Lubbock Music Spotlight: The Blue Light Live
For Lubbock songwriters, 1806 Buddy Holly Ave. is sacred ground. On the street named for Lubbock’s favorite son, The Blue Light Live‘s family of musicians keep the music alive, standing on the same stage that raised legends like Josh Abbott Band, Wade Bowen, William Clark Green, Red Shahan ad infinitum.
In our interview with Dalton Domino, he recalls Dustin Six promising him, “you’ll never find another room that’s like this room or the energy and spirit that’s in this room.” Ghost signs, murals by Bristen Phillips and “faces pinned like tattoos on the wall” give the songwriter haven its character. The venue’s famed, habanero-infused Apple Burn shots, its diverse crowd of music lovers and delightful bartenders give it a pulse. But what gives The Blue Light Live its soul is the musicians who cut their teeth there every Monday night at Songwriter’s Night.
They play at many venues around and outside of town, but living in Lubbock, the following can’t-miss songwriters call The Blue Light Live home, sharing a stage and proverbial bloodline with all who came before them.
You cannot talk about The New Lubbock Sound™ without mentioning the Cleto Cordero-fronted Flatland Cavalry. While their sound is their own, they draw comparisons to Turnpike Troubadours and John Mayer, but with the added sound of the High Plains air, demonstrated decades ago by Joe Ely. The quintet tops the iTunes country charts, sells out their favorite venue by night and works on their degrees by day. You can listen to Cleto share his love for The Blue Light Live here.
We mentioned Songwriter’s Night, and Zoë Carter is the current queen of the Songwriter Competition. With experience on both sides of music education, Zoë knows exactly what she’s doing musically and lyrically. With her warm voice, she utilizes many literary devices—stylistically, alliteration is the most apparent. There is a depth and sweetness to everything she puts out, whether it be folky tunes, love songs or church hymns.
Randall King Band
Randall King reminds many folks of why they fell in love with country music. With traditional roots and a strong voice, this young gun can croon and honky tonk. I first met Randall on a fraternity brother’s porch, picking songs with Dalton Domino. His style of music works just as well in that atmosphere as it does on stage with a full band and pedal steel. If you’re in visiting and see he’s playing, you better be there.
The myth of Charlie Stout precedes him. His debut album was recorded in an abandoned ghost town church in the middle of the New Mexico desert. The grittiness of his murder ballads and hymns were only exemplified by the space of the recording, but can still be heard in live performances that, somewhat regrettably, don’t feature trains chugging and crickets chirping. Where Randall King’s songs take you to the 1980s, Stout’s take you to the 1880s.
No Dry County
While all of above have tinges of Country and Americana in their sound, none rock as hard as No Dry County. These guys bring together the most eclectic crowd in Lubbock. Whether it be vested punks, tattooed hipsters or white-haired gentlemen ready to swing their ladies, all are in for a good time. No Dry County, alongside the likes of Dave Martinez, Hogg Maulies, Danny Cadra and Wade Parks bridge the gap between the generations of Lubbock music. They have honed their musical chops, paid their dues and are surely a must-see.
You can find Jerry Serrano at the head of vocal jazz and Latin band, Alma Quartet playing all over town, and best paired with a glass of Lubbock wine. A multi-instrumentalist and former winner of the Songwriter Competition, Jerry is one of the most gifted musicians in town. He currently hosts the Songwriter Nights and competitions on Mondays, helping other make their mark in The Blue Light Live’s history books as well. If you’re looking to start playing music and writing songs yourself, he is the man to talk to.
The Blue Light Live family is always growing, and there are plenty more artists you need to see while you’re in the “Hub City.” Next time you visit, surround yourself with the sounds of Lubbock, and share your favorites using #LiveLoveLubbock. For a broader view of the Lubbock music scene click here.