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Max McRuiz: No Labels Please

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By Johnny Griffith

In the music world there are all sorts of labels for musicians: guitarist, drummer, keyboardist, country artist, pop artist, R&B artist, etc. Then there are those people who transcend any attempt to be put into a box and are constantly evolving their skill and style as they grow.

Allow me to introduce you to Max McRuiz.

Born in Lindale, and raised in Longview, Max inherited a musical past from his grandparents on both sides of his family. Max attended Spring Hill high school where he excelled in the music program. A four-time All Area 1st Chair, and three-time State 1st Chair winner in drums, his passion for music translated into several scholarships and the opportunity to continue his education in music at the collegiate level where he continued to develop skills on several instruments. After studying music education/performance at Kilgore College as well as SFA, Max was a student teacher at Kilgore High School. It was during this time that he realized he probably wasn’t destined to be a band director so he started teaching music on the side as a hobby to keep his skills sharp and fresh on his mind.

A veteran of several successful musical projects in the area, Max has recently devoted more time to solo projects and building a new trio for local gigs across the area. I sat down with Max recently for a chat.

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

Max: I developed a love for music at a very young age. My parents would place my crib next to the TV when I was only 8 months old so I could stand up and dance to The California Raisins as they would sing old Motown hits like “Heard it Through The Grapevine” and “Sign Sealed Delivered.” My love for music has only grown stronger as the years progressed.

Johnny: You’re a multi-instrumentalist. What were you first drawn to, and what do you consider your best instrument at this point in your life?

Max: I started playing drums and guitar around 1999 when my brother bought an old Samick electric guitar and Laney amp and it came pretty easy to me. As the years went on, I picked up the piano and played by ear until college where I had proper instruction on theory and reading sheet music. Although I would admit that the piano is my favorite instrument to play and compose with, I think drums are my forte. I pride myself in the fact that I am a ‘Jack of All Trades,’ so I try not to become too unbalanced as far as which instrument I am better on.

Johnny: What was your first public performance?

Max: I first took the stage when I was 7 years old for a talent show. I continued doing talent shows throughout school but it wasn’t until 2006 when I started a country cover band named Pocket Aces and I started gigging and playing shows. Once in college at SFA, I started my most successful band, Westbound 21, with friends Cody Wayne, Lyndsey Torrez, and Jason Skidmore.

Johnny: You’ve been involved in several successful local music projects. When did you decide to do more solo work?

Max: In September 2013, I decided to leave Westbound 21 and the big country music scene to play music at my local church. I just started playing solo gigs by myself and with my trio about a year ago. This time around I have the freedom to play exactly what I want without having to stay within the confines of a specific genre or style. My shows have a very wide variety from MoTown to John Mayer to Michael Jackson to Goo Goo Dolls and many more. There is something for everyone.

Johnny: How would you describe your current style?

Max: I would say my current style is easy-listening/Adult contemporary. I play with a loop station so obviously Ed Sheeran has had a big influence on my music.

Johnny: Are you creating much original content or is it primarily covers at this point?

Max: With my last band, we focused a lot on original content but now I just play what moves me. I pick songs for my set that have meaning and are fun to listen to. I play a lot of covers but tend to play them with my own style.

Johnny: About how many gigs a month are you playing at this point?

Max: Between private events, charity gigs, coffee house shows, and big shows with my trio, I play around 3-4 times a month.

Johnny: Is this still in the hobby stage for your or are you looking at a more serious push for a musical career? And if so, what direction would you like to see that path take if up to you?

Max: I have “been there and done that!” My last band played four gigs a week for five years and it burned me out. Now that I am older and have a wife, I enjoy picking and choosing the gigs that I take. Music is an avenue that allows me to express myself but I don’t want to ever make it into a “job” again. It takes most of the fun out when you start to try and make a living while attempting to make it big.

Johnny: Anything noteworthy coming up in February or March the readers might catch you at to enjoy your talents?

Max: I’ve got a couple of gigs coming up in February that will be fun nights.

February 16th (7-9pm) – Bridge 281 Coffee Shop in Longview

February 17th (7:30-10:30pm) –  Central Station in Gladewater

Stay tuned to my Facebook page for other specific dates and times.

Johnny: What has been your best memory so far in your musical career?

Max: December 30, 2013, I got to play at The Dallas Cowboys Stadium for a 30-minute pre-game show. That was a great experience and memory that I will never forget. More recently I got to share the stage with my childhood hero Bryan White a few months ago at The Central Station in Gladewater. That was very surreal and great experience.

Johnny: Besides your own music, what do you listen to currently that gets you excited?

Max: I am a huge fan of Marc Broussard, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Dave Barnes, Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Jackson, and Journey to name a few.

Fine Mac McRuiz on the web:

facebook.com/maxmcruizmusic

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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!

Sunday, February 18th

  • Click’s Live – Acoustic Chaos, 9-12
  • The Forge, Ben Wheeler – Tommy & The Acoustics, 7-10
  • The Grove – Chris Oliver, 11-3
  • Lago Del Pino – Dustin Becker, 12-2pm
  • Love and War – Songwriters Competition, 4
  • Stradda Caffe – Heather Nikole Harper, 11am

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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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Around East Texas

Koe Wetzel, Flatland Cavalry, Parker McCollum in Concert

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Upcoming Concerts

February 2nd (8pm) – Zane Williams with Push Water will be at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $32 VIP.

February 3rd (7:30pm) – Take 6 and Manhattan Transfer will be in concert. Combining forces for the first time, the two groups boast a remarkable 20 Grammy Awards and a range of styles that covers nearly every genre of popular music; from jazz to swing, from gospel to R&B. Belcher Performance Center at LeTourneau University is located at 2100 S. Mobberly, Longview,  (903)233-3080 or go to belchercenter.com.

February 9th (8pm) – Max Stallings will be at Coach’s & Cowboys. Tickets are available at wildtexastickets.com.

February 16th (8pm) – Koe Wetzel will be at Coach’s & Cowboys. Tickets are availableatwildtexastickets.com.

February 17th (8:30pm) – Curtis Grimes will be at Moore’s Store in Ben Wheeler. Tickets are available at the door.

February 23rd (8pm) – Flatland Cavalry will be at Coach’s & Cowboys. 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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Around East Texas

Feb. 17th: Tony Ramey at The Old Firehouse

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The Old Firehouse Presents:

Tony Ramey in Concert

The Old Firehouse in Edom hosts great acoustic concerts in the only “listening room” in the area. The Old Firehouse is located at 8241 FM 279 in Edom. The Old Firehouse is an intimate, smoke-free, and alcohol-free “coffeehouse” music room. For tickets, go to theoldfirehouse.net or call (903)852-ART1 (2781). Doors open at 6:30pm with “Schmooze Hour,” and the music begins at 7:30pm.

February 17th – Tony Ramey

With music that reflects his real life, real people, and the landscapes shaping their destinies, Tony Ramey embodies the substantive American soul.

Tony Ramey grew up in West Virginia on bluegrass and Bill Withers, found Willie, Waylon, Cash, and Kristofferson at eleven (who fueled an already fiery passion to write songs), then he heard Steve Earle whose songs convinced him to move to “Guitar Town” (Nashville) to hone his craft. He would eventually leave for Texas when the road called him out again.

With the release of his eleventh album, Ramey has the respect of industry folk, and keeps growing his audience with his undeniable prowess as a singer/songwriter. His tour schedule and his passion for performing are evidence that he prefers the troubadour life-style.

Tony’s daughter Savannah will be opening.

Admission is $18 at the door. Advance admission is $15 until 3pm Friday before the concert.

Other concerts include:

  • March 10th – Rupert Wates
  • March 24th – Sofia Talvik
  • April 14th – Ryanhood
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