Texas Music Cafe: Rising Stars & Lone Star Legends

by Runako Gee

Texas Music Cafe has a long and storied history of promoting regional and national musicians.

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.

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Chalk Waco Brings Local Art to Downtown Waco

Get to downtown Waco this weekend to experience all that Chalk Waco 2022 has to offer.

In 2019, the initial pilot project that’s become Chalk Waco was the brainchild of MC Art Supplies, the Central Texas Artist Collective, Cultivate 7twelve, and Creative Waco. Their goal was to provide a corridor on Austin Avenue to display the work of local artists for runners participating in the Silo District Marathon. It came to life as a small, two-block affair, with ten-to-fifteen businesses participating and sponsoring the artwork, but the response from the community was so resoundingly positive that it returned, albeit in a smaller incarnation, in 2021 after a hiatus due to the pandemic.

This year, Creative Waco has partnered with four local markets to bring in more vendors, food trucks, and musicians to entertain the estimated 15,000 people who will attend the event. Over the coming weekend, Chalk Waco will span four blocks of Austin Avenue in downtown Waco and feature street art, wall murals on the 7th Street Plaza, a fashion show highlighting local designers, live music, and over a hundred vendors selling everything from tacos to t-shirts… and everything in between. 

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Song of the Week: “All of Me” by the Waco Early Jazz Quartet

The Waco Early Jazz Quartet, consisting of four Baylor professors, is true to its name by playing classic jazz tunes such as “All of Me.”

The Waco Early Jazz Quartet (WEJQ) is Simon Burris (trumpet), Alex Thiltges (guitar), Bob Kane (bass), and Theresa Kennedy (vocals). The group has played together since 2019 when they formed through their mutual Baylor connections.

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Song of the Week: “Any Other Guy” by Larissa Boyd

Larissa Boyd is a young up-and-coming country artist, who has released original songs such as “Any Other Guy.”

Larissa Boyd is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter, who joined the Waco country music scene in June 2020. A high school senior, she’s been involved in music her whole life. Boyd plays multiple instruments, including guitar, piano, and ukulele.

Recently she made the leap into the professional music scene, writing and performing songs inspired by her personal journey. “Any Other Guy,” like her other original songs, illustrates how her life experiences inform her music.

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Song of the Week: “Coping Hazards” by Rad Dragon

Central Texas punk rock band Rad Dragon is known for its high-energy songs such as “Coping Hazards.”

Rad Dragon was formed in 2018 and consists of Josh Riddle (vocals/rhythm guitar), Austin Parker (bass), Bryce Buchmeyer (lead guitar), and Zack Zajicek (drums).

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Song of the Week: “Trunk Sang” by Pirscription

Pirscription is a Central Texas native and rapper who has created a name for himself with songs such as “Trunk Sang” that also features Trilly Polk and Chalie Boy. 

Payton Bryce, aka “Pirscription,” was born in Clifton, Texas, and grew up in the Central Texas area, his “turf.” His upbringing in a small Texas town influenced his musical journey and has led him to opportunities with multiple business ventures. 

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Song of the Week: “Grounded” by Far From Reach

Far From Reach is a group of five friends with Waco roots that create rock songs like “Grounded.”

Far From Reach consists of five members who have been making music together since 2018: Cassie Monaghan (vocals), Ignacio “Nacho” Gonzales (bass), Lawrence “Lenny/Sexy Pants” Monaghan (guitar), Michael “Mike” Johnson (lead guitar), and Gary Summers (drums). 

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Song of the Week: “9Lives” by Zet Zero

The “stuck inside” version of Zet Zero’s “9Lives” was recorded during the pandemic lockdown.

If you’ve seen local shows with The Dimaggios or Space Cops on the bill, Zet Zero has likely been there too. The post-punk band formed four years ago and currently consists of Cory Zimmerman (vocals/bass), Mikey Uptmor (guitars), Steve Calvillo (drums), and Dan Garrett (keyboards).

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Waco Cultural Arts Fest 2021: A Healthy Dose of Happiness

Art for all and experiential art experiences are the foundation of the Waco Cultural Arts Fest.

“Art.” Just say the word and most folks get the heebie-jeebies. After all, isn’t “art” a picture that makes no sense, a poem you don’t understand, or a song that sounds like musicians tuning their instruments?

That is, art is something people make who are completely unlike you, right?

Thankfully, that’s not the Waco Cultural Arts Fest (WCAF), not when it started in 2004 and not the 2021 edition that runs from October 15 – 17 in Indian Spring Park along the Brazos River.

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Song of the Week: “Etude 11” by Frank Exum

Waco native Frank Exum is a staple of the local music scene, playing everything from classical Spanish acoustic guitar to classic rock … and just about everything in-between.

You might be familiar with Frank Exum thanks to the Exum Studio of Guitar, which provides private guitar lessons to Waco music lovers. Or you may have caught one of his gigs with Venus E, Spirits of Mars, or sitting in with other local bands. Starting from a young age and throughout his 30 years of experience, Exum has studied — and performed! — many different types of music around the world and is ready and willing to share his skills and knowledge with others. 

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