William Beckmann

A photo of William Beckman from the cover of his 2022 album Faded Memories.

Del Rio native William Beckmann is poised to be the next superstar on the Texas music scene. He released his first album, Outskirts of Town, in 2018. It was a solid debut and got him on the radar of several Texas radio stations.

Things changed drastically with his second album, 2022’s Faded Memories, and the hit song Bourbon Whiskey.

“I think what I gained between those two albums,” William explained in a recent phone interview, “is a little bit of maturity in the way I sing and definitely the way I write. I also got a little more comfortable in the recording process. On the first album I wasn’t really experienced as a studio musician so I really didn’t know how it worked. So, it was a learning process for me, to learn how to prepare for those recording sessions. Especially in Nashville where the sessions can get very costly, sometimes you feel rushed. I’m happy to say that I feel more confident now as a recording artist. I credit Radney Foster with helping me with the whole songwriting process. I’m 26 now and I met him when I was in the 10th grade in high school. When I met him I wasn’t really into songwriting. I knew I wanted to do it; I just didn’t know how to. He looked at some of my early songs that weren’t very good and offered some suggestions. I would email him my song lyrics and he would call me with very good advice on the songs structure and how to make it better. After having that mentorship for several years, it helped my songwriting process. It got to the point where I could almost hear Radney’s voice in my head telling me to do certain things without him actually being there. He tells all newcomers that the first 100 songs don’t count. You don’t have to take that literally; he just means you need to have the work ethic to write a good song.”

Beckmann’s work ethic paid off in a major way when Bourbon Whiskey then In The Dark both shot to the top of the charts earlier this year. I spoke with William at the Robert Earl Keen show in Helotes and he mentioned that he has a new album recorded but wasn’t sure when the release date would be.

As I was working on this column, he announced a short Texas tour where he partnered with the j.k. livin foundation, Lucchese and Shiner Beer to show support for Uvalde, TX. It’s called Seven Nights of Las Posadas and will feature him singing songs, telling stories and covering a few Christmas classics. Tickets go on-sale this Friday at 10 .a.m at WilliamBeckmann.com.

Turnpike Troubadours at Whitewater Amphitheater

When the Oklahoma-based Turnpike Troubadours went on an indefinite hiatus in May of 2019, many fans felt certain that the band was finished forever. Soon after the band made their announcement, members RC Edwards and Kyle Nix formed two separate bands and continued performing concerts.

Front man Evan Felker used the hiatus to get sober and patch things up with his wife Staci. The remaining band members, Ryan Engleman, Hank Early and Gabe Pearson, basically got on with their lives. Unlike many other Oklahoma bands, Turnpike opted to stay put in their home state rather than move to Texas.

In late 2021, Felker began reaching out to some trusted members of the press to give an update on his life. He and Staci got back together, had another baby and Evan got sober. Once his life was back on track, it was time to get the band back together.

They came back with a vengeance too. Sold-out shows all across America became the normal status for their tour. This includes the three nights here at our Whitewater Amphitheater, starting tonight. At press time, their show tonight is the only one that still had a few tickets available.

Opening tonight’s concert will be two amazing acts, Joshua Ray Walker and Muscadine Bloodline. Walker, a guitar hero from Dallas, cut his teeth on Waylon and Willie with a healthy dose of BB King thrown in. Muscadine Bloodline is a rocking country duo of Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton. Their summer hit Me On You garnered over 21 million global streams. Their current single, Cryin’ in a GMC, was released just a few days ago. The other two nights are sold out but the opening acts are Calder Allen and Nick Shoulders on Friday followed by 49 Winchester and Nikki Lane on Saturday. Tickets for tonight’s show are available at WhiteWaterRocks.com.

The Presley Project at the Phoenix Saloon

It was several years ago when I saw the Presley Project perform at the Phoenix Saloon. After the show I spoke with lead singer, Jerry Griffin about the band and their unique way of paying tribute to Elvis. If you aren’t familiar with the group, they are a 10 person show band that recreate the sound, feel and excitement of a 1970s Elvis concert.

There are no wigs, jumpsuits, sideburns or sunglasses, they just concentrate on the music. Seeing Elvis in the 70s was a totally different experience than his early shows in the 1950s. He had a big band and his sound was definitely more of a big band feel. In my opinion, Elvis released some of his best music between 1969 and 1975. I personally prefer this type of tribute show because it puts more emphasis on the music rather than the look of the performer. If you are a fan of Elvis in his later years, this is the show for you. The music starts at 9 p.m. and it’s a free show so what more can you ask for?

Mary Gauthier releases new album and tours Texas

Mary Gauthier, pronounced Goh-shay, just released Dark Enough to See the Stars, her twelfth album, and is touring across the Lone Star State to promote it. I first discovered her music when she released Mercy

Now back in about 2004. I basically wore the CD out if it is possible to do that. Mary was born in 1962 in New Orleans and soon after her birth, her mother gave her up for adoption. Her adopted father was alcoholic and eventually Mary developed a drug and alcohol problem.

She struggled with her addictions until a drunk driving arrest at 27 years old convinced her to get sober. She has lived a sober life since 1990. It was during this time that she really got serious about her songwriting. She recorded her debut album, Dixie Kitchen, in 1997. She sold her part ownership of her restaurant, also named Dixie Kitchen, to finance the album.

As her career progressed, so did her critical acclaim. It became common to see her music listed on year end favorites lists by music critics. In 2018 she earned her first Grammy nomination with the ground-breaking Rifles & Rosary Beads album. She co-wrote the songs with U.S, veterans and their families because of her work with Songwriting With Soldiers. She spoke out on the alarming statistic that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

In addition to being a fantastic performer, many other artists have recorded her songs, including Jimmy Buffett, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Kathy Mattea and Bobby Bare, just to name a few. In 2021 she released her memoir, Saved By A Song.

Her Texas tour stops include tonight in Fort Worth, Friday in Austin, Saturday in Kountze, Sunday in Tomball and next Tuesday in San Antonio at Sam’s Burger Joint. Tickets for the Tuesday October 25 show can be purchased at SamsBurgerJoint.com.

Random notes from the Music Scene

Gruene Hall just added two new shows for December. They are Marshall Tucker Band on Dec. 2 and Django Walker on Dec. 3. The Django show is called Gypsy Songman — the Music of Jerry Jeff Walker featuring Jerry Jeff’s band. Tickets for both shows go on-sale Friday at 10 a.m. at GrueneHall.com.

Reggae band The Wailers will be at Texas Ski Ranch on Saturday night with our own Carlton Pride & Mighty Zion opening the show. Mason Lively is headlining a show on Saturday night at Cheatham Street Warehouse. His latest album, Stronger Ties, was released in 2018 so it’s time for some new music from Lively. Hopefully he has something new coming soon.

Max and Heather Stalling will be out at Gruene Cottages on Saturday night. Local singer Andi Holleman will open the show.

Matt Kirk will have his full band with him on Sunday at Gruene Hall. The music starts at 5 p.m. and it is a CD release party, plus it is a free show.

If the music of Prince is your thing, then check out the band 1999. They are doing a tribute to Prince on Saturday night out at the Happy Cow.

Jamie Cameron and JJ Garrett will team up to host the Open Mic night next Tuesday at the Pour Haus.

Tonight at Rudy’s BBQ you can enjoy some tasty food while you listen to Code 2 & the Extinguishers.

A few days ago I received an email saying that a rich oil tycoon was giving me $10 million. All I had to do was reply to his email with my bank account number and he would deposit the funds directly into my checking account. If my column isn’t in next weeks paper, you know things worked out great and I’m on a beach in the Bahamas sipping on a fruity drink. Maybe one with a little umbrella in it.

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