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Lauren Alexander: Earning Her Own Scars

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By Johnny Griffith

Lauren Alexander is breaking your rules. Just listen to her latest album “Smoke Signals,” and she’ll tell you. Obsessed with music from an early age, Lauren was surrounded by opportunities to explore, educate, and express herself in a myriad of genres. Once the Bullard native had a taste of the stage she never looked back, but don’t call her a Country artist; she’s much more than that box can hold. Crossing her “twangy country roots” with “soul driving classic rock,” she sprinkles on a healthy dose of folksy Americana for a unique, expressive, soul-bearing blend of original music and lyrics that invites you to break the rules along with her.

In between traveling and her latest project, a new song release “Sleeptalking,” Lauren caught her breath long enough to answer some questions about where she’s been, what she’s doing now, and where she’s headed.

Johnny: When did you first develop an interest in music?

Lauren: I was always around music growing up. My dad is a sound engineer and plays guitar so there were instruments and equipment lying around all the time, and my parents were cool about letting me be super loud. Having that freedom early on led me to be very comfortable in a creative mindset.

Johnny: Do you remember when and where you first performed in public?

Lauren: My very first performance was at church when I was just six years old. From there I performed at fairs and festivals around Texas, pretty much anywhere I could. I remember being so nervous early on. I wanted to be up there singing, but I didn’t want anyone to look at me!

Johnny: How integral was your family in helping you develop that early interest?

Lauren: I think I would have found music at some point no matter what, but my family is the reason I was able to get started so young. They drove me all over Texas to play at festivals and dive bars, and every other Sunday we would drive to Fort Worth for yodeling lessons. I knew very early on that music wasn’t just a hobby for me. It is a blessing that I’ve been able to focus primarily on my music, and I have to credit so much of my success to my parents and the family of people that have been so supportive of my vision.

Johnny: When did you make the decision to start writing your own music?

Lauren: I’ve always been a little shy, which has led me to feel misunderstood a lot. Songwriting was the best way I found to communicate without having to say a word. It’s easier to express your feelings when they’re tied up with a melody that carries half of the weight. Writing songs is like another part of my language now that helps me to organize all of my thoughts and feelings. I have to write for my world to make sense.

Johnny: Has the writing process evolved as you’ve become more experienced in the craft?

Lauren: My process is different every time, so I can’t say that it has changed. My creative headspace is definitely different than it used to be, but I think that mostly just comes from gaining new experiences and being comfortable with who I am and what I have to say.

Johnny: Your sound is quite a unique tapestry that has threads of several different styles and artists weaved into it. How do you describe it, and who are the artists you looked to for inspiration in the evolution of your sound?

Lauren: The evolution of my sound has been very organic. I grew up singing country music, but as I got older and began to develop my own musical appetite, I didn’t limit myself to being just one kind of artist. As I’ve transitioned into the sound that I have now, and writing for “Smoke Signals,” I’ve listened a lot to The Black Keys, Grace Potter, and Lana del Rey, as well as Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, and The Beatles. I think you will always be able to hear whispers of my country music upbringing in everything I do.

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Johnny: You grew up in Bullard and have played all over East Texas, but you’ve spent a lot of time in Nashville as well. How much of the time is split between the two these days, and what kind of professional challenges does a move like that bring?

Lauren: I lived in Nashville for about a year and a half. There’s music going on all the time, and I found a really great community of people that were really into what I was doing. But I missed having the freedom to travel. I missed my band. At one point I was working three part time jobs, playing shows at night, and still paying for groceries with spare change and calling home for money. I got into a really dark place being stuck there. I had to make the best decision for my career and myself, which was to move back home to East Texas and have more freedom to go and play shows wherever I want. I’ve been lucky to find cool music communities all around Texas, Colorado, and California. I joke a lot that I basically live in my car; it feels like it sometimes!

Johnny: Your debut album “Smoke Signals” is a great release, and the production value is out of this world for a debut from an independent artist. Who did you work with on this, and what has the response to the album been so far?

Lauren: Thanks! “Smoke Signals” is one of my greatest accomplishments. I’m so incredibly proud of that record and all the great people who were involved with it. I worked with Rosewood Studios in Tyler where I’ve been recording since I was 12. They’re the best, and people seem to really love it. I’ve gotten some radio play on several songs from that album, which is one of the coolest feelings in the world.

Johnny: Behind every successful singer at some point is a solid band. Do you have a regular cast of musicians taking the stage with you?

Lauren: I’ve been touring with my guitar player (and husband) Richie and my drummer Jeff for about six years. My bass player Stacy has been with us for about two years. We’ve all got a really good thing going on. I feel comfortable knowing that they’ve got my back on stage, and I think that’s really important.

Johnny: What do you feel has been your biggest milestone to this point in your career?

Lauren: Releasing “Smoke Signals” was huge for me because I worked so hard on it, but I’ve also gotten to play a lot of cool stages and travel to so many beautiful places; so it’s hard for me to pick just one big moment.

Johnny: Where does Lauren Alexander go from here?

Lauren: My plan is to keep doing what I’m doing: playing shows, writing songs, and putting out music. I’ve got another album in the works that I’m very proud of, which will be released in 2018. I’ll also be having a baby in February, and I can’t wait for the new adventure and challenge of touring with a kiddo.

Upcoming Shows:

  • October 13th and November 17th: Eagles Bluff – Bullard
  • October 14th: The Grove – Tyler

For more info about Lauren Alexander go to:

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Around East Texas

Feb. 24th: For a Good “Soulful” Cause, Edwin Holt

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For a Good “Soulful” Cause:

Edwin Holt, Red Clay Roadhouse, and Texas College Choir Join Forces

By Edwin Holt

Some of you already know the backstory of my musical life, what you may not know is the soulful bond that developed between myself and a culture that I have come to define as my second family.

Like most people that stay in their comfort zone of their own culture, I found myself in a different realm. For several years in the south Dallas area and beyond, I found myself, a twenty year old male, performing in an all black blues band, in all black juke joints. The music was and will always be a great reward of my dues paid. The family of musicians I inherited, was a reward I never saw coming. Having the opportunity to perform, travel, and join them at their dinner tables with their families, has changed me into someone else.

Growing up in the small town of New London, Texas, I was sheltered to what lied ahead in the real world. A world that opened my young eyes to the reality of a culture riddled with struggles that continue to plague our society and most importantly, the very body of Christ.

People talk about how we are divided as a culture. They say that leadership does nothing to aid within this division but at the same time we fail to notice the blame within ourselves. We think we are helpless to make any kind of change in the world due to who we are or where were from – I believe differently. My focus in life, is to make a continued difference using love as a means of change.

So it should be no surprise that when the Texas College Choir reached out and asked me to help them get to New York in their own efforts to share the Gospel of music, I was all in. And with that, I’m hoping you are all in as well.

Presented by the Holt family, this will be an evening full of soul that will take place on February 24th at 8pm. Doors open at 7pm. The performance is being held at the Caldwell Auditorium, 300 S. College Ave., Tyler.

Please help me help others with music. It is a wonderful gift from God that brings people of all cultures together.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit rosepickermusic.com.

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Around East Texas

Flatland Cavalry, Parker McCollum in Concert

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Upcoming Concerts

 

February 23rd (8pm) – Flatland Cavalry will be at Coach’s. Tickets are available at wildtexastickets.com.

February 24th (8pm) – Monte Montgomery in Concert – One of East Texas favorite artists, Liberty is thrilled to have back Monte Montgomery in concert. He has recently released his new album “Dragonfly” and is currently touring. Tickets start at $15. Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin St., Tyler. Tickets are available at libertytyler.com.

March 3rd (8pm) – Broken Valor w/ Panik Device, Victims Of Sanity will be in concert at Click’s Live. Tickets are available at the door with proper ID.

March 10th (8pm) – Shooter Jennings – Shooter Jennings is an American singer-songwriter active mainly in the outlaw country music and Southern rock genres. He is the son of country music legend Waylon Jennings. Tickets range from $35 -$45. Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin St., Tyler. Tickets are available at libertytyler.com.

March 16th (8pm) – Parker McCollum will be at Coach’s & Cowboys. Tickets are available at wildtexastickets.com.

March 24th (8pm) – Bibeau Record Release Party & Concert – will be held at Click’s Live. Tickets are available at the door with proper ID.

April 21st – Bowling For Soup at Clicks Live (8pm) – American pop-punk band Bowling For Soup emerged in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1994, but have since relocated to Denton Texas. Tickets are on sale at the door for $19, and may be purchased in advanced online for $15 at etix.com.

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Bands

EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide

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Check out who is playing live in Tyler, Ben Wheeler, Gladewater, and more!

To include your gigs, send to eguidemagazine@gmail.com

Advertise your gig in the header for $150. E-mail us to reserve your spot!

Monday, February 19th

  • Love & War, Lindale – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Stanley’s BBQ – Ramoth Gilead & His Affiliad, 6:30-9:30

Tuesday, February 20th

  • 11th Frame Club – Lynn Groom, 8:30-11
  • The Back Porch, Kilgore – Brandon Nichols, 7-10
  • Coach’s & Cowboy’s – Karaoke, 8-12
  • F D’s Grillhouse – Eric Mosley, 6-9
  • Garage Bar – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Love & War, Lindale – Songwriters Anonymous, 8-12
  • Summerfield’s Bar & Grille – Karaoke, 7-11
  • Stanley’s BBQ – Dustin Becker & Chris Oliver, 6:30-9:30
  • UTTyler Cowan Center – Jazz Ensemble Concert, 7:30
  • Where’s Rufus – DJ, 8-12

Wednesday, February 21st

  • The Back Porch, Kilgore – 2nd Childhood, 7-10
  • Click’s Live – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Dakota’s – Darrin Morris, 7-10
  • The Forge, Ben Wheeler – Craig Wallace & T.D. Wilt, 6-10
  • Leon’s, Longview – Blues Jam with Johnny & The Nightcrawlers, 8-11
  • Stanley’s BBQ – Big Funky Cloud, 6:30-9:30
  • Yamato – Open Mic, 8-12

Thursday, February 22nd

  • 11th Frame Club – Lynn Groom, 8:30-11
  • The Back Porch, Kilgore – David Allen, 8-12
  • Breakers – Tne Last Marc, Ian, and Douglas Serenade, 9-12
  • Clicks Live – DJ Cicero, 8-12
  • The Forge, Ben Wheeler – Cody Noman, 7-10
  • Garage Bar – DJ Juice, 8-12
  • Liberty Hall – From Hollywood with Love, 7-9
  • Republic Icehouse – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Stanley’s BBQ – TJ Hammersley & Friends, 6:30-9:30

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Friday, February 23rd

  • 11th Frame Club – Karaoke, 8-12
  • The Back Porch, Kilgore – Cody Wayne, 8-12
  • Breakers -Lucas Kelm, 7-10
  • Circle M Crawfish – Karaoke, 7-11
  • Coach’s & Cowboy’s – Flatland Cavalry, 8-12
  • Dakotas Chop House – Jason Misenheimer, 7-10
  • ETX Brewery – Shay Bailiff, 7-10
  • The Forge, Ben Wheeler – Finding Shade, 7-10
  • The Foundry – Josh White at Mockingbird Conference, 7:30
  • Fusion – DJ Polo, 9-12
  • Garage Bar – DJ Panda, 8-12
  • Kawa’s – Quentin Moore, 7-10
  • Liberty Hall – Johnny Lee “The Original Cowboy,” 8pm
  • Love & War, Lindale – Lee Mathis, 8-12
  • Mario’s – Live Jazz, 6-10
  • Moore’s Store, Ben Wheeler – Mariah Keltner, 9-12
  • Paradise Harbor, Hawkins – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Republic Ice House – Johnny & The Njghtcrawlers and King Richard, 8-12
  • Rick’s – MoJiles, 8-12
  • Shoguns – DJ, 8-12
  • Stanley’s BBQ – New Breed Brass Band, 9-12
  • Stone Country, Lindale – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Taste of Italy On the Lake, Hawkins – Marcus Casburn, 6-9
  • Where’s Rufus – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Yamato – DJ Cash, 9-12
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Saturday, February 24th

  • The Back Porch, Kilgore – Ryan Matthews, 9-1
  • Caldwell Auditorium – Edwin Holt & The Texas College Choir, 8-12
  • The Central Station, Gladewater – Heather Harper, 7-10
  • Club 155 – David Allen, 9-1
  • Dakotas Chop House – Larry Hooper Duo, 7-10
  • ETX Brewery – The Jazz Connection, 8-10
  • The Forge, Ben Wheeler – Craig Wallace, 3-5, Trey Rosenthal, 7-10
  • Fuzion – Latin DJ Night, 8
  • Garage Bar – Chase McClannahan, 9-1
  • Kawa’s – Dan Rocha, 7-10
  • Lago del Pino -Blind Pursuit, 8-12
  • Liberty Hall – Monte Montgomery, 8pm
  • M6 Winery, Bullard – Withrow Cooley, 3:30-6:30
  • Mario’s – Live Jazz, 6-9
  • Moore’s Store, Ben Wheeler – Tyler & The Tribe, 9-12
  • Republic Ice House – Bluez Boys, 8-11
  • Rick’s – Live Music, 9-1
  • Stanley’s BBQ – Open Mic, 6:30-9:30
  • Strada Caffe – Jordyn Lackey, 8-10pm
  • Taste of Italy On the Lake, Hawkins – Marcus Casburn, 6-9
  • Where’s Rufus – DJ, 9-1
  • XLN – Grant Cook & Friends, 9-1
  • Yamato – Karaoke, 8-12

Sunday, February 25th

  • Click’s Live – Acoustic Chaos, 9-12
  • The Forge, Ben Wheeler – Tommy & The Acoustics, 7-10
  • The Grove – Chris Oliver, 11-2
  • Lago Del Pino – Dustin Becker, 12-2pm

Monday, February 26th

  • CBS19 Music Monday’s – The Kirby’s, 10pm 
  • Love & War, Lindale – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Stanley’s BBQ – Ramoth Gilead & His Affiliad, 6:30-9:30

Tuesday, February 27th

  • 11th Frame Club – Lynn Groom, 8:30-11
  • Back Porch – ReULion Charity Jam, 6:30
  • Coach’s & Cowboy’s – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Dakotas Chop House – Gary Patrick, 7-10
  • F D’s Grillhouse – Eric Mosley, 6-9
  • Garage Bar – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Love & War, Lindale – Songwriters Anonymous, 8-12
  • Republic I’ve House – Todd Rinlee, 8
  • Summerfield’s Bar & Grille – Karaoke, 7-11
  • Stanley’s BBQ – Dustin Becker & Chris Oliver, 6:30-9:30
  • Where’s Rufus – DJ, 8-12

Wednesday, February 28th

  • The Back Porch, Kilgore – Adam Brown, 7-10
  • Click’s Live – Karaoke, 8-12
  • Dakotas Chop House – Gary Patrick, 7-10
  • The Forge, Ben Wheeler – Craig Wallace & T.D. Wilt, 6-10
  • Leon’s, Longview – Blues Jam with Johnny & The Nightcrawlers, 8-11
  • Stanley’s BBQ – Big Funky Cloud, 6:30-9:30
  • Yamato – Open Mic, 8-12

 

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