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Summer Days: Bob Mauldin

Bob Mauldin's New Album, Summer Days

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By Johnny Griffith

Bob Mauldin is a man of many hats. The East Texas native has taken on many roles since his childhood days in Van Zandt County. Over the years Bob has been a radio DJ, television host, producer, and media specialist to name a few, but the one thing he would say he’s always been is a musician. Growing up playing outdoors in the Colfax community, Mauldin cultivated a love of the country, spending most of his time outside until discovering music in his early teens. Once bitten by the bug, Bob created a little “studio” space in his bedroom and devoted most of his spare time to developing his talent and creating music, which would plant the seeds that would eventually grow into his passion. 

Fast forward several years and Bob has just released his latest album “Summer Days,” and is currently booking dates in support of the release. We caught up to Bob to get more of his story and some insight into the new recording:

Johnny: You’ve been known around East Texas for years as a radio personality. How did you originally get started on that path?

Bob: When I was a teenager in the little home studio, I would make tapes for my friends of me hosting “radio shows” where I played records and introduced the artists. From one of those tapes, I got my first real radio job at a little AM station in Canton at the age of 16. Soon I decided to try my hand at full-time radio in Tyler. Surprisingly, I got a job at 101.5 KNUE and went on from there, hosting several radio shows over the years.

Johnny: You’ve got to have thousands of memories from that era but is there anything that stands out as particularly cool?

Bob: I had the opportunity to meet and work with stars, many of them before they were household names. Back when Keith Urban was just getting started as a solo artist, I attended a showcase of his in San Diego. I remember at the dinner where we were supposed to get acquainted with him, several of the other DJs and I were starstruck by Marion Ross (the mom from Happy Days) eating at the table right behind us. She had consumed a few glasses of wine that night, so she was in a great mood and very happy to take pictures with us. Most of the radio folks had completely ignored Keith until the night of his showcase performance, where he blew us away with a show in a little club there. After that, he took off. 

My favorite young artist was Kacey Musgraves. I used to coordinate and host talent shows around East Texas for various promoters. I always loved to hear Kacey on those shows, especially when she started writing her own stuff. I would play her songs on the air because I liked them, and back then we had the freedom to share music we thought was good. I remember wishing that the judges on those shows would pay attention to Kacey’s writing ability because it always seemed that some girl belting out some vocally acrobatic song would always win the contests. So I feel like the success that Kacey has had recently is far overdue and very well deserved. If you ever find a CD entitled “Wanted: One Good Cowboy,” GET IT! Some of Kacey’s earliest writing.

Johnny: How did you transition from radio to television to being the host of Expedition Texas? How many episodes have you produced of that now? 

Bob: Radio changed a lot over the years and after it dried up for me, I found myself doing PR work and focusing a lot more on music. I was playing music quite a bit, I had a band and we were working at least two or three shows a month. Then, I had the idea for Expedition Texas. I had just produced a short film and still had the equipment from that. I had worked in TV part-time before and knew how to create a show. I shot a pilot for Expedition Texas and quickly found interest from TV stations. I told my band, “Go home and I’ll call you if I need you”…I never did call! I began producing and hosting Expedition Texas in 2012 and I’ve been working on it ever since. Just guessing, I’d say there are at least 40 unique episodes. 

Johnny: Okay let’s switch gears and get to the music. When did you first develop an interest in playing/performing music?

Bob: It started at a very early age. As a very small child, my parents tell me I’d climb up on a table or a stool and sing for people at gatherings. As a teenager, I was interested in writing songs mostly. The performing part grew out of that but didn’t really switch into high gear until I started getting some airplay on some of my songs. 

Johnny: Who were some of your early influences?

 Bob: Early on it was the country-rock music of Michael Nesmith. If you’re not familiar, look up his early 70’s work with The First National Band. This was after he left The Monkees – he was back to being a starving artist, and he was creating music that he wanted to create. 

Johnny: When was the point you kind of stepped back and said: “Hey, I think I’m decent enough to do this as more than just a hobby?”

Bob: I was playing a show with another band and was performing my song, “Baby”. It was the first song of mine to get decent airplay, so I had started singing it in public. At this one particular show, I looked down at the front row and there was a group of people singing along with every word. It was very flattering and certainly lit a fire under me to take it to the next level and put together my own band.

Johnny: Was country always what appealed to you the most or did you play around with a few other styles in your formative years?

Bob: I grew up on country music. I’m pretty much “country” through and through. I’ve often told people that even if I suddenly joined a metal band they’d probably end up sounding country. I just can’t help it. It’s who I am and it shows in every note I sing.

Johnny: What have been some of the challenges over the years with juggling radio/tv/music/family?

Bob: Time! My interest shifts so much. Sometimes I think I wear my loved ones out with constant new ideas and new ventures, but I stay true to the ones that earn a living for my family. I keep a day job. I focus a huge amount of attention on Expedition Texas and that will never change. I’ve been very blessed to be able to dabble in all the fields that interest me.

Johnny: You just released a new album “Summer Days” on June 3rd. Where did you work on the album and how has the process for you evolved since your first foray into recording several years ago?

Bob: I’ve recorded music for a long time. I had several small releases before Van Zandt County Line in 2011. That album was promoted to Texas radio and we had some success with it. It was very much following a formula that worked for other artists. Summer Days are different. I recorded all original songs that I wrote. I had complete control of every aspect of the album. It led me to express things more deeply and in a way that I feel is more “me.” Since I’m a little weird, so is this album, but these are the most honest, personal songs I’ve ever written. So it’s something I’m very proud of.

Johnny: What was the inspiration behind the new album?

Bob: Life. Every song comes from some experience I’ve either had personally or been close to over the last 10-20 years. There are songs on this album that were completed even before the last album in 2011, but because of how personal they were, I left them out of that project. Every song on Summer Days is real. If I didn’t live the experience personally, I at least witnessed it, and I share those stories on this album.

Johnny: Any songs that just grab more of you than the others on “Summer Days?”

Bob: Out of Time is significant. I’m sure people will listen to that and think, “What’s wrong with you, dude?”

I actually had the idea for that song in a dream, but never did much with it because it seems so negative…but then I had an uncle who was on his deathbed and facing the end of his life. He did it with such courage and really focused on making his last days pleasant. I ended up reworking the song with my wife and recording it just in time for the album. Out of Time ended up being my favorite song on the album and it’s dedicated to the memory of my uncle Lennie Hale, Jr. who passed away the night I recorded the vocals for the song.

Johnny: How has the reception been so far? 

Bob: It’s been great. I’ve been kind of just getting my toes wet with performing again and I’ve been really busy with media. So far, folks have said nice things about the album, even though radio doesn’t really know what to do with it. I’m happy that people are actually listening to it.

Johnny: You’ve put together a new band to tour in support of the album. Who are you sharing the stage with?

Bob: For all our upcoming shows, I’m working with JD Moss on Guitar, Kevin Durrant on Drums and Perry Thompson on bass.

Johnny: What can a first-time fan expect at a Bob Mauldin show?

Bob: It’s super laid back. I do play a lot of my songs, but after spending so much of my life as a country DJ, we do drop in some fun old country songs! 

Johnny: Any upcoming shows on the radar that have you excited? 

Bob: Camp Street Cafe in Crockett is going to be a fun one. It’s a historic place and a comfortable, relaxed setting! Also, in October, we’re booked close to home in Lindale at Texas Music City!

Johnny: What does the rest of 2019 look like and any new projects on the horizon?

Bob: In August, we begin shooting our fall season of Expedition Texas. We were picked up by Heartland TV Network this spring, so it’s going to be our first new season nationwide! I’ll be playing some dates as time allows, but I want to encourage everyone to pick up the new album on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and everywhere else music is sold. As an artist, it would make my year to have everyone hear and enjoy this music!

Follow Bob Mauldin at facebook.com/bobmauldinmusic and bobmauldin.com.

 

 

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Bands

In Case You Were Wondering:  We Have Your Dog

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By Johnny Griffith

One of the great things about live music is the spontaneity you can get in a show you don’t get from an album. The freedom to let the music take over and drive the performance is something magical you just don’t get anywhere else. That being said, there’s nothing worse for me than walking into a show by a new band and two or three songs in, having the realization that the next hour or two of your life is going to be listening to, essentially, minor variations of the same song or being able to predict exactly what you’re going to hear next. Sure, if I’ve got a favorite band, there may be certain songs I want to hear every time I see them, but a great band knows how to keep the same set list fresh night after night.

Enter local Tyler band We Have Your Dog (WHYD). Now, besides the uniqueness of the name, this six-piece band delivers fresh treats night after night and is anything but predictable. With sweeping vocals, an eclectic mix of capable musicians on stage, and a refusal to fit into anyone’s idea of predictable, WHYD is one of the more exciting live acts you can find on a stage in the area. We sat down with the musical collective this past month to see exactly what’s up with my dog.

Johnny: So, who exactly has my dog and what is their musical background?

WHYD: Well, We Have Your Dog is made up of the following:

Cosmic Kenneth, who studied voice for multiple semesters at TJC and is a naturally talented singer/songwriter. 

Havaan, also a singer/songwriter but mostly self-taught with a few private lessons here and there to further her skill. 

Peabody Coltrane on guitar. He is a classical guitar player who graduated from UT Tyler with a formal academic study of music. 

Jackie Chernobyl is also on guitars. He is a self-taught guitar player who was classically trained on piano at an early age. Chernobyl channeled all his natural talent into the guitar and is most obsessed with making manipulation of feedback and molding sounds through FX pedals. 

TheMind on the bass. A classical guitar player studied at UT Tyler and TJC with a formal academic study of music. He is a multi-instrumentalist who is currently obsessed with mastering the bass. 

Haddad on drums. He is a self-taught drummer/percussionist. Volcanic with natural talent, Haddad is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in banging things. 

Johnny: Where did you find my dog?

WHYD: Kenneth, Haddad, TheMind, and Chernobyl have been playing together and in different projects since high school in the early 2000’s. Peabody and Havaan joined the band much later in the college years – around 2012-2016.

Johnny: When did the idea of actually looking for my dog first happen?

WHYD: Like we mentioned before, we had been in different projects together off and on for years, but specifically came together with the purpose of WHYD around 2015 and our first official show was at Click’s in Tyler on October 22, 2016.

Johnny: So, What’s the story with my dog’s name?

WHYD: We Have Your Dog’s name was put together out of the will to subvert the listeners expectations. We like to let the music speak for itself, rather than try and define a style of music according to the name. 

Johnny: When and where did you first find my dog?

WHYD: Our first gig was a party we threw at our house in October of 2015. We wanted to get a soft feel for our music and how it would resonate with some folks we knew. The results were us refining our show for an October release in 2016 at Click’s Live. We had not added Havaan at this time. 

Johnny: Your sound and presentation is a bit out of the ordinary for this area, how have you found the reception to be with local dog catchers?

WHYD: We find that folks who are interested in listening to music love us! Folks who just want background music, not so much. We’ve always followed the philosophy of “Do your own thing.” We Have Your Dog is always trying to refine our live show and at the end of the day, we do what makes us happy. 

Johnny: How did that dog sound evolve over the life of the band or was it pretty much the goal from inception?

WHYD: Our sound is ever evolving. One thing we want to stay away from is the cliche of “that band is good but all their songs sound the same.” We don’t have a particular sound in mind other than what starts to craft itself on the palette in the jam room. Our goal is to have all our members feel free in the creative process and the other members to back them up. All musical genres and styles are welcome in WHYD! 

Johnny: About how many dogs are being caught a month, on average, by the band currently? 

WHYD: We’d like to get to playing at minimum once a month! However, at this moment (Winter 2019) we are taking minimal gigs while we record our upcoming album “What Have You Done?” as well as rehearsing new tracks for our new live show coming Summer of 2020. 

Johnny: Do you primarily have dogs in the Tyler area or do you branch out to other areas often?

WHYD: Lately we have been staying in the Tyler area. As much as we love traveling, we like getting paid even more. So far clubs like XL’N and Click’s Live treat us well enough that we stick around this area. We do love playing in Dallas and Longview when we get the opportunity though. 

Johnny: What has been the most memorable dog to date?

WHYD: We are always proud of our shows where we jam with our local counterparts Post Profit or Gypsum and The Travelers. Whenever we can, we make sure to share the stage to feature with each other on particular tracks. Those are always memorable shows, but our most memorable would probably be The Band Wars Competition that we competed in Shreveport, Louisiana. 

Johnny: Have you guys caught any dogs in the studio or are there plans for any studio projects coming up?

WHYD: We are current working on  several albums/projects. “What Have You Done?” is our main project; and “Sex, Money & Murder” is a concept and side project that we are creating.

We do most of our studio work in house. We do all our own tracking, then we have been contracting third party folks to mix and master. We’d like to give a shout out to Dejour Productions who have been really involved with our sound and how it will be portrayed. 

We have some stuff available on Spotify, ITunes, GooglePlay, Amazon and ALL the audio streaming services. We also have them available on BandCamp for a more personal purchase. Currently we have two singles: Kenneth lea, “Bite the Bullet;” and Havaan lead, “Equilibrium.” 

We also have a forthcoming duet entitled “The Don” from a concept album we’ve been placing together on the side. 

Johnny: So let’s say I want to come find my dog. What can I expect at a WHYD show?

WHYD: When someone comes to see WHYD, they will experience a diverse and evolving show. We want our audience to experience multiple feelings and experiences as they progress through our presentation. Our goal is that nobody can listen to one or two songs and feel as though they know what’s coming the rest of the show.

Follow WHYD at:

wehaveyourdog.com 

facebook.com/wehaveyourdog/

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Bands

Feeling The Groove: Señor Gringo

ben wheeler

By Johnny Griffith

We’ve all had THAT moment when we’ve been out enjoying ourselves and our friends and family on a patio somewhere on a gorgeous day. The food is delicious, the wine is perfect, the weather is the stuff people in Wisconsin dream about … and as you are sitting back enjoying everything, you notice a band about to play and think the moment couldn’t get any better.

And then they start to play.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that they’re bad, they’re just not the right band for THAT moment.

And it’s because they’re NOT Senor Gringo, who seems to always be right for the moment.

The Tyler-based quartet is a musical force that isn’t afraid to think outside the box and bring just the right blend of Latin-infused jazz and rock to venues around the area that require a little more finesse to the set list than raw power. With a lineup full of seasoned musicians, Senor Gringo definitely has the musical prowess to bring the precision and consistency to the stage that is sure to please those who are wanting something a little different from the norm and love to sit down and just enjoy the music. With a mix of originals and covers, everyone is sure to find something that pleases while listening to a Senor Gringo set, and a lot of old favorites with a new twist are sure to surface as well.

I recently had the pleasure of catching a set at Taco Fest in Marshall back in September and I’ve been trying to catch them for an interview ever since. We were finally able to sit down this past month and talk a little bit about the origins of the band and to get to know Senor Gringo just a little better.

Johnny: So let’s get to know everyone first, what is the current line up of the band?

Senor Gringo: Senor Gringo’s lineup currently consists of Alex Blair on bass, Don Elbert on keyboards, Keven Ewalt on drums and percussion, and Richard Callahan on guitar.

Johnny: Okay so how did you all you meet?

Senor Gringo: We have played together in various bands over the years. The music scene in East Texas is pretty close actually, and we’ve all been involved with some project together at one time or another.

Johnny: Playing together over the years is one thing, but when did the idea of Senor Gringo actually first start taking shape?

Senor Gringo: Well, about seven years ago, Tony Marsh, who is a past guitar player, had this idea of starting a band that played music similar to XM Watercolors, where the nylon acoustic guitar plays melody versus traditional vocal music. The rest is history from that point.

Johnny: So what about the name? It’s pretty recognizable. How did you guys come up with that?

Senor Gringo: Well, we came up with that name because of the Latin influence and the fact that most of us are older, seasoned musicians. It just kind of stuck after that.

Johnny: Do you happen to remember when and where the first Senor Gringo gig was?

Senor Gringo: Absolutely. We were the very first band to play Lago del Pino here in Tyler.

Johnny: So you guys have one of the more unique sounds in this area with the Latin-infused groove that, in some cases, evokes threads of Santana as well as others. How have people in East Texas responded to what Senor Gringo is doing?

Senor Gringo: Well, truthfully, it all depends. If we are playing a Country bar, it isn’t necessarily so good, but most of the venues we play do appreciate our talent and the fact that we are different. I would say one of the most consistent criticisms we hear is we are mostly an instrumental band and they just don’t get enough vocals. More times than not, though, the listeners end up staying longer and really focusing in on the music.

Johnny: So is Senor Gringo staying busy around East Texas currently?

Senor Gringo: It definitely depends on the season as to how much we play. In the spring and summer, we can play a lot, but in the late fall and winter it dwindles down to about one or two gigs a month.

Johnny: Where would you say Senor Gringo’s home base really is? Are you primarily in Tyler, or have you branched out to some surrounding areas?

Senor Gringo: Currently, most of our gigs are Tyler area specific, although we do play Jacksonville, Athens, Longview, and Marshall. We are always open to more areas as the opportunities come.

Johnny: What would you say has been the most memorable gig to date?

Senor Gringo: A few years back, we were playing an outdoor summer festival down in Athens and it ended up being one of those magical gigs! We were on a large stage with an amazing sound system, a fantastic audience, and we were just on fire! {[It was] easily one of those moments that sticks with you.

Johnny: Has  Senor Gringo done any studio work or are there plans for any studio projects coming up?

Senor Gringo: We actually have done some studio work in the past, but at present there are no future recording plans. We are doing strictly live shows at the moment

Johnny: So if you had to sit down and explain to a potential first timer to a live show what the experience was about to be like, how would you describe it?

Senor Gringo: We’d say they are in for a completely different type of experience for East Texas. They’re about to hear a combination of original and contemporary Latin-flavored jazz-rock played by talented musicians with the ability to improvise and flow with the crowd.

Follow Senor Gringo on the web at facebook.com/RockinLatinJazz/.

 

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Lost In Space: Gorgeous Jetson

Laid Back Rockers Gorgeous Jetson

ben wheeler

 

By Johnny Griffith

There is a band from Tyler that you can absolutely get lost in. I mean the “sit back and just ride the soundwave across the infinite universe” kind of lost in. I mean the sort of lost where you start peeling back the layers, and find more layers, and then realize there are more layers underneath that. Whether it be diverse and ever changing guitar riffs, strangely soothing vocals that take you on fantastic voyages, foundational drums and bass that are precise and on point, or the keyboards filling in the gaps with expansive and ethereal sounds…Gorgeous Jetson opens the door to a new sonic reality for the duration of their show.

Helmed by Marc Beevers on lead guitars and vocals, Gorgeous Jetson is rounded out by Ian Power on bass, Logan Strong on guitars and backing vocals, Jed McNeil on keys/synth/backing vocals, and Gamaliel Quezada on drums. I was able to catch up with Marc this past month to find out more about the band and how they click.

Johnny: Let’s start out with the basics. How did the members of Gorgeous Jetson come together?

Marc: So I’ve known Jed since high school. Our schools were rivals and we were both on the drum line. We also looked a lot alike in high school and everyone made a big deal about how we looked alike, so we ended up meeting several times at ball games. I graduated high school early and got an apartment of my own, and there were always tons of people there so that’s how I met Ian. He was another young kid just trying to figure stuff out like me and we hit it off immediately. We’ve been pretty close for about 11 years now. Later on, Jed and myself formed a band called Babe, and I met Logan at one of the last shows that I played with Babe. He actually played in Babe after I left the band. Finally, I met Gammy back in early 2017 at an art show. After talking over a cigarette, I got his number because he said he played drums. 

Johnny: So knowing a bunch of musicians and coming up with the idea of a band like Gorgeous Jetson are two different things. When did the idea first take shape?

Marc: The idea of the band came up in 2015. I went to rehab for a little over a month that year for alcohol and substance abuse. I was still in Babe at the time, but while I was in rehab I decided I wanted to start a project that I had creative control over so when I got out, I told the guys I would be leaving Babe. It wasn’t anything personal, I just wanted more control when it came to the style of the band. 

I asked if they would still play with me under my direction, so Babe became Gorgeous Jetson for two shows. After those first couple of shows, circumstances for me changed and I ended up moving to Midland and those guys went back to Babe.

Johnny: So the name is fun and, honestly, is one of the reasons I first listened to you guys. How did that idea come to be?

Marc: I thought up the name while I was still in rehab. There was a wrestler in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s called Gorgeous George who, essentially, was the first Hulk Hogan…the first flamboyant hero. I like playing with words and making odd phrases like Gorgeous George Jetson. That eventually just turned into Gorgeous Jetson. 

It’s super catchy, I think, and I think that’s important. I think a catchy name can be click bait for sure. For example, our most popular song on the internet right now is my least favorite I’ve written. I know it gets clicks just because the song’s title is “Buddha on Quaaludes.” When you see that, you just have to see what it is simply because of the song’s title. It’s almost an involuntary reaction, so putting some thought into something catchy like that is an important part of the overall equation as well.

Johnny: When and where did Gorgeous Jetson first strut their stuff?

Marc: Technically the first gig was in 2015 at the DIY Spot with the old Babe lineup. With this lineup of guys it was in March of 2018 at Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ. Some folks at Stanley’s heard I had got this group of guys together and asked us to play a gig the following month. We only had like three songs at that point, so they really lit a fire under my tail to get to writing before that show.

Johnny: Your sound is a complete departure from what gets the most real estate in this area, which tends to be some variation of country or hard rock with the occasional blues band thrown in the mix. How have local crowds responded when you break out with your music?

Marc: We’ve had nothing but good responses from our local venues and audiences. I think people like a break from the Texas blues and Texas country. As far as having a different sound than what people are used to, it makes me laugh as to who people compare us to. I’m talking about the people who only listen to top 20 hits. I’m so glad that they like us; I just really don’t like the bands they “think we sound like.”

Johnny: Speaking of that sound, how did that evolve? Was it something you had wanted to play for a while or was it a definite choice in a definite moment?

Marc: The style is evolving for certain. I don’t wanna play the same kinda music forever. We really have a variety of mellow, spacy, and ambient songs. At the same time we have several chaotic, aggressive, almost unnerving at times kind of songs. I like so many different styles of music. I think it’s important that my guys and myself continue to push our limits of playing and what we feel comfortable playing. It only makes us better. 

Johnny: How often are you guys getting to play at the moment?

Marc: We’re currently playing 2 or 3 gigs a month. We are trying to focus on mostly out of town shows at the moment. We just don’t want to oversaturate our home town and have people get tired of us. It helps make it more special when we do play a local show.

Johnny: There are some pretty decent recordings out there of Gorgeous Jetson. Where did you guys do that work and is there anything new coming up?

Marc: We recorded 4 songs with Christian Diebert at GoodShed studio in Canton in 2018. That was our first demo and it’s on all major streaming platforms. 

We recorded our last single with Yacht Country records, Aka John Hetherington. 

We are currently in the process of recording a new song now that should be up by the end of the year. The new song is called “Pet Detective” and it’s a little more mellow than our previous songs. 

Johnny: What can a first-timer expect at a Gorgeous Jetson show?

Marc: It’s really kind of hard to explain our sound. I get bored easily so I enjoy putting in key changes and changes in time signatures frequently. Abrupt changes like this make me very happy. My favorite description of our music was from Meredith Crawford: She said, “Gorgeous Jetson songs are like a washing machine full of colors.”

Check out Gorgeous Jetson on the World Wide Web:

www.gorgeousjetson.com  

facebook.com/gorgeousjetson

instagram.com/gorgeousjetson

 

 

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