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A Little Bit Old School: Wes Brown

Wes Brown Entertains On Stage



By Johnny Griffith

Back before the days when Country Music radio was dominated by songs about beach parties, overprocessed vocals, and music that sounds like it should be on a pop station, you could turn on the radio and hear songs that told great, classic stories that stuck with you for years. Songs like “The Gambler,” “Seven Spanish Angels,” “The Dance,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” and others that get passed down from generation to generation because of the relatability of the substance. Wes Brown is not only a throw-back to those artists, singing and writing songs with substance and texture, the obstacles he’s had to overcome in life certainly provide plenty of inspiration for the next generation of great country songs.

In between gigs around East Texas this month, I sat down with Wes and talked a little about his background and what keeps him motivated:

Johnny: When did you first get interested in music and what was the catalyst for that?

Wes: I’ve always had an interest, as far back as I can recall. I vividly remember listening to the 90’s power country with my mom. That was when you could turn on the radio and hear Garth, The Judds, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, Collin Raye etc… The real defining moment for me, though, was when at 25 I was in an 18 wheeler rollover which left me paralyzed for three months before regaining motor control in my legs. With that downtime, I picked up a guitar and taught myself to play.

Johnny: When did you decide to take music past the hobby level and try to make it more?

Wes: Honestly after my second divorce. I didn’t have a really good support base, as far as music was concerned, in that marriage and to that point I had played with the idea of getting myself out there, but as a father, family is always first. It has always stuck with me that she would always tell me to “be happy with being famous in a small town.” After the marriage ended I knew it was time to go all or nothing.

Johnny: Are you primarily playing solo gigs or do you ever collaborate with other musicians?

Wes: I’ve mainly done solo acoustic and stood in with existing bands. But I have collaborated and have been mentored by some of the best in Texas in Mark Shepard Hill and Donnie Dodson while rocking out with Jonathan Allan, Jenn Ford, and Jessica Morris. Stay tuned though, some big news is on the horizon!

Johnny: Your original music feels like it’s a little Keith Whitley, a little Alan Jackson, and a little Toby Keith. How would you describe it and how did your style evolve?

Wes: First, thank you, those are three artists I’ve always admired and respected beyond compare. I would say that my music started with the soul of Whitley and Jackson and was fueled by the attitude of Toby Keith as it has progressed. All three have been major influences, but Whitley by far the most. I want to make you feel every ounce of emotion in my music while knowing exactly where I stood when I wrote it.

Johnny: There are plenty of country artists floating around East Texas these days. What do you feel makes your particular flavor just a little different?

Wes: Well, my baritone voice has always seemed to make people look up to see where it’s coming from. I know that my style is still evolving as I try and perfect it, but in short, I hope that the love, passion, and rawness I try to bring shows through most. I think we can all connect with passion.

Johnny: About how many shows a month are you playing on average and where would you like to see that number get?

Wes: Currently I’m booking about 6-10 shows on a good month but, honestly, I want to be doing this every night!

Johnny: What have some of the biggest challenges been so far?

Wes: It’s always tough trying to break into new areas. It was tough when I started trying to gig, only playing when the juke box wasn’t playing. After that, it was tough when I started trying to get my name into Longview to book venues. Then in Shreveport, Nacogdoches, Tyler, etc. New areas breed competition when you’re not amongst friends. But, like all of my heroes, I cut my teeth on a bar stool with a hollow body in hand. I can always prove my worth there. 

Johnny: When the going gets tough as a musician, what keeps you motivated? 

Wes: Man, it gets frustrating, tiresome, and lonely at times, but what makes me push is the thought that when I can’t play anymore and my “good years” are gone, my kids will take it as a lesson. Regardless of if I ever go past the borders of Texas with my sound, they’ll see that Daddy took a chance and chased his dream. Hopefully, it leaves them no excuse to sit idle.

Johnny: What has been your most memorable gig to date?

Wes: Hands down, November 19th, 2018. That’s the day I met my wife. She was stunning in her black scrubs trimmed in pink. I’ll always have to give a shout out to the VFW in Carthage for hosting me that night!

Johnny: What’s your proudest accomplishment so far in your career as a musician? 

Wes: To date, I’m proud that I’ll soon have two of my originals radio-ready. I was in the studio with Chad Mauldin of Mauldin Productions last month cutting them, due in no small part to one of my best friends John Lawless.

Johnny: What’s your favorite cover song to play? What’s your favorite original right now?

Wes: My favorite cover is “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Whitley. That one just sticks with me. I’m torn on my favorite original so I’ll split it between “Might Be a Six” and “Time and a Steady Hand.”

Johnny: What’s on the horizon in 2019? 

Wes: I’m steadily booking new venues and trying to branch out farther from home. Towards Tyler, South Texas, South Louisiana etc… I’m looking past county lines, but there will be more big news coming soon with another East Texas artist! 

Follow Wes Brown at


stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine

Downtown Tyler

Still Happening! Oct. 20th, 2020 Red Dirt BBQ & Music Fest

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:

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 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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Cowan Center: 2020-2021 Season Is Announced

For more events, check out ‘s entire

Wondering what is showing at the Cowan Center? 

There’s nothing like opening a season with a fun show and a member party for the ages! No better theme than Jimmy Buffett music, an escape to Margaritaville, and a pre-party for Cowan Center Circle members!

“I think we all deserve some social time with our friends and like-minded Broadway fans,” said Susan Thomae-Morphew, UT Tyler Cowan Center Executive Director.

“This is our 24th Season! We can’t believe it either! We promise to have lots of great talent again and will be gearing up as we celebrate a quarter of a century soon. Over the next 2 years we will be developing programming for new target audiences and upgrading our premiere venue known across the state and beyond as a magnet for amazing artists and shows.”

“The Cowan Center Circle is the lifeblood of the Cowan Center’s service and success. Your membership support is needed now more than ever before. We have big plans and want to make you proud of this wonderful asset we share with so many. It is with you that we reach high and provide the best for our community, state and region.”

“We ask you to renew your membership, consider an upgrade, and invite friends to jump into the Cowan Center family. We want to fill the house every show and share the magic of live performance. Help us reach for the stars and come see some on stage, too!”

“We are grateful for each and every one of you. I can’t wait to see you all again!”

All events are performed in the Cowan Center located on the campus of The University of Texas at Tyler, 3900 University Boulevard – FAC 1120 in Tyler, TX (Google Map).

QUESTIONS? Call (903)566.7424. More information and TICKETS can also be found at Watch for announcements on Cowan’s Facebook and Twitter pages too.

Upcoming acts are:

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Downtown Tyler

Live Music Guide, Tyler TX

In the constantly changing world of Covid-19 pandemic, we at are making every attempt to keep our Big Calendar updated. However, we suggest that you still double-check with the businesses to confirm that the events are still happening.

To list or make any changes to this Live Music Gig Guide for #tylertx, please e-mail to or text 903-530-2041.

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