San Antonio-born Walt Wilkins
has been called a genius, more than once, and a writer the caliber of John Steinbeck and his voice as comfortable as a pair of old blue jeans, and he is, and has, all of that. His crafting of story-songs, hard-edged vocals to sing them and a plaintive guitar have made him a fixture of the Texas music scene (and Nashville before that). He’s put his magical touch on recordings by new and veteran artists, too many to count. Is he near done? Hasn’t he done it all? Double hell no.
Walt Wilkins served his time as a hired songwriter in Nashville for a decade (his songs have been covered by artists of the calibre of Ricky Skaggs, and he recently won an SESAC songwriter award) but a sense of relief at being back in his native Texas enthuses his new album Plenty
. - The Telegraph
Wilkins cuts with exacting precision: No words are wasted, and everything simply fits. Additionally, Wilkins clearly understands production nuances. Like his sharp songwriting, he adds (“Rain All Night”) and subtracts (“Soft September Night”) precisely when needed. Add this to Wilkins’ list of blessings: with Plenty, he’s created one of the best Texas albums of the year. — LoneStar Music
songs are sophisticated and enlightening, offering a view of the Texas west that’s akin to Dave Alvin’s meditations on mid-century California. He writes with a folksinger’s eye, observing intimate, interior details of every day life, and painting big, mythological sketches..." - Hyperbolium
deserves widespread acclaim... There’s a sense of remorse and regret instilled in these songs, a pervading sadness that makes the material all the more compelling. Kennedy is a singer/songwriter whose songs reflect the struggles and concerns that burden nearly everyone’s existence... There’s tremendous optimism implied here... Indeed, with Wide Listener
, and with every one of Kennedy’s efforts so far, hearing is believing." - No Depression
In the round with three celebrated Texas songwriters.
Walt Wilkins: "I am fortunate that I play my songs across a wide region that is filled with people who find comfort, enjoyment & meaning in coming out to listen to folks like myself. I am fortunate that enough they come out, generally, that I can come back to those places and play my songs again. I am lucky, I think, that I knew my calling at an early age, and at one point in my life, I took the necessary steps to follow that calling out into the world. I am still learning how to listen to, and stay true to the voice, and true to the work I am given. I try not to take myself too seriously, but I do try to take seriously this work; this calling. I play some nights just me and my guitar, and some nights with my talented and funny wife, Tina. And some nights with the The Mystiqueros, a living art collective, a hill country jukebox, one of the bands on the bill in honky-tonk heaven. I drive, I play, I sleep and dream. I have had a fair share of songs recorded by other folks, which was my dream all along, and I have played shows with heroes & real poets & the deepest of cats. But I live for the gig tonight, and tomorrow. I am fortunate... and I hope to see you down this road."
Rebellion doesn’t have to be loud. Drew Kennedy
has devoted his life to writing and performing his songs his way for anyone who cares. With a catalog seven-albums deep, one novel penned, a music festival created, and an ever-growing group of admirers comprising elite peers and everyday listeners, Kennedy has reimagined what it means to be a contemporary songwriter. But tell that to the guy himself, and he shrugs and smiles. “I just want to write the best songs that I possibly can,” Kennedy says. His most recent release, 2014’s Sad Songs Happily Played
, is both a career-spanning snapshot and a winning testament to his instinctive “well, why not?” "I like knowing I can keep them engaged for two hours. I look at all of it as an extension of songwriting — making the arc of the show go from beginning to end and giving a reason why you’re playing each song.” Kennedy’s songs have earned widespread attention. No Depression, Engine 145, CMT Edge
and others have heaped praise of his efforts. His circle of co-writers and collaborators now includes Lori McKenna, Walt Wilkins, Matraca Berg, Jeff Hanna, Travis Meadows, and Susan Gibson, while Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Patty Loveless and Jason Eady, Bart Crow, and more have recorded his work. Owen Temple
: "Approximately 5,200 years after the invention of writing in Mesopotamia, and 18 years after my birth in Kerrville, Texas, Owen Temple started writing songs about remarkable people and places that I wanted to remember. Because no one else knew the songs, I started singing them myself at a bar in Austin, Texas on Tuesday nights. Through music, I kept meeting interesting people, and through writing and singing songs about them, I have had the opportunity to travel around the North American continent and also around Europe. When no interesting people are around, I make up songs and stories about interesting people that I imagine. There are also songs about superstition, innovation, power, theft, technology, travel, philosophy, politics, aging, and history. Some of the most interesting people I have met worked with me on these songs. Over coffee and beers with Gordy Quist, Adam Carroll, A.J. Roach, Paul Cauthen, David Beck, and Clay McClinton, we wrote several of these new ones. And I wrote about half of them by myself, usually on cocktail napkins or the digital notepad of smartphones. Here's to the beautiful and complicated ongoing experiment of human life on earth- and here's to the Stories They Tell."