by Runako Gee
Waco is no stranger to live music with regular performances by local, national, and international musicians across multiple genres. As the city continues to grow, many are looking for ways to feed their musical interests. But what if you could condense a variety of genres into one place, as one experience, across multiple nights? Texas Music Cafe, the long-running television show filmed at different locations across Texas, is a multifaceted—and more relevant than ever—live music experience that bridges the connection between artists and audiences.
Now, the acclaimed music series is relocating to downtown Waco’s Cultural District, with its own studio and performance venue at 715 Washington Avenue. From this new base of operations, Texas Music Cafe will continue to offer intimate exhibitions of talent that encompass the unheard and undiscovered as well as overlooked music industry icons. Expand your mind through music and art as you engage with artists’ sounds, songwriting, and music passions in a high-quality performance setting.
25 Years of Texas Music Cafe
Texas Music Cafe founder and Executive Producer Chris Ermoian understands the trials and tribulations of surviving in the music industry. Facing his own adversities in his early musical career in a trio, Ermoian accepted the mission of being an advocate for other struggling artists by creating a platform for them to gain exposure and recognition for their hard work and talent. Thus, in 1997, Texas Music Cafe was born in Waco.
Utilizing ties with PBS, Texas Music Cafe has been broadcast nationwide for viewers to experience a side of Texas music they may have never seen before. Eventually, the show transitioned from hosting the Rising Stars and Lone Star Legends television series on PBS to a YouTube channel for viewers to rediscover and relive over 2,000 songs at their leisure.
Surviving 25 years in the fast-paced and consistently evolving music industry, Texas Music Cafe has hosted talent that supplies wide musical variety, cultural diversity, and artistic flavors. From big names such as Willie Nelson and virtuosic heavy metal music from Finland to the influential sounds of Barbara Lynne that inspired artists like The Rolling Stones or local soulful musicians like Ruthie Foster, there is an experience for everyone.
Ermoian declares, “There is not a more diverse place in this city than in this building. I can’t think of any place in the city that I’ve been that has more diversity in the audience than on this stage.”
Texas Music Cafe Hits Waco’s Cultural District
Nestled within a strip of Waco’s specialty shops, Texas Music Cafe does not stray far from the theme of authenticity with its “funky” characteristics. Revamped and ready to make waves in the progressive downtown area, the new indoor venue features superior sound and design quality that will enhance the ambiance of live shows. Seating roughly 75 people (and inclusive of all ages), the live studio performances are meant to build connections as the audience sits in the harmonious environment and gets lost in the music.
“I always say before every concert, this is a three-part equation,” Ermoian said. “It’s the artist, it’s the audience, and it’s the crew. And they’re all working together to make this a great thing. A beautiful thing.”
With a long history of live shows behind him, Ermoian acknowledges he doesn’t make it happen by himself. Drawing upon a diverse crew of local talent as well as commuters from Austin and beyond, they believe that he’s a leader worth working with side by side.
“I call him Captain Chris. He’s the captain of the ship, and I just row the boat. I like where we’re going. That’s why I’m here,” said crew member Bruce Byars. And with their first live performance at the new venue just days away, the Texas Music Cafe crew is all-hands-on-deck as they prepare to give Waco a one-of-a-kind experience.
Optimistic about the future of Waco’s live music scene, Ermoian and the Texas Music Cafe crew are excited and hopeful about their upcoming live studio show. And it’s not a job, it’s a mission as they feel “divinely inspired” to bring diversity to the stage as that representation reflects who they are as a musical arts organization.
“Diversity is important because music is diverse,” Ermoian said, “and it has the ability to heal across cultures, and that’s always been an integral part of what we’re doing.”
Coming Soon from Texas Music Cafe
Whether it is archiving music history, creating memories, or promoting artists, Texas Music Cafe is proactive in music education and inspiration. When asked what sets it apart in the music industry, Ermoian answered, “There’re people that do what we do. They don’t do it the way that we do it. I think ours—because it’s run by musicians and artists—has a lot more heart and soul.”
And for those wanting to find something new musically in the city, you don’t have to wait until the weekend. Texas Music Cafe is planning a lineup of weekly music programming events that offer various activities to supply your music and art-related interests, all of which, Ermoian is quick to emphasize, are only possible thanks to its dedicated crew.
On Saturday, September 24, at 7 pm, Texas Music Cafe hosts blues band Steve Howell and The Mighty Men for the inaugural performance at its new location at 715 Washington Avenue. Tickets are available online, and you can learn about future shows by visiting Texas Music Cafe on Facebook or its website.
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