From Canadian Waters to Texas “Beaches”
Grady Skelton loves the water. And, he loves Texas. After a quick trip north of the border for duck hunting season, he came home to celebrate a successful radio run and the release of his sophomore album, LIVE SIMPLY, by writing “Beaches,” a musical tribute to Texas’ many beaches and the activities they are known for.
“While most people think of the beach only during the summer, ‘Beaches’ is not just a summertime song; I wrote it based on my personal experience that the Texas Gulf Coast is always a good place to be regardless of time of year,” stated Skelton. “The beach holds healing powers for me. It’s where the troubles of this life seem to be lost in its breeze. All I need is a cold beer with salt and lime, a fishing line, a lawn chair, bare feet and good friends. I love the coast… always have and always will.”
A bonafide tried and true Texas artist, Skelton is ready to ride the wave and bring along his producer, the unlikeliest of comrades, Nashville’s Bryan White. Known in country music circles for six #1 hits and being named 1996’s CMA Horizon Award winner and the ACM’s Top Male Vocalist, White’s hits include “Rebecca Lynn,””Someone Else’s Star,” “So Much For Pretending” and the epic “From This Moment” (a duet with Shania Twain). White’s own love of the Lone Star State and its music is on display for the first time ever on “Beaches” which also features White on acoustic guitar and a guitar solo by Grammy award winner, Steve Wariner.
“Working with Grady on ‘Beaches’ was a great experience and it was an honor to be a part of it,” White stated. “Grady is an artist that really knows who he is and has a clear vision. The song was really fun to record too; It really depicts what life on the Texas coast is all about! It was the right band and all the elements lined up. Having Steve play on the record just made it all the more special.”
Like most die-hard Texans, Grady Skelton believes Texas Music is special. For him, it is a breed of its own with a raw and organic sound and lyrics meant to rouse a range of emotions. Skelton believes Texas music has the power to turn people on to “country music” even when they swear they don’t like country. Well, that’s because it’s not country music – it’s Texas Music.
“Texas music is from the heart, honest to a fault, and can make you wanna dance all night,” says Skelton. “You either get it or you don’t. It just makes beer taste better, nights not seem as lonely and long, and brings back old friends and grand memories. I guess that’s why I love listening to it as much as I love writing and playing it.”
Aside from the good loving of a good woman, cold beer, life in a small town, and frequent beach trips, Skelton lives for the day that his style of Texas Music stretches beyond the boundaries that divide the genres. Furthering his efforts to achieve this, as summer draws to close, Skelton and White are hopeful the song will entice audiences to get out and enjoy the cooler weather at one of Texas many beaches.
“If you had told me that one day I’d get to work with Bryan White, I would have shrugged my shoulders and silently wished it would come true,” Skelton said. “It was truly an awesome experience for a small town guy like myself to even meet him. He is an accomplished and talented musician/songwriter and producer and he the many talented musicians he brought together for this single made for a great song. And to top it all off, he was able to get Steve Wariner to stop by the studio and play lead guitar on a whim. It was incredible!”
Releasing his album LIVE SIMPLY, produced by Clay Corn, in March of 2012, Skelton has had many experiences, both musical and personal, that have helped him build up to this latest release.
With the success of two radio singles from the album, “We Like Drinkin’” (which reached #50 on the Texas Music Chart) and “Girl I Love” (one of the Top 100 Texas songs of 2012), Skelton has appeared on the “Great Day Houston” morning TV program and was invited to be a guest on several radio shows including the debut of the singer/songwriter radio showcase “The Shiner Sessions w/ Katie Lee,” “Texas Tunesmith” with George Bancroft, and “Good Time Boys” outdoor lifestyle program that airs across the country. He was chosen to be a part of “RLife Live” performances at The Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth and, in July of 2013, he began hosting a songwriter music series at Cottonwood, a restaurant in the popular Heights area in Houston. In addition, Skelton has made several trips to Nashville to hone his songwriting skills with appointments to work with the writers of Carnival Music.
Using some much needed downtime to embark on another passion, Skelton, an avid outdoorsman, set off for the colder weather of Canada to take his mastery and love of being professional duck guide to a new level. Having been offered an opportunity to lead hunting groups for one of Canada’s most distinguished agencies, he was able to gain fans north of the border during evening campfire performances. As a result of this expedition, Skelton was the featured performer as the annual Texas Water Fowl fundraiser in Dallas.
Upon returning home, Skelton went right back to his musical ways playing shows at Windfest (Portland, TX), headlining the Bud Light Stage at the Woodlands’ Red, Hot & Blue Festival on July 4 and playing a show with Stoney LaRue at Hurricane Harry’s in College Station. He has also made appearances at South Texas Ice House and Izzy’s in Corpus Christi as of late, introducing new audiences to his branded Texas music.
Through it all, Skelton stays true to his home-grown roots. As evidenced by the 11 tracks on the album and the title, LIVE SIMPLY hints of a small town upbringing are ever present and each one is reminiscent of a boy with dreams for success, love, great friends and good times. It is this way of life that inspires him having grown up in the small town of Bellville, Texas where he and his buddies joke there are more cows than people.
“Live Simply” It isn’t just a song or a CD title, it’s a way of life about wanting to get back to the simple things where everything slows down and you can see the stars in the night sky while holding the one you love. It’s about being proud of your small town and saying, ‘hey, if you’re not from one, come on and see what it’s all about.’”
What it was all about for Skelton was learning to play guitar and writing his own original songs in junior high; it wasn’t until his arrival at Texas A&M that he began to pursue music as a career. Running the gauntlet of open-mic nights, frat parties and sorority houses, pool halls and restaurants, Skelton built up a following at local venues such as Carney’s Pub, Texas Hall of Fame and Hurricane Harry’s.
Having established a name for himself, Skelton caught the eye of the Texas A&M Association of Former Students and was invited to perform as part of the festivities of the All Aggie Hullabaloo at Cowboys Stadium prior to the Aggie’s game against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Skelton has shared the stage with many of the greats including Robert Earl Keen, Eli Young Band, Jerry Jeff Walker, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Stoney LaRue, Adam Hood, Mark Chesnutt, Josh Abbott and many others. He has played such noted venues as Firehouse Saloon, Dosey Doe and Armadillo Palace in Houston, Brewster Street Ice House and Ropers in Corpus Christi, The Office in Lubbock, and the famed Saxon Pub in Austin where he completed a month long residency. Other performances include Austin County Fair, Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, and the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest which serves as the kick-off to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
As he prepares for this newest project, Skelton is moving quickly, looking ahead to his next single, a radio tour, playing for new fans and just having a good time doing what he loves most. Whether that’s at home, on the road, while enjoying the beach or the duck ponds, you can be sure the soundtrack includes Texas Music.
Songwriter: Grady Skelton | Producer: Bryan White
Guitar Solo: Steve Wariner
Acoustic Guitar: Bryan White, Scott Emerick
Electric Guitar: Jesse Isley
Drums: Tommy Perkinson
Keyboards, Hammond B3 Organ: Jimmy Butler
Bass, Fiddle, Background Vocals: Scotty Alexander
Recording/Mixing: Jason Miller at Shmowland Studios in Brentwood, TN
Mastering: Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering, Minneapolis, MN