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Texan troubadour plays Hamburg potluck party on East Coast tour

FROM THE SOUTH — Texan troubadour Walt Wilkins will make a stop in Hamburg on his East Coast tour. Photo submitted by Gary Colvin.
HAMBURG — Walt Wilkins is a Texan with a drive to create and perform music. He is known for his storytelling songs, features that are closely related to the country music scene, although country and Texas music vary.

Wilkins has been playing for 20 years, ever since he quit his job scouting locations for movies. He has put out seven solo records and three with his band The Mystiqueros. He spent time writing in Nashville, Tenn. He has written songs, signed to artists such as Kellie Pickler, Kenny Rogers and Eric Church, to name a few, for several publishing companies.

He is a self-acclaimed Texas troubadour, but rather than hopping around the South, Wilkins will be on a solo East Coast tour, with a stop in Hamburg, for his album “Plenty.” He will travel through Rochester, Syracuse, Cooperstown, Albany, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

In addition to solo performances, Wilkins formed and performs with his band. The core group, which originated in Texas Hill Country, is comprised by Wilkins, Bill Small and Ray Rodriguez. Other musicians, such as MQ Marcus Eldridge, Corby Schaub and Jimmy Davis, will join in. Wilkins will sometimes perform as a duo with his wife, Tina.

He and his wife will be performing together from the Albany stop and for the remainder of the tour.

Wilkins said he enjoys his band, but there are perks of doing a solo tour. He said he is able to play bigger set lists and tell more stories. “It’s more of a personal kind of thing,” he said.

“He’s the heir to Willie Nelson’s throne down there,” said Gary Colvin, Wilkins’ tour manager. “Walt’s pretty much a deity in Texas.”

Colvin explained the differences between country music and Texas music, which are often muddled.

“How do you know Texas music? You kinda know it when you hear it,” he said. The pop-country genre, born and raised more often in Nashville, has a very formulaic approach to production, he said. It is created in a way to appeal to a certain crowd, similar to how mainstream top 40 music is produced.

Texas music is, in a way, the indie genre of the South; it is not easily classifiable. The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd are two examples of southern bands that were not quite labeled as country, but had too much southern influence to fall completely under rock music alone, according to Colvin.

“I grew up around music and people who love music,” Wilkins said. “I can’t imagine a day without it. I look forward to evert gig and how lucky I am to be able to do it.”

Wilkins has had impressive turn-outs for his Western New York concerts in the past, according to Colvin. When the artist performed at the Sportsmen’s Tavern, located in the Black Rock area of downtown Buffalo, there was standing room only.

The upcoming concert will be a potluck-type backyard party held at the home of Marty Boratin and Susan Tanner.

“I’m excited to play that venue; I like house concerts a lot,” Wilkins said. “It’s a hard gig, because you have to bring your game.”

Boratin is the “WNY king of what they call ‘house concerts,’” Colvin said, adding that this type of venue provides an opportunity for musicians who are seeking more of an intimate setting in which to perform. Boratin and Tanner host about a dozen of these concerts, annually.

The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28. The house is located at 7341 Nelson Drive in Hamburg.
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