Essential Sounds: Waco Live Music (4/20–4/26/23)

Ryan The Son | Freight Bar | 8 pm, Thursday, April 20

Ryan The Son (aka Ryan Thomas) has seemingly been keeping a low profile lately but popped back up on the radar week before last with a show at the Good Work poetry reading at Anthem STORIES. This Thursday night finds him at Freight Bar as part of its Thursday night battle of the band series, which earlier featured acts including SUNN and Migzavier. His fluid mix of soul, hip-hop, pop, jazz, and gospel—especially with his current backing band—is well worth listening to. Combined with his relentlessly upbeat and heartfelt optimism, this is a show that will leave you feeling better by the time it’s over than when you arrived.

$5 cover.

Leaf Vxllage, Richard Donavann & Migzavier | Truelove Bar | 8:30 pm, Thursday, April 20

A common refrain heard around town is that Waco’s only live music option is country, and while there is more than enough of that, there are plenty of other music genres to check out. That’s the case on Thursday night at Truelove with the triple bill of Leaf Vxllage, Richard Donavann, and Migzavier. Expect an evening of mid-to-downtempo electronic beats that create a sonic landscape with nary a cowboy hat in sight.

$5 cover.

Asleep at the Wheel with Jackie Venson & Mariachi Azteca | Indian Spring Park | 7 pm, Friday, April 21

This year’s Brazos Nights concert series begins on Friday with Asleep at the Wheel, Jackie Venson, and Waco’s Mariachi Azteca. While Asleep at the Wheel is a known—and great!—quantity when it comes to Western swing, Austin blues guitarist Venson is an interesting addition to the bill.

Commercially popular blues music has been largely stuck in a holding pattern since Stevie Ray Vaughn died in 1990, and much of what’s been produced since then consists of people vying to be the next SRV. In contrast, contemporary guitarists like Gary Clark Jr., Eric Gales, and Jackie Venson are acknowledging traditional blues elements while using them to (finally) create something entirely new. A case in point is Venson’s DJ alter ego “jackie the robot,” a side project that makes electronically sampled reimaginings of songs from her existing catalog.

Free admission.

Taushey Sias & Band with the Waco Community Choir | Bridge Street Plaza | 6 pm, Saturday, April 22

Thanks to the efforts of Creative Waco, from April 22 to July 1 the Levitt AMP Waco Music Series is bringing 10 weeks of live concerts that highlight multiple musical genres to the Bridge Street Plaza and Amphitheater in East Waco. Things kick off this Saturday with gospel singer Taushey Sias who, like many gospel artists, grew up in a church family and was singing from an early age. By the time she was six, she was in the family’s singing group—Ami Sias and the Sias Family—and by age nine, Sias was featured as the lead singer on their single “I’ll Follow You Always.” The Waco Community Choir opens.

Free admission. (And even better, the Levitt AMP grant is funding three years’ worth of concerts, so you can look forward to even more music in 2024 and 2025.)

Sundae Drivers | Sunday’s Caribbean Oasis Sports Bar & Grill | 6 pm, Saturday, April 22

Sundae Drivers formed in West, Texas, in 2017, and while their sound can be loosely classified as Americana, bassist and vocalist David Pratka told Waco Insider in 2021, “We’ve been blessed with the ability to perform many different styles and truly believe we can offer something to everyone who listens and keep them interested.” The band has been adding more shows to its upcoming schedule, including Saturday night in China Spring at Sunday’s Caribbean Oasis as well as a gig in the country music mecca of Luckenbach, Texas, in May.

More Waco Live Music

  • Texas troubadour Towne Adams headlines the next installment of Monday Funday at Hemingway’s Watering Hole from 6 pm to 9 pm. Plus, Le’s Kitchen will be on hand serving food.
  • Holly Tucker returns to Waco on Tuesday night with guitarist Tim Mauzey at Lounge ’93, one of Waco’s newest live music hotspots.
  • Singer-songwriter Adam Hood, who’s had his songs covered by artists such as Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, and the Josh Abbott Band, plays a midweek show at the Backyard Bar Stage & Grill next Wednesday.

Have a band or venue with an upcoming live show? Submit it to our events calendar.

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Mark Roy Long's various incarnations have included college English instructor, book publisher, freelance writer, editorial content manager, and professional lawn mower. He is a devotee of craft beer, disc golf, and live music. A long-time Waco resident, he was tired of asking, “What’s going on around town?” and decided to answer that for himself... and anyone else who wanted to know.

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