After meeting at Howard Payne University a decade ago, James Dunning and Craig Hinkle became members of a popular Christian rock band that ultimately found itself in Nashville with a recording deal and critical acclaim. But several members of “Jackson Swing” decided to pursue other interests, and band members went their separate ways.
Before leaving Brownwood, Dunning worked at the Brownwood Bulletin, and Hinkle taught English at Brownwood High School.
In the fall of 2004, Dunning and Hinkle joined forces again in Dallas, and now, with three other musicians, they will make their Central Texas debut Friday as the Texas music band “Lost Immigrants” at Country River Club in Proctor. Their show will run from 8 p.m. until midnight.
“Lost Immigrants” has played extensively at places like Gruene Hall in Gruene, where they can be found Saturday, as well as numerous venues in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But Friday’s show will be the first major performance for the band this close to Brownwood, the place it all began for the two founding members.
“We’re looking forward to returning to familiar ground at the end of the month,” Dunning said last week.
In recent months, “Lost Immigrants” has performed at Suede in Dallas, T-Bones in Denison, Rockin’ Rodeo in Denton, Top Shelf Pub and Grill in Dallas and Brazos Lounge in Mineral Wells. Last year, they opened the 13th annual Shiner Bocktoberfest. Future dates include The Rockyard in Fort Worth on Feb. 1, War & Love in Texas in Plano on Feb. 3 and Bash Riprock’s in Lubbock on Feb. 10.
Dunning and Hinkle reunited in 2004 to work on a small collection of songs and an American music project, and that collaboration led to weekly rehearsals and monthly gigs that took them to venues throughout the Dallas area and elsewhere across Texas.
“The Immigrants joined together on a journey,” according to Hinkle, writing on the band’s Web site, “a journey that, without knowing, would take them through nearly every stage of life and places in between. And somewhere along they way, they lost themselves.”
The journey would also lead to new recruits for Dunning and Hinkle, the group’s principal songwriters. Sean Isbell (guitar) joined the band in 2005. Many others would come and go as the band sought a foothold in the Texas country music circuit. The two newest members are Chris Mashburn, percussion, and Mike McBroom, guitar and frontman, who joined the band last year.
The band’s debut self-titled album featuring the songs “Judgment Day” and Dixie Queen” has recently been released, produced by Ray Wylie Hubbard.
Pulling from a variety of genres, the music of “Lost Immigrants” has been described as spanning the entire Americana spectrum. So much so, the band seeks only to be known as an American music band, blending the best original country, Southern rock, blues and pop melodies.
The band’s Web site is www.lostimmigrants.com.