Northeast Ohio-based band The Shootouts is on the rise with a brand new album and a February 24 performance at The Grand Ole Opry

Shootouts Group
The Shootouts are (left to right) Emily Bates (vocals), Kevin McManus (bass and backing vocals), front man Ryan Humbert (guitar and vocals), and Brian Poston (guitar). (Photos by Jamie Escola)

By Jay Minkin

What was once a side project from the Ryan Humbert Band in 2015, the Northeast Ohio-based The Shootouts is gaining some serious traction. Humbert and his lead guitarist Brian Poston’s love of classic country sparked the creation of this fun honky-tonk band playing old school covers.

As with any project, Humbert says, “If I believe in something, I want it to be big and won’t rest until I’ve exhausted every tiny detail.” Always trying to find a new edge, Humbert’s vision came complete with vintage dazzling western outfits like the ones Porter Wagoner wore.

On To Nashville
Talk about a fairytale, on Friday, Feb. 24, The Shootouts have been invited to perform on the iconic stage of The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

When that phone call came in the green room before a show in December, Humbert was speechless as tears rolled down his face. It’s a dream come true for the local singer-songwriter who has been forging a music career for over 20 years.

Humbert has performed solo, with the RHB, with gospel choirs and big band orchestras, and in staged Christmas holiday shows that raise dollars for local charities.

Throughout Humbert’s career, Emily Bates has been by his side adding vocal harmonies and singing duets. Guitar virtuoso Poston fuels The Shootouts with a high-octane twang and shredding solos. Longtime area musician Kevin McManus (whose day job is editor of the Medina Weekly) is the latest addition to the band on bass and backing vocals.

The Shootouts front man Ryan Humbert

Extended family members found on The Shootouts recordings include Dylan Gomez on drums, Ryan McDermott on bass, and mentor/collaborator Al Moss on guitar and pedal steel.

After hours of practicing their craft and trying out songs in front of live audiences, The Shootouts had enough material to record a debut LP Quick Draw in 2019, which drew some national critical acclaim.

“Maybe we were on to something,” Humbert explained. “It all started to click and make sense after a long time doing pop-rock to follow my heart and passion.”

For their follow-up in 2021, Bullseye was produced by Nashville troubadour Chuck Mead and spent 18 weeks on the Americana Music Association Top 30 album chart and No. 42 on their year-end most played records.

With the help of publicist Maria Ivey of Nashville’s IVPR, the branding and culture of The Shootouts had everything firing on all cylinders.

“Ryan’s incredible drive and persistence to find that niche and relentlessness to get there was finally paying dividends,” Emily Bates added.

The Shootouts’ rapid growth caught the ear of legendary western swing icon and 10-time Grammy-winner Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel, a band influenced by the “King of Western Swing” Bob Wills.

A New Album
Timing is everything in the music business, so it was right back into the studio for The Shootouts to record their third record, Stampede – while Bullseye was still charting – with Benson and Sam Seifert producing. The band took its time and reached out to respected recording artists they met along the way – like country legends Marty Stuart, Raul Malo, Buddy Miller, and Jim Lauderdale – to be part of the new album. Other notables include Nashville session player Mike Daly (guitarist/dobro/pedal steel) and both Dennis Ludiker (fiddle) and Connor Forsythe (keyboards) from Benson’s band.

The 12-track recording opens and closes with the fast ramble of “Better Things To Do,” featuring Poston’s guitar and Stuart on mandolin. In between, the songs weave from AOR Country “Anywhere But Here” to western swing numbers “One Step Forward” and “Must Be A Broken Heart” to ’80’s rockabilly sound of “Run For Cover,” “Tomorrow’s Knockin,’” and “Feeling Kind of Lonely Tonight.”

The first single released is a slowed-down countryfied cover of “I’ll Never Need Anyone More” by Michael Stanley. Two other beautiful compositions that will catch your ear are the Al Moss penned “Coming Home By Going Away” and “Angel’s Work.”

Like the previous two albums, Stampede is named after an instrumental featuring a fiery Poston.

The Grand Ole Opry
The Shootouts will be performing at the Grand Ole Opry on February 24, the same day their new album Stampede is released. Those with Sirius XM can listen live on Willie’s Roadhouse channel 56 or view on cable streaming via Circle TV. For more information, visit

You can nab a copy of the album at your favorite independent record store beginning Feb. 24 or pre-order now The Shootouts’ official home page

Categories: Arts & Entertainment