David Beck poses on porch with guitar
Rachel Lacoss

David Beck on Selena, His First Club Show and New Album 'Bloom & Fade'

This article is part of Wide Open Country's ongoing series Where I Come From, which explores how artists' hometowns have shaped them.

Raised in the Texas Hill Country, David Beck grew up revering Texas music. His father, Bill Whitbeck, has been playing bass for Texas icon Robert Earl Keen since the early '90s and the music of Lone Star State legends, from Selena to George Strait, soundtracked his youth. The talented artist has carried on that storied tradition as part of David Beck's Tejano Weekend and his solo projects.

Below, Beck tells us about how Texas music shaped him, an eventful trip to his first opening show at Emo's in Austin and new album Bloom & Fade. 

Texas is known for its rich musical history — did growing up in Texas help shape you as an artist?

Growing up in Texas, I had a lot of musicians I could look up to. George Strait, the king of country, Selena, the queen of Cumbia and Beyoncé Knowles the queen of pretty much everything else! My early life was highlighted by staying up way too late at my father's shows. He's played bass with Texas legend Robert Earl Keen since I was seven years old. All these greats instilled in me a passion for performing, they gave me hope that someday my music might also resonate beyond the borders of Texas, to the rest of the world.

What do you find most inspiring about your hometown?

I grew up in San Marcos, Texas. It is a beautiful town. The San Marcos river springs up from the Edwards Aquifer. The water is crystal clear, 72 degrees all year long. It flows in droughts, it floods too, but always comes back to center. It is a resilient river, and I hope to be as steady and pure in own my life.

So many artists are influenced by the local artists in their hometown. Who are the local artists and performers you grew up listening to?

I grew up going to a club called Lucy's. It's an old shotgun warehouse built in the late 1800's. The tall ceilings and wooden floors make it a great room for music. It was a stop on the route for many touring bands. Most impactful to me was the post-rock / screamo band At All Cost. They were from Austin, the "Big City." They commanded the crowd and turned that old cotton warehouse into the epicenter of something fierce. The power four mortal musicians from Austin could conjure was inspiring. Music, in any form has a way of transporting one beyond their natural state. Seeing that magic lit a spark in me that has yet to be extinguished.

Did you grow up performing in local venues?

One of my fondest memories is the time my band got a show at a club called Emo's in Austin. It was a huge deal for us. I'd been barraging their inbox with emails begging for a show. They finally caved and let us open for a traveling rock n roll side show act. I borrowed my dad's car to make the drive. We had a blowout on a major highway. In looking for tools to change the tire I'd found my dad's stash of weed! This was a game changer for us in high school, a steady source! Elated, we fixed the tire and got on our way. We had never played at a "real" venue and the soundcheck alone was life changing. Hearing the power of a mic'd up drum set, feeling the subs send shockwaves through your body with every bass note. It was moving. The show probably sucked, but it didn't matter. We'd make it to the big city, and we played the biggest hardcore club there was.

 Can you tell us about creating your new album Bloom & Fade?

You can't plan inspiration, if you try to it never works. It was November and my girlfriend and I were taking some time off in New Mexico. It's a very cheap place to get away, and we were taking full advantage. I wrote "Ballad of a Dreamer" and "Red Tail" in the same day. These songs led the charge, and with the seal broken, the rest of the tunes made their way onto the page and into my phone on a voice memo. It was clear there was a through line, indie rock with a country sheen. My last record was fairly simple and lo-fi. I wanted a bigger sound on this album. We rented a studio called "The Space." Dees Stribling cut all the drums for the album in two days! I took it back to my little studio in East Austin and began the methodical process of filling out the songs. My cousin Peter Huysman added some beautiful lush keyboard / string parts and my buddy Wes Maxwell added some electric, played only like he can. With the tracking complete I took the project to my current space in Martindale, Texas and did the final mixing. Before the takes and before I'd start mixing I prayed to somebody. Please help this be the best it can be, and as honest as it can be. I can faithfully say I tried the best I could every note, every word and every turn of the knob. I hope that love energy is translated to the listener. That's my biggest hope.


READ MORE: Sunny Sweeney on Texas, Small Town Dreams and New Album 'Married Alone'