Few artists have ever taken the Texas Music scene by storm as quickly as Josh Weathers did this past spring. The buzz began with his stirring cover of “I Will Always Love You” around the time of Whitney Houston’s death and peaked with his triumphant set at this year’s LJT Festival. Although Weathers has been gigging for years and already had a loyal fanbase, these two events have taken him to a new level of acclaim. Weathers makes music that is soulful, funky, rocking…yet at all times heartfelt and Texan through and through. We are proud he will be helping kick off this year’s Greenfest with a set at the Lone Star Music Store in Gruene on Sat July 28 at 5PM. It’s a free show. Come see what all the buzz is about that day and pick up a couple copies of his records. In the meantime, read this edition of 20 Questions to learn more about Josh.
1. You’re currently in the studio working on your latest record. Your style has continually evolved and your live show is your calling card. So, what’s this record going to sound like? Where are you recording it? Who’s playing on it? When do you hope to release it?
Well, this record is most definitely our best record sonically speaking. We recorded it with my good friend Nick Choate at Blue Smoke studios here in Fort Worth. Nick and I work really easily together and have been friends for as long as I can remember. As far as songs go I would say its some of the best stuff we’ve done. I’m excited to get it out. We should release it around mid September.
2. You’ve been one of the ultimate road dogs in Texas, logging over 255 dates each of the past 3-4 years. The road life is hard. How do you remain grounded and healthy while spending more time on the road than the average trucker?
This is really what we love to do… I love playing for new faces in new places. If I didn’t love it I would imagine it being much harder. It’s really not the gigs that burn people out it’s what goes on afterward… We’ve become far more disciplined over the last five years for sure.
3. Name association:
–Larry Joe Taylor– The Godfather of Texas Music… you can’t say no to Larry Joe! He’s the man! He’s really done a lot for me since playing his festival a few months back.
–Bobby Duncan- Fred Savage (laughs). He’s one my favorite guys around. He’s a real in the know kind of guy, and an incredible songwriter. I bet Bobby runs a major label someday.
–Radney Foster– I got the honor of singing with him at LJT this year. The guy can write anything… he’s a legend.
–Stoney LaRue– He’s one of my favorites of the Red Dirt genre.
–Sean McConnell- Master songwriter, amazing voice…the read deal.
–Marc Broussard– Should be a household name. I saw him open for Maroon 5 like seven years ago and he made them look silly.
–Paul Thorn– One of my biggest heroes. I think his career should be the blueprint for any up and coming songwiter. Everything Paul does is done his way. I’ve listened to the album Are You With Me for than anything else over the last 6 years.
–Will Hoge– Talk about a road warrior…another one of my favorites.
–Lincoln Durham– How does something so raunchy come from such a nice guy? He’s awesome!
4. Your wife is your booking agent and your father-in-law is also your drummer. What’s the best thing about working so closely with your family? Any drawbacks?
We’re all striving for the same thing. If we “make it” so to speak, Christmas is gonna be awesome! We’ve really learned how to keep family and business separate from the family over the years.
5. Your cover of “I Will Always Love You” exploded in Texas Music social media circles around the same time of Whitney Houston’s death. Is the story about your mom jamming the cassette tape in her old car truly the inspiration behind your stirring cover? What prompted you to start putting it in your set?
I started singing it long before she passed away. I just kind of pulled it out one night at Hat Tricks and Coach Joe loved it so much that I’ve done it ever since. And, yes the story about my mom is absolutely true, she loved that soundtrack! When Whitney passed away the demand got a little higher. I’ve had people tell me I sing it better that her which is flattering, but crazy! Nobody sings that like Whitney!
6. You started out as an acoustic act before blossoming into a full-fledged rock n’ roll soul band show complete with a horn section. What inspired that transition, and who are your biggest musical influences?
I started in the Dave Matthews vein when I was in college, acoustic guitar, my brother on djembe and a saxophone. Then a friend of mine introduced me to all sorts of incredible stuff. Stuff like Sly and the Family Stone, Graham Central Station, Van Morrison, Prince etc.
I saw prince almost 10 years ago with my wife at an after party for his Musicology tour at Eryka Badu’s old club the Black Forrest Theater in Dallas. That moment changed what I thought a live show should be. Another was hearing Bruce Springsteen Live at the Hammersmith Odeon in London 1975, it’s my favorite Springsteen album. Nobody can take control of a crowd like him. These days I listen to all sorts of stuff. My biggest musical influences change every other day… but Springsteen, Sly, Van Morrison, Bill Withers, ZZ Top, and old George Strait are staples on my playlist.
7. Favorite touring memory of the following towns :
-Dallas– The Granada and Kessler Theater have given me some incredible moments…but singing with Paul Thorn at the Kessler is a definite career high for me though.
–Stephenville– LJT…that was a game changer for us!
–Corpus Christi- The Surf Club and skinny dipping in the Ocean at 4 in the morning.
–Houston- Too many good memories to pick one really. We’ve had some good times there.
–Amarillo– We love Amarillo. It’s always worth the haul up there.
–Fort Worth– MY home! It’s my favorite city in the country. I will always be from Fort Worth.
–Austin-A packed house at Stubbs as the headliner is definitely among career highs so far.
-New Braunfels– Greenfest will be my first time to play Gruene. I can’t wait!
-Lubbock– The Blue Light with Jonathan Tyler.
–Wichita Falls– We love the Iron Horse…it’s a true music venue.
8. You took time off from college to pursue your music career and never went back. What was your major? Do you think you’ll ever go back and finish your degree?
Probably not. I guess it’s kind of sad to say because I wanted to be a social worker or a high school history teacher. But music’s got a hold of me for now.
9. You’ve had some experience with rodeo. There has always been a somewhat symbiotic relationship between rodeo and music due to the travel component. What lessons did you learn from rodeoing that you’ve been able to apply to music?
I quit rodeoing just after high school so I never got the full effect. But there is a definite parallel between these two careers and lifestyles.
10. Your homebase is in Fort Worth. The Fort Worth music scene is unique among local music scenes. How do you feel that being part of the Fort Worth scene has shaped you as a musician? What are the pros and cons of being based out of Fort Worth as opposed to Austin or New Braunfels?
I feel like Fort Worth is still a best kept secret, there is so much great music here! So many great places to play in town. Being from Fort Worth obviously doesn’t carry the weight or leverage as being from a city known for music. But those that know what kind of jewel of a city it is know what it means to be from here.
11. You came to music relatively late at age 19. What finally prompted you to pick up a guitar? When did you realize you had a natural musical gift?
I’ve always loved music. I wanted to be George Strait when I was 5, I wanted to be Stevie Ray Vaughn when I was 13, it was always there. I sang in choir in 7thgrade and realized that I could. I just didn’t pursue until way later.
12. Stories behind the following songs:
–Irene– Irene TX, is basically where I grew up. We moved around a lot, but always spent our summers and major holidays at Granny’s in Irene. It was a great place to be a kid. That’s what that song is about.
–Jenny O– Jenny was a woman I worked with years ago. She was a breast cancer survivor but still smoked 2 packs a day. Crazy. She was a wild woman who lived a hard life. Perfect for a song!
–Work It Out– Breaking up…getting back together. The usual stuff.
–Better Days– Can’t go there.
–Tie Me Down– It’s about the hook up culture we live in. Go to the bar, take someone home, never call them again… repeat.
-Maria– It’s about folks on the poor side of town who have standards and something to live for.
–Mind, Body and Soul– Breaking up and making up…again. It was one of the first tunes I wrote.
–It’s You- I wrote this for my wife. She knows me better than anyone.
–I Wanna Know- It’s about a dude getting stood up for the last time.
13. Do you still remember the first song you wrote? In hindsight, was it horrible or brilliant beginner’s luck?
The first one wasn’t too bad…but then again I’ll probably never play it again. (laughs)
14. The response you got at LJT’s this year was nothing short of phenomenal. Did you really know you were venturing into a redneck version of Woodstock or Bonnaroo before you headed out to Stephenville that day? What were your impressions and memories of that set?
I had no idea what to expect, but I knew if it went over well it would introduce us to a whole new crowd, and it has. The Texas Country fans are the most diehard I’ve ever seen! I imagine it’s what Austin was like in the 70’s.
15. It’s late, you’re out with friends and you’ve had a few cocktails. Unbeknownst to you, they sign you up to belt out some karaoke. What’s Josh Weathers’ go to karaoke jam?
“Poison” by Bel Biv Devoe, or “Let’s Get it On”. Can’t go wrong with some Marvin Gaye!
16. Coach Joe Avezzano was one of your biggest musical boosters. Unfortunately, we lost Joe this past spring. He was such a big supporter of Texas music and the DFW scene. Everybody’s got one, what’s your best Coach Joe story?
Watching Charley Pride from the side of the stage at Hat Tricks with his arm around me. He was the greatest, I miss him.
17. If a movie was made based on your life, who would you cast to portray you?
Hell, I don’t know! I like Emile Hirsch a lot (laughs).
18. Rapid fire:
–Arlington Stadium or Ballpark in Arlington? Ballpark
–Jerry Jones or Mark Cuban? CUBAN!
–Whataburger or Taco Cabana? Taco C
–Better long solo drive companion: sports/talk radio or tunes? Tunes for sure.
-Strat or Tele? Tele
19. I know you’re much more of a funky soul guy, but everybody gets this question. What’s your favorite George Strait song and why?
“Friday Night Fever” from his first album. That’s still my all time favorite album. George Strait at the old Rangers stadium when I was 5 was my first concert. If I ever get to meet him I’ll croak.
20. Your music possesses elements of blues, rock, funk, soul and country. What do you feel makes your music unique?
Being a perfect blend of all your influences is key… I don’t deny any genre really. If I dig it, it gets thrown into the melting pot, then poured out into the mold that we’ve sorted created. It helps that everybody in the band likes different kinds of music and can bring those influences to rehearsal. My band is the greatest, nobody plays like this particular group of guys.