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Tyler Dudley: Not Satisfied With Okay

By Johnny Griffith

A long time ago I was sitting in a classroom in college listening to a speaker talk about success and failure in business and in life. Of the many catch phrases and cliches thrown about that day, the one that stuck with me was this phrase, “Sometimes in life we find good things, and those good things keep us from the best things.” What the speaker was trying to imply was that we can sometimes find ourselves comfortable with our surroundings, safe from the uncertain storms, and content with where we are in life. That contentedness, however, can sometimes keep us from seeking something more, and in that something more, sometimes we find the best things.

Whitehouse native Tyler Dudley just might be one of the best examples around for this philosophy that I’ve come across recently. Like many East Texans, Tyler discovered his first love of music in church, embracing it to the point of eventually leading worship and has maintained the love ever since. With early musical exposures to such a wide range of influences as John Mayer and George Strait, Dudley has developed his own voice and continues to pursue a love of music despite the challenges.

After starting to work for a local Cavender’s his junior year in high school and working his way to assistant manager, Tyler began to realize what he really wanted to do was play music. Even though the job he had was a good thing, it wasn’t the best thing for him. Now, he plays every gig he can get and works toward a goal of releasing an album in the near future. I recently sat down with Tyler to get to know him better.

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

Tyler: About three years ago I was unhappy at my 9-5 job, and I just knew I wanted to do something that was going to make me happy. Music is that thing for me.

Johnny: What have been some of the challenges you’ve experience trying to realize music as a livelihood?

Tyler: It’s not easy to get booked at places unless you have a name for yourself. To get a name for yourself you have to sacrifice time with the people you are close to. It really is a tough situation when you’re trying to break into the scene but it’s worth the work.

Johnny: Who were your early influences musically?

Tyler: I’ve always enjoyed John Mayer, King George (Strait), and the King of Pop (Michael Jackson). I’ve always enjoyed music from all over the spectrum and feel that there is too much good music being made not to enjoy it all.

Johnny: How would you describe your music?

Tyler: As much as I appreciate a lot of different genres, the music that I have been writing and love to really play the most is Red Dirt Texas Country Music.

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

Tyler: Right now I’m doing about 75 percent covers and 25 percent originals. Obviously the goal is to eventually be 100 percent originals.

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

Tyler: That’s easy; I was able to open up for my friends JB and the Moonshine Band at Cowboy’s earlier this year, and it was something I will certainly never forget.

Johnny: How far are you traveling to play shows these days?

Tyler: The farthest I go regularly right now is to Port Arthur to a place called Rodair Roadhouse.

Johnny: Are you just primarily a solo act, or do you ever collaborate with other musicians?

Tyler: I’ve played solo for the past two years, but recently I formed a band, and we’re currently pushing that format.

Johnny: There are a lot of live acts around, especially in the “Country” genre. What do you feel sets you apart?

Tyler: I think what sets me apart is that my Country isn’t just country. I go from Waylon to Luke Bryan to Stoney Larue. I think that country is a broad genre, and I like to cover every bit of it.

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

Tyler: I am currently getting the funds to put together my first album. It’s not exactly a cheap process, and it takes a lot of time to get everything perfected. I am super excited to get everything going, but it just takes some time.

Upcoming shows for Tyler Dudley:

  • November 3rd – (full band) Clicks, Tyler
  • November 4th – (acoustic) Yamatos, Tyler
  • November 11th – Rodair Roadhouse, Port Arthur
  • November 17th – (full band) Kawas, Tyler
  • December 1st – (full band) Kawas, Tyler
  • December 15th – Rodair Roadhouse, Port Arthur

For more info about Tyler Dudley go to tylerdudleymusic.com or facebook.com/tylerdudleymusic.

ben wheeler

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Around East Texas

April 21st: Mouse and the Traps and Bowling for Soup

Upcoming Concerts

April 21st (8pm) – Mouse & The Traps – After more than 50 years together, Mouse & the Traps continue to be one of the best examples of “Texas Rock & Roll.” Formed in Tyler, Texas in 1965, Mouse, Nardo, Dave & Larry continue to give the public just what they want – great rock and roll. Whether you remember “Public Execution,” “Hit the Bricks,” or not, Mouse & The Traps has something for everyone. Tickets are $20-$25.

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 advance online for $15 at etix.com.

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Bands

Blind Pursuit: Chasing Dreams

stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine

By Johnny Griffith

In science, there is a phenomenon known as the Butterfly Effect which states, that in a complex system, small changes in one place can have a larger effect elsewhere. This is best illustrated in the hypothetical example of a butterfly flapping its wings in Mexico and causing a hurricane in China.

A more practical example of this would be the formation of the band Blind Pursuit, based out of Palestine, Texas. An amalgamation of sound and styles brought to the table by each individual member, Blind Pursuit is the end result of five people from different backgrounds and geographical origins ending up in a small town in East Texas and magic happening.

Hailing from Southeast Louisiana, Maine, Cayuga, and Harmony, the odds of these five people interacting were astronomical, but small changes had large effects and Blind Pursuit has been a staple in the east Texas music scene for three years now. We recently tracked them down to get to know them just a little better.

Johnny: Blind Pursuit has been playing gigs around East Texas since 2015. What was the genesis of the band and what is the current line up?

Blind Pursuit: Our first show was February 28th, 2015 opening for our good friends Blacktop Mojo at Click’s Live in Tyler.

Our current lineup includes Marc Mitchell on drums, Craig Jones on bass guitar, John Reed on lead guitar, Katie Reed with lead vocals, and Michael Jones on lead vocals and acoustic guitar.

Craig and Katie hail from Cayuga, Texas. John was raised right down the road in the Harmony Community just outside of Palestine. Marc migrated from the great state of Maine; and Mike spent most of his time about 45 minutes southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been in Texas since 1998 and spends his time filling in behind the bar at Pint & Barrel Drafthouse in Palestine, and working construction. He met John and Katie again in 2013. John and Katie own Reed Construction where John builds custom homes and Katie does interior design. Craig owns Oak Floor Supply in Tyler, Texas and Marc is in marketing and communications and sometimes moonlights at the Appleton Coffee House.

Johnny: How about the name – there’s a lot to be said in that name. What does it mean to the band and where did the idea come from?

Blind Pursuit: The name Blind Pursuit stems from the belief that we are all pursuing something, whether it be chasing dreams, running after love, or following your passions; at some point, it takes a blind leap of faith to achieve something truly great. In all actuality, we started with the word ‘Pursuit’ and since we had no idea of how or where we were going or how to get there, ‘Blind’ seemed like the obvious choice.

Johnny: Blind Pursuit has a pretty eclectic mix of sounds in your catalog but how would you describe ‘your’ sound?

Blind Pursuit: Wow! That’s a great question, one that we’ve been asking for quite some time. We play what we love. We are a varied group of musicians with different musical backgrounds and tastes, and we play what we would like to hear if we were sitting in the audience. Our own sound stems from songwriting, which is mainly done by our lead singer Michael, and so it definitely has a soulful, emotional style to it, and has a layered Indie rock feel. You can hear a little bit of our southern influences layered in as well as the obvious differences of having two lead vocalists. So if you wanted to pigeonhole us into a specific genre, I would say we fall into the Indie Rock genre, just because it encompasses such a wide variety of sounds and musical stylings.

Johnny: How much of your show is covers versus originals these days?

Blind Pursuit: After the release of our debut album “Offramp,” we do about ¾ covers and the rest originals. New material is constantly being added and we hope to shift the number of originals to a larger segment of the show.

Johnny: About how many shows does the band try to play a month?

Blind Pursuit: We’re currently averaging five shows a month but we are always looking to add to that.

Johnny: Are most of the gigs in the east Texas area or do you travel out of the area?

Blind Pursuit: The majority of our shows are in East Texas. We do travel to north and central Texas on occasion and we are hoping to broaden our travel radius this year.

Johnny: What are you most proud of as a band?

Blind Pursuit: Our album, without a doubt. We feel like it is such an outpouring of who we are and our evolution over the past couple years. It’s like we have given birth to our own child. So much love, nurturing and hard work has gone into this project. Our resources and time have been singularly focused towards this and we could not be prouder of how it has turned out. We worked with so many great musicians and our Producer, Phillip Moseley was a great asset. They have been invaluable in helping us birth this album.

Johnny: What has been your favorite moment, on stage or off, as a group so far?

Blind Pursuit: I think it has been a thousand small moments of connection with our fans. We’ve heard stories where our songs touched someone going through a divorce, or something we sang really resonated with someone going through a tough time, and you just stop for a second after the mad rush and adrenaline goes away, and you think about how you’re affecting people and the connections you’re making. When we see people singing along with our songs, grabbing their person and dancing, when you see an emotional reaction – that’s the good stuff, the reason we do what we do.

Johnny: What is in the works for the year?

Blind Pursuit: We’ve got another handful of songs and hopefully, that will translate into a new project as well. Whether the next step is an EP or a full-length album is yet to be determined.

Johnny: What’s in the water down in Palestine, between Blind Pursuit, Blacktop Mojo, Kolby Cooper, and others… seems like Palestine has become a serious music town. What’s your take on it?

Blind Pursuit: Every once in awhile, “magic” happens in the most unlikely of places. If you’ve seen the documentary on Muscle Shoals and the music that came out of that small studio in Alabama, then you kind of have insight into the madness behind the magic.

All these acts from Palestine are backed by the most awesome community of people who rally behind us and get the word out, grassroots style. The people here truly love music and they believe in us, or we wouldn’t be able to do what we love. We have a connection, not only through the town we’re from but through our producer and the studio we’ve all recorded at, Audioworx.

Johnny: What experience do you hope first timers will have at a Blind Pursuit show?

Blind Pursuit: Someone recently left a review on our Facebook page that sums it up perfectly: “Bet you will leave their concert feeling like your soul is a little more free than when you walked in.” We hope that everyone will leave feeling a little lighter and a little more connected to their fellow man. In a world where we are bombarded with distractions, we hope people can come and reconnect and feel more human than when they came in. We hope the love and passion that we have for life and music can be felt and translates well to concert goers.

Blind Pursuit can be found at facebook.com/Blindpursuit and blindpursuit.com.

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