Born just north of Austin, Kyle Park began learning guitar at the age of 14, and shortly after, started writing his own songs. However, it was not until Park relocated to San Marcos, Texas, where he met other like-minded musicians in the active and encouraging community of singer-songwriters, that his songwriting began to mature and take shape. In 2005, Park released his first record and has been touring constantly ever since. He has released other recorded efforts (2008’s Anywhere in Texas and two EPs released in 2010), but his two EPs laid the foundation for Park’s 2011 release, Make or Break Me. The hit single “Leavin’ Stephenville” has earned constant rotation on radio airwaves and the album made Billboard’s Regional Heatseekers #1 Album. Kyle Park is one of those Texas guys whose soulful and personal songs are appealing to audiences far and wide. He will be touring in support of his latest album while opening for some of the biggest names in country music, such as Asleep at the Wheel, Jack Ingram, Randy Rogers Band, Clint Black.
In Seminole, Texas, Larry Gatlin grew up listening to country and gospel music, and by the time he was a teenager, he was performing in local churches, on radio stations, and occasionally on regional television with his brothers, Steve and Rudy. After a brief stint playing football at the University of Houston, Gatlin devoted his time to performing music and eventually moved to Nashville. His breakout came with the song “Broken Lady” from the album With Family and Friends, which won a Grammy in 1977. He later reunited with his siblings to form The Gatlin Brothers and sustained a long run of popular country hits. Gatlin continued to perform solo and was largely responsible for paving the way for artists such as Dwight Yoakum and Randy Travis, who have infused elements of gospel, country, and Western swing into their styles. In addition, Gatlin has frequently paid tribute to troops stationed overseas, visiting and performing for them.
Max Stalling was born and raised in the Lone Star State. After graduating with his master’s degree in Food Science from Texas A&M, Stalling’s interest in music began to develop. Stalling started writing and performing his own music after being influenced by some of the state’s great singer-songwriters, such as Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, and Townes Van Zandt. His latest release, Home to You, has introduced new audiences to Stalling’s unique approach of combining elements of traditional and modern Americana into one enjoyable listen. The album has produced hits such as “Long Way to Get,” “I Ain’t Drinking Alone,” and “6x9 Speakers - Revisted.” Stalling’s delivery makes one feel at home, with a smooth vocal delivery and down-to-earth lyrical content that allows one to envision Stalling’s description. Stalling will continue to thrive as he combines elements of the past and present into one special experience for all audiences.
Michael Martin Murphey’s immensely successful music career has spanned four decades and has included such musical genres as folk, country, rock, Western, and cowboy music. As a singer, songwriter, and producer, he has contributed some of the most beloved songs of his generation and beyond. His songs have been recorded by Kenny Rogers, John Denver, Lyle Lovett, Roger Miller, and many other prominent musicians and performers. Murphey is a native Texan who is now in the Western Music Hall of Fame and has also been recognized and awarded by notable organizations such as the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Academy of Country Music, The Grammy Awards, the Country Music Association, and the Texas Music Awards. Confirmed by BMI, his song "Wildfire" has been named one of the most played songs in radio history in all formats. He has made more than 35 albums over the span of his career, while also achieving success as a movie actor, script writer, and performer in films such as Lonesome Dove and Hard Country. Music enthusiasts from all over recognize Murphey’s name and certainly agree that the his works have become timeless masterpieces in the world of music.
The four guys who form the Midnight River Choir have a close-knit chemistry that cannot be duplicated, and it is obvious in their music and live shows. They have a wide range of influences that carry over into their own songs, resulting in a special sound that attracts new fans after each performance. Formed in New Braunfels, Texas, the band has spent the past couple of years performing alongside some of the top names in the music scene today, such as Randy Rogers Band, Cody Canada and the Departed, Mickey and the Motorcars, and Reckless Kelly. Backed by a solid rhythm section consisting of drummer Mitchell Pyeatt and bassist Bob Driver, the groove is complimented by the graceful and smooth lead-guitar play of Justin Nelson, and the group’s unique sound is rounded-out by the harmonious yet emotional vocals of Eric Middleton. The band’s latest, Welcome to Delirium?, is a potent and powerful statement of what is to come—these guys that have nothing but open roads ahead of them as they continue to the next level in their careers.
Founded in Challis, Idaho, Micky and The Motorcars have made their own impact in the Texas scene with their Americana rock. Brothers Gary and Micky Braun first began learning music from their dad, Muzzie Braun, alongside brothers Willy and Cody of Reckless Kelly fame. Now traveling nationwide to play more than 200 dates a year, with their latest record, Raise My Glass, the most rewarding thing for Micky and the Motorcars is watching crowds grow bigger as they perform with the same raw emotion that has been a trademark characteristic since the group’s inception. Micky and the Motorcars have certainly racked up their share of miles on the road, and they have no intentions of slowing down. Their music is proof that they’ll be around for years to come, and their energy and ambition will keep the fans coming to them.
Named "Top 10 Must-See Artists" in Rolling Stone magazine, the Randy Rogers Band has accumulated quite a list of accolades, including appearances on Letterman, Leno, and Conan, and three nominations for Top Vocal Group by the Academy of Country Music. RRB’s latest album, Burning the Day, debuted as the most-downloaded country album on iTunes. But what keeps Randy Rogers and his bandmates grounded is their audiences, which continue to grow after every powerful performance. The Randy Rogers Band is committed to putting on the best show possible for their fans. As if playing 250-plus dates a year doesn’t keep the band busy enough, they just wrapped up a new studio album, due to be released in the fall of 2012. At the time of this publication, the Randy Rogers Band has announced they will be performing alongside George Strait at a very special Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo concert in March 2013.
The sounds of Reckless Kelly’s latest record, Good Luck & True Love, confirm to the listener that the group is in their most comfortable setting. Recorded in an old farmhouse-turned-studio in Austin, Texas, the album combines the band’s signature qualities: rawness, honesty, rockin’, and soulfulness, all in one fine product. The record captures the essence of a road-worn and battle-scarred band of brothers who are not afraid to take risks and tell it like it is. The Grammy-nominated album is the ninth of their career and the third they have produced themselves. Throughout their 15-year career as a band, they have stuck to their guns and maintained their main objective: to make each record better than the last. The band in a way resembles an aged whiskey—just getting better as the years pass. That’s old school. That’s Reckless Kelly.
Earning praises from some of the nation’s top-selling publications, such as USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, and People Magazine, Rodney Hayden has embodied traditional country music in its most desirable form. Hayden has collected all the necessary tools for the long haul—lyrics, confidence, ability, and desire. Over time, Hayden has attracted a large following of fans as he performs across Texas, and he is gaining more popularity as he reaches new audiences while opening for acts such as Robert Earl Keen, Hank Williams III, Charlie Robison, and Junior Brown. Hayden has recently agreed to work with Platinum Marketing International and will be releasing his latest record, Atascosa Sand, this fall. The album will feature a duet with Kelly Willis, as well as three songs written by Hayden and Bubba Strait. Hayden’s new hit single, “Buckaroo Man,” from the new record, debuted in April as the warm-up song for Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz at Fenway Park.
This Corpus Christi native was raised under the influences of Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, and others—and after witnessing Creager’s commanding presence and full-bodied voice live, one will immediately appreciate his vast musical influences and development. Touring in support of his latest release, Surrender, Creager’s fifth studio effort in a prolific career, he has continued to impress and entertain audiences far and wide. Many of the his hit songs have successfully ascended the Texas Music Charts over the past decade, with the success of Surrender spawning even more hits. After five albums, hundreds of thousands of road miles, and ever-expanding fan base, Creager is still going strong. When you hear his signature voice, you can’t turn it down—you "turn it up."
Hailing from Stephenville, Texas, Six Market Blvd. was formed in 2008 by four friends who all carried the same interest and passion for performing music. Playing bars and clubs for their first two years, the group started to write their own music and was eventually recorded for their independent debut release, Running on Seven. The album earned the group two top-25 singles on the Texas Music Chart with "Man Alive" and "Misery and Me," while also gaining recognition from Texas Regional Radio Awards as Best New Band. This past May saw the release of their sophomore effort, Shake It Down. The album’s 13 tracks were a collaborative effort by each member of the band, making the record a finely crafted piece of work as well an enjoyable listen. Since 2010, the group has been performing on bigger stages and festivals while also sharing the stage with some of the music scene’s elite, such as Stoney LaRue, Wade Bowen, and Jason Boland and the Stragglers.
Slaid Cleaves was born in Washington, D.C., but raised in the state of Maine. However, once he was old enough, he departed the Northeast in pursuit of his musical aspirations and found the city of Austin his perfect environment. Cleaves quickly immersed himself in the community of singer-songwriters and won his first appearance the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Competition in 1992. That eventually led Cleaves to release his debut album, No Angel Knows, in 1997. The album earned critical praise and acclaim from musicians and critics alike. Since his debut, Cleaves has continued to make records filled with vivid descriptions and colorful characters. His latest effort, Sorrow and Smoke: Live at the Horseshoe Lounge, conveys the spirit of an intimate yet jovial crowd that sings, laughs, and cheers with Cleaves as he performs to an adoring and devoted audience. His music is marked with the quirky blend of isolated eccentricity and the steely resilience of his Northeastern upbringing and the weathered soul of Texas living.
The son of a struggling bass player and a nurse, LaRue understood the allure of music at an early age, and recorded his first works at age 12. He earned accolades through school for his unmatched vocal abilities and promising instrumental talents. LaRue eventually made his way to Oklahoma’s Red Dirt hotbed of Stillwater, where he began to develop his individualized style from a widespread range of influences. In 2002, both fans and industry took good notice of LaRue. It was just the beginning and now LaRue is an artist not to be missed. He now performs close to 300 dates a year at top festivals and venues across the world, sharing bills with renowned acts like Lee Ann Womack, Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell and others. LaRue is soon to release his new studio album Velvet.
Growing up in the small Gulf coast town of Portland, Texas, twin sisters Amy and April Rankin have been entertaining spectators since they could walk. The Rankin Twins have a unique charisma that could melt the hardest of hearts while delivering an awe-inspiring and captivating array of music that sets them apart. The Rankin Twins are quickly rising in the local club scenes throughout Texas and are expanding their audience across the state and beyond. Their latest effort, Silver Lining, confirms the Rankin Twins are real Texas-country talent with an undeniable quality that makes one fall for them at first sight and sound. And they’re not going away anytime soon—it is apparent that the Rankin Twins’ best days are still ahead of them.
Initially formed as a brief grouping to perform at 2010 MusicFest Tribute to a Legend: Kevin Welch, these ladies learned after that fateful performance that there was something magical in their combination, and The Trishas were born. Jamie Wilson, Liz Foster, Kelley Mickwee, and Savannah Welch have all participated and performed in various music scenes throughout Texas, as well as the Nashville scene, all bringing their own unique influences ranging from country to rock to rhythm and blues. After releasing a "mini-album" in 2010, the group has just released in August their long-awaited and highly anticipated full-length album, titled High, Wide, and Handsome. The Trishas wrote and collaborated with many of their contemporaries and influences—Owen Temple, Jason Eady, and Bruce Robison are among many other notable artists who helped contribute to the album’s tracks. The album is a fine example of the diverse musicianship and vocal capability that each Trisha brings to the group. Needless to say, when witnessing these ladies perform live, there is something magical happening.
The Texas Gulf Coast town of East Bernard rarely draws attention, but that is certainly about to change with the emergence of The Washers. A hard-working East Bernard band that produces driving rhythms, foot-stomping grooves, and talented musicianship, The Washers showcase their most distinct quality: the guys’ vocal flexibilities—four of the five band members share vocal duties equally. The constant shifting of singing allows these guys to create beautiful yet complex vocal harmonies and melodies that escalate their songs into a new realm of artistic creativity. The Washers have successfully combined their influences of folk, rock ’n’ roll, and country into one quality product that will leave listeners addicted to the unique blending of Americana music. Witness this special group of talented musicians live at MusicFest 2013.
Thieving Birds was formed in Fort Worth, Texas, by a group of friends who aimed to mix elements of rock, country, roots, and blues into one special musical offering for all music lovers. The lyrics are inspiring and positive, centered on the vocal delivery of singer Ace Crayton, which is simply described as powerful and sultry. The group’s solid and well-muscled rhythm section is manned by drummer Beau Brauer, alongside the grooving bass lines of bassist Rody Molder. Rounding out the group is lead guitarist, John Seidler, who both performs and creates a variation of notes and emotions that easily flow with the group’s overall dynamic. The group’s self-titled, debut album is a fine example of its musical diversity. Lead singer Ace Crayton explains that "all we want to do is play music together, to have that moment on stage when we’re all feeling the song, and to have the crowd share that moment with us. You can’t get that feeling anywhere else. That’s live music, that’s why we do it."
The Turnpike Troubadours’ name derives from the bumpy Oklahoma toll roads and the hard-lived, folk-singing heroes that influenced the group’s sound. Breaking down traditional barriers between the audience and the stage is something in which the Turnpike Troubadours excel as their live shows have developed into a communal celebration of music. Fast, gritty, and often drenched in beer, the Troubadours perform to both their fans and new audience members with a genuine sincerity. After touring relentlessly in support of their second album, Diamonds and Gasoline, the Troubadours are geared up for another round on the road as they have just unveiled their third album, Goodbye Normal Street. The new album epitomizes the Troubadours’ finest qualities: fine musicianship, catchy lyrics, and excellent visualizations. With an endless highway ahead, the Troubadours are prepared to take their fans and audiences with them to the next level.
Packing a punch with soulful grooves, Southern-fried guitar licks, and deep heartfelt lyrics, Uncle Lucius has become a prime attraction during the week of MusicFest for all music aficionados. Hailing from Austin, Texas, the band takes pride in its live show and believes that performing live is still the truest form of communication with their fans. The band’s forthcoming effort, And You Are Me, is a push forward for the guys as they continue to incorporate various essential elements of rock ’n’ roll, R&B, blues, and country into their own tour de force. Harkening back to the deep, impassioned, headphone music of the ’60s and ’70s, this new record is expected to catapult Uncle Lucius to the forefront of the Southern Boogie scene, where the band has been so lovingly embraced throughout Texas and beyond. The group’s latest effort will be due out in late August 2012.
Wade Bowen was born and raised in Waco, Texas, and later attended and graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. While in Lubbock, Bowen learned to write songs and eventually honed his songwriting craft to the point he became a permanent staple in the Texas-Red Dirt music scene. In 2001, Bowen released his first album, Just For Fun, and began touring extensively. Eleven years later, Bowen has just unveiled his seventh album, The Given, earning enthusiastic reviews from both listeners and media critics alike. With the release of The Given, he has further solidified his strong, remarkable presence within the music community. The mention of Bowen’s name generally evokes the trademark traits of Bowen’s songs: emotional, passionate, and intense. Wade Bowen’s path continues to be marked with mass-media acclaim, continuous radio airplay, and a constantly expanding fan base that attracts a ceaseless tour schedule amounting to over 200 shows a year.
When listening to Walt Wilkins, one cannot help but think of legendary singer-songwriters such as Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Robert Earl Keen. Wilkins continues the long, culturally rich tradition of prolific songwriting by releasing his latest effort, Plenty. Backed by his Tejas soul brothers, the Mystiqueros, Wilkins writes songs that appeal to everyday human emotions: meaning, pain, happiness, faith, and lack thereof. Walt Wilkins and Co. have continued to run the roads, leaving audiences awed by their artistic flexibility and refusing to play the same show twice. Wilkins has also helped produce records and cultivate artists such as Jason Eady, Brandon Rhyder, Jamie Richards, and Josh Grider, just to name a few. He has been called a genius more than once and has been called “a writer the caliber of John Steinbeck.” His voice is as comfortable as a pair of old blue jeans, and he is, and has, “all of that.”
Whiskey Myers is loud, raucous, proud, and not really certain what comes next. The truth is that Whiskey Myers is sort of inexplicable with a blue-collared approach. With its superb twin-lead guitars, Cody Cannon’s rough-cut lead vocals, and a sold, uncluttered rhythm section, the band typically straddles the line of a Lynyrd Skynyrd and a Led Zeppelin-like foundation. It’s a Southern-rock band with jam-band tendencies that also incorporates elements of rockabilly, blues, and grunge. This quintet released its debut album, Road of Life, in 2008 and quickly gained a large and enthusiastic following. In 2011, the group released its much-anticipated follow-up, Firewater, which garnered rave reviews and constant radio airplay. The band has been taking a grassroots approach to promoting its name by touring nonstop in support of Firewater and letting word-of-mouth do the talking for them. That is blue-collar at its finest.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Will Hoge was introduced to music through his father’s record collection and by watching his father and uncles perform music locally. Hoge later attended Western Kentucky University, where he recognized the power music has on people. He soon devoted himself to becoming a full-time musician, and in early 2002, after years of touring and performing relentlessly throughout the American South, he caught the attention of Atlantic Records. Since then, Hoge has introduced new music to the public on several albums. His latest record, Number Seven, showcases his abundant talent, as he produced all aspects of the record on his own. The record’s first single and music video, “When I Get My Wings,” has been in continuous rotation on VH1 and CMT since its release. Over the years, Hoge has toured and shared the stage with many artists, including ZZ Top, Vince Gill, Sugarland, and Shinedown, while also appearing on national-media programs like CBS Early Show and GAC, and he has often performed at the historic Grand Ole Opry.