Brooke Stevens

Rooted in Country: Triston Marez on Roger Miller's 'Dang Me'

Houston-native Triston Marez has (rightfully) drawn comparisons to '90s country hitmakers, who recorded songs to both tear up a dance floor and tear out your heart. But the 24-year-old, whose self-titled debut album is out on April 16, says the song that first made him fall in love with country music was a piece of 1960s country gold: Roger Millers' 1964 Grammy-winner "Dang Me."

"As a kid I remember going to my great-grandparents house, who I called my buddy and GG, the first thing I remember being mesmerized by was the two bucks hanging up on the wall, second was my GG's cooking, third was my great-grandpa's pickup truck. The first real big memory I had with country music was listening to his Classic Country Hits CD in that truck while driving down backroads and the song 'Dang Me' by Roger Miller played and I was HOOKED," Marez tells Wide Open Country. "I loved the melodic story that my 5-year-old brain didn't comprehend, but of course singing along [with] 'dang me, dang me, oughta take a rope 'n hang me' — maybe I thought of my 1st grade crush leavin' me, who knows. But the melodies, words, and unique sounds that come with the song really made me fall in love with country music itself. To this day I still think about what that song brought to me. I grew up listening to a variety of things, '90s country being my biggest influence, but if you were to ask what my first song was that caught my attention with country, it'll be that one! And being 24-years-old, it's a whole lot more relatable now."

Read More: Three Acts to Watch: Courtney Dickinson, Triston Marez and Jennifer Smestad

In 2014, Marez made his stage debut at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo's talent competition, which he won. The singer-songwriter moved to Nashville at 18 and began paying his Music City dues with four-hour sets on Lower Broadway.

Marez co-wrote 9 of the 12 tracks on his debut album, which also includes a song written by Chris Stapleton. He previously released "Where the Neon Lies," a collaboration with country legend Ronnie Dunn.





Now Watch: George Strait's Son, Bubba Strait, is a Country Songwriter and Rodeo Cowboy