Texas Voices: From TV’s Yellowstone to Governor Greg Abbott’s 2023 Inaugural Ceremony, Freewheeling Red Dirt Country Music Band Shane Smith & The Saints Are Unafraid To Rock It

by Bob Valleau on October 30, 2023 in Entertainment,

Shane Smith & The Saints is a red dirt country music band based out of Austin, Texas. They specialize in a freewheeling, open-hearted roots music that has its heart in country music but is unafraid of diving into rock. Led by singer-songwriter Shane Smith, the band’s sound combines elements of country, blues, and rock to create a unique and hard-hitting blend of Americana.


Originally from Terrell, Texas, Smith moved to Austin to pursue his music career, and over the years he has built a loyal following for his passionate and powerful live performances. With his bandmates in The Saints — Bennett Brown, fiddler; Dustin Schaefer, lead guitar; Chase Satterwhite, bass guitar; and Zach Stover, drums – Shane delivers a dynamic set of songs that reflect his own life experiences as well as the struggles and triumphs of the everyday people he meets on the road. 

Shane Smith & The Saints got their start in Austin, Texas. Photo Andrew Quinn.

Bennett Brown and The Beginning

In the summer of 2009, Shane Smith made a wise choice to relocate from Terrell, Texas, to Austin, and the decision ignited his music career. “I originally moved to Austin in the summer of 2009 and met Bennett Brown (our fiddle player) within about a year or so. I’d been playing a lot of solo shows at that time, and he quickly became my right hand man for all of those. Whether it was a happy hour, private party or open mic night, we were performing everything as a duo back then. By around 2012, additional band members had joined and we continued playing tons of shows around Austin. It was when we started playing out of state regularly and opening for bands, like Turnpike Troubadours, that it started to feel a little bit more legitimate. It just kind of never stopped from there.”

Making Friends Makes It Worthwhile

Traveling on the road, from gig to gig, can be lonely at times, but friends make it all worthwhile. “I think it’s the relationships we get to make on the road that makes everything we do worthwhile. So many of our fans are actually dear friends of ours that have seen us through our lowest days of touring. It’s reconnecting with those folks and re-visiting the communities that have, in a way, been our homes away from home throughout the years.

“Each of us definitely has our own hobbies and routines on the road. I like to go on longer runs so I get to see more of the town we’re playing in and get to know it a little better. Bennett and Dustin normally hit some bike trails, while Chase is usually looking for a gym instead. Zach loves to skateboard and is probably gonna find a skate park. That pretty much sums up what life is on the road for us.”

Shane Smith & The Saints play at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. Photo Nikki Rae.

A Monumental Moment

Each band has a monumental moment they cherish or reflect upon in their musical journey. “Honestly, our first time playing at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado was a pretty monumental experience for us. We were getting to open for the band Lucero, who I’d been a fan of for probably a decade leading up to that point. I feel like it gave us a small taste of what was possible for us as a band and where we wanted to go with our careers. Returning two years later to headline it for the first time might have beat it out as the most memorable, but there’s something about that first time.”

The Good and Bad of Being on The Road

Sometimes being on the road presents unusual circumstances. “One time we were playing a show on a huge boat in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, when a huge storm blew in. Within a few songs of the set there was a downpour with everyone stuck on the boat together. We ended up just drinking with the fans in the rain and trying to find what shelter we could. Just made for a cool and funny memory.”

You’ll find Shane Smith & The Saints on the new album Texas Wild, a collaboration of Texas musicians singing classic Texas songs. Photo Preston Hoffman.

Talking Texas Wild

Collaborating with others can sometimes make a difference when it comes to music and this is evident on the band’s latest album. “Texas Wild is a collaboration album that we were asked to be a part of. We decided to cover a Townes Van Zandt song, Pancho & Lefty, and actually got Hayes Carll (a popular Country music singer-songwriter from The Woodlands, Texas) to sing on it with us. I’ve always considered them both to be songwriting legends, so it was a total honor for us.”

TV Fantasy vs. Reality

Appearing in Season 5, Episode 1 of TV’s popular series Yellowstone eventually became somewhat of a reality in real life. “Yeah, it’s pretty crazy how full circle things can be! Getting to perform on the Yellowstone set in Montana was such a cool experience for us, and it’s actually led to a lot of other amazing opportunities for us surrounding the cast of that show. I’m not much of a political person but being asked to perform for the Governor of Texas immediately following that season premiere was both awesome and kind of hilarious. We just couldn’t believe how the Yellowstone opportunity manifested into real life within like two months.”

A Random Talent

Shane shares a unique sibling talent. “Something that’s pretty random about me is I played college tennis, along with both of my older brothers. I wasn’t as good as them but we all played under the same coach our freshman and sophomore years. Our oldest brother Travis played for the University of Hawaii and Connor played for The University of Arkansas (Razorbacks).”

Get tickets to see the band when they return to Texas for their Ugly Christmas Sweater Party 2023. Photo David Wells.

Loving Texas

The band loves living in Texas. “Texas is a pretty majestic place when you really take the time to see most of it. My good buddy (actor/filmmaker) Ben Masters has made several incredible documentaries surrounding our state, and it really is mind blowing to see what Texas has to offer. I think my long term hope for us as a band is to have a long, but well balanced career and an audience that feels like more of a family than a fan base. We’ve been working really hard for many years, so I’m hoping we can catch a little more personal time back home at some point soon.”

Advice to Others

Shane shares this advice for budding musicians: “It’s tough to answer because it’s such a different world than it was when we first started. Social media wasn’t even close to how massive it is now. It almost seems like you have to go viral or something online these days to move the needle. We just essentially started driving my mom’s Ford Expedition, tried to take any show we possibly could and didn’t look back for ten years. I guess the one basic piece of advice I could give is to always try to take time for the fans. I’ve signed and taken pictures at our merch booth after every single show that I could since we first started. I still do today. I think it creates a really unique relationship with your audience that seems to hold a lot more weight than the average fan base.”

For more information about Shane Smith & The Saints and links to all their social media platforms, please visit their website.


Cover Photo Lauren Smith.

Bob Valleau is a regular entertainment contributor for Texas Lifestyle Magazine.