News Column

Kerrville: the heartbeat of its music

June 27, 2013


June 27--As a professional musician, I've been in and around the local music scene in Austin for more than a decade, playing in bands and haunting venues that offer live music. So, when I recently joined the staff of the Kerrville Daily Times, I was eager to help promote the vibrant and independent local music in this area.

Since relocating from the "live music capital of the world," I've heard anecdotal evidence of famous musicians, unknown guitarists with promise and exceptional bands that reside in and around Kerrville.

Beginning this week, the Kerrville Daily Times will offer a weekly column dedicated to the venues that support area musicians and the musicians themselves, and I'll have the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the live music scene in Kerrville and the surrounding areas.

In the weeks to come, I'll be out and about to explore the community, so feel free to introduce yourself or contact me with information about the live music or venue that you think deserves a look or a listen.

This week, we begin with an up-and-coming independent country band that will be playing in Luckenbach, and, in the future, we'll showcase the venues and musicians that give this area its strong musical reputation -- and promote these musicians and venues to the world on the newspaper's award-winning website,

I'm excited to discover everything I can about this area's music scene, and look forward to discovering the downbeat of Kerrville.

The band Six Market Blvd. has played their select and eclectic blend of roller coaster country at Luckenbach several times in their five years together, but their performance on Saturday will be their first headlining.

"Playing in that old dance hall, you kinda get that certain sound," said singer Clayton Landua of the historic Hill Country hamlet. "It's humbling. You get a sense of respect for the greats that have played there before. You get to hang out with the ghost of greatness."

Starting in July, the band will embark on their first solid month of out-of-state gigs, marking extended stays in Louisiana, Missouri, Minnesota and Illinois. "I'm really excited about Chicago," Landua said. Though they tour on a regular basis, they've always been fairly close to home.

The original band members hail from Stephenville, where they met while attending and working at Tarleton State University, and they will celebrate their fifth anniversary on July 4.

With a healthy and positive attitude toward touring across the Lone Star state and beyond, the group has started to break out and gain notoriety as an upcoming band. They've had two Top 20 hits on the Texas Music Chart, and their album "Shake It Down" debuted at No. 5 on the iTunes Country Chart.

In addition to their recent success, the band has also undergone several recent changes, adding keyboardist and guitarist Red Shahan (who also wrote their song "14 Miles From Home" and taught himself to play the keys), as well as bringing on a new drummer, Jimmy Dereta.

"Unfortunately, but fortunately, we had to get a new drummer, but he's an incredible one and he mixes really well with all of our personalities," Landua said. "It's a part of the business you don't want to get used to, but we've really taken a turn for the best. We're always trying to create a better live show, and grow through the changes we've had in the band."

The sound of Six Market Blvd. is definitely country, but also definitely difficult to pin down exactly. Listening to their studio recordings and live performances, you can find hints of the blues, strings of '70s sensibility, shards of '80s rock and coalescing marks of '90s mainstream country.

Landua's voice soars and whispers, sometimes shooting clear and sometimes grinding tough.

But the kaleidoscope songwriting isn't necessarily contrived or on purpose.

"The songwriting just comes the way it is. That's just the way we put 'em down," Landua said. "Luckily, they all end up sounding completely different. There's definitely more than one love song, but there's a multitude of different ways for us to express that feeling."

Landua is excited to kick off their headlining performance at Luckenbach, "surrounded by all the greats that used to be there, and the spirits of the ones that had past."

You can catch Six Market Blvd. with Rob Baird at Luckenbach, 9 p.m., Saturday.

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