I want you to stop and think about that feeling you get down to the very dark and dusty depths of the pit in your stomach the night before the first day of school. It is one not a soul can mistake. Nervous, tense, maybe fearful, but conversely ready, hopeful and overall excited. It’s the same feeling many of us local Fort Worth music junkies have had for years about our beloved Panther City artists and the rapidly growing music scene itself.
If you are in to their genre of music (or maybe even if you aren’t) you’ve definitely heard the stories of Pat Green running around Funky Town looking like he’s living on island time buying groceries or your mom has seen him at her doctor’s office next to her in the waiting room. I personally ran in to Aaron Watson at the Fort Worth Zoo a few years ago right as he topped the country charts at #1. Whack it down a few notches on the totem pole, who hasn’t had a beer next to Sam Anderson (Quaker City Night Hawks) at the Boiled Owl or sat a table over from Josh Weathers at dinner? Cowtown is teeming with talent and the cinch previously held tight around our overflowing load of talent is about to come undone. I can just feel it swelling inside me and I am udoubtedly surreal we’re the next big thing.
The first time I saw Maren Morris was at Fred’s. Her both her boyfriend and her dad was playing in her band at the time. Obviously a daddy’s girl, he carried the pride for his daughter around in his heart and hard shell case. Everywhere he went, he exuded that feeling and it was infectious. Maren herself, although always kind and generally one of the most pleasant human beings I’ve ever talked to, was young. She was inexperienced at the delicate balance it takes of touring and fairly meek in appearance, performance and stature (she’s the tiniest little whimsical creature FYI.)
I first heard Maren’s new single “My Church” on the 95.9 the Ranch I cranked it to 20 billion decibels and let the music notes float out my open car window on that Texas sunshiny afternoon that is unique to only our Lonestar State. Not only was I digging the groove, but she was saying exactly what I’ve been saying about music for my entire life. Lyrics are my scripture and music is my religion. When Ben Ryan cut in to the outro with, “That one was our very own Maren Morris.” I legitimately squealed. Her was this girl I had been watching bloom for years that had finally planted roots in a truly fucking amazing song and was blooming the brightest petals, so big even Nashville couldn’t ignore her beauty anymore. It has bite, it grips you and I have no doubt that song and that record is going to blow her career out of the water.
If you watched Luke Wade on The Voice you know the boy can sing. If you’ve watched Luke Wade play live you know The Voice was a bunch of overproduced bullshit. My mom has been obsessed (and I mean CD never leaves the car stereo rotation level adoration) with Luke Wade for years now. She dragged me (okay it wasn’t that difficult) to a Fort Worth Weekly Awards showcase at the Love Shack probably five years ago. Luke played solo, pre-flight entertainment before Walt Wilkins if that says anything, and I heard that little Luke songbird chirp for the first time ever in my life. I was completely blown away, socks knocked off and any other taken aback analogy you can manifest. Just him and his guitar and he was completely captivating. I saw him during Awards week again at the Pour House (I will go to my dying die refusing to call it Trinity River Tap House and touting it was much better in the downtown location) this time with full-band. For Luke full-band means horns, keys, strings, basically the kitchen sink of musical ensembles. It felt like a band from the Mardi Gras parade had wandered on to the stage and a melodic voice was so smoothly swirling about the instruments drawing people in with it’s unavoidable voodoo magic. So it was no surprise to me that he eventually ended up on The Voice. If you want to surprise yourself go see him live. I don’t mean Billy Bob’s either. I mean hole in the wall, Magnolia Motor Lounge or Lola’s where it all began. You’ll never want to watch The Voice again (not that I understand your motivation in the first place!)
My beloved city has now started an organization aptly named “Hear Fort Worth” in an attempt to propel out musicians here. Luke and Sam Anderson and a virtual melting pot of people relevant to the local music scene come together for a showcase and meeting of sorts once a month (brought to you by the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau) with the initiative to get this music out there and these artist heard both on a professional and creative level.
This new organization and push for greatness is the first day of school for the Fort Worth music scene as far as I’m concerned. With it brings anticipation for a new era for this musical baby many have nurtured from infancy and frankly my stomach is tied in knots just waiting to find out how the school year turns out.