Catching Up With Del Gray Of Little Texas

Del Gray Little Texas

Every country fan who hasn’t lived under a rock the past 30 years knows the song “God Blessed Texas” by Little Texas. Their other songs that have really stuck with me over the years are “What Might Have Been” and “Amy’s Back In Austin.” I also really love “You And Forever And Me.” For some reason that song always makes me think of the start of spring. So I am excited to finally get to see them tonight in Liberty, NC [concert info at the end of this interview]. Won’t you join me?

Catching Up With Del Gray Of Little Texas

Eat Play Rock: This weekend you’re playing in Liberty [NC] and you guys are also playing in the Everglades, right?

Del Gray: We are. It’s a last minute gig that came up. We did that gig a few years ago and I guess somebody fell out. And the promoter called to see if we could do it so we’re, we’re headed there as well.

Eat Play Rock: Nice. That’s a lot of traveling in one weekend, but I guess you guys are used to it.

Del Gray: Oh yeah. Well we are and we have two bus drivers so we can run continuously.

Eat Play Rock: That’s good. I read that, when you guys were first becoming really popular that you played like 300 plus shows a year. And you didn’t always have the best driver. Is that true?

Del Gray: Well, by the time we started doing that many shows we did but, you know, the van and trailer days, we played everywhere from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, all the way up to Phoenix Arizona and every place in between. The year that our first single “Some Guys” was released, we actually played 319 dates and continued that pace for the next five, six years. I mean we would do anywhere from 250 to 300 days a year so we worked it hard. But you know what’s nice about that is it really sets up for what we do now. I mean we kind of laid a lot of groundwork and and built some great relationships. And I tell people I get to be a rock star on the weekends and I’m home with my family during the week because we do about 70 to 75 dates a year. So it’s basically weekend work, which is fun.

Eat Play Rock: Yeah, that’s nice. That’s a big change in the amount of shows. Do you ever feel antsy, like you’re not playing enough or are you good with the momentum you guys currently have going?

Del Gray: Not really I mean we play almost every weekend, it’s a little slow in the winter but after after a busy summer we’re kind of ready for some downtime so no, at 31 years into it, that’s a perfect schedule for us.

Eat Play Rock: Shows in general are just slow in the winter. There’s just not a lot going on from anybody really.

Del Gray: You know, we do some theaters but, the bulk of our work is fairs and festivals and we play some casinos. We happen to be kind of moving into the theater year round playing. We’re playing some smaller theaters in the winter and that’s that’s fun. It keeps us working. So we’re excited to get over to North Carolina and play. Back in the 90s the bulk of our record sales was in North Carolina, South Carolina. We played a club called “Cowboys Nightlife.” And there was about three or four those, so we really had a good fan base in the Carolinas.

Del Gray Little Texas

Eat Play Rock: Yeah there’s definitely a lot of fans for Little Texas here. You said that you guys play theaters and fairs and casinos mostly. Do you have to change your set a little bit to cater to the different audiences are they basically the same?

Del Gray: We do. I mean, a festival or, or a fair – it’s a little more rocking. And a theater show… we grew up on Willie and Waylon and Merle. We also grew up listening to KISS and Van Halen and Rush. And so we’re highly influenced by rock and the Eagles were one of our favorite bands. But in a theater setting, its a little tamer. More stories about the songs get told. It’s more intimate.

Eat Play Rock: Speaking of The Eagles. You guys did an awesome version of “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” Do you still play that today?

Del Gray: We do, absolutely. We just put that back in our set a couple of months ago and so, yes, you will hear that, depending on our week. We played a theater this past weekend and our acoustic guitar player, Dwayne O’Brien, sings that song. He was a little under the weather last weekend and was having some vocal trouble so we we didn’t do it. But I’m sure he’ll be all ready to go this weekend when we play.

Eat Play Rock: We definitely hope he feels better. Okay, so you guys broke up for a while. What let you know that it was time to reunite and go back on the road?

Del Gray: Like three or four of us became staff writers and had success with with other artists in the music business. And we would see each other at events and somebody called one day and said, “Hey you want to go rehearse at SIR?” and we kicked into “Amy” and kind of looked around and said “Yep, this sounds like Little Texas.” It was one of those things where I tell people the best thing that ever happened to us, is the fact that we took a break. It gave everyone a chance to grow up and kind of enjoy what we had worked for the 10 years previous. So, when we put it back together it was easy. It was like hey let’s go do this.

Eat Play Rock: I also read that you guys reworked some of your songs since Little Texas has a little different lineup now. Is it true that some of your songs are a little more guitar-centric now? And, if so, how do you think it’s changed the feel of some of the songs?

Del Gray: Well, we’ve always been a guitar driven band but we no longer have a keyboard player. And we kind of love it. It’s great. And it rocks a little harder and it gives Porter a chance to even play more – which he is a fabulous guitar player. So, the band now is four pieces – all original guys – and Porter Howell is our lead singer. He wrote the bulk of the songs, the hits, back in the day, and he was kind of a stunt vocalist anyway.

Eat Play Rock: Well, as far as like the newer sounding music, the keyboard isn’t really an instrument that, in my opinion, has stood the test of time anyway. If you are going to lose an instrument, it’s not the worst thing to lose. The music sounded good back then but the keyboard is not something I think that’s necessary for today.

Del Gray: What’s neat is we just went in and cut 16 new songs, 8 of the hits and then 8 new songs for a 30th anniversary project that we’re working on this year. And, Porter, basically if there was any kind of keyboard part that was prominent in the mix, he was able to do on guitar. So, it’s something that you just don’t miss.

 

Eat Play Rock: So, you guys were on “Star Search.” That’s the first reality music based competition I remember. What do you think about when you see those competitions today and how they compare to “Star Search” back in the day?

Del Gray: I wish everybody well. Fortunately, I’m in a position where I don’t have to watch that. I mean, people say, “Well what do you listen to today?” I search out great music and Americana music and older music. I love some of the girl singers in country. Miranda Lambert is one of my favorites. I’m a fan of Eric Church. But I don’t listen to the radio and I don’t keep up with it. I’m a fan of talk radio. And my radio stays on talk radio.

Eat Play Rock: Besides radio, it’s interesting all the formats you can get music in today. I mean you can download it, even vinyl has made a resurgence. What do you think about the availability of just so many ways to enjoy music today?

Del Gray: What’s neat about that is, that ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are all finally getting a handle on all the different streams. So you would think that a band 30 years into their career, that the royalty checks would be dwindling, and that’s not the case for us. Because of all the different streams, we’ve seen an increase over the last three to five years.

Eat Play Rock: Well, I mean, “God Blessed Texas” is on every other movie you see so you have to be making bank off that one in particular.

Del Gray: Oh yeah!

Catch Little Texas live locally tonight at 7pm at Liberty Showcase Theater and check out the rest of their tour schedule here.

Del Gray Little Texas

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About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.

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