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Jeremy Peyton: Betting On Himself

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By Johnny Griffith

In case you haven’t noticed, the price of oil is down drastically from a year or two ago, consequently the oil and gas related jobs are down all over the region. This has caused many local men and women to consider career changes with circumstances being considered unfortunate by most. For some people, however, the current industry climate has been seen as a sign to jump out and take a chance on long made plans, or dreams pushed to the side while business was good.

One of these intrepid opportunists is local singer/songwriter, Jeremy Peyton. As the oil industry shrank, Peyton saw the writing on the wall, made the hard choice to pursue his passion, and jumped to being a full-time musician instead of continuing to tread water until oil prices bounced back.

jeremy-peyton-live-music-country-tyler-tx-texas-1Born in Tyler in 1977 , the Longview resident found a love for music at an early age, and it remained in the background as a priority for several years until he assembled a group of musicians to provide support on stage and started playing local venues on the weekend. With a penchant for Texas Country and a knack for writing relatable, authentic lyrics, Peyton has built an impressive catalog of songs he weaves among crowd-favorite covers to keep people coming back for more.

We found Jeremy out on the road somewhere between Houston and Ft. Worth traveling between gigs and got some more insight to his motivations, background, and future plans:

Johnny: When did you really start thinking about music being more than a hobby?

Jeremy: I’ve always loved music and knew that’s what I wanted to do someday; so while I was on my three-year vacation in Nacogdoches at Stephen F. Austin State University, I started playing parties with a handful of songs that I’d sing over and over, and it just grew from there. A few years later I started venturing into forming a band.

Johnny: When was the moment you said, “Okay, let’s jump in with both feet and go full time?”

Jeremy: January 21st, 2016. Besides being a musician, I’ve been in the heavy equipment and oil field business going on 24 years. With the recent crash, I had my music to fall back on. I had been juggling my music career for a long time, so the choice was easy.

Johnny: How would you describe your music?

Jeremy: Pure Texas Country with a twist of southern rock and honky tonk.

Johnny: How much of the music you perform is original?

Jeremy: I have a ton of originals, and I try to write every day. They aren’t all great, but I never throw them away because I have a pretty good memory, and I’ll go back and revisit songs or steal lines from them for a current song I’m working on. My motto – never waste a good line.

Johnny: I like to ask all the musicians I interview what their most memorable gig has been so far, so…yours?

Jeremy: That one’s easy: Billy Joe Shaver. He’s one of my heroes, and we hung out for hours telling stories. I’ve had several other shows that were huge mile markers, but none bigger to me than this one, and I only played three songs.

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Johnny: Obviously, any time you choose to do music on a regular occasion there are challenges, but even more so when you are committed full-time. What have been some of yours?

Jeremy: There are always obstacles to overcome, but probably the most significant are finances. Recording is very consuming on the budget, traveling, long hours (which I was used to because my oil field days), and finding the perfect blend of musicians. They’ve all been great, but perfection, or close to, is always the goal.

Johnny: Speaking of traveling, how far are you traveling to play shows these days?

Jeremy: Right now we’re playing shows all over Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and the venues keep growing.

Johnny: What about that “perfect blend of musicians?” Who do you have on stage with you to craft your sound?

Jeremy: I’ve got a great lineup of quality players right now. Currently we’ve got Dalton Simmons on lead guitar and fiddle, David Sweat on drums, Jon Morrow on bass, Wayne McGeorge fills in for us on bass as well, and Justin Spates on lead guitar.

Johnny: There’s a lots of live acts around, especially in the Texas Country genre. What do you feel sets you apart?

Jeremy: You’re absolutely right, there are a lot of great musicians around, but we just focus on doing our brand of music. We try to be authentic with everything we do, tell great stories, and play great songs. People recognize and appreciate that experience of real Texas Country with the stories and emotions captured in our songs.

Johnny: What’s on the immediate horizon for you?

Jeremy: I’m currently working on finishing a two-year project and hopefully releasing an album very soon. I have two radio singles out currently. I’m also working with Rebecca Creek Distilleries on a sponsorship level and looking forward to seeing what the future holds down the road. There are lots of great shows to come, but first, I’ll be taking November off for hunting season. I’ll continue to do all my weekly acoustic shows, but I’m really just concentrating on time with my kids and hunting for a bit.

Jeremy Peyton will play at Circle M Crawfish in Big Sandy Saturday, November 12th, 8pm.

Find him on Facebook page at facebook.com/jeremy.peyton or go to reverbnation.com/jeremypeyton.

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October 13th, Award-Winning Band MercyMe in Concert

October 13th, Award-Winning Band MercyMe in Concert

MercyMe will be in concert at The Oil Palace is October and is guaranteed to sell-out!

Since their debut in 2001, Grammy®-nominated, multiple American Music Award and Dove Award winners, MercyMe has sold more than 8.5 million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered 27 No. 1 multi-format Christian radio singles and four consecutive mainstream radio hits with ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ (No. 4 AC/Top 25 on Top 40/Hot AC), ‘Here With Me’ (No. 4 AC), ‘Homesick’ (Top 10 AC), and ‘So Long Self.’

Their radio success has continued with recent singles ‘Flawless’ (No. 1 for 15 weeks) and ‘Greater’ (No. 1 for 16 weeks)​, landing them the Top Christian Airplay Artist spot on Billboard’s 2015 Year End charts.

MercyMe made history in 2014 as ‘I Can Only Imagine’ surpassed 2 million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double-platinum in the digital domain. In 2009, Billboard named MercyMe’s ‘Word Of God Speak’ the No. 1 Song of The Decade and the group the No. 1 Artist of the Decade in both the Christian Songs and Christian AC Songs categories, recognizing them as one of the industry’s most notable talents.

They have sold out venues throughout the US and Canada, including Radio City Music Hall, and have appeared on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Fox New Channel’s Fox & Friends, CNN, ABC News, and in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, USA Today and more.

Their most recent project “MercyMe, It’s Christmas!” debuted atop the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart and became an instant classic. Their eighth studio release, “Welcome To The New,” garnered Billboard Music Award nominations in all three Christian categories and two Grammy® nods; the album is available in stores now.

Tickets start at $19 and are available at oilpalace.com. The Oil Palace is located at 10408 State Highway 64 East, Tyler, (903)566-2122.

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Blacktop Mojo: Burning Up The Roads To Success

By Johnny Griffith

About a year and a half ago I sat down to interview Blacktop Mojo, a Jacksonville based hard rock band riding a wave of momentum after several successful years together and an upcoming album release. The end of that interview finished with this:

“Blacktop Mojo can still be heard around East Texas on a regular basis, but I would definitely suggest checking out their website for more information and a sample of their music if you haven’t heard them. If it’s in your wheelhouse, get out and support a great local band that won’t be local for much longer at the rate their Mojo is working.”

As it turns out, I was a little more prescient that I anticipated as Blacktop Mojo’s stock has only risen in the ensuing months. With a successful album release, ever increasingly distant tour stops, and mounting accolades from industry critics and magazines, local BTM shows are becoming harder to come by.

In case you might not have heard of Blacktop Mojo, their sound can be described as “modern rock that got dragged through a puddle of southern rock and then dipped in a little bit of grunge”. The band was originally formed in 2012 and the current lineup includes Matt James on vocals, Nathan Gillis on drums, Chuck Wepfer on rhythm guitar, Ryan Keifer on lead guitar, and Matt Curtis on bass.  

With a huge sound and chest shaking vocals, Blacktop Mojo brings a high energy rock show that leaves fans wanting more everywhere they go. While in the midst of rehearsals last month for their most recent tour that kicked off in San Antonio on April 20th, we caught up with them to see what had been going on for the past year and a half and what was on the radar for the rest of the year.

Johnny: So it’s been about a year and a half since our last interview with you guys and the last time we talked there was an album in the works. When did “Burn The Ships” release and how was the process different from the first time around when you recorded “I am”?

BTM: “Burn The Ships” released in March of 2017. The biggest difference between this record and our first record, “I Am”, was the amount of time we took for pre-production. On “I Am”, we spent about two weeks getting ready and arranging the songs before we went in to record it, where on “Burn The Ships”, we spent about eight months demoing and playing around with different ideas.

Johnny: How has the reception been to the album so far and do you guys have your own personal favorite song from it?

BTM: The reception to the album has been incredible this far. We’ve had countless positive reviews and feedback from publications all over the world. Also, our first single off of the album entitled “Where The Wind Blows” reached number 27 on the Billboard Active Rock chart last summer.

Johnny: You guys got to open for Bon Jovi last year in a sold-out stadium. Tell us about that about how you guys got that honor and a little about the experience?

BTM: We actually won that honor in a contest the band was putting on. We submitted some of our original music and were picked by Live Nation and the band’s management to open up the show. The experience was beyond amazing and the crowd was very receptive to us. We cannot thank the Bon Jovi camp enough for the opportunity and for treating us so incredibly.

Johnny: Obviously that put you in front of a lot of potential new fans but what would you say the biggest takeaway from that event was?

BTM: Our biggest takeaway from that night was that whether you’re playing in front of 20 or 20,000 people, you should treat it the same way. Make everyone feel like you’re playing in a stadium even if it’s an empty room.

Johnny: Blacktop Mojo has been trending steadily upward the past couple of years with several accolades from industry publications, over 40 thousand likes on Facebook, a new album, and you guys seem to play everywhere and anywhere. What kind of effect has the increased exposure and success had on the daily routine and what kind of new challenges have came along?

BTM: Our daily routine hasn’t changed much when we’re home. We still write and rehearse on a regular basis and go about business as usual. The increased exposure has made touring opportunities more readily available for us and has increased the number of people we can reach with our music, which is super exciting for us.

Johnny: You have a pretty extensive tour coming up that you’ll already be on the road for when this goes to print. Is this the biggest tour BTM has embarked on and what goes into planning a 2-month long road trip that covers, as best I could count, 32 states, both sides of the country, Canada, and 43 shows?

BTM: This is our most extensive tour to date. A lot of planning, routing, and generally putting the puzzle pieces together has gone on over the past few months by us and our team to make this happen. We couldn’t be more excited to get back out on the road and see our friends across the country.

Johnny: I’d say it would be time for a break after that sort of trip, but you guys are right back at it, playing Rock Fest 2018 up in Wisconsin with some huge names, do you guys ever have to step back, take a breath, and say to yourself “this is our reality”?

BTM: We are very blessed to be able to wake up and do what we love every single day. They say “you never work a day in your life if you do what you love”, so I don’t think we’ve ever really thought about taking a break.

Johnny: Were you able to see yourself at this point back when you played your first show at the Neches Fall Festival or the first “official” show as BTM at the Shelton Gin back in 2012?

BTM: It would have been hard to imagine getting to do what we do now back then. We’ve always just been happy to be able to play music for people.

Johnny: With what’s on your plate for the first half of this year, I almost hate to ask, but what’s on the radar for the second half of 2018 that you can share with us?

BTM: We have plans to keep touring throughout the rest of the year and are currently writing music for our third record.

Johnny: What has been the best memory from the ride so far?

BTM: It’s hard to pick just one from all of it. One of my favorites so far was riding back into town off of our first tour last Summer/Fall. We’d been out on the road for over 60 days straight with 7 of us basically living out of our van. We were tired, beat up, and hungry, but everyone was smiling and joking with each other. It really felt like we had accomplished something.

For more information on Blacktop Mojo and when they’ll be back at a location near you, check them out on the web:

www.blacktopmojo.com 

www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo.

 

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