Zane Lewis, who grew up listening to his father's fiddle and his sister's rock and roll, will bring his own brand of Texas country rock to the Drunken Mule in Commerce, Saturday, April 5.
Courtesy Photo by Steve Thornton

Country's latest rocket to perform in Commerce Saturday

Zane Lewis takes 'the long way around the barn' to music career

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

April 3, 2008 - Zane Lewis didn't jump into a career in country music. He earned a degree in advertising, took a turn at publishing and ran an equestrian magazine before deciding to give recording and touring his full attention.

Lewis, born in Lubbock and raised in Round Rock, grew up surrounded by the sounds of his father's favorites, Bob Wills and Merle Haggard, and his sister's hard rock, U2 and Lynrd Skynrd.

"My dad is a fiddler who played Texas Swing when I was growing up," said Lewis, a graduate of Texas Tech, in a recent telephone interview. "He and my stepmother still play every Thursday night in a old house he converted."

Lewis also listened to Haggard, The Eagles and Waylon Jennings.

"My sister introduced me to the sounds of Lynyrd Skynrd and Van Halen," Lewis said. "So I guess all of it influenced me. I've had two people in the last two weeks say I remind them of Van Halen."

He married his high school sweetheart, Amy, and they live in the Dallas suburb of Allen with 8-year-old twins Carson and Brianna.

"It took me six years to get out of college. Amy came to Texas Tech after me and graduated before I did. I followed her to Dallas," he said when asked how he ended up in Allen.

In 2006, he sold Western & English Today, the equestrian magazine he created, Lewis decided to make his debut CD, "This Town." The effort delivered three Texas Music Chart hits, "This Town," "I Hate to See Her Go" and "Beer Drinkin' Women."

Lewis admits he was a little intimidated by the recording process the first time around.

"I am kinda an in-your-face singer," Lewis explained. "But, on the first CD, I asked the producer to tone my vocals down. It was funny, because when we took the CD to Nashville to work on the new CD, the first thing the Nashville brass asked me was 'Why are your vocals buried?'"

Lewis said he connects emotionally with every song he sings."When I first hear the demo, I know," Lewis said. "I can hear what the finished product should sound like."

When it came time to lay down the tracks for the new self-titled CD ($15.98, Slant Records), Lewis headed to Nashville.

"We were lucky to get some of the best studio musicians in the business on this CD," Lewis said. "Our lead guitarist and our drummer have played with Brooks & Dunn. They were really A-list guys."

Lewis says that as much as he loves to be in the studio, he prefers performing live.

"In the studio, I am a bit of a perfectionist," said Lewis. "I always hear things that need to be tweaked."

Lewis said he and his "Bad Ass Country Band" really enjoy delivering a high-powered performance.

"We love seeing the crowd react, from ages 16 to 60," Lewis said.

The Texas singer proves that he can bring it down a notch or two when the need arises. On "Even a Leaf," he does an impressive job singing about letting go.

Lewis and his band will increase their touring schedule to promote the March 25 release of his sophomore CD, "Zane Lewis."

When he talked to the News-Telegram, Lewis didn't want to share his age for fear the younger crowd wouldn't give him a listen. According to a story in last Wednesday's Dallas Morning News, Lewis is 42.

No need to worry. One pass of "Welcome to the Southland" and everyone, including the teen-agers, will be rocking and rolling with him.

Lewis will make an appearance at the Greenville Hastings on Saturday, April 5, at 2 p.m.

That night at 10:30, Lewis and his "Bad Ass Country Band" take the stage at the Drunken Mule in downtown Commerce. Lewis is looking forward to the gig.

"How can you not like playing at place called The Drunken Mule?" Lewis asked. "I hope they have t-shirts. I have to get one."

Tickets are $6. Call 903-886-3289 for more information.

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