Farewell Texas

Final Dispatch from Texas. 

We are almost finished packing up all of our stuff for the move to St. Louis. Tonight will be our last night at the house. I’ve got Vanna White packed up with 2 pianos and 4 keyboards and my studio is all in boxes. Before I boxed up my computer I figured I should send out one last newsletter from Texas.

I moved to San Antonio, to this house, on June 27, 2011. During the two weeks prior to moving here  I quit my career as an attorney and married Julie. The day after our wedding we were on our way to Texas.

When we got to our new house (which we rented sight unseen), I was excited to find that it had a separate coach house which could serve has my music studio. Soon after moving in Julie started work at the Air Force hospital. I drove her to work most days since we only had one car (Vanna didn’t come until 2012). Every day after dropping her off I would find myself sitting at this desk, in this executive office chair, next to my old Yamaha-120 keyboard wondering how the hell I was going to make a career out of my fervent, but mostly sporadic passion for music. I didn’t have any completed, original songs.  I had no music gear. I didn’t know a single person in all of Texas. But I was determined to figure it out.

During 2011 and 2012 I learned about 250 cover songs and played mostly solo shows with my keyboard at various open mics, and then patio restaurants, and then bars. I wasn’t playing any original songs at my shows. It did feel gratifying to get gigs at new bars, hear the applause, and make a little money, but I really wanted to write my own songs. The problem was that my original songs were pretty terrible. Long, complicated, and really difficult to sing. Not a recipe for stardom.  It turned out that learning all those covers inside and out really taught me a lot about how to structure a song and write melodies.

During 2011 and 2012 every day was basically the same: spend 3 or 4 hours day at this computer typing up new chord charts and learning new cover songs and then spend 5 or 6 hours writing songs. Not just working on ideas for songs….but actually FINISHING songs. I quickly realized that I had spent the last 25 years of my musical life compiling a million “cool” song ideas but had ZERO finished songs. You can’t go out there on stage and play cool ideas for people. So my goal became finish, finish, finish. And finish I did. A whole slew of really mediocre tunes rife with show tune-ish melodies and cliches.  But things slowly got better. Ooh, I cringe when I listen to those old demos.

In 2012 I started working with my first producer, Mack Damon, who was instrumental in tightening up my writing. I wanted to record with him, but he wouldn’t let me record any crappy songs. Finally, I had 5 songs that were up to snuff and we recorded The Chicago EP in 2012. By 2013 Mack and I finished a full-length album called Sun City (many of the songs on Sun City were later remastered and released on the album Before I Forget).

After the release of Sun City in 2013, I became more confident writing and playing my own songs for an audience. Each time I wrote a new song that I liked, I’d replace one of the cover songs from my setlist (by 2015 I had replaced all of the cover songs with originals – I was playing 3-hour sets of nearly all original songs).

In 2013 I also began playing with my drummer Mike Gomez (the DMG). Mike and I played a ton of piano-drum duo shows and I discovered that I really enjoyed playing in a band setting, as opposed to performing solo. Mike easily matched my passion and intensity on stage and he inspired me to keep improving my musicianship, shows, songs, everything. He also forced me to stop rushing like a runaway train.   For the next few years we added various musicians to our band, Will Kelly, Matt Franke, Matt Zavala, Matt Adler, Ryan Shortt, and James Tommey, among others.  Most recently we have been playing with bassist Justin Schneider and I think it’s the best band I’ve ever had.  The DMG and Justin Schneider are truly un-replaceable. It’s hard to leave them behind in San Antonio.  Mike and Justin will continue to play with me when I tour, but it will invariably be a whole lot less often than the 3 or 4 shows we’ve played every week for the last 6 months.

As I sit here in my studio getting ready to pull all the plugs, I am overcome with the memories of the thousands (yes thousands) of emails I sent to booking agents, bars, clubs, producers, labels, publicists, radio promoters, and event planners. I am overcome with the thought that every song you’ve ever hear me sing, I wrote, edited, re-wrote, scrapped, revised, and finished sitting at this desk. Every rehearsal happened on the drums, piano and PA packed up behind me. All my music videos were edited here, clumsily, as I learned to work Final But Pro. All the imperfections were edited from my press photos as I slowly learned to operate photoshop. I created my first website. I started a Facebook page, joined Twitter, joined (and promptly abandoned) Pinterest. I planned tours, made posters, sent newsletters, schemed, dreamed, all at this desk. Thousands and thousands of hours. It was all worth it.

Last night was my last show in Texas. It was at a venue called Random Beer Garden in the city of Boerne. I’ve been playing shows there about once a month for nearly 3 years. The owners, staff, and patrons have been overwhelmingly supportive. To my complete and utter surprise, the entire bar and beer garden was decorated as a going away party with streamers, cards, posters, and hundreds of hand held fans with life-sized cut-outs of my head. Hundreds of people in the audience each wrote me a note, which they gave me after the show. They made me a piano cake. There were toasts. There were speeches, gifts, tears, hugs, photos, dancing, picture books. And did I mention hugs? There was an afterparty planned with champagne and more toasts. It really left me speechless.  I”m certain it was the best send-off any band has ever received. I’ve had my share of doubts about my decision to play music for a living. Last night’s show silenced them. It’s all been worth it.

Finally, I’d like to thank Vic and Margaret Sylvia for all their love and support over the last three years. If you’ve ever been to a show in Texas during the last 3 years, you have seen them. They have come to EVERY SINGLE SHOW.  I know you are thinking…oh they must come to a lot of your shows. No. They come every single night I play within 200 miles of San Antonio. Sometimes 5 shows a week. We’ve had days where we played two shows in one day and they come to BOTH.  Easily 175+ shows during the last 3 years. Easily.  They first saw me playing solo at the JW Marriott hotel lobby in 2013 and they’ve never missed a show since (Margaret made a video collage of photos of all the venues they’ve seen me play at over the years, check it out here).

Last night, the band took a short break and Vic came to the microphone to make a toast. After a thousand hours of watching me scream into the mic, it was his turn.  He simply quoted a Dobie Gray song that I used to play at most of my cover shows. Vic poignantly summed up his and Margaret’s untiring, unwavering support for me over the years:  “Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me. I want you to know that I believe in your song.” You could hear a pin drop. It about knocked me over.

We decided to close the show with that Dobie Gray song (“Drift Away”). Everyone in the audience came up to the stage and sang, and clapped, and hugged, and it was just perfect.

I can’t tell you how much Vic and Margaret mean to me. I’ve never had anyone believe in me more than they do. I don’t even believe in myself that much. They are what I will miss most about Texas.

Oh, all the feels.

It’s time for the new chapter to begin in St. Louis. I plan to return to Texas to play about 3 times a year. We will be playing Dallas, Austin, Waco, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Boerne, Corpus Christi, and Houston. So y’all don’t forget about me. I’ll never forget y’all.

Lucas

Just 2 months left in Texas. 

Hey y’all.

It only took a few years of living in Texas for me to fully adopt “y’all” into everyday speech. A uniquely southern contraction. It proved itself far superior to its counterpart – “you guys.” Alas, soon I will be back living in the midwest and will no doubt get plenty of funny looks while I phase it out of my vocabulary. Or maybe I’ll just say it until the day I die. A little piece of Texas I can carry with me. I’ll let y’all know how it turns out.

It’s hard to believe that I’ll be moving so soon. I’ve been working through the logistics of the move: the moving truck, a new apartment, new utility companies, new daycare, changing our address on countless magazine subscriptions, etc.

The album has still not been released digitally (Itunes, Spotify, Pandora). We will release digitally once our music videos are ready to go. If you didn’t pre-order it, you can still pick up an old-fashioned hard copy CD at our shows!

Right now we are working on a music video for the “Reruns.” The planned location is the Arneson Theatre.

FINAL TEXAS SHOWS

5/14 – Random Beer Garden (Boerne) 7pm
5/21 – Singing Water Vineyards (Comfort) 6pm
5/29 – Oma Gruene’s Secret Garten (New Braunfels) 7pm
6/3 – Sam’s Burger Joint (SATX) 7:30pm
6/4 – Random Beer Garden (Boerne) 7pm
6/9 – Keller Music in the Park (Keller, TX) 6pm
6/16 – McGonigel’s Mucky Duck (Houston) 9:30pm
6/17 – Oma Gruene’s Secret Garten (New Braunfels) 7pm
7/1 – Oma Gruene’s Secret Garten (New Braunfels) 7pm
7/2 – Baja BBQ (Canyon Lake, TX) 8:30pm
7/9 – Random Beer Garden (Boerne) 7pm

You can always find my schedule at www.LucasJackMusic.com and you can also “track” me with this super cool service called Bands-in-Town. If you haven’t checked out Bands-in-Town, it’s a super slick and simple app that helps you keep track of when all your favorite bands (local and national) are playing in your area. I use it and love it.

OTHER STUFF

I finished reading Purity, by Jonathan Franzen. It was really good and I shouldn’t have let it set on my nightstand for the last 3 months.

I’ve been enjoying watching Togetherness and Silicon Valley on HBO. I’ve also been enjoying Flaked on Netflix.

I’ve been listening to Underworld, by Don DeLillo as an audio book. I absolutely love DeLillo’s writing.
For the last few months, I’ve been writing a song each week as part of a songwriters’ group. We don’t collaborate at all, but we do hold each other accountable for turning songs in each week. Each member of the group has to email their weekly song to all the other members. Some weeks I’m forced to power through some mediocre and even terrible songs, but forcing myself to write even when I’m not particularly “inspired” has helped me churn out some tunes that I’m really proud of. Inspiration is far overrated.
I guess that’s it. Thanks for reading.

-Lucas

The new album is finished!

Thank you so much to everyone who pre-ordered it on PledgeMusic. I just received the first batch of physical copies and I will be signing them and putting them in the mail in the next few days. Here’s the album cover.
The album will not be released digitally (Itunes, Spotify, Pandora) for a few months while we get our publicity and marketing ducks in a row. If you didn’t pre-order it, you can still pick up an old-fashioned hard copy CD at our shows!

Part of the album release process includes making a music video. Spoiler Alert: We are working on a music video for the album’s single, “Everybody Tells Me.”
SHOWS

3/26 – Oma Gruene’s Secret Garten (New Braunfels) 7:00pm
3/30 Gruene Hall (New Braunfels) 6:00pm
3/31 – Hofbrau RIM (San Antonio) 9:00pm
4/2 – Random Beer Garden (Boerne) 7:00pm
4/7 – Pearl Brewery (San Antonio) 5:00pm
4/15 – Witte Museum (opening for NIGHT RANGER!!!)
4/16 – Baja BBQ (Canyon Lake, TX) 8:30pm
4/20 Gruene Hall (New Braunfels) 6:00pm
4/23 – Oma Gruene’s Secret Garten (New Braunfels) 7:00pm
4/27 – Cassidy’s (Corpus Christi) 10:00pm
4/28 – Sherlock’s (San Antonio) 9:30
4/30 – Baja BBQ (Canyon Lake, TX) 8:30pm
BIG FAMILY NEWS

I’m moving to St Louis, MO in July. Julie accepted a private sector pathology position that starts August 1. While I welcome the new chapter in my life, the thought of starting my music career over in a place I’ve never lived is daunting, but I’ll figure it out.

To My Texas People: I am sad to leave a place where I have made so many friends and built relationships with so many fans; but not to worry, I will be returning to Texas to play shows 4 to 6 times a year. Keep checking out emails like this one to keep track of when I’m coming back to your area.

It is still unclear if my band (The DMG Mike Gomez and Justin Schneider) will move with me, but I certainly plan to continue playing with them when I go on tour. Those guys will be impossible to replace in St Louis (if they don’t move with me), but I will just have to make do.
OTHER STUFF

I’m spending all my free screen time watching House of Cards, Better Call Saul, and Vinyl.

Tonight I am planning to go see two artists I admire very much at the Aztec Theatre – Ben Rector and Gavin James. Check them out!
If you can, please try to make it out to a show before I move. I’d love to see you.

Thanks for reading.

-Lucas

Middle Western Recap

TOUR RECAP

Our Middle Western Tour was awesome! We played 12 dates in 11 states (in this exact, sporadic order: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa). In all we traveled 4,986 miles in our faithful steed, Vanna White! Those close-quarters-miles were spent with me, James Tommey (Bass), Mike Gomez (Drums), and John Owens (Manager). There were many highlights along the way. Most of all it was great to meet and make so many new friends and fans. It was also amazing to re-connect with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, especially Al and Mod and the Hillsdale gang in Grand Rapids, my family and high school friends in Kalamazoo, the Perluts and Flavor Savers in Chicago, and the Julie crew in St. Louis. Thank you all for coming out to support my music! Also, meeting Tom Green while appearing on a Grand Rapids talk show was pretty epic!

I shot some more random iPhone photos and videos throughout the tour. You can check all those out with these links:

MIDDLE WESTERN TOUR PHOTO ALBUM

MIDDLE WESTERN TOUR YOUTUBE VIDEOS

OTHER NOTABLES

After returning from our tour we had several other really great concerts, including shows at two of our favorite Texas venues: Gruene Hall (New Braunfels, TX) and Random Beer Garden (Boerne, TX). We also performed at the Timberwood Park “Music in the Park” concert series and played three shows at the State Fair of Texas! It was my first time at the State Fair and it’s true, everything is bigger in Texas. Also, it’s fried. I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on the “Isaac Morehouse Podcast.” Isaac and I grew up together but haven’t seen each other in many years. We discuss my transition from being a lawyer to being a musician. You can check it out here: ISAAC MOREHOUSE: LUCAS JACK

There is a new artist that I just discovered called D.A. Wallach. Last week he released his album “Time Machine.” I cannot stop listening to it! Check it out HERE (https://open.spotify.com/album/2Dobv4jeXllRUhEb8Ite5e) . He also has a very interesting blog on his website. http://www.dawallach.com Fascinating dude. I reached out to him and discussed his recording technique and I plan to incorporate his tips in my new album (see below!!!).

FAMILY
clem-and-josie-nl-7

There have been some very inconvenient but age-appropriate developments with my daughters, Clementine and Josie. Josie has discovered how to climb on the couch and dive off. Clementine has figured out how to climb out of her crib at night. Life, as I know it, is over.

NEW ALBUM!!!

Now for my most exciting news: I’m recording a new album in December! I’ll be working with two producers (Kit Karlson and Chip Johnson) at Alpine Red Studios in Gainesville, VA. I have 25 new songs that I need to pare down to 9 for this new album. The next few months I will not be playing as many shows while I focus on writing, recording, mixing, mastering, and releasing the new album. There will be tons of stuff happening behind the scenes and I’d like to give you the opportunity to be a part of it all! That’s why I’m using a platform called “Pledge Music.” All my favorite bands have been using Pledge Music to fund and release their new albums. Pledge Music is a unique platform that not only helps artists fund their new albums, but also gives pledgers the opportunity to access exclusive behind-the-scenes videos, photos, etc. of the entire process. Pledgers get to see exactly how the album is made! I will be launching my Pledge Music campaign in the next few weeks and I’ll get you more details then!

Lucas

Summer is coming!

Recent Happenings.

On May 2, Julie and I took a 36-hour out-and-back trip to LA for the Jontry/Stoddard wedding..SANS CHILDREN. Our previous 4 flights had included our 2.5 and 1 yr old daughters, so this trip without them made air travel feel like quite the pampered luxury.

On May 4, 5, and 6 I travelled to Nashville with my manager, John Owens to meet with several booking agents and producers. We took a tour and met with the lead engineer of the storied Ocean Way Studios. We are currently in talks with several of the producers that we met trying to decide who we will make our next album with. I can’t wait!

May 15 and 16 we played the Grapevine Main Street Festival and made some great new fans and friends. They liked us so much that they immediately invited us back to play the Grapevine Grape Fest (September 11-13). I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet Marc Broussard and his band, who headlined the festival (see photo below). Very awesome dudes and a killer band. They wrapped their own cables and loaded all their own gear…even my heroes have to do the dirty work.

lj-and-marc-brousard-nl-5

On May 22 Julie and the girls went to Las Vegas to celebrate my brother-in-law’s law school graduation and I stayed behind to play a wedding. And what a wedding it was.

The wedding venue was Don Strange Ranch in Boerne. It sits over a mile off the blacktop road. Mike Gomez (my drummer, aka The DMG) and I got the venue at 330 in the afternoon to set up and it was raining pretty hard at that point. By 430 the area started to flash flood and all the roads in and out of the ranch were closed by the state police. The roads stayed closed until 1am. So the wedding party and all the guests were unable to get to the venue and we and the caterers were unable to leave. So we ate their delicious wedding food, drank the beer and waited out the storm. The wedding was rescheduled for the following day. Mike and I got out at 1am and returned the next afternoon to play the wedding, again. The roads were so washed out that Mike couldn’t get his go-cart of a car (Honda Fit) out of the ranch, so we had to hire a huge flatbed tow truck to tow him out…which happened during the reception. At the end of the day the wedding turned out great, but everyone was
pretty frazzled. It will go down as the great flood of 2015. We even made the evening news…”wedding band and caterers stranded at wedding overnight…”!

On May 30 Julie, I, and the girls travelled to Michigan for my sister Amy’s wedding. While I was there I performed on the eightWest morning show in Grand Rapids and debuted my new song called “Josephine.” A song about…you guessed it, my daughter Josie. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/-HTk8dfvM1w?t=3m44s

This next month we’ve got some big events coming up. We are especially excited to be playing on Monday June 15 with BEN FOLDS at Stubbs BBQ in Austin, Texas. There is no one I’d rather play with (except Billy or Elton, of course).

Upcoming Shows!
June 12-13 (Corpus Christi, TX).
June 19 – Sam’s Burger Joint (with Poor J Brown) (San Antonio)
June 20 – Local Pour (Houston)
June 21 – Springboard South Music Festival (Houston)
June 27 – Private party for our #1 fans, Vic and Margaret!
July 3 – Rock the Block music fest (San Antonio)

 

If you made it this far, thank you for reading!!!

Can’t wait to see you at a show soon. If we don’t come to your city, let us know that we should and we will!

Lucas Jack

Video Shoot at 502 Bar

On August 23, 2012, Rick (Rooster) Garza and his crew shot video footage of my show at 502 Bar. A special thanks to Mack Damon, Dmyke, and Deric Wynne for their help. I’m currently working on getting the footage edited and posted. On Tuesday, we are back at Hollywood studios to cut 4 new songs for the upcoming album.