Artist: Sam Watkins and Fate Train
Sam Watkins is a singer/songwriter from Fort Worth, Texas, CEO of Sam Watkins Country music management company in Austin, Texas along with his wife Tina, Executive Director, frontman for his band Fate Train, inspired by the song of the same name and the Host of In The Neon Spotlight aka ITNS Radio, a show tailored specifically for songwriters and music professionals to show support to each other with advice and promotional exposure. Sam believes that musicians need to support each other, not just compete for the gold. Sam began his musical journey as a street musician in the Fort Worth Stockyards in the mid ’90’s and later as a solo artist at Genuine Joe’s in Austin, Texas and on MySpace in 2007.
His MySpace page has gained close to 3 million plays since 2007 and Fate Train was started in 2009 to begin playing bigger venues like the Rattlesnake Inn in Florence/Georgetown, Texas and the Riverside Dawg House Saloon in Cotulla, Texas. The band had a lot of great musicians over the years such as “Guitar Chris” Lambert of Liberty Hill, Texas, Drummer Jake Mclearen of Austin, Texas, Guitarist Steve Pandov of Manor, Texas, Drummer Dan “Danimal” Burnevik of Georgetown, Texas and more. The band plays a variety of styles including Country, Rock, Southern Rock, Texas Blues and “Hardcore Honky Tonk”, a mix of hard rock, blues and traditional honky tonk styles via some of his early influences such as George Strait, Hank, Jr. and Waylon Jennings. They care a lot for their audience, if they don’t know a song they’ll learn it for the next stop! That’s one of Sam’s many policies and traditions.
Besides music, Sam and Tina spent 5 years supporting families of Missing Children. His song “Baby Girl” is used by Missing Children organizations and families of Missing Children worldwide. Sam and the band also did some benefits for the missing such as Julie Gonzales at Hill’s Café a year or so ago. Their current single “A New Way To Fly” is available now at SamWatkinsCountry.comand their new album GET ON THE TRAIN!!! is due out soon! SWFT will be starting back on the circuit in the Fall of this year after a stop in Nashville to consult with labels and pitch the new single. Sam and Tina and all of us with the band, SWC and ITNS Radio want to extend our prayers and appreciation to everyone of our fans both Present and Future because you’re the Reason for what we do!!!
THANKS FOR RIDING THE FATE TRAIN!!! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO!!! (FOR MORE ABOUT SAM WATKINS VISIT OUR WEBSITE SAMWATKINSCOUNTRY.COM
In my experience Music has come down to these things: Money and Power
When Elvis Presley set out to show his music to world, I imagine he thought about the money but I believe he probably didn’t expect to be in movies much less get a record deal. My point is it used to be almost impossible to make it in this business but now we have so many more tools and nearly anybody can do it as long as people pay attention.
As to the music itself, things have changed but not necessarily for the worst. Sure reality shows messed us around pretty good but come down to Austin, Texas some time and just listen; people are constantly making music, good or bad. They still write, they still play the bars and people still pay attention because that’s what Music is all about: Life, Love and the pursuit of the next big hit!! ~ Sam Watkins
What Music activities are you involved in? Recording artist, songwriter, composer, producer, engineer?
Along with managing my own band and writing songs, I also partially own Sam Watkins Country music management company in Austin, Texas and am the Host of “In The Neon Spotlight aka ITNS Radio”, the show By Musicians For Musicians.
SWC was started in 2007 with my now wife Tina Watkins and currently has two Artists on our Roster: Kevin Eldridge of Indiana and BurnevikVega (Dan Burnevik and Vik Vega) both of Austin, Texas. We plan to begin auditions for 3 more acts in 2014.
ITNS Radio was started at the closing of Sam Watkins Live, a radio program that supported families of Missing Children/Missing through discussion and helpful information. ITNS Radio’s goal is to give my fellow Musicians some extra exposure while creating a network called “The Musicians Network”, a group of musicians, songwriters and music professionals to assist eachother when there are fill in needs or other situations that may spring up. We perform Artist Interviews and Music Pro Interviews and other features like our “Featured Spotlight Artist of the Month”.
Our band Fate Train and I are currently recording a new album while promoting our new single “A New Way To Fly”. Our next show is at Headhunters Club 8th and Red River in Downtown Austin, Texas. We’re headlining the show with Jason Charles Miller (ex-singer of Godhead), Johnny Pabst and Alien Knife Fight.
What are you most proud of musically?
Besides having a great band and the single to prove it lol…? No, seriously my proudest musical achievement has to be ITNS Radio! It has grown so much in the past couple of years and people really love it and find it very helpful. The Facebook Group page “ITNS Radio” In The Neon Spotlight has over 10, 000 members and that is helping us get even more listeners. I’ve never been more happy to have started this show than I am today!!
How would you describe your music?
I am Country first and foremost, but I’m always about the audience so my music varies. I may play Stevie Ray Vaughan one minute and Bob Wills the next but generally they want more country rock so I give it to them. I started out a lot like George Strait, honky tonk and swing music. I have since then evolved but in my heart I’m still Honky Tonk and Western Swing!!
Who is your favourite artist?
Definitely George Strait, I love his old stuff. He’s evolved some too but he still keeps it Country!! A big portion of my songs are inspired by songs like “The Chair” or “Dance Time In Texas”.
How would you describe your sound?
My wife describes it as gritty like Gary Alan but most say I have a very unique sound, even when I play a cover I make it a Sam Watkins song. I’ve heard the recordings and I have to agree.
How involved are you in making music, writing, performing, recording, mixing, etc?
I let the experts handle the recording though I do listen and give my input, but I write the songs. I just haven’t found the right collaborator, I’m kinda picky that way lol…
What are your goals and aspirations as a musician?
I want a record deal but not just to be known. I want the freedom to show people who I really am as well. I’ll still give them what they want, but before I die I’m gonna get at least one swing album out there…of course I also want to expand my radio show so I can continue to support other musicians.
If nobody listened to your music, would it still be part of your life?
Of course!! I’ll never quit that, people need me and I need them. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Do you get nervous when you perform?
No, I’m pretty used to it. I just imagine I’m with my buddies (even if it’s thousands lol) and it works every time!!
As a singer/instrumentalist how important is practice?
I’m a perfectionist when it comes to practice, rest is important but between shows I’ll practice as much as I can and sleep 4 hours before the show if needed. To me practice really does make perfect. Don’t kill yourself just make sure it’s done right the first time!
What advice would you give to young musicians starting out?
Don’t trust people! Trust your instincts and trust your heart and give both a real good tune up because deceivers are out there to do just that and they’ll do anything to get what you have! If someone tells you something that excites you so much you think you’ll burst, get advice from people you know and trust and research everything front, back and side to side…and of course PRACTICE!!
Do you use social media to share your music with others?
Yes and the best so far are Facebook, Twitter and Reverbnation.
What would you tell young musicians that may help inspire them to develop their talent?
The Music has to come from inside you. People sing karaoke for fun, but a serious musician knows their music and where it comes from: your heart and your soul. It’s a bit like acting , the only difference is what you experience is very real. Watch “Pure Country” and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
How long does it take you to write a song from start to finish?
About 5 to 10 minutes when I’m not busy doing other things.
Do you listen to a lot of music? if so what type?
Pretty much everything when I’m concentrating on my radio show; when I’m working on my own music, which is a lot, I listen to George Strait, Bob Wills, Wayne Hancock, Merle Haggard, George Jones, etc.
Do you ever get burnt out working on music?
How do you deal with writers block when writing music?
I look for a new avenue, another inspiration. One time I couldn’t come up with one line, the very last line to a song, so I took a walk. It was during the day and it was cool out, I walked 10 miles and got a ride back. 5 to 10 minutes later I finished Dusty Old Town. 10 years later I recorded it my first CD “Has Anybody Seen Me?”.
Do you ever use mobile technology to help you record your ideas?
Absolutely! Technology has always been very helpful in my work and I highly reccomend Blue Microphones. They’re great for broadcasting my radio show.
My final thoughts to inspire young musicians:
To the fans and supporters, you guys are awesome and don’t ever forget that! To young musicians out there, keep up the good work! You guys are the future of Music and we’re very proud of all of you. Keep your heart in the music, work hard and practice harder, it’s the only way you’ll get where you want to be no matter where that is!
Thank you on behalf of Listening Edge Records for taking time to share with us your thoughts on music, and helping inspire musicians of all ages.Trevor Baron President Listening Edge Records