By Johnny Griffith
There is a debate among music enthusiasts these days about what is “real” Country music, especially when you hear some of what is offered on mainstream radio as “Country” music. One listen to Grand Saline native singer/songwriter Luke LaPrade and it’s quickly obvious he has found his calling in authentic Country music. However, at one point in his life, LaPrade was to country for his own good.
A 2013 graduate of Grand Saline ISD, Luke grew up working on his parents’ farm and started playing music around age 15 but had been a huge fan of 90’s rock as long as he could remember. Growing up listening to, and singing along with, bands like The Offspring, Weezer, and Blink 182, LaPrade had visions of becoming a singer in a rock & roll band…that is until he recorded himself singing a Weezer song into a phone, played it back, and promptly decided he was a bit too country to sing in a rock band. Luckily, for the rest of us, he kept singing and eventually developed a knack for writing raw, authentic, and emotional music that he sings on stages around the area.
We caught up to him in between gigs recently to get to know Luke better.
Johnny: When did you decide to take music past the hobby level and try to make it more?
Luke: About age 17 I started playing for my friends at parties then somewhere around 18 or 19 years old I got my first gig at Applebee’s in Canton and I’ve been booking gigs ever since
Johnny: Are you primarily playing solo gigs or do you work with a band?
Luke: At this point in time, I primarily play solo, but I have considered putting a band together in the past, so it’s a possibility for the future.
Johnny: Your original music feels like it’s a little Jason Boland, a little Dwight Yoakam, and a little Waylon. How would you describe it and how did your style evolve?
Luke: That’s a pretty cool description. Honestly, I’d say its a mix of some William Clarke Green, some Turnpike Troubadours, and a touch of old-timey twang here and there.
My music has evolved tremendously being that at first, I wanted to be a rock star and perform music like Weezer, Blink 182, and stuff like that. Over the years the music I listen to has shaped my style. I’m a huge Texas country fan, but my style seems to be drifting into the Americana genre in my opinion. I’d call it a blend of Texas Country, Americana, and Southern Rock.
The last 3 or 4 years I’ve been a student of John Defoore and his teachings have completely changed my outlook on songwriting. John has helped shape my music significantly.
Johnny: With all the current variations of “Country” music out right now, where do you see your style fitting in and how has the response been so far?
Luke: I think with my music really kind of being a blend of a few different genres it’s easy for people to find something they like in it. Since the “Blue” album dropped last month, I’ve had a great response. People seem to like “Gotta Get Away” and “Lay It All On Me” the most. I’m fortunate to have a very supportive fan group.
Johnny: About how many shows a month are you currently playing?
Luke: I’m lucky in that I’m consistently playing eight or more shows a month right now.
Johnny: What have some of the biggest challenges been?
Luke: Definitely booking. I hassle as many places as possible and stay on them till I get an answer but it can be miserable and tedious. I also travel long distances for shows and the tank I’m driving currently is horrible on gas mileage.
Johnny: What has been your support base through the journey?
Luke: I have been very blessed with an amazing group of family and friends – some people that have been here from day one. Some family and friends come long distances to catch my shows. They encourage me to keep going and they brag on my tunes. Every time I debut a new one, they just eat it up. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I have to give a big shout out to “he gone,” I love you guys and gals. Additionally, I’ve got the most supportive woman a musician can get. She has always pushed me to keep doing what I love. I don’t know how she does all the late nights with me but I am blessed.
My dad, grandmother, grandpa, mother, and stepdad have all played huge roles in my music and the success I have had so far. I absolutely couldn’t do it without them.
Johnny: What has been your most memorable gig to date?
Luke: That’s a tough one as I’ve played so many gigs the last couple years that they tend to blur. I’ve played with Katie Lynn, I’ve opened for Zane Williams and I’ve played numerous private events – at one of which I met Chance Peña. He was a very cool cat and we wrote “Lay It All On Me” together then he did work on my album. It really is hard to pick one show. They are all fantastic.
Johnny: What’s your proudest accomplishment so far in your career as a musician?
Luke: Finally releasing my first album “Blue” which is available on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and many more. I am very proud of this album and hope everyone finds something for themselves in my lyrics.
Johnny: What’s your favorite cover song you do that nobody else is doing? What’s your favorite original right now?
Luke: My favorite cover tune I’m doing is a hard split between “Last Kiss” by Wayne Cochran and famously covered by Pearl Jam, and “Maria” by Zane Williams.
My favorite original is “Gotta Get Away.” I wrote that song about someone very dear to me and the perception I had at the time of what was going on.
Johnny: What’s on the horizon in 2019?
Luke: It’s hard to tell. I’m hoping to release some new music and, as always, I’m booking every show I can get. I might possibly look into getting a band. You never know what will happen, but I’ll certainly hope for 2019 to be as great as 2018 has been.
For more info and upcoming shows, follow Luke LaPrade online at facebook.com/LukeLaPradeMusic.