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Cowan Center: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical March 26th

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Wondering what is showing at the Cowan Center? Check it out and purchase tickets online at cowancenter.org. All events are performed in the Cowan Center located on the campus of The University of Texas at Tyler, 3900 University Boulevard – FAC 1120, Tyler. More information about the new season can be found at CowanCenter.org. Upcoming acts are:

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Bands

Rescheduled: Oct. 20th, 2020 Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival

The 2020 Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival Returns to Downtown Tyler

The new date has been set for Sunday, October 11th. It will be the same setup as normal, just on a Sunday:  https://facebook.com/events/s/2020-red-dirt-bbq-music-festiv/1332463773558598/?ti=icl

May 2nd October 11th, the 7th annual Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival presented by Hyundai of Longview will be held in Downtown Tyler, and with it comes the best of barbecue in Texas and top of the line music all day. 

The Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival has proven to be one of the most premier and unique music and food experiences in Texas. The festival takes place on the brick streets of the Downtown Square in Tyler every May, with the 2020 edition featuring at least 30 of the most celebrated barbecue restaurants in Texas. Music happens for nearly 12 hours on two stages, with the main stage highlighting the biggest names in Texas and Red Dirt Music. 

This year’s festival will also feature the state’s most celebrated barbecue restaurants providing samples of their smoked meats to attendees. Barbecue joints from as close as Tyler and as far as Amarillo converge on the Rose City to showcase their smoked meats to thousands of barbecue enthusiasts, while thousands more pour onto the brick streets for the concert. 

Performances this year feature Parker McCollum (10pm), Josh Abbott Band (8:15pm), Jason Boland & The Stragglers (6:45pm), Charley Crockett (5:15pm), and Chris Colston (3:45pm).

“Top to bottom, I don’t think there’s ever been a Red Dirt lineup we’ve been more excited about. Having these names join our incredible barbecue joints was a huge honor for our sixth festival,” Red Dirt promoter Chase Colston said. “We’re expecting an even faster sellout this year and can’t wait to get back on the brick streets for another great Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival.” 

The festival is sold out. Watch reddirtbbqfest.com in case any more tickets are released.

The Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival is presented by 101.5 KNUE, East Texas’ No. 1 country music station, “Radio Texas, LIVE! With Buddy Logan,” and Hyundai of Longview.

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Bands

Cody Wayne: Road Warrior

By Johnny Griffith

Cody Wayne just doesn’t know how to stop. Since we last spoke to him, almost two years ago, Cody has been on a mission to bring seriously good music to anyone who will put him on a stage. With a high energy show, one of the best bands around, and a growing list of superb originals, Wayne feels like his best days are in front of him. We sat back down with Cody this month to get an update on what’s new in his world.

Johnny: It’s been a couple of years since we last talked and it’s been a busy couple of years we’ve got to catch up on so let’s start with the band. What is the current lineup?

Cody: I am very lucky with the group of musicians that are in our current lineup. Trent Procell plays bass and is the guy who really put everything together. I’ve known him for about 10 years and I started trying to get him to play bass for me since 2011. I finally convinced him to join me and he brought in Zach Early on guitar and Tyler Williamson on drums. Vic Andrews is our fiddle, harmonica, dobro, shoe string, spoons, and pretty much he can get his hands on. Trent, Zach, and Tyler have been playing together for their entire lives and it’s amazing to watch what they can do on stage. Music has been a huge part of these guys’ lives since birth and it shows when they play. I’m very lucky and thankful to have them. 

Johnny: About how many shows a month are you guys averaging these days?

Cody: Usually we average anywhere from 10 to 15 shows a month. Like any business having a band is up and down. We’ve had times where we’ve played 20 shows in 7 days all the way from Texas to Minnesota. We’ve been very lucky for that demand for our music and we are very thankful for that. 

Johnny: What has been the most memorable gig the last couple of years?

Cody: Honestly, there have been so many amazing, landmark, and bucket list shows it’s hard to pinpoint one. One that really made me sit back and say “Man! Did we really just do that?” Was getting to open for Alan Jackson at the San Antonio Rodeo. I never sat down and thought about what we were actually doing until he got on stage and sang every song that I grew up on. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. 

Johnny: What have been the biggest challenges you and the band have dealt with since we last talked?

Cody: Being away from my/our families. The band is great and everyone gets along so well that it makes the road life a lot easier. We are all also very family-oriented and being away is hard. Family comes first and the band comes second. 

Johnny: What is the biggest thing that helps you push through the grind and sacrifice being a professional musician extracts?

Cody: Family! My beautiful wife Tamra is really the method behind the madness. She knew how to turn a hobby into a career. She also keeps the schedule full, merch stocked, social media up to date, and keeps the house running while I am gone. And that goes for all of our member’s families. It takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and love to keep the band moving. 

Johnny: So you’ve recently enjoyed a pretty good run on the Texas Regional Radio Report Top 100 Chart with your single “Small Town.” Tell us a little about that experience, how it feels to be a top 20 artist in Texas, sitting above some rather legendary names by the way.

Cody: I still can’t believe it honestly. Tamra and I do all of our radio promotions as well. To have our name next to the likes of Randy Rogers Band, Aaron Watson, Kevin Fowler, and all the greats is mind blowing. I honestly could never imagine that a song I wrote sitting at my kitchen table would be a Top 20 single. 

Johnny: Your next single set to release is “Remember The Lost Ones.” What inspired the song and how do you feel you being a Marine gave you a unique perspective in the writing process?

Cody: I started writing this song when I got back from Iraq. I wanted to tell a first person point of view story about the war that up until that point hadn’t been done that I knew of. It had always been from the 3rd person perspective. However, once I started writing I had an overwhelming sense of grief and selfishness. It was almost like shame because I made it back. I could tell my story. There are so many service members that don’t have a voice anymore because they gave their lives for me/us to be here and be able to write songs. So I let the song say what it felt like it wanted to say. Literally up to when I was driving to the studio the words were still changing and becoming something those who are no longer with us would be proud of. Also, I wanted the listener to see and feel this song before they heard it. From the first note of the lone dobro, to the kick drum that sounds like a distant mortar shell exploding, to the snare drum that sounds like a 5 round burst from a machine gun, I wanted the listeners to be able to close their eyes and see the dirt, smell the sweat, and hear the sounds of war and get the first person perspective that way. It’s still hard for me to sing this song but I hope it gives a voice to the ones who gave it all up. 

Johnny: You’ve got some fun shows coming up the back half of the year. Anything you’re really excited about?

Cody: Absolutely! On July 27th, we get to open for Koe Wetzel at the Great East Texas Balloon Race. He is a fellow East Texan and one of the hottest acts in Texas currently. This is a huge and professionally run event every year that does great things for our area. To have two East Texas boys playing this year is something I think we can all be proud of. Plus, we have a lot of energy that we bring and they have a lot of energy that they bring so it’s gonna be one of the biggest events of the year. 

Johnny: What’s the next big move for you and the band? New album? Tour more outside of Texas? 

Cody: We are always writing and integrating new songs into the set so we can get an idea if the people like them. My song “Fly High” is going to be in a bull riding documentary coming soon. I am always working with the USO, Boots for Troops, and The Boot Campaign, local VFWs, and other veterans organizations to help bring awareness and help for fellow service members. 

Johnny: Okay, last question: Who do you listen to when you need a break from writing or performing and just want to get lost in some music? 

Cody: My playlist usually consists of Jason Boland, The Cadillac Three, The Black Crowes, Chris LeDoux, and Trent Willmon. One day I am going to write a song with Trent Willmon – he just doesn’t know it yet. So Trent if you happen to read this let’s make it happen.

Johnny: Anything else on your mind before we wrap it up?

Cody: I want to give credit where credit is due. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for my family. We literally do everything ourselves and I want to give them the “thank you” they deserve. They inspire the songs I write and they are the ones that help them come to life. 

To everyone who has ever come to a show, listened to a song, bought merch, or told someone about a song of ours, I want to give a huge “thank you” as well. Every tomorrow is because of the people who help today.  Thank you for the love and support and we’ll see you down the road.

 

Check out Cody Wayne on the world wide web:

www.codywayne.com

www.facebook.com/codywaynemusic/

 

 

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Bands

Sean Berry: Starting A ‘Wildfire’

By Johnny Griffith

Earlier this year we introduced you to Sean Berry, a local musician who has been making waves in East Texas and beyond.

The son of country music artists John and Robin Berry, Sean has crafted his own sound which shines through clearly on his recent album release, “Wildfire,” a 7-track EP that became available on streaming platforms September 7th.

Armed with a solid mix of songs penned by Sean himself, “Wildfire” takes aim to satisfy with a wide range of solid tracks throughout the entire EP.

From emotional anthems such as “Roller Coaster,” “Anomaly,” and the title track “Wildfire,” to the clever and quick-witted “First Generation Drunk” and “Damn You Miranda,” to the poignant “Trestle Days,” the release covers a wide range of emotions and almost gives you a sense of seeing the songs from the inside out.

Combining solid lyrics with quality production value and what seems to be a first-rate lineup of backing musicians, “Wildfire” is certainly worth a listen and will surely gain Berry some new fans.

I recently caught back up to Sean to get his take on the EP and a little of what went into it:

Johnny: So it’s been a few months since we last spoke and the new album “Wildfire” recently released. How do you feel about the new album? How has the response been so far?

Sean: I’m extremely proud of how the album turned out. Each of these songs was written to reflect an area of my life. It’s awesome to see them go from just a song I sing in my living room with an acoustic guitar to a full and finished product. The response I’ve gotten has been incredible. It’s awesome to talk to people and find out which song is their favorite because they almost always say something different.

Johnny: What was different, in your mind, about this recording from any previous work you’ve done?

Sean: The only other recording experience I’ve had was when I first moved to Nashville. I cut a five-song EP, but I had only written two of the songs on the project. This album is so much different simply because I wrote all of the songs, six of the seven being by myself.

Johnny: The production quality is great on this album. Who did you work with in the studio on this release?

Sean: We cut the entire album on tape at “Welcome to 1979” in Nashville. Artists like Chris Stapleton, Billy Gibbons, Lady Antebellum, and a ton more have all worked in that studio. It was such a cool experience to record there. You walk in the studio and immediately feel like you’re in a different era. I had some incredible musicians that played on the record too. My brother, Caelan (23), is an incredible drummer and it was awesome to have him play on the record.

Johnny: You’ve got some great stories in these songs; where do you find most of your ideas come from?

Sean: All of these songs are real-life experiences, minus Miranda. I have gotten into some trouble, but I’ve never been arrested! With that being said, these songs stem from things I’ve dealt with whether it be relationships or something as simple as missing home. Every lyric is part of a different time in my life.

Johnny: Do you have a favorite song on this album? If so, which one and why?

Sean: Probably my favorite song on the record is “Wildfire.” Originally, it wasn’t my favorite but once I heard it for the first time after being mixed it blew me away. There’s just a lot of dynamic in the song. The intro and outro have a completely different feel. I also love that we did the solo on the organ and not the guitar. You don’t hear a ton of organ solos anymore and it fit the song very well.

Johnny: Your sound seems to be a good mix of Nashville and Texas. What would you say was the biggest influence on the direction this release took?

Sean: Honestly, I feel like my personality resonates with the Texas culture and that’s why we released it in more of a Red Dirt setting. In no way do I want to label myself as just a “Red Dirt” singer or just a “Nashville singer.” I believe that no matter the genre – the best music will always prevail. I don’t believe in genres as much as I believe in good music. I hope I’m able to resonate with all types of listeners with this project.

Johnny: Coming from a family with a strong musical history, did you enlist any of them for musical contributions to the album?

Sean: Absolutely. Both of my parents are listed as producers on the album. I’d be crazy not to want their thoughts and opinions especially since my Dad has been such a huge musical influence of mine. He’s the one that bought me my first guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, and got me listening to bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, Allman Brothers, and so many other groups. He’s the reason I cling to Southern Rock ‘n Roll.

Johnny: What would you say the experience of this recording taught you that you’ll take forward into the next project?

Sean: “Keep it funky.” That’s what I told everyone while we were recording. Not necessarily meaning play funk but think outside of the box. I wanted this to have a different sound. I wanted this project to be unique. I don’t think I reinvented the wheel with this album by any means, but I definitely think it’s different than a lot of music out right now, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m used to being on the outside looking in. I’m used to being the underdog. I prefer it that way and look at it as a way to keep growing and improving.

Johnny: Speaking of the next thing, what’s next on your radar for the back half of the year and into 2019?

Sean: Shows! Shows! Shows! Whether full band or acoustic – I don’t care. I just want to play as much as I can and have as many people hear this music as possible. I really believe these songs are relatable for a lot of different types of people. I know I’m not the only person to deal with heartache, hangovers, and missing home. Like I said, so far the response has been great. It’s pretty cool to be in the grocery store with my wife and have people come up to me, introduce themselves, and tell me that they love my music. Those little moments mean so much to me. I look forward to where this music takes me in the future.

You can keep up with Sean Berry at seanberrycountry.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/seanberrycountry.

You can find “Wildfire” available for download on Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music.

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