Featured Artist of the Week – Mike Ethan Messick



Over the last few years, Mike Ethan Messick has spent many days and nights on the road. Sometimes with a high-octane honky-tonk band in tow, sometimes with a like-minded friend or two, sometimes with just a guitar and a gig bag, but always in search of something meaningful to say in his songs and someone willing to listen.

Other times he has set up shop in his home base of Bryan/College Station, TX, cranking out music and conversation with front-porch comfort whether the venue is one of the bigger dancehalls or one of the intimate patio bars or taverns where Messick’s name is most familiar. In whatever setting, his musical style usually engages and entertains the audience, leaving old friends satisfied and new ones curious about where his music comes from and, better yet, where it’s headed.

In his best work, Messick (‘Ethan’, to his friends and family) uses honky tonk as a basis to weave in folk, rock, and blues influences, just as he uses his sense of honesty to explore humor, fiction, romance, and even touches of history and social commentary. His ambitious writing might best define his career, now and in the future. Like most art, it may not suit everyone’s taste, but his earthy vocals and personable style convince most listeners to give it a chance. In recent years, those chances have popped up almost weekly in the B/CS area as well as bars, nightclubs, music halls, parties, and festivals from Fort Worth and Dallas down through New Braunfels, San Marcos, Houston, and all the way down to Matagorda Bay with plenty of side trips and small towns along the way. Despite having bills to pay and a steady job to face in the morning, he’s remained fairly busy for an artist who has yet to release his first official recording.

Hopefully, the events of the next year (plans include a full-length, largely acoustic debut album and possibly an electric EP culled from earlier recordings) will give Messick the chance that he craves, to find a place where his passion – writing and performing – can also become his life’s work.



TRD: Who do you consider your influences?

MEM: There are a ton of them, but John Prine, Steve Earle, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Billy Joe Shaver, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Gary Stewart, Dwight Yoakum, and Bruce Springsteen are some of the top ones.


TRD: What was your first Gig?

MEM: After knocking around the open mike shows around here for a year or two, I got selected to play an event called SpringFest in Bryan. I was only 20 or so at the time.


TRD:  What groups or singers do you listen to now?

MEM: Aside from the major influences, some of my newer favorites are The Gougers, Hayes Carll, John Evans, Adam Carroll, Mark Jungers, Kasey Chambers, Larry Hooper, The Bottle Rockets, Fred Eaglesmith, Ben Morris, and the Old 97s. A couple of those are actually friends of mine but I’m speaking without bias here. I’m also looking forward to when Gabe Wootton & Chad Boyd put out their first CDs, and I hope Kyle Weiters decides to do the same one of these days.


TRD:  What is your favorite venue you have performed at? Why?

MEM: Right now I’d say The Hook out at Lake Bryan. It’s a beautiful spot, always a laid-back gig, probably the closest thing Bryan/College Station has to the great river bars around San Marcos & New Braunfels. Plus the ducks occasionally attack people, and that’s as good a show as anything going on onstage.


TRD: If you could perform only 1 more show, anywhere in the world, where
would you want to play? Why?

MEM: Here’s a Texas music cliché if there ever was one, but if I could take the main stage at Gruene Hall then that would make my career. And I’d print ’em up a black & white photo and try to talk them into framing it and sticking it up on the wall.


TRD: What is your favorite song you have recorded? Why?

MEM: I think that “Eyes of Love (The Damnedest Thing)” is maybe the best-written song on my first (and so far only) album; it’s one of those where everything just comes together nicely. The lines aren’t too obvious but they’re also not too abstract, and it’s a big-hearted song without crossing the line to just sappy.

TRD: When you’re not performing what do you like to do with your spare time?

MEM: What with the day job, there’s not a lot of spare time, but I like to go fishing when I can. Or jog, or watch movies, or cook something, preferably outdoors. Also I’ll go through stretches where I read a lot – Larry Brown is a big favorite – but sometimes I fall into the great American time wasters like TV and video games.


TRD: If you could perform with any other artist, who would you like to
share the stage with? Why?

MEM: John Prine might be my first choice; the man is just a national treasure. I would just like to see what he thought of my songs, and to hear his up close. Whether or not there was an audience would be almost beside the point.



  • Bootlegger’s Turn (2006)



Enjoy! And check back next week when our featured artist is the Eric Brendan

Published in: on August 26, 2007 at 4:42 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank ya folks!

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