Local country rock band Tyler and the Tribe may be a new to the music scene, but they have figured out that success comes when passion and hard work collide.
“I've been in a band since high school,” said Tyler Jones, who plays guitar and is the band's lead vocalist, during an interview in his recording studio in rural Hopkins County. “I toured pretty hard throughout college and another year and a half after that.”
Heath Robinson, a 2009 Sulphur Springs High School graduate, says he's been playing music since he was born.
“I came out of the womb with a guitar,” he joked.
Robinson's classmate, drummer Jordan Owens, was in a couple of bands in high school.
“Jordan's probably the only drummer I can play comfortably with,” Robinson said.
Robinson and Owens, who are now attending Texas A&M-Commerce, were at a friend's party when Jones found them working on a song.
“He helped us finish it,” Robinson said. “We meshed. We knew it right away. You know when there's chemistry.”
Jones, Robinson, Owens and Colton Joe Smith of Commerce released their first record, “Rock On,” on June 12. Smith was not present at the interview due to a scheduling conflict otherwise known as a full time job.
“It's getting lots of radio play,” Jones noted. “Star Country is playing [the cut] 'Love Me. Hate Me.,' a lot. 'Heaven and Hell' will probably be the next single. ”
Jones was raised in Rains County. He has always been interested in music. After high school, he played football for Southern Methodist University, earned a degree in economics, married his long-time sweetheart, Kaley, and became a father to a little boy named Jett.
Even though he was busy getting an education and putting his personal life together, he never gave up on his dream to have a band, tour and make records.
He had songs waiting to be laid down, so he asked Jones and Robinson to join him in the studio – and he is pleased with the results.
“Overall, the album turned out a lot like I imagined,” Jones mused, “and better than I could imagine.”
Jones' background in business serves as an asset while he builds his brand.
“If you want it to succeed, you have to have a business side,” he explained. “We're meeting with our manager to figure out what's next. I like writing stuff down, getting it in order and then crossing it off as it gets done.”
For now, the boys have a set number of gigs they want to book, leaving some weekends open “here and there.”
Touring is hard on relationships, both personal and professional. Robinson and Owens are both single.
“I'm almost scared to have a girlfriend,” quipped Owens. “I haven't been in a band where I'm trying to take it to a whole new level, so I'm scared I'll waste my time doing something else.”
The boys know exactly what sound they want. They also know they want to record their songs, not someone else's.
“Some suit in Nashville or Los Angeles can't really know what's best for you,” Owens explained.
When asked about their musical influences, the boys name a broad range of artists from a young Jack Ingram to John Mayer and Dave Matthews.
The group is already hard at work on their second record. If determination and a good work ethic matter, these kids are well on their way to living their dream.
“Nobody's going to outwork me,” Jones said. “These guys have the same attitude. That's why I like them so much.”
Owens chimes right in, “That's why we're in it.”
Robinson said, “At the end of the day, it's all going to pay off.”
The boys will be playing at Coffey Anderson's “First Annual Pasture Party,” on Friday, Oct. 5. Gates open at 6 p.m. Music starts at 7 p.m. Cost is $10 in advance, $15 at the gate. To purchase tickets, visit www.ticketriver.com/event/4485. The party will be held on State Highway 19, 1/2 mile north of Loop 381. Look for signs.
The event will feature Monty Tipps and Main Street, along with Tyler and the Tribe, and Coffey Anderson. Food and drink vendors will be on site, along with bounce houses. It's festival seating, so bring your lawn chairs. No coolers, no alcohol and no smoking allowed. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the local American Red Cross and Blue Santa programs.
To learn more about Tyler and the Tribe, visit their website www.tylerandthetribe.com or check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out www.mySSnews.com on Monday for details on a chance to win two sets of two tickets
to the Coffey Anderson Pasture Party.
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