines were from the Houston area and introduced him to the music of Pat Green, Roger Creager and Cory Morrow.
Brown was hooked and he found a musical home. He'd start writing songs on his guitar.
"I'm just a huge music fan. There's so many songs that hit me in a different way."
Two of those songs - Reckless Kelly's "Wicked Twisted Road" and Jamey Johnson's "In Color" - give Brown "goosebumps", he said.
Brown's now focusing all of his time on his music career. He's worked on offshore oil rigs, as a car salesman, a construction worker and an electrician's apprentice. But he feels that music is his calling.
"It's like the old saying, "if you find something you love to do, you'll never work a day in your life," Brown said.
He said the Texas Music Scene is unique because it speaks directly to what it's fans want to hear. He also enjoys music that comes out of Nashville, saying that those artists are singing about their experiences and what matters to them.
His experience serving in the Marines from 1999-2003 shaped him as a person and as a songwriter. The title track from the album deals with that experience, but he rarely plays it live because it's so emotional for him.
Brown credits his wife with helping his music career.
"When I first started playing, she said 'I'm going to book you some shows and she started calling every little bar in Spring and Houston. If it weren't for her, I would be working full-time and never would have dabbled in music."
He's collaborated with other artists such as Rich O'Toole ("When The Whiskey Starts Talkin") and Cody Johnson ("Texas Kind Of Way") and has done several shows with Ward.
Some of Brown's best songs are "Apology", "Wrapped Around My Heart" and "Ghosts of Laredo."
The last two tracks from his album, "Huntsville" and "Blood Stained Branded Man" morph into each other during the live show. It's the chilling tale of a soldier returning home to find his cheating spouse spent all his money - leaving him high and dry.
When it comes to outlaw country, Brown doesn't only perform original material. He added a bluesy twist to the Johnny Cash classic, "Folsom Prison Blues," at Tuesday's show.