By: Kendall Louis
By: Jessica Llanes
This morning when I woke up in the city and not around my cattle, I peered out the windows at the downtown skyline through the early morning darkness and said “TFC you need to hear some music.”
My whole family enjoys music, but my mom loved it. She introduced me to all types of music, jazz, rock, blues, country, gospel, southern rock, and Texas blues. Her favorite was BB King, his music, sound and craftsmanship is unmistakably awesome. She loved live music, and considered it to help heal ones soul if you truly enjoyed and loved it. My dad loved gospel and old country, and you have to agree, how in the world could you not like George Jones, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams? Oh man, just makes the hair on my neck stand up. My grandma, Mama-D, loved and was obsessed with Elvis Presley. She owned every album and collected all his stuff and later all of his his 8 tracks. I had boxes of them everywhere.
I've been involved with music all my life and 12 years ago jumped into the Texas Music scene through benefits, sponsorships and venue activity. I helped to promote various concert series with different sounds and kinds of music to generate new business and help promote business in the area. At that time people where calling it Texas Country, but to me it was always Texas Music. You CANNOT define all Texas Music by calling it Texas Country, that WILL NOT work, or define the industry as a whole. There's an unbelievable variety of unique sounds in Texas and you can't define it as country. A guy said to me one night “Oh Nashville is where it's at.” I looked at him as if he was crazy — of course he was a music virgin. I held my breath for second and said “Sure buddy if you like warehouse artists, picked by someone who doesn't understand the feel of a raw, talented artist that is creative and passionate about his craft. Nashville — maybe you need to be there.”
I think my seriousness really got amped up when I was on stage some years ago behind Cross Canadian Ragweed looking out over the crowd of 30,000 screaming people as Grady hit those notes and Ragweed rocked out. Then I met Stoney Larue a true rock star in the music business. I sat on the side stage and watched Stoney work the crowd, jam on his guitar and make those notes jump out over the crowd like rabbits hopping through the air. I was STONEYFIED!
Since then my family has donated over 40 guitars for Texas Music benefits to be given away for charity, been involved in 5 music series, 35 benefits, 8 major concert events, and all kinds of music craziness. I love music — its that simple.
Because I travel around so much and have met so many people I receive emails, notes, texts, Facebook messages, and phone calls from various people and fans asking me who I think is the best? What show should we go see? What artist is hot right now? What venue is best? What, Trey, what?
Even though I'm not the famous, and all powerful, power house like Justin Frezell I decided to share my 2013, 2014 favorites.
My picks are not based on download or CD sales, venue revenues, merchandise sales, or touring revenues. I don't consider head counts they draw when they play in various venues because sometimes awesome artists have off days too. My picks are based solely on my definition of the individual artist or band, their sound and personality. There are lots of other artists that I enjoy, but my listed picks are the cream of the crop. I'm out all the time trying to find new tunes and the perfect music atmosphere. My personal picks have there own sound, each different in their own right. No two are the same. All of these artist songs tell a story — and you all know have much I love stories!
My definition is simple and speaks for itself. After you read it, pause, then read it again and let it soak in for a second. I guarantee you will agree if you truly understand music, artists and there obscene dedication to their craft.
A song with a bundle of creative, notes, tunes and/or lyrics, that can move your heart, mind, body and soul, while capturing the attention of all who can hear it.
That says it all folks. Let that soak in, think about your favorite artist and you will understand why I have chosen these. If you haven't seen them, or purchased their music, please, please, make an effort to do so as soon as you can.
My picks are not in any certain order, they're all at the top of there game and are very dedicated, with a passion for music.
Guthrie Kennard: This man won't just move your heart and soul, he will pick it up, move it across the room, dance it around and give you an out-of-body experience. The best thing about GK is he's an awesome guy — really down to earth. Every time he stops playing I get mad because I want him to keep hitting those bluesy notes and hammering on that guitar so the sounds keep banging off the walls, bouncing off the floors and resonating in my ears. Can't say enough about this genius except if you don't go see him you might regret it. When you do take some cash and buy some of his tunes. Watch "Guthrie Kennard "Country Town" Showcase Performance" on YouTube
Whiskey Myers: What can I say about my Whiskey Boys? They are creative. They capture your attention, move your soul and leave you wanting to hear more. They have the ability to make you jump, holler and scream yes! yes! yes! They are a group of young East Texas rebels. They love their craft, areseriously dedicated to the live music scene and all the good vibes they bring to their fans. They DO NOT have a bad song in them.
Phil Wallace: My friend of many years. Phil is the most underrated, understated, musical song writing genius of his time. Phil lives and breathes for his dedication to live music. His songs are packed full of soul moving, heart felt, lyrics and his shows are always sure to entertain. Phil is so hard on himself, the live scene, and his dedication to righteous music he almost quit playing because he was frustrated and wanted everything perfect.
Phil can't quit now, he's here for the long haul. You might say he's climbing the musical ladder of success. Don't know why, its hard to climb when your at the top of the ladder looking down. I know for a fact Phil has microscopic guitars, notes, keys, lyrics, symbols, and music ideas running thru his blood stream.
When you go see him play just don't give him whiskey. You know how you can't give gremlins water, well don't give Phil Whiskey unless your ready for crazy fired up show folks, lol. I just love ol’ Phil. Phil Wallace “Mama's Boy” Acoustic Drive Records - Listen for Charity on YouTube
Uncle Lucius: The boys from Austin — what can I say about them? WOW, WOW, WOW! I've seen these young men in Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth. Their songs will tug at your soul. They’ll get you singing, jamming and bobbing your heads around. They are real old souls. They touch a part of music greatness that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. They will leave your soul floating. They’re nice guys and I love getting lost in their tunes.
Scott Copeland: Oh yes. The Man, The Myth, the musical prodigy of Fort Worth, Texas. I love this man and all he has to offer. He has written successful songs for many artists including Ragweed. He can do it all when it comes to music and creating awesomeness. He can move your soul or make you laugh. I remember one time he came over to see me after a late night gig. We talked, had a few drinks and he wrote a song in less then 10 minutes! Then he started playing it at the counter. Brilliant musical mind, loves to play and be in the scene. He's just Scott, got more talent in his right hand than most have period.
Cody Jinks: What can I say about the the Jinkster? He moves your soul, makes your heart throb, levitates your mind and thoughts. Puts you in musical suspension with every note he belts out. Cody's like a drug, you can't get enough. He packs them in and all eyes are forward as he makes the guitar smoke and the room jump. Love me some Cody he's done 2 events with us. He's first class and a extreme music lover.
Jerry Audley: My man — again love this Cowboy. Talk about a live show that gets you slapping your knees, moving your legs and your soul jumping! Jerry baby (as I call him) is the most country sounding on this list. He and his band of brothers on stage make awesome sounds with a steel guitar, Fidel, guitars and drums just rocking and shaking the walls. He's a combination of Elvis, Hank Williams (Junior and Senior), Willie, Waylon and Jerry. He lives and breaths music and loves to play. Jerry is serious about spreading his musical forte of country awesomeness thru the entire nation. Jerry Audley “LUCKY, LUCKY ME” official video on YouTube
Stoney Larue: This incredibly talented artist is full of super stardom, energy and soul. Stoney's songs and voice are truly amazing. Stoney has the charm of the Great Gadsby on stage. He's a true rock star with soul-motivating tunes. You never get tired of Stoney. All night, all day, all year, get you some Stoney. Watch Stoney LaRue “One Chord Song” on YouTube
Joey Green: Joey, the Fort Worth kid. Talk about a guy that lives and breaths music. I saw this guy one time eating — just chewing on a big bowl of music notes. He's a music freak that loves to play, write, create and jam anywhere. Joey is extremely talented, hard on himself and hard on others. If you don't really wanna know what he thinks, don't ask him, because he will tell you, like it or not. Joey will make you believe that music does make a difference, and all the other cookie cutter bands can't hold a candle to his sound. He's a maverick. He loves to strum on his guitar until the stings break or he falls over, whichever comes first. Go get you some Joey Awesomeness. Joey Green “Natchitoches Blues” on YouTube
Justin Ross. My word, what can I say about this rebel? I promise you if you put Justin Ross on stage next to Nickleback (who I love) you would tell the Nickleback boys to sit there butts down, and take some guitar and music lessons from Justin Ross. He's truly awesome and under-valued. He can do things with musical instruments that are amazing. He can make all his guitars smoke, and he has a big rack of them sitting in stage. He is never, ever satisfied. He is always tuning, working and creating with every cord and note. His music will leave your soul so tired from hovering and bouncing all over the place you will need to drink fluids to replenish your wonderful loss of energy. All I can say is " Go find this man playing and listen, if you don't love his show call me I'll pay you back — right after I have you committed to the nearest hospital for the insane.” Justin Ross - Big Casino “Faithful To The Bottle” Official Music Video on YouTube
Austin Allsup: This man has a voice that is so incredible and can hit so many notes that its truly unbelievable. Austin came from a music background. His daddy played with Buddy Holly and wasn't on the plane when it crashed. He lost the coin toss that night. Austin's music is soulful, and packed full of rocking tunes. His sound and music is extremely powerful with lots of meaning. He loves what he does, and has dedicated his life to music and all it offers. His band of brothers he plays with are just as awesome. They really put on a great show that everyone can love. If you haven't herd Austin, you need to find the nearest location, and go listen to these men jam on those instruments and Austin belt those soul lifting rocking tunes.
Luke Wade: I don't know much about Luke, but I do know their music is so different, unusual, mind blowing, and just downright incredible that you gotta go see them. I heard them the first time on the patio at Tim Love’s place. There Chaney and I where soaking up the sun and I saw these guys messing around with all these different instruments. I thought YES, a free show lets get this party started! I started watching them getting ready and determined that, oh yea, looking like that, they are true artists. Well my friends when they started playing I quit eating and started listening and believe you me, I don't stop eating for any reason except awesomeness. I started staring at Luke playing and singing like I was a star-crazed nut that watches to much TMZ. They toy with your entire concept of what music sounds like with their creative tunes and lyrics. Your soul is trying to remain in your body, then it just jumps out and screams OH MY GOSH where have you guys been? Go see Luke and the boys.
Randy Brown: Oh yea, the Randy Brown Show. You talk about dedication I'm not sure when Randy sleeps. He's music is so unmistakably Randy Brown. Its amazing full of high energy, creativity, guitar picking, soul jumping, greatness. Randy's live shows are remarkable, he works the crowd, has fun and creates musical happiness everywhere he plays. He's just a true entertainer, who embodies the word artist. Randy doesn't know quit, he's a perfectionist and if he can't be perfect, he won't play it. He's my friend, and is truly one the greatest artist in music today. Go see the Randy Show. Watch Randy Brown “Trouble Is” on YouTube
The Green Light Pistols: What can I say about Green Light? Amazing artist with fiddle-playing prodigy Brook Wallace. This band is so uplifting and full of energy, you would think they where drinking gasoline. All the sounds that emanate from this group will leave you in utter amazement. Your heart will feel like its been jumped or tazered with a jolt of electricity. They’re awesome, talented and dedicated to creating music for all to enjoy. One of the best shows in the USA.
Places, venues and hot spots — my personal favorites:
Button's Restaurant: Bar, night club, dance hall, love this place.
The Live Oak Bar & Grill: Awesome sound and venue.
The Whiskey Girl Saloon: Great feel, awesome sound, good folks.
Filthy McNasty's Saloon: love this place.
The White Elephant Saloon: Heritage and greatness.
The Basement Bar: I love the feel of Todds place.
The Red Goose Saloon: Just love the old feel and heritage.
Billy Bobs Texas
Houston Street Bar: On the roof, greatness.
Magnolia Motor Lounge. Great sound and atmosphere.
The Capital Bar: There patio is awesome.
JJ'S Blues Bar: its back go there.
The Spice Rack
Reds Road House: big place new fresh great scene.
Adairs Saloon: its in Dallas but love the small feel.
Rail Head: Aledo Texas
Warmy Dog: Its in Oklahoma but awesome.
Bono's Chop House: its in Decatur Texas but love the outside.
Well hope you enjoy my picks go soon one of there shows and tell'em Trey Chapman sent you over.
Peace, Love, and God Bless Texas.
Pictures taken by:
Sandy Kurtzman, Denis Mitchell, Dee Hill, Ron Shue and Trey Chapman.
By: Kendall Louis
By: Jessica Llanes