TMP Top Pick Songwriter Contest Preliminary Round Review


I recently had the pleasure to attend the preliminary round of Texas Music Pickers, Top Pick Songwriter Contest, and I just have one word to summarize the show. “Wow!”. The talent of the performers was astounding! I felt like I was watching American Idol play out right in front of me and that I got to know each contestant personally, and continued to follow them along their journey. It was a live music experience I have never really witnessed before, and it is sure to be one I will never forget.

This was the second annual TMP Top Pick contest hosted at the Grand Stafford. In the preliminary rounds, hosted this past Saturday, 24 singer/songwriters took the stage to compete against each other in a competition that was judged based on vocal ability, songwriting ability, and instrumental ability. For each round, their were 3 guest judges who tallied up the 3 categories into one score, as well as an audience vote for their personal favorite that would be added to their final score. The top 12 scoring contestants would be selected to move on to the Final Round coming up on October 21st.

The talent was ridiculous and the cuts were brutal, with very deserving contestants not quite making it to the top 12. It wasn’t that the choices that were made were undeserving or the wrong choices, it’s just that the level of talent was so good, that in my mind, it was an impossible decision to make on who to put through to the final round.

IMG_5928No cut was more brutal in my mind, then one of my personal favorite contestants, Chrissy Phillips (pictured above) not being chosen to move on. Chrissy was one of the first contestants to perform and she set the bar so high, especially with her personal, heartfelt, original song “Leaving Girl”. She had beautiful range to her voice, with her glory notes literally leaving me chilled to the bone, with goosebumps covering my arms. She’s one that stood out above the rest, so I was definitely displeased when her name wasn’t called to advance to the final round.

IMG_5936For the most part though, most of my personal favorite contestants did indeed make it through to the next round, which makes me believe I could’ve done a good job at being a judge as well! Wishful thinking, right? The perfect example of this result was Jefferson Clay (pictured above). Maybe my favorite in the whole competition, Jefferson blew me away. In a contest full of predominantly country songwriters, I got more of an indie/acoustic vibe from Jefferson, and I was totally digging it. His original songs, “San Francisco” and “The Tide” were such a change of pace from the style of the previous contestants. I will freely admit, that I have been listening to them non-stop the past few days!

I left the show very happy and content with all the music I had heard that night. I always enjoy getting to experience a new artist and some new music so this event was the perfect place for. Getting to hear 24 unique songwriters share their stories through their music is something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I know I’ve cleared my schedule for Friday, October 21st to witness the Final Round go down, and see which artist comes out on top.

What’s at stake in this final round? The winner takes home the grand prize of $750 cash, the opening slot to the Dirty River Boys show at the Grand Stafford on 11/19, a recorded single from Hilltrax Studios, and song writing sessions with award winning singer/songwriters, Toney Ramey, Drew Womack, and Walt Wilkins. In the music industry today, this kind of prize is priceless and the value of it goes beyond the monetary gain. The knowledge and experience gained from receiving this prize could potentially help the winning artist make or break it in the industry.

So come on out and join me for the Final Round of TMP’s Top pick Songwriter Contest! Tickets are on sale now for $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased here. Doors open at 7pm with the show starting at 8pm. See y’all there!

Interview with the Landon Evans Band

Untitled design (3)

Last week I got the opportunity to meet with Landon and Josh, two members of the Landon Evans Band, at the Dixie Chicken. We talked music, A&M, and their performance coming up at the Grand Stafford Theater for First Friday.

I wanted to share, in a paraphrased, interview format, all that they had to share.

“How did you guys all meet and get your start as the Landon Evans Band?”

Landon went on to describe the unique path the band has taken to get to where they are today. Starting with himself, Landon’s career in music has been a fairly recent one. He didn’t start playing guitar until he was 17 and didn’t actually perform for anyone until he was a freshman in college. They encouraged him to reach out and play for bigger audiences and from there his success happened quickly and unexpectedly. Landon went on to describe how the original band was a 4 piece but is now a 5 piece band. In addition, over 20 people have been in the band before! Of the current members, Landon and Sam have been in the band the longest. Josh later joined the band through Sam but had heard of the band before through prior shows and running merchandise for them. Robert and Eric are the newest band members, joining about 3 months ago.

“I noticed the band has a lot of A&M and B/CS references in the song lyrics. Is the songwriting process mostly a reflection of your experiences here at A&M?” 

Landon explained how he is the main lyricist for the Landon Evans Band. He said although the lyrics are somewhat a reflection on his experiences, he wants the songs to be “relatable and identifiable for everyone.” The songs use a lot of local and Aggie references so audiences in the B/CS area and even Aggies across Texas can enjoy the music even more. Additionally, while some of the lyrics are a narrative of Landon’s personal experiences, he draws some inspiration from the lives of his friends, as well. The stories his friends will describe to him sometimes help with ideas for lyrics and Landon uses them as inspiration. Something Landon said that I particularly was intrigued by was that “songwriting can be like a dreaming…you get the opportunity to live another life through the lyrics.”

“Are you guys currently working on a new album?” 

Landon and Josh said they are in the process of getting a new album started right now! They are currently working to raise the money and find a studio that’ll help them record. For their first album, the Tate Music Group paid for production of their album for them. They enjoyed the sound and young energy the Landon Evans Band brought so they offered the band an opportunity to come to Oklahoma for 4 days and record an album. The band has done a lot of reflecting on this experience and knows how they want the process to go in order to get their second album made and out for audiences to hear. Additionally, Landon and Josh added that they are considering re-doing some of the songs off their first album plus adding new songs for album #2.

“Since most of you are students, what do future plans look like for the band post-graduation?”

Landon starts out by saying he “wants to give the band to have the best chance to be successful.” He is working hard to make the band grow and find new opportunities for them but isn’t too quick to put all his eggs in one basket. Personally, he thinks the next album will help determine the future of the band. Lastly, him and Josh agree that no matter what happens, all the members of the band plan on continuing their involvement with music and the music industry.

“What feelings do have towards playing at GST for First Friday?! Nervous? Excited?”

If you didn’t already know, the Landon Evans Band has played at the Grand Stafford before where they opened for country artist, Kim Dunn. Landon and Josh express how they’re very excited to play at GST as it’s always a different kind of crowd that really appreciates the music. They’ve played in many dance halls before or for audiences that like hearing covers of old, 80s country songs. They enjoy the Stafford because it’s a diverse crowd but everyone in the audience is there for the music and lyrics.

“What can new listeners expect from not only your performance at First Friday, but from your music as a whole?”

Landon says expect to hear some real country music. Their sound is not what you’d hear when you turn on the Top 40 Country radio station, it’s a more old-fashioned, honky-tonk sound. What makes their sound particularly unique is the energy they bring to a traditional music genre. They added that while it’s difficult to evaluate their own music, they’ve typically heard listeners compare their sound to Jason Boland and Max Stallings.

It was great to meet with Landon and Josh of the Landon Evans Band! Through listening to them talk and describe the band, you can easily sense how humbled they are for this journey. They genuinely enjoy performing and care about the audience and what they want to hear. You all are going to love listening to this band!

Make sure to come to the Grand Stafford Theater this Friday, October 7th, for a FREE performance from the Landon Evans Band and openers The New Offenders and The Cover Letter. Doors open at 7pm and the music starts at 8pm. Click here for more details.


Interview with John Krajicek of Leavenworth

Leavenworth Blog

Recently, I got the opportunity to interview John Krajicek, the lead singer of Leavenworth, and ask some questions about his band and their upcoming debut album.


·        You’ve been a part of Texas A&M’s faculty since 1996. Tell me about what your role is?

I am an Executive Professor in Mays Business School, where I serve as Communications coach for MBAs and other Masters students. I teach and coach public speaking, professional presence, self-awareness, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, etc. Performing music is, of course, much different than delivering a business presentation, but it’s also surprising how much they have in common. For example, to perform well in both it is of course critical to be really well prepared, but at the same time, once the lights go on so to speak, you need to stay in the moment at all times. Be here now. Fully engaged in each moment.

·        How did the band start?

After having played in many bands over the years, including a few bluegrass bands, I just came to a point where it was time for me to start a project that was what I really wanted to do. Not that I regret any of those previous bands. I learned a lot and made some very good friends through those projects. But in most of those situations, I wasn’t playing the kind of music that is where I really LIVE musically. I’m not getting any younger, and it was just time. Time to put together a band that felt like coming home to me. And man, did I get lucky. Leavenworth started as a solo project, because I wasn’t sure I would be able to find the right guys. But I was amazed how quickly I did find these guys. Thank you, Craigslist!

·        Where did the name Leavenworth come from?

I was born in Leavenworth, Kansas. And as I said before, this project represents to me a kind of coming home, thus the name. And by the way, it was a bit odd living in Leavenworth as a young kid. The Federal prison there is very present, and I recall as a little kid wondering if I would ever encounter any escaped prisoners. Pretty heavy stuff for a 5 year old.

·        Tell me about what inspires/influences you musically and lyrically?

Well, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and like everyone I am heavily influenced by a lot of artists. Beginning with The Beatles (specifically John Lennon) and Bob Dylan. But through the years, bands such as REM, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Centro-matic, and more recently, bands like the Water Liars, Wiretree, and The Head and the Heart influence me musically. But I’m probably influenced by musicians from other genres as well, just through listening to them for so many hours. Artists like Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Jaco Pastorius to David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, and Townes Van Zandt. This is a bit of a stretch, but I am also a painter, and I suspect that my favorite painters have influenced my songwriting in some ways (Pollock, De Kooning, Klee, Miro, Joan Mitchell). When we give ourselves over to the creative process, who knows what influences us from our memories and experiences? When you’ve spent hours listening to a Miles Davis record, even if you don’t play jazz, how can that experience not influence you in some way?

Lyrically, it is important to me to write from a place of integrity. Of honesty. For me, that means avoiding the clichés that we so often see. I mean, how many times can you use rhymes such as senoritas and margaritas? I’m not really knocking that sort of thing. I’m just saying it isn’t me. I prefer to write from my own actual experience and my own actual memories. So, a lot of what I write about is family and friends. The actual, real experiences that I have had with the actual people who I love and who love me. The deep moments (such as my parents’ deaths) and the more mundane moments that somehow become strong memories.

·        What is your songwriting process like?

Wordsworth said “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” That feels pretty right for me. Because I do prefer to write from my own experience, that means drawing heavily on my memories. But we know our memory isn’t particularly reliable. That in itself is really fascinating to me. So, for example, one of the songs on the new record – “Occurs to Me” – involves memories of me being a kid in Leavenworth, Kansas. The chorus of that song goes “If memory serves me / unfaithful servant /  whatever occurs to me /  is all I can see.” Or another lyric of mine asks “Is it memory / or must’ve been?”

What I’m getting at is that I sometimes take the consciously postmodern approach of writing about something in the past while simultaneously writing about the process of remembering. There is no doubt that, to some extent, we construct what happened in the past. Of course, the older I get, the more I think we actually construct the present as well, but that’s another kettle of fish.

Anyway, the practical process of my songwriting process varies. Sometimes I have a chord progression that I’ve found and I work it and work it until a melody starts showing itself. Sometimes the melody comes first. I have even written songs in my sleep! I have literally woke up with a tune in my head, and sometimes even lyrics to go with that melody, and my job is to write down or record that gift before it slips away. But all the songs develop as you play them over and over again. It almost feels like what I’ve heard sculptors say, that they scrap away what doesn’t belong in order to find the figure that is trapped within the medium. Sometimes it feels that way. As if I am not just making up the song, but rather discovering it, learning it, finding it.

·        If you were to tell a new listener about the new record, how would you describe it?

Well, I’m pretty biased, but I think it is a really good record! One thing that would become obvious immediately to a listener is the variety. We certainly have our own sound, but one characteristic of that sound IS variety. Much of what we do I suppose you could call Alt Folk Rock. But that label doesn’t really get it. In fact, some of the songs are a little bit country, some rock pretty hard, and some have a more poppy feel. One song, the closer on the record (Hibernation) has a sort’ve Wilco-esque Kraut rock foundation, with an extended swirling guitar solo around it. So yeah, a lot of variety.

Lyrically it varies as well. We range from lighter, poppy moments to heavy reflections of the past. Even a few fun, silly moments, such as our song “Birds of North America,” which is basically an extended litany of bird names and things associates with birds. But then another more serious song, “Ridgelines (too many),” imagines a Confederate soldier walking home from the Civil War, and the song is delivered from his point of view. So again, a lot of variety. And we’re very proud of this variety, and we think people will dig it.

·        What are you most excited/nervous about the release of your first album and playing at the Stafford?

No, not nervous. But very excited. When you launch something like this into the world, there is always that anticipation of what people will make of it. But I mainly feel like this CD and show is the culmination of many years of songwriting, performing, playing in bands… it’s kind of a big deal for us, and we’re thrilled that it is at the Stafford, our favorite (and the best) venue in town. But we’re also already looking forward to the next record. It’s interesting how much you learn about your bandmates (and yourself) making a record. When you finish, it’s not that you wish you could go back and rerecord things now that you have a better feel for each other and the songs, but you do very quickly start looking forward to the next one. And we have 5 or 6 songs pretty much ready to record, and 4 or 5 more that we will complete soon. So, as much as this is a wonderful moment that we will enjoy and cherish, on “Monday morning” we’ll keep pressing forward. I love the process of creating. I love the process of collaborating what I’ve created to make it better. And I love performing. So we look forward to more of that after this first record. It’s just the beginning…


Come Check out John and the rest of the guys in Leavenworth on September 24th at the Stafford, as they mark the release of their new debut album “All Despite Biology”. Special guest appearance by Adam Mikeal of the Brazos Symphony, who will join Leavenworth on one of their songs. Openers for the show are Americana artists Ben Ballinger and Chris Longoria Gonzales. Doors open at 7pm with music starting at 8pm. Tickets are $5 at the door or online in advance.


Artist Spotlight: Tow’rs & Seryn

Untitled design-7

Tow’rs who originally were a group of strangers who came together from a deep love of music & storytelling have become not only a band but a family. They encourage their fans to join their family by sharing in the conversation that their music begins and grow with them as they tour the country.

Each Tow’rs song takes you on a journey. They share a piece of their heart with every song as they wander through questions that haunt them, pains that mark them, and the hope that redefines them. Blending light folk with their southwest background while also incorporating male and female voices makes for a unique sound.

‘Belly of the Deepest Love’ is my personal favorite of all the Tow’rs songs. The harmony between the varying male & female voices throughout create a soft and romantic vibe to the song. The prominent drum in the background created the folk sound to the song and during the chorus, the drums speed up making it a catchier tune.


Untitled design (6)

Many people know Seryn since their song, ‘We Will All Be Changed’ became regionally known as well as their high-energy live shows. Especially since they were from Denton, I heard a lot about them being in another suburb of Dallas. Denton is known for their “hipster” culture with house shows showcasing new bands every night of the week. However, since 2011, Seryn has gone through some major changes, from a move to Nashville to becoming independent.

After touring and re-establishing themselves, Seryn released their Sophomore album ‘Shadow Shows’. You can hear the growth in the band as they have become stronger through the years of being together and experiencing life. Each of them bottled up exactly how they felt at the highs and lows, and created an album. Seryn stuck with their indie-folk background fueled by Americana beats. Again, I love the harmonies between the male and female voices, and Seryn does just that. ‘Paths’ is my favorite of the new album. It makes you reevaluate your life choices- if you’re still stuck in life and waiting for a sign for you to do something then you’re not living.


Come check out both of these artists on Sunday, 9/18 at the Stafford! This is definitely a once in a lifetime combination  & you don’t want to miss it. Tickets are $8 in advance & $12 at the door.

Seryn and Tow’rs


A Night of Music with Sean McConnell and Ryan Scott Travis

Sean McConnell-press 4

Sean McConnell, a distinctive songwriter who has honed his craft, is an artist on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough. Coming as no surprise to his devoted fans, his recently released self titled album has him primed for the big leagues. The album is chock-full of grass-root, vividly written, and effortlessly catchy songs that are sure to get the audience dancing and singing along.

His love for music and songwriting comes from his parents who have been his musical influences for as long as he can remember. His mom was a singer and his dad was a guitar player and songwriter. They would play in coffeehouses and bring him along with them. By the age of ten he had picked up the guitar and began writing his own songs.

He released his first album “Faces” in the 2000, when he was just 15 years old. Since, he has released over 5 other albums and EPs that have garnered him the devoted fan base he has now. His latest release of his self titled album, has a different feel to it though. It’s a record full of personal stories that are honest and understated in writing.

I really like how distinct Sean McConnell is as an artist. He has his own unique sound and style of writing that is really hard to come by these days. After listening to a few of his songs, I felt like I knew him personally, which speaks to how genuine and honest he is with his songwriting. Songs such as “Holy Days” and “Bottom of the Sea”, which both have attention grabbing opening verses that have a very anthem like sound, are definitely some of my favorites and he has made a fan out of me.


Ryan Scott Raw 4

Joining Sean McConnell on September 16th, will be Country-Americana artist, Ryan Scott Travis. Fresh off the release of his debut album “The Guadalupe Breakdown” back in December of 2015, Travis is drawing comparisons to artists like the Eagles and Guy Clark.

Rearing from the Texas Hill Country, Travis has a timeless sound and a unique take on vintage country that is sure to have you tapping your feet along in approval.


You can see these two up-and-coming artists live at the Grand Stafford Theater on September 16th. Doors open at 7:00pm and the show starts at 8:00pm. Get your tickets now here for only $12 or $15 at the door.

Artist Spotlight: Matt Wertz with CAPPA and Aaron Krause

Untitled design-25

Matt Wertz, self-made singer/songwriter, is an artist you can’t help but admire as he strives to push himself out of his comfort zone. His love for music started to flourish in his college years and his ambitions ended up pushing him to Nashville post-graduation where his fan base began to grow. He went from performing at Young Life camps with only one album under his belt, to touring with huge artists such as Jason Mraz, Ben Rector, Maroon 5, Parachute, and Gavin Degraw.

What I thought was especially interesting about Matt, is that after over a decade of producing albums with a sort of acoustic but pop feel, he decides to mix it up. He quotes that, “I realized I’d been making records in the same geographic area, and I wanted to get away from that comfort zone. I personally was needing a fresh approach….L.A. is very much about what’s happening now. I wanted to see how my music fit into that space.”

After several months writing songs in L.A., Matt is proud to bring his fans his new album “Gun Shy”. In this album he mixes the pop sounds he’s used to with his prior work, to synthesized R&B beats that bring a sound that sounds both old and nostalgic at the same time. This album will grab your attention both physically with the dance beat rhythms and emotionally with his lyrics that speak of love and new possibility.


Joining Matt Wertz on September 14th, will be young electronic/pop artist, CAPPA. Also calling Nashville her home, CAPPA has been making music since 2009 with her first album, “You Never Got Me”. A couple years later she started moving from just pop to a slightly more electronic pop sound with “My Heart is Beating Again”.

Like Matt, she has moved in a new direction with the release of her new debut EP out last spring. Fan favorite was the song, “Hush” feat. Almighty Chief. If you like girl powerhouse acts such as HAIM, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Halsey, then you’re going to love CAPPA!

You can look forward to the release of her newest EP, “Queen of Hearts” available on Sept. 16th.


Also on tour with Matt Wertz is pop singer/songwriter Aaron Krause. Aaron is not only a talented singer but a multi-instrumentalist and producer, as well.

His most recent EP, “Jade” has the synth-pop style of artists like M83 and The Weeknd and his new single “Thinking Bout You” comes out September 23rd.

Aaron quotes, “I love music that’s so vivid, you can almost see things when you listen. Music that takes you somewhere. Music that can really move you.”


You can see these three emerging artists live at the Grand Stafford Theater on September 14th. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm. Get your tickets now here for only $16.

Sangria – The Force Awakens

As summer begins its slow descent into autumn, it’s easy to fall swiftly out of love with your favorite summer drink. You’ve sipped on about as many margaritas as you can handle and you’re looking for something different.
What you’re looking for is sangria – a cocktail that’s easy, inexpensive, and can transition from summer into fall with zero effort.



Sangria, like all cocktails, involves simple ingredients mixed in optimal ratios: wine, sliced fruit, and a mixer or two. Add some time for the flavors to combine, and you’ll have a crowd-pleasing drink that tastes like you took real effort to create it, even if you threw it together after having a couple glasses of wine yourself.

Here’s the difficult part: The optimal ratio is what tastes good to you, so you need to pour slowly and taste often. Taste constantly. Taste until you’re sure it’s just right. Taste it.

The less difficult part is finding the right wine – Choose something mid-priced; a wine that you’d serve with dinner on a weeknight, but wouldn’t necessarily use to celebrate a special occasion.

Tropical White Sangria

Starfruit Sangria


1 Bottle Sauvignon Blanc
Sliced fruit, such as starfruit, oranges, and limes
Pineapple juice
Mango nectar
Grapefruit soda (Fresca)
Passion Fruit liqueur (Alize)

User Guide:
Pour one bottle of Sauvignon Blanc into a large pitcher; add 2 oz of Alize passion fruit liqueur and sliced fruit. Stir, then taste. Begin adding in fruit juice a few ounces at a time. Taste. Taste again. Do not let it get too sweet, as you’ll be adding soda as well. If you’re serving later, cover and refrigerate overnight. If you’re serving immediately, add ice and top with Fresca grapefruit soda. Taste.




The Bar at Grand Stafford Theater


Image Credits:

Interview with Landon McGee of Moonbeamer

Untitled design (1)

Recently, I got the opportunity to talk to Landon McGee, one of our past musicians in residence, on his new project, Moonbeamer.

In the past, your main focus was on your solo career, what made you want to start this new collaborative band?

There’s some really good stuff about playing by yourself, mainly the flexibility. I was able to change the plan during live shows based on the crowd and I loved the intimacy of that. The flip side is that it can be really lonely and ultimately limited my creativity. I was looking to start this project for one main reason: the need for community. Music can only go so far when it is alone. The guys in Moonbeamer have different skills sets, have played in different bands, and bringing more people together has been helpful. It has made me rethink and brought out new sounds that I haven’t explored. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I made this shift, I wanted to explore new sounds that I couldn’t do alone.

Have there been any difficulties in adjusting to a new band?

It’s been a fun experience, but there has been stuff I didn’t anticipate. I have written everything up to this point for the band but teaching the songs to the other guys has been hard. Especially teaching on keyboard or drums since I don’t play them. Also, it’s been a fun process to get help to write parts that I would have never thought of. I will have written a folk song and Matt, on the drums, will come back with a samba beat that I would have never put with the song. It pushes everyone to go out of musical comfort zones. Chandler has been my main collaborator and in contrast to me, is a creative writer. I write conventionally, think about boxes and structure. This way of doing it can be bad because I can get stuck and do not have as wide of a range because I am working in lines already established. Chandler’s approach is to be vulnerable and let the music flow. We just jam together and play the music we have written. We help each other with unfinished songs or songs that just aren’t great. Sometimes I feel I missing a spark of unfettered creativity, while Chandler can find musical moments out of thin air.

As a band we have chemistry and that’s exciting because we’ve only just started.

Where did the name Moonbeamer come from?

It’s a secret.

What are your inspirations for both the sound and lyrics you write?

As a songwriter, music and lyrics come from a patchwork of places depending on what I am writing. When I am thinking about lyrics, I am usually writing about something I can connect emotionally to so I can get a center for the song.

As for the sound, we’re going for country/rock/folk vibe. We wanted to take a time machine back to a time when the genres could coexist, like The Eagles or Neil Young.

What are you most excited/nervous about performing for the first time as Moonbeamer at the Stafford?

Nervous since the first time playing the music for a paying audience, but not really worried. I am pumped to get the first run through done. It’ll be fun.

Do you have a date for the release of the album yet?

We are still tracking more songs in the studio, and about to have another round of writing. Currently undecided as what we want the final sound to be so we are still messing around with songs.


Come check out Landon and the rest of the guys in Moonbeamer on August 19th at the Stafford! Doors are at 7 PM and tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door.

First Friday with Chapter:SOUL

chapter soul

If you’re looking for a performance with lots of energy and a big sound, then Chapter:SOUL is the band to see! Chapter:SOUL calls New Orleans, Louisiana home and it’s where the funk/soul band originally came together. Band members are Calvin Johnson, the band leader on saxophone, and famous sousaphonist, Kirk Joseph, accompanied by Kashona Bailey on keys.

Calvin Johnson’s background is one to praise as he’s performed, toured, and recorded with legendary musicians Aaron Neville, Harry Connick Jr., Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to name a few. He comes from a family with extensive musical talent which would, in-part, explain why he fell in love with music. He has a degree in business from the University of New Orleans and is a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).

Version 3

Calvin met Kirk Joseph through touring with Kirk’s band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Kirk played sousaphone for the band and is one of the founding members of the band, as well. It was his conversations with Calvin that led them to want to create their own band; something new and different from the rest of the New Orleans music scene. Kirk is often commended for playing a hug role in establishing the modern New Orleans  jazz band sound that combines traditional jazz and soul influences with a marching band culture.

Version 2

If you want to know more about this group, watch this interview with Calvin and Kirk as they discuss their journey creating Chapter:SOUL.

There is something truly unique about this group as they blend old-school horn techniques in a modern style sound. Crowds love watching this trio perform and you’ll have fun listening to their FREE, Friday night concert too! The show is August 5th celebrating the first Friday of the month in the Downtown Bryan celebration. Doors open at 7 PM and the music starts at 8 PM. Come join us!

Artist Spotlight: Max Stalling with Courtney Patton

Country singer/songwriter, Max Stalling, is a native Texan and, even better, a former Aggie. Whoop! While he used to work in the corporate world full time, his love for song writing and performing took over and he eventually became a full time musician instead. His songwriting turned into recording albums and this was so successful that he started touring with a full back-up band. He has a relaxed honky-tonk style sound and receives continuous praise for his imaginative lyrics.


Max Stalling plays an incredible 150 shows a year and is on his third year of a Budweiser sponsorship. To add to his honors, he has also received a star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi, Texas.

His most recent album, Home to You (2010) was produced by Grammy winner Lloyd Maines and it earned both a Best Album and Best Male Vocal nomination for the 2011 Lonestar Music Awards. In addition to Home to You, Stalling also has albums Topaz City (2008), Comfort In the Curves (1997), Wide Afternoon (2000), and One of the Ways (2002).


Joining Max Stalling at the Grand Stafford will also be soulful country musician, Courtney Patton. She has always been passionate about writing and performing and has been working hard to build a career out of her love of music. Her sound is influenced by her favorite musicians Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard and her lyrics mostly speak about “heartache, longing, and love”.

courtney patton

Her first record Triggering A Flood (2013) landed her regional buzz and her most recent record So This Is Life (2015) is taking her to new heights. In fact, she has taken tours through the U.S., Europe, and Canada to spread her Texas twang voice.


Both of these artists give you that sort of summer-livin’ feel when you hear them sing and seeing them perform makes for a fun night out. We are fortunate enough to have them at the Grand Stafford July 29th at 8pm. To learn more and buy tickets now please click here.