This year’s Texas Music Takeover brings another stellar group of Texan musicians and songwriters to London, playing in some of the most iconic venues that the British capital has to offer. Previous years have seen some of the biggest names on the Texas music scene head over to our shores and this year is no different. With so many wonderfully talented artists to choose from, it’s been hard to pick but we’ve settled on our top five to make sure you see in the week before the Takeover starts!
Born and raised in East Texas, Koe Wetzel is one of the fastest rising stars on the Texas music circuit. Along with his band, ‘Konvicts’, they’ve become a staple on the scene with their southern rock ‘n’ roll sounds and well-crafted songs. Wetzel is an accomplished songwriter who aims to bring true heart and soul, saying “Being able to connect with an audience, or a fan, because they feel like they can relate to your lyrics is one of the coolest experiences in the world. There’s no greater feeling than hearing that your lyrics or your song mean something to someone.” Watch out for his latest single, Austin, which was released last year. He’s currently touring in the States in support of Parker McCollum.
Recommended listening: Koe’s 2017 album Noise Complaint blended his feel-good country swagger with rock ‘n’ roll elements.
Florida native Sam Riggs has put in years of hard work and touring since moving to Texas, building a big reputation as one of the best live acts around. Citing Ray Wylie Hubbard as the man who taught him fingerstyle, Riggs comes with an abundance of talent. His 2016 album, Breathless, was his most successful yet and helped him hit number 12 on the Billboard Country Chart. Riggs has the ability to blend tender and heartbreaking songs such as Second Hand Smoke with rocking and heavy numbers such as Angola’s Lament. He is a star in the making without doubt. Putting behind years of addiction and channelling it into his music makes him a very powerful songwriter.
Recommended listening: The lead single from Breathless was the desperate and heartbreaking Second Hand Smoke. Well worth a listen!
Kylie Rae Harris
Showing that Texas music isn’t all hardened men with stories to tell, Kylie Rae Harris joins the lineup at this year’s Takeover. Hailing from Wylie, Texas, she has performed with countless country superstars and built a reputation as a superb songwriter. Her EP Taking It Back was a fresh slice of pop, folk and country, helping to solidify her name and showcase the variety in her style. She already has two albums under her name and is working on another, recently announcing that she’ll be heading into the studio soon! You may have spotted her singing harmonies with her frequent collaborator Zane Williams.
Recommended Listening: Her 2013 EP Taking It Back may have been released a few years ago but it still remains as classy as ever!
Don’t let the fact that he came through ‘The Voice’ in the USA fool you, Austin Allsup has bags of talent. At the age of 19, Allsup was touring with his dad Tommy Allsup’s band and learning the ropes. Since then, he’s made the top 10 of ‘The Voice’ but only after putting in the years on the Texas Red Dirt Scene and building a huge reputation. 2016’s This Weary Land was his most successful record to date and he is currently in the studio writing his next record. One thing that you can expect to see from Allsup at the Takeover is his impressive vocal range, definitely one to watch!
Recommended Listening: This Weary Land is a collection of bluesy country, backed up by his signature growl.
Another Texan star to have come from ‘The Voice’ is Luke Wade. This isn’t the first time that Wade has taken part in the Takeover, he played a big part in the inaugural 2016 event. Since then he’s released his latest record, Only Ghosts, which should appeal to his Texan fanbase and fans of ‘The Voice’ alike. Wade has often been described as a soul singer but certainly has all of the elements that you’d expect from a Texan artist, showcasing the variety on offer at the Takeover.
Recommended Listening: Only Ghosts is possibly Wade’s most complete work to date.