Tragedy strikes Texas-based country trio on the way to their show WRAL News screenshot
WRAL News screenshot

Typically, when a band or act is late hitting the stage for a show, you can chalk it up to something as innocuous as the drummer can’t find his favorite sticks or the guitarist broke a string or the singer lost her left boot. You don’t usually expect the worst.

Unfortunately, the worst has happened for one Austin-based band.

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You may not be familiar with Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, but that doesn’t diminish the contribution that this trio was making to the world of music or the incredible sense of loss being felt by fans and families after a tragic accident claimed two of the members’ lives, ironically as they made their way to a gig on Oct. 19.

According to North Carolina’s WRAL, traffic along the band’s route was stop-and-go, causing multiple accidents. As the band was making their way from a show in Charleston, South Carolina to their Baltimore destination, their van was rear-ended in North Carolina by a semi-truck on I-95, then forced into a moving truck in front of them. The trio’s Chris Porter and Mitchell Vandenburg died in the accident and their drummer, Adam Nurre, was hospitalized in critical condition. Although several vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction collision, there were no other fatalities. The driver of the semi-truck that hit the band’s vehicle has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

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Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes was actually made up of a trio of musicians and roommates who worked mostly independent of each other, either solo or in other bands. Chris made a name for himself fronting bands in his home state of Alabama before moving to Texas. He released his debut solo album, “This Red Mountain” — a collection of Americana singer-songwriter tracks in 2015. Mitchell was also a songwriter and bassist originally from Colorado who played with multiple Austin bands, including the backing band for up-and-coming country singer Carson McHone, according to the Austin Chronicle. Adam, a classically trained percussionist, hailed from Ohio and also played in Carson’s band, as well as Garner Sloan with Mitchell.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families left behind.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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