Friday, October 21, 2011
Wales Manor in McKinney to host concert, TV show filming
The CW's Troubadour, TX will film a concert with Tom Faulkner, Rohn Bailey, and Jon Christopher Davis.
It's probably not easy following in the footsteps of Texas-native musicians like Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, and Waylon Jennings. They etched a giant mark on the fabric of singing and songwriting, one that any Texas troubadour would gladly match.
Three of the state's premier performers are trying to blaze a similar path to greatness, and their next stop is McKinney. Tom Faulkner, Rohn Bailey and McKinney local Jon Christopher Davis will play an acoustic concert at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Wales Manor Winery and Vineyard, located at 4488 County Road 408.
The trio plans to give area residents, and people all over the U.S., a peek into the life of a singer-songwriter in the Lone Star State. Troubadour, TX, a new documentary-drama TV series on the CW network, will film the concert for a future episode.
"We're tickled to death that a TV show wants to come here," said John Wales, owner of Wales Manor. "This is a chance for McKinney to show the entire country what we're all about."
The show, which debuted Sept. 24-25, plays nationally every Sunday night and follows new-age troubadours as they chase their musical dreams across the state. After casting auditions in every major Texas city, the show's producers selected 25 artists to track through the inaugural 22-episode series.
Each episode chronicles three or four of the musicians in blended scenes, mixing together their family, personal and musical lives. Soon to be featured on the show, Faulkner, Bailey and Davis will cap off their spotlight moment with a "songwriters in the round" performance at Wales Manor.
The three musicians will take turns strumming and singing their own tunes. They'll go in rounds and, between each other, will sing 25-30 songs. With a backdrop of stars and country scenery rather than a full band, the show should help the crowd and future viewers understand a songwriter's roots.
"We're stripping it down so the audience can hear what it sounds like when we're sitting at the kitchen table writing a song," Davis said. "They'll be hearing the songs in their rawest form."
Camera crews and a national TV audience are expected additions to Wales Manor, the first true vineyard and winery in Collin County that every year brings in thousands from all over Texas and neighboring states. Wales, who dubbed it "the outdoor music venue for North Texas," said that more than 10,000 people visited the winery during the 39 days it was open last year.
- Wales Manor Winery and Vineyard
4488 County Road 408
- Free - $10
Wales hosts only singer-songwriters, whose repertoires include country, Americana, blues and jazz music. Residents know about the isolated venue only through Facebook, newsletters and word of mouth.
"We're the best-kept secret in Texas," Wales said. "We've developed kind of a cult following."
Part of that "cult" is Davis, who was born in Dallas but now lives in McKinney. In 2009, he became the statewide voice for TXU Energy and last year wrote and recorded the national theme song, "Relay for Life," for the American Cancer Society.
Davis said he thought Troubadour, TX wants to show the country how singer-songwriters like himself are "reinventing what it means to be in the music business" and figuring out "how to make it today if they're not on a major label." Davis and the other artists are filmed in their cars, with their families, and while making music or booking gigs.
The camera crews film for hours, often just for a stellar 15 minutes of usable footage. At least some scenes will take place at Wales Manor, basically a backyard stage for Davis.
"I'm thrilled because it's one of the coolest venues in Texas," he said. "There's nothing quite like it."
Nor are there many performers quite like Texas troubadours, Davis said, a realization that may have been the motivation for the TV series. The state embodies a musical history recognized all over the world, particularly for its long list of troubadours, whom Davis describes as those who "often don't have a clue what will happen but figure out a way to make a living with their art."
No one on the Troubadour, TX cast has yet reached Willie Nelson-like fame, but the artists' passion keeps them singing. And according to Davis, they're on the verge of making their own mark on the fabric of great Texas music.
"I've met so many incredible, off-the-chart talented musicians," he said. "America will soon know what's coming out of the Lone Star State."
Texas Troubadour Night is from 7 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., but Wales suggests arriving an hour early. Cost is $10 per person, and guests 16-years-old and younger get in free.
Game 3 of the World Series will be playing in the patio area, and score updates will be given throughout the show.
For more information, click on the Upcoming Events tab at www.walesmanor.com.
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