Texas State alumni are making a bang on the national stage
By Callie Gordon ’12
One of Texas State’s biggest points of pride is the diversity exhibited throughout our university. Our student body represents countries from around globe, and we have recently been recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution.
Whether students come here to pursue success in the business and technology, to mold young minds as teachers, or to discover solutions to global problems, Texas State gives students the tools and knowledge they need to chase their biggest dreams. For some students, this dream involves taking center stage, performing for thousands, mic in hand. Here’s a list of alumni who have made it as professional musicians:
Grupo Fantasma, the 11-piece Latin-funk orchestra, features four Texas State alumni: Josh Levy, Kino Esparza, Matthew “Sweet Lou” Holmes and Gilbert Elorreaga. The band formed in 2000, merging two Austin bands — The Blue Noise Band and The Blimp. In 2011, Grupo Fantasma took home a Grammy for the Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album for “El Existential.”
Next show: Grupo Fantasma is currently touring in Europe.
Randy Rogers Band captures what it means to be a Texas country band. The group premiered their first album Live at Cheatham Street Warehouse here in San Marcos in 2000. They are most well-known for the single “Tonight’s Not the Night (For Goodbye),” which peaked at #43 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. On Monday, July 30, their next single “One More Sad Song” will hit the airwaves. The band’s seventh album, Trouble, is due to hit stores later this year.
Next show: July 28 at the Nutty Brown Cafe in Austin
While Texas State is known for some Texas country greats, the boys of RUN DMT represent a new sound echoing through the hills of San Marcos: dubstep. Although dubstep is still in its early stages, RUN DMT has made an impact in a big way, performing at some of dubstep’s biggest venues: Camp Bisco, Nocturnal Festival, Bass Invasion and Snowglobe Music Festival. With only a year and half behind them, they have gained incredible momentum and are expected to continue to do well in the future.
Next show: RUN DMT is on a nationwide tour and will be on the East Coast in August.
The Canvas Waiting was started by lead singer Nathan Medina in 2005, and has grown into a band with nationwide success. Combining the elements of indie rock and alternative music, The Canvas Waiting has been able to develop a fan base from coast to coast. They are now touring to promote the release of their newest album, This City, released July 12.
Upcoming shows: August 15 at the House of Rock in Corpus Christi; August 24 at Stubb’s in Austin
Ransom Jack may sound like some of your ’90s favorites, but the trio formed in 2007, right here in San Marcos. Reflecting the unique elements of ’90s ska bands like Reel Big Fish and Sublime, Ransom Jack puts on a show that beckons for another ska revival. Ransom Jack combines the elements of jam, funk and rock to create a blend of rebellion and summertime.
Upcoming shows: August 11 at Rickochets in Lake Jackson, Texas; August 17 at Texas Music Theater in San Marcos
The Hill Country Gentlemen — barely a year old — got their start on the same stage as country great George Strait — at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos. The Hill Country Gentlemen capture the sound of authentic Texas Country with the sweet soulful rhythm of Americana. They are playing regularly at Cheatham Street Warehouse and are expanding into Austin and Gruene as well. This summer, they released their first album, self-titled The Hill Country Gentlemen. When asked about future plans for the group, bassist and Texas State alumnus Jeremiah Sawyer says, “We plan to take over Texas. We plan on touring while promoting the new album.” The group will be back in the studio this November to begin recording their sophomore release.
Next show: August 13 at Frontier Bar in Austin
Terri Hendrix attended Texas State and launched her musical career at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos. This longtime San Marcos resident is a great supporter of Texas State’s Center for Texas Music History (CTMH) and has performed at several of CTMH’s Unplugged concerts on campus. With a Grammy under her belt and songs recorded by the Dixie Chicks and others, Hendrix is a well-respected artist on the national music scene.
Upcoming shows: July 27-28 at Viva Big Bend Music Festival in Marfa; August 4 at Conroe House in Conroe
Click here for more Texas State music trivia, including 101 songs every Bobcat should have.