Worlds collide: Oklahoma music artist Jason Boland combines sci-fi and country for concept album | Music

Boland, whose resume includes 10 albums and more than 500,000 records sold, grew up in Harrah’s and now lives outside of New Braunfels, Texas. He was a self-proclaimed hyperactive kid who loved wizards, dragons, and, of course, “Star Wars.” Musically, he was influenced by country titans Waylon Jennings (Shooter’s father) and Merle Haggard.

Waylon’s crew partner, Willie Nelson, jumped into the conversation when Boland was asked about concept albums by other artists he likes. Boland mentioned two Nelson albums (“Red Headed Stranger,” “Tougher Than Leather”) and said he grew up on Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime.”

Styx’s 1983 album “Kilroy Was Here” was a concept album that sold platinum, but some of the band’s fans didn’t love it. Boland acknowledged that making a concept album is a risk. Will people embrace a country sci-fi concept album?

“We’re the right band to do that because, when we get in there and start playing, it always comes out ‘we’, no matter how we try to polish it epically, in our own minds, how we let’s see out.”

Among the album’s 11 tracks is “Restless Spirits”, which was written by an integral Red Dirt (Childers) figure from Boland’s Stillwater years. Boland said it was strange how the song wrapped up in a concept album.