Kathy: [00:00:00] Hey, Walt & Tina Wilkins are my guests today. Welcome to the show you guys.
Walt: [00:00:07] It's great to see you.
Kathy: [00:00:08] It is wonderful to see you guys. I have loved catching most of your front porch concerts this year. They've they've been so life-giving so well, let's get a little bit of background on you guys. How long have y'all been married currently?
Walt: [00:00:25] 20 years. We celebrated our 20th anniversary on December 30th of last year.
Kathy: [00:00:31] Oh, that is awesome. And we have all enjoyed watching Luke grow up at various concerts, but he is off to college. How are you guys adjusting to being empty nesters?
Walt: [00:00:46] It doesn't feel so empty. He's two he's two hours away, which is just about perfect.
Yeah. We saw him this weekend, we traveled out that way. You know, we're out in his area pretty often. And while he doesn't come home, he's, he's really thriving with all the communication there is it's, so unlike when. We went to, went off to college, you know, so we never think of too out of touch with him.
Kathy: [00:01:10] Yeah. Yeah. That's good. When we were in college. Well, I'll speak for myself. Being a wee bit older, I think, but you know, we had to wait till Sunday night after, I don't know, nine o'clock when the rates went down and then it was a short call so anyway, I have some fun kind of get to know you questions for people that have not yet been introduced to you. I hope they will go and find your music after this. If your marriage was a team sport, what would it be
Walt: [00:01:44] if it was a team sport and were, we on the same team?
You know rowing is not a bad analogy. You know,
Tina: [00:01:58] tennis.
Kathy: [00:02:02] Tennis. So would you be doubles partners or
Tina: [00:02:06] doubles partners,
Helping each other, you know, you know,
Walt: [00:02:13] get the stuff you can't, the other one can't get. Right, right.
Kathy: [00:02:17] Yeah. Okay. That's fun.
Tina: [00:02:23] So did we win that question?
Kathy: [00:02:29] Yeah, there's there's no winning, well, have that competitive and
What book or person has influenced the person you are today.
Tina: [00:02:50] Ooh boy.
Walt: [00:02:52] Well, like I said, this last night, I'm not particularly great Christian. Then think about that. We, we don't go to church really, but the Bible just because I love Jesus. I mean, that's, that's the, that's the man. But also there's a book.
You know, it's funny, I thought of it last night. We in fact mentioned it last night. And I can't think of the guy's name that wrote it. It's terrible, but it book called Ireland and it was a historical novel about the set in Ireland. Obviously in the tradition is set in the milieu you have the tradition of the Irish walking poets, which was a five or 600 year tradition of poets who literally walked around the Island from village to village, bringing the news from,
the last village or the village before, and also the poems you know. Every village had a poet might be B be bring poems, or maybe the latest poem by Yeats, whatever. And that book, my mom used to give me stuff to read, most of it I'd be like, Oh, okay. You know, but that book I started and really was moved by it.
Cause I think about it all the time is what we do. You know, not stars. We kind of are based in Texas. We get to travel the country and Europe, but still most of our life is in 300 mile radius in the middle of Texas. And it is like that going from Houston to Dallas, Dallas, to Austin, San Antonio, to Lubbock Lubbock you know, that's our life.
And that makes me, that book has really stayed with me. Huh?
Tina: [00:04:24] Walt does bring good news, no, he brings a good news. He sure does. I'd say person that influenced me just to completely be myself and trust my instincts and trust my heart was my dad and I, my dad has been gone for about 26 years now, but he was a good really wonderful human and a truth teller. And Good soulful soulful person. So that was a great mentor to have growing up.
Kathy: [00:04:54] Awesome.
So great to have that. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about how you guys met.
Tina: [00:05:04] All right.
Walt: [00:05:06] That's easy. We moved to Nashville roughly the same time I was there a few months earlier than her. And when Tina got there, she, soon as she moved she got a job at a restaurant, but really cool little small restaurant, right on what they call music row, 16th Avenue South, literally right in the middle of businesses.
Warner brothers was next door. The most popular, most famous mastering studio was in the side behind them was, three publishing companies in the gospel music offices. I mean, it was right in the middle of everything and it was a lunch place. well lunch at dinner? And Tina was the lunchtime bartender, 11 to four every day.
And so that restaurant was filled with music business people. From heads of labels to famous lawyers, to the artists themselves. I mean, it was just as if there were civilians there. It was because they had heard about it and that was a place to go people-watch. And my first publishing deal was BM G and the backdoor BMG went across a parking lot to the back door of Sammy bees.
And so my, my publisher would take me to lunch there two or three times a week. And we always sat at the corner. I mean, sat at the bar and and that's where I met Tina. And you know, we didn't, we were just friends, you know, I just thought she was cute and funny and smart, and she played cool music at the bar.
And But, but she had a boyfriend and so I never got, and I got to know him over the course of the next three years, two or three years after meeting. So we, you know, I never thought about her in any way, except for really, I liked her.
Kathy: [00:06:55] And so who made the next move?
Walt: [00:06:58] Well, like my mom said true love does not travel a smooth road true love, travels the Rocky road or something like that. It was it was you know, because she was engaged, it was and I'll let you tell how much you want to say it was, it was a, it was an interesting.
Tina: [00:07:18] Yeah, it was, we, it wasn't easy. It wasn't easy at all. It wasn't like, Oh, I love you. Let's date let's get married. Now we had a lot of roller coasters and a lot of ups and downs before we landed on the same page. So gratefully several years later we did.
Kathy: [00:07:34] Yeah. So it was a long time. It sounds like a couple of years you said,
Walt: [00:07:38] yeah,
Five six years before we got married in 2000. So seven years, six years, we got married after meeting. Yeah.
Kathy: [00:07:53] And a lot of good music that came out of it
Tina: [00:07:57] truly.
Kathy: [00:07:59] Tell us a little bit about what took each of you to Nashville. What was your, what was your dream, your hope?
Tina: [00:08:06] Well I loved, I was singing quite a bit in LA.
And I was very curious about we, there was a really cool resurgence of country rock that was happening in LA. And there's a gentleman named Billy Block who started this Billy Block Western beat. I don't know if it was called that at that time. Western Beat but anyway, so I would, I would go downtown and I would just be.
Mesmerized by the musicians he was bringing in and a lot of them were from Nashville. So eventually I thought, well, I just need to take a trip to Nashville because the writing was so cool and the folks were so cool. And so I went with my dad one trip, and then I went with my mom when trip. And then I thought, Oh, and we ended up at the Bluebird cafe where the writers were playing in the round.
And I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. It was just. Absolutely stunning. And so I thought I want to be near this kind of music. So eventually I, I got myself there in 1994 and I didn't know anything about. I mean, I would, I was a writer, but I wasn't that kind of writer. I w I mainly moved to Nashville to be a singer.
So I just couldn't believe that the quality of songs that I was hearing and the musicianship, Oh, it was just amazing to be surrounded by those stunning musicians. So I just, I was pretty naive. I just thought, well, hell I just need to go to Nashville. And it was a, it was a great learning experience. It was like getting a master's degree and then.
Music and study and publishing. And it was really, really a great thing.
Walt: [00:09:45] And I'm from Austin. I I had no idea a strong anti Nashville bias growing up in Austin and playing in Austin. I was playing, I was, had a group of songs the first, so you know how old it was, cassette made my first project. It was, it wasn't even a project.
Really. It was alive. No, my first project, sorry, my first project the piano player, that was my best friend. And he was a film guy and he lived in Florida, worked some in Nashville, anyone he's in Nashville doing a music video. One time he gave it to this lady who gave it to her sister who gave it to her husband.
And he was the head of BMG publishing, which was a big publishing company. And he called me at my, I had a job in Austin. I loved, I had a great life. And he called me and said, you know, I thought I was like, well, I come on who's, you know, this is a joke, right? I think you should come here. And so I did, I flew up there and met him and hung out a couple of days and then stayed in touch and then made the decision to go ahead and quit this job
I love, my hometown and everything. And. I went to Nashville and I was lucky. Then they were, it was easier to get a publishing deal. Not that it was easy, but it was easier than it was later in is now. And so I kind of, when I moved there, I had had already sold a few songs to them and had a promise of a publishing deal in hand.
So it was cool.
Kathy: [00:11:16] Very cool. Do either of you remember the first song that was purchased, like that made you feel like. Oh, it's a real thing.
Walt: [00:11:24] Yeah. I, this guy, Todd Wilkes at BMG Nashville arranged for my first demo session, which is an incredible experience in Nashville. It's a wreck, it's a recording project with the greatest musicians in the world.
And you they, they do your songs in a day. I mean, it's so five songs. The first song I ever had recorded there and I had done recording on my own, you know, in studios in Austin and Waco, but I Seeing these guy was a different level. And the first one, it was song called Big Hopes that was the first song on a five song session, that song and the musicians were cool.
And were like really, I got the feeling. They were like, dude, you know, this is, we need to get up here. This is good stuff. And it was a great session. And but they have big hopes, which ultimately it took a few years, did get cut by a guy named Ty Herndon and And it's anyway. Yeah, I remember the feeling.
It was just, I was over my head and and it was fun.
Kathy: [00:12:22] Oh, wow. So you dated a while. Eventually got married and eventually you left Nashville. What, what led to the decision to come back to Texas?
Walt: [00:12:36] There were two, two strains that one week we were there to watch the music business change go through one of its dramatic changes.
And the dramatic change was when we got there, it was the tail end of a when publishing companies really did. You handed it in songs and they really could go get them cut. After were there a few years. And I think it had to do with the, in the wake of Garth money. Nashville money had just ex multiplied the money that was at stake multiplied 10 times.
And so guys that we grew up loving that meant the world to me is a country music guy. There was not like that anymore. It was huge money. So producers, they're only a few half dozen producers, they made all the records. They bought their started their own publishing companies hired their own writers because they knew that's where the big money was.
Getting those song copyrights on records, getting them on the radio. That's where you really make money, that you can keep and keep an income. So they all started their own publishing companies, carved their own writers and if you were one of those writers that works, that wrote for a producer, one of the five producers in town, it was cake.
If you weren't one of those, it got to where you really, that the odds of getting a cut on a record And, and in that system, it affected everything. Cause it didn't mean the best songs were going to records and it got depressing it was hard to live there. And I miss playing live. I really love playing.
I mean I played in Nashville. Would've been the same as going out and playing gigs, you know? And yeah. Tina is the same. She had signed to Warner brothers for a little while and that didn't work out. So at that point it looked like, well, I'm not sure what's left. What's what's your, and I still had a publishing deal, a good one, but it just didn't feel right.
And then our son was two and we both wanted to raise him in the West. We're Westerners, you know Tina from California and I'm from Texas. I don't consider it the South. Austin's the beginning of the West. So we wanted to raise him out here.
Tina: [00:14:40] And be close to his parents,
Walt: [00:14:41] his parents but mainly we just, we were ready to change.
We've both been there 10 years and neither of us ever felt at home there in Nashville that wasn't our home. Some people get up there and love it and feel like this is it. And I'll stay. Yeah, we just didn't
Tina: [00:14:57] a lot of nice folks and it was a great learning experience. And I truly missed it when I moved, because I was surrounded by women who are either playing music or married to musicians and raising their families in that vein.
So when we moved back to Texas, we lived moved into this neighborhood and it was very, very different, very different. You know, we were kind of the weirdos living here and
it was really great to move to Texas. I just, I, in my life, I didn't know how wonderful.
Walt: [00:15:31] Wonderful. She liked it from the first morning
Tina: [00:15:34] I did, but I loved, I loved visiting when we were in Nashville, we would come to Texas and visit. It was, it felt, it always felt really comfortable and home like home. Yeah.
Kathy: [00:15:45] So it's funny, isn't it? How certain places just resonate home and others, you just never feel that. Well, their loss was our gain. So what, what year was it when y'all came to Texas?
Walt: [00:16:02] 2004
Kathy: [00:16:03] All right. I think y'all must have been like still unpacking boxes, maybe when. Walt, you were playing Gruene hall, which is a, the oldest dance hall in Texas.
It's it's a treasure and they do that Friday afternoon club. And I think Ryan had gone, popped in for something. And he came home with this CD that he won.
Tina: [00:16:26] Oh cool.
Kathy: [00:16:28] Yes. And Walt Wilkins, we haven't heard of him. We started playing it and to this day, Y'all's music, whether it's some of your songs, Tina, some that you've done together, or Mystiqueros
That's our traveling music, it's as you know, I mean, you did the rehearsal dinner for Ryan and Amy. You sang at Hannah and Hunter's wedding. I mean, I feel like. Y'all are an extension of family and your music.
Walt: [00:16:57] We feel that way too, Y'all make us feel that way.
Kathy: [00:16:59] Oh, thank you.
Well, you can, we'll adopt you any day, but we do. We feel like you're family and your music. I, I honestly don't know of better songwriters and I've scratched my head at times, wondering why have you not had the commercial success, but I think that's possibly been a choice that you've made. And I don't know.
Maybe you can speak to that because I feel like we've had this little treasure and I almost don't want people to know, but of course I want, you know your music to spread far and wide.
Walt: [00:17:45] It does, our music does spread far and wide. We get airplay every day in Europe and all these places. It's not like hit like, you know, the big money, but it's a great feeling knowing somewhere right now, some on some radio station in the world is playing us.
And it was now we, I, it it was not a choice not to be successful. I went to Nashville thinking I'm kinda engineered for this. I think it didn't really occur to me. Till seven or eight years in Nashville. I was like, I never occurred to me that I wouldn't have a couple of hits. I just thought I'm pretty good.
I, I go and play. I know they connect, you know, but it's just a part of it's luck. And part of it is the Nashville was a bit of, a bit of a game. You know, there was a bit of a game that you were to play and, and I'm my father's son. I wasn't very good at acting like I liked someone if I didn't, you know, kissing ass, I just couldn't do it.
But that was definitely not helpful or for a career.
Tina: [00:18:41] Yeah,
Kathy: [00:18:43] absolutely. You all have written a number of songs together and when you sing together, it is magic, but your writing also is very fun. What is the creative process of writing together look like?
Walt: [00:19:00] Well, the truth is that that's not one of our, that doesn't come real easy for.
We, we, we write very differently. Tina is insanely funny and clever.
Kathy: [00:19:08] She is.
Walt: [00:19:09] And and I'm neither insanely clever or funny, you know, I just came from a different way of writing and full of self anger and doubt, you know? No, it's a she's we do write it's and when we write, we tend to write funnier lighter stuff.
Cause because she's just so funny.
Tina: [00:19:30] Yeah. Yeah, it's fine. We don't write often, not often Walt's of poet and I write limericks
Kathy: [00:19:40] Well you're a good balance for each other anyway. So the life of a Troubadour, that's how you refer to yourself, often, Walt is is challenging. You're on the road for many nights, or at least before a year ago you were. But late nights. Many days away from home, women can be just have no boundaries, you know, throwing themselves at musicians.
Walt: [00:20:07] That's never been a problem. I talk about Tina every night on stage. And I do no one, no one else ever come up, tried to be like flirting with me ever. I look like their grandfather, but two is, I always talk about Tina onstage, always. Yeah. So, but yeah, it's, it can be tough. You have to believe that you're born to do this.
I think. And that's why I think a lot of people start this life. Find it, you can see it does look romantic from the outside and there is, and it is, I mean, to do what you love to do and to travel and meet people and all that stuff is fun. And the type of people you meet and, you know, it's a, I'm sure they're interesting accountants.
We know a couple, but if your life is around other artists, but for good part of your life is around other it's, that's an interesting life. These are interesting people it's never boring. And the parts of it are hard in a way, sometimes it's hard, but Tina is so even- tempered and she was a good mama, you know, and, and another thing that does help, like we, we.
Talked earlier, the staying in touch is so much easier. Cell phones were invented or became common right about when we got married. And that's when I really hit the road. I hit the road again in '98, I guess, with when my made I first record started coming to Texas all the time. So it was part of our lives from the beginning, you know we know several marriages where,
someone has both have a straight job. And one of them, one of the people says I'm not going to be happy unless I tried playing music, you know? And, and that's tough. Yeah. Someone hits the road when it breaks the, the The pattern that they've had before, that's that stuff. But we, we, this was always how we were going to do it, you know?
Kathy: [00:21:59] So you grew into it.
Tina: [00:22:02] And I had the, I had the great luxury, you know, Walt hit the road hard. And so I stayed home and, and took care of Luke. And that was just a great gift. And we lived modestly and humbly, and did what we could to, you know, make ends meet. But it was a great gift just to be able to, you know, take him to games and get involved with PTA, volunteer and work here and there.
But it was, it was really great. Yeah.
Kathy: [00:22:32] Wonderful. How do you make space for your own creativity, your partner's creativity and raise a family?
Walt: [00:22:42] Well, that's, that's a great question. That's, that's why we really do that was one we really do deal with that. That's a, that's a tough part of it because to stay you've got to have, I have to have space and solitude to create and that tough to find, you know, in the structure in a family structure, you know, we'd come home from a week, get home on Sunday night or Monday, and then what you really like, I need to really need to go be alone.
You go like what? You know? Now, we didn't but that was I mean, it didn't leave when we're fighting or anything, but, but we, that tension inside me was there a lot, you know, when we, you got to have space to create, or I do, not everyone does, but most people, I think need a little solitude solitude to do that. And that's in short supply, you know, if you're on the road too, and you think it's being on the road or driving is not the kind of being still and contemplative that you, that you crave.
Tina: [00:23:40] We're trying to, I think our next chapter, that's it. Yeah. That's what we're working on now. We really we'd like to create that space, so each of us can have that time to get quiet and meditate and pray and see what comes from that because it's been kind of hit the, hit the ground running when we moved here, had a family and now, wow.
Maybe, perhaps we can create that.
Kathy: [00:24:10] Yeah. And somehow in the midst of that, Tina, you have still found time to write and produce your own albums and yeah.
Tina: [00:24:17] Yes. Yes. I, I let's see, in, in 2018 I released three records. So between 2017 and 2018. So that was really fun. Awesome. And writing and yeah, creating as much as we can and producing a festival and it's been.
It's been pretty great.
Kathy: [00:24:39] Yeah. Is that going to happen this year? Walt stock and Barrel?
Walt: [00:24:44] I feel I felt 95% sure, it would until Monday until we got, we were off the grid for three days, Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday. When we got hooked back up, driving through West Texas and our, you know, when you hit the cell and all the messages have been all the stuff we were driving through Presidio and it alarms were going off everywhere on our phone.
When we found out the governor is not going to, you know, change the mask protocols here in Texas, I think that really affects whether or not, we're going to do a festival in person. We still might, but it's going to affect it. But it's a small, we were already going to do a smaller one, but now it's going to be smaller again, I think.
And then but we'll do an online one as well. And not just, not just a camera on a here's who's playing, it's going to be a little more comfortable. It'll be a great event. But but yes, so May 14th and 15th, we will be back.
Kathy: [00:25:46] Oh, awesome. We'll put that on our calendar.
Walt: [00:25:47] But then
we had to cancel last year. Of course, that would have been our
Tina: [00:25:52] fourth.
Kathy: [00:25:54] That's been a lot of fun up in the Hill country.
Walt: [00:25:58] Yeah. It's the first three. All of them were just so fun. Yeah.
Tina: [00:26:03] We had about a thousand plus people too, and it's, it was three or four days of music. And so this year this will be a lot smaller and perhaps we'll swing back next year. But the time being, we're just gonna have it, just a mini festival and an online Walt Stock
Kathy: [00:26:22] gotcha.
The music industry is a fickle thing with a lot of highs and lows. I wonder, what is a high for each of you?
Walt: [00:26:33] Well, this is something I think about a lot. The music industry is of course, crazy and subject to fads and whatever else. I I'll speak for myself. I don't have anything to do with the music industry.
And haven't now for really, at least 10 years. I opted out of my last publishing deal, seven years ago, eight years ago. Not nine years ago. I know exactly where it was nine years ago, I opted, opted out of my deal, which no one ever does, but I just thought I'm ready to cut the tie. I don't have anything to do with Nashville.
We have rarely, I mean, we, we have contacts there. And if a song gets cut from an old catalog, then you know, I do the paperwork and same with we've had a couple of songs in TV shows, so it's LA, but that's almost nothing. Our lives are playing rooms filled with people that are coming to hear us. It's not, it feels it's not an industry.
It's not the business of course counting money, but, but otherwise it doesn't feel like a business. It's a calling and and it's a good one. And to have, and it's an incredibly rewarding endeavor, you know, playing songs for people who are for small rooms, generally all over the country. And, and then we get to go to Europe.
So that's great, but it has, it, it has no connection to, it feels to me like there's really no connection to industry at all and music business. That's how I feel.
Kathy: [00:28:09] How about to Tina?
Tina: [00:28:11] There, I think our, our intention was when we moved to Nashville, you know, you think you're going to it was it was a great learning curve, moving there because you saw that it was like a what is it when you, when you crank it out and go in the factory, it was like a song factory.
And that was, that was pretty surprising and pretty shocking. Especially I was singing a lot in LA and it was just really joyous and fun stuff like that. But then when I moved to Nashville, it was, it was a factory. There's no doubt about it. So and you think that perhaps, maybe we get, you know, maybe we got a shot, maybe, you know, I got, I had a record deal with a couple of women, friends of mine.
I thought, man, this is, this is how it works. Well, you know, the best singers and the best songs, don't, like Walt said, don't necessarily get seen or heard. So when we moved back here, To Texas. It was absolutely the most exciting thing to see that people would drive two hours to see their favorite artists sing their songs.
And that was, I had a glimpse of that in LA, but here it was just, I couldn't believe what I was seeing and, and to see people dance to live music in the big halls to original music, it was just amazing. The reward to me is Is that, I mean, we, it's just been amazing. We've just the, the community, the friends, the fans, it's hard to even say fans, you know, cause they're all friends.
It's just been just the the greatest blessing ever.
Kathy: [00:29:41] Yeah. And maybe
I should expand rather than music industry, maybe I should say the life of a musician. Right. And the flip side of that, what's been a low point on that journey?
Walt: [00:29:54] Oh, the, the lows are, they're pretty, they're pretty tough. You know, it's like being a salesman that you work on.
If a song gets cut and then it doesn't become a hit when and when you think it will, or when you've been told that will, or when all the math says it's going to be, and that's happened, I'd say three times, for sure. or four, if songs are placed in places that look like it's really going to change your fortune and change.
And I, and that's just money for me, that's secondary. It's going to change where, how you're seen and and when it didn't have a couple of times, it'd been really tough. One in particular was a, kind of a, it was a kick in the kick in the gut, but but that's, you know, and that's like, every industry has their, every way of life,
has it. Like being a salesman you could work on, Tina's cousin is married to this guy we love and he sells huge, manufactured machines, machines that make the print on box. They are very particular. They're huge. And you make one sale a year and you're like, okay, I made my sale this year. If you make two, you're rocking.
But if you don't make one or when it gets up to the lesson and you know, that's a little bit, I think it's very much like being a songwriter, waiting for a song to get cut or ripped out and then not become a single. And then if it becomes a single, not become a hit, those are tough things. Yeah.
Kathy: [00:31:25] How have you guys supported each other in those low points?
Because I think those are the things that are important if somebody is going to succeed as a musician. Right. But we don't really talk about it. Hmm.
Walt: [00:31:45] Yeah. Well, I think the fact that we met, in Nashville, we both were there for music. We know how we, Tina knows intimately how this life is. So we know about, we know about how the fortunes can, can shift.
So that's good. I, you know, Tina didn't S didn't really understand that, you know, especially the business part, we're not getting hits in Nashville and stuff. That would be hard to convey to somebody. Yeah, I
Tina: [00:32:17] think so, because I lived it too and I could see people, you would see people come in with that were that were the taste.
Walt: [00:32:29] Yeah. They're the flavor of the month. Yeah. Tina's bar was a real, a real center place for songwriters and then artists. I mean, people who later became famous and who were, and literally she could watch one guy come in. I may never forget when what's his name got signed and everyone knew it. Everyone knew what happened to everybody.
There's an internal paper, it's a small industry. And and one guy bought leather pants and came to the bar that we were like, what are you doing in leather pants? And he was like, I got signed. You know, and then that thing was over in a week and it was probably to find somebody to take his leather pants. He was kind of a goofball anyway, but
Tina: [00:33:10] then you'd see people get cuts and who were like half the writer that Walt is, and then they skyrocket and then they have money and then they keep getting cuts from other artists and they're like, and it's just, it's bad.
It's. You can't even believe it, you know,
Walt: [00:33:24] just a lot of people.
Tina: [00:33:30] So the, the group that I was was signed to Warner brothers and, and people would come in all the time to the bar while we were still there. And they would be like, Oh, this is so great. This is great. Try to give us songs and takes and stuff like that.
As soon as they heard that we weren't signed anymore or that we were, they were looking for other things, it stopped like that. So I got to witness it. I mean for one day, for a week, you're like the, Oh my gosh, these kids, these are the greatest singers ever. They're going to be awesome. And then that one day that somebody heard that you, Oh, well, they're not on the roster anymore.
That's it? You're a bartender. You're a bartender where the, the day before you were the greatest singer in the world, you know, nothing changed with me or nothing changed with Walt the fact that he had a song that was cutting in and everyone, but it's just perception and it was. It was, it was it was a bitch,
but it also toughened me up being married to somebody who is on the rollercoaster. I it's, it's hard. It's super hard. You try your best to, let let it and let this person know that, look, I love you, period. I love you. No matter what. And I think you're great, no matter what, but it's hard when you see that perhaps you can help pay for your kid's college.
And then the next day you're like, shit, I got to hit the road for, you know, a hundred more dates,
Walt: [00:34:52] not afford the tires. It can change from day to day. It
Tina: [00:34:57] really is. It's a challenge. And then, Oh, and then it's like, they need to go and sing in front of a hundred people. And it's just the greatest feeling in the whole world.
So you ride that for a while and then realize that, Oh my God, I gotta do this again for the next.
Walt: [00:35:11] That's fine. You can play again. Like Fort worth is a great town for us. I've been on the radio there for 20 years now. And so I have a, you know, I'm gonna have a good room and those are great nights and then I could drive somewhere else,
or if you get out of state, you can pull up and someone's like, who are you? I'm here to play. I was contract number being like, huh?
Tina: [00:35:36] They put Walt Whitman on the marquee one time
Walt: [00:35:41] I mean, it's, it's funny. It can be from one night to the next, that stuff's pretty
Tina: [00:35:45] funny. They holler out Freebird. That's always fun.
Kathy: [00:35:51] Well, somehow you guys have ridden that roller coaster with grace, and, we watched you as your following grew in Texas, and we'd go hear you. And you were always featuring some new artist. You both have been mentors, I know to many young artists generous, kind, very gracious with your time, your words, your encouragement.
I know you've produced a number of up and coming artists. What advice would you give to couples, whether one or both are artists, when starting out about keeping integrity? Hmm. In this journey?
Walt: [00:36:36] I do say this to people. I want to say one more thing about surviving the rollercoaster, one of the greatest ways.
And I'm lucky just because Tina is one of the funniest people I've ever met, but humor sure helps in this life. You gotta, you gotta laugh at it. You gotta believe it means something in the big picture, but you also gotta laugh at those at the minor stuff, you know? Cause a lot of it is really funny, you know?
I, I tell, I tell guys and young people that I work with or it get to talk to, I always tell them what I learned it took years to learn is that you have to figure out a way to define success for yourself. Because if you choose this life, you can't compare it to your friends that became lawyers, accountants what are anyone you can't compare this to anything except tenuously at times, but I mean, it's, it's, you have to decide what's going to be successful for you.
And I think that's a, that's a, that's a big deal. Yeah. And then always see people, all people always ask me, I don't like to talk about songwriting, but people do the younger will ask about writing all the time. I just try to write, with fewer words, that's the way edit, keep editing. And try to find a voice, your own voice to say something, you know, that everyone else is saying every day.
So you better find a way that to say it.
Tina: [00:38:00] There's only
so many notes and so many words out there.
He is. He is such a benevolent. When, when the Mystiqueros were together, he's such a benevolent leader and so gracious and gave. You know, and, and so welcoming for the young artists too, and fellow artists, who's, it's just really, he's super, super mindful about giving people a chance, even a mistake.
Walt: [00:38:30] Thank you.
I, you know, that's the way to live. That'd be dumb to live any other way, but, and it makes it more fun. You know, we have a whole community of people that we really treasure. We're part of a community that we feel fortunate about. Yes.
Tina: [00:38:45] Yeah. It's a great circus yeah.
Walt: [00:38:48] It's a great circus
Kathy: [00:38:51] and they, and they are your monkeys.
Tina: [00:38:57] We don't know who the ringleader is. I wish we did, but
sometimes you're wire walkers.
Kathy: [00:39:06] Yeah. For sure. Yeah. Well, this year of COVID, you know, that no one saw what was coming, but you guys have shown up, you've lost friends this year, Walt, you lost your dad and you guys continued to show up every week. How many shows on Thursday now?
Walt: [00:39:26] Last night was 49. We started the first week of the lockdown.
You know, there was the, when it, when it, as it, as it set in. The reality of it set in it was, there was a half day of like, Oh man, it was a half day. And then that Monday, I said, you know what? We've done online shows before for friends in Europe. We've done these let's and let's do it. Let's start Thursday.
And I think we were the first people I know that were like, let's get right right now. But I do remember thinking let's do this honey, we'll do this, you know, for four or five weeks, however long, this takes, you know,
Kathy: [00:40:04] 49 weeks
Walt: [00:40:05] later. And and, and there is an end in sight, but it's not it's, it's another it's another month or two, but those shows have kept us sane.
Because if you are, you're on a, if you're on a clock where you sing and play and have that interaction, it's, we've learned a lot. If you really go without it, that would, that would be terrible if that's what your work you're born to do, you know? And and people have been incredibly generous and we'd been fine.
Fine enough that we didn't apply for any of the things that we could have. We thought some people need it worse than us have people that are taking care of us. And but showing up every week is important. And I remember when my dad died, Tina was like, well, you don't want to play this week. I was like, my dad would, would be pissed if we didn't, you know, that's what we do. And it's been a, the year's really it's we all are living through this historic moment together for sure. And that's some more, an extra layer of meaning to, to be together on Thursdays. And this
Kathy: [00:41:11] It's been life-giving, for your friends and fans, because we haven't made every single one, but we have really missed live music.
I'm sure. Not even as much as you've missed singing, but it's been so great to say, Oh, it's Thursday night Walt and Tina are going to be singing. And I just, I love how you've as with all your shows, no two are the same. It's not like you just saying the same songs over and over. You guys have the most wonderful.
Walt: [00:41:42] Yeah. We try to make every, every a it's gotta be different and it's gotta be unpredictable. And, and and the, how you do that, if you have a huge cocktail before.
Tina: [00:41:52] Kathy, as long as I've known Walt, no two shows have been ever alike. I think there's maybe five times he sent a set list. But, you know, he's got hundreds and hundreds of songs.
Kathy: [00:42:06] Well, and even if we're singing the same song, you never sing, sing the same song twice. And I just love
Tina: [00:42:14] the same way twice ever. Cause I try singing in harmony. No.
Kathy: [00:42:21] Well, it's been great, really, really great. I'm mindful of the time. And I know that You guys have work to do?
Walt: [00:42:31] Yeah.
I'm going to the studio to hear the first
masters of my new record, which is a big deal. And then I am going to pre-production meeting with an artist we're going to produce and start in two weeks and then do some work on a record, that's we're in the middle of, for another artist. So it's. Yeah.
Tina: [00:42:52] And I get to work on Walt stock today. So it's a good life.
Walt: [00:42:56] We've always got things to do.
Kathy: [00:42:58] Good.
Tina, you have a blog and you recently put on your blog, and I want to wrap up with this because I think it sums up the practical ways that we have watched you all approach life. You said, some lessons learned from 2020, “be kind and take care of each other. Don't hoard stuff.
Pick up after yourself. Plant a garden, plant a tree, recycle your tequila bottles. Yes. Write some poetry. Paint the playground. Take a walk. Take responsibility. Take science to heart. Be thankful. Wash your hands. Wash them again. Wear a mask. Wear a mask and volunteer. Call your friends. Call your family. Don't take travel for granted.
Don't take each other for granted. Don't take your vibrant health for granted. Eat an Apple rather than the Scooby doodles. Take vitamins. Read a book. And maybe when we leave this big blue marble, perhaps the generations will say, it took a pandemic, but they kind of got some things right.” Thanks so much for being here and showing us that generosity never leaves us empty handed.
Walt: [00:44:14] No, it's great to see ya great to visit like this, Kathy.
Kathy: [00:44:19] That's really great. Thank you guys so much. I cannot wait.