The rise of Koe Wetzel is fascinating to watch and should be a lesson for just about anyone looking to leave their mark in a chosen industry. If you’re new to Texas music or unfamiliar to Koe in general, you will either look him up on your own, or in time you will have no choice. His growth has been exponential, blowing past many seasoned veterans who have been on the scene for years. His music is not exactly particularly deep, but somehow, it just works, and I have found myself being sucked into this young artist’s music. Pretty soon, you likely will be too.
I will not pretend in the least to be Koe Wetzel’s biggest fan. In fact, sometimes the language bothers me that I have seen in video. I guess in some ways that can be looked at as a double standard because like anyone else, I will make a dirty joke, laugh at the wrong things and do curse. While some artists do tend to be a bit more vocal and lack the “polish” that we tend to unrealistically expect, I can’t always blame them. Some of these artists are just being themselves and that means something. We often expect people in the spotlight to be so perfect that we forget that they are people too. We brush aside our own impurities because we think that those who are in the spotlight should be nothing short of perfect. Yet, we ourselves are far from anything resembling such. It is much like the Howard Stern Show. Many guys talk amongst friends, the way Stern does on air, but will not admit it and will even cringe at the sound of hearing it through speakers.
A lot of college kids like to drink, get rowdy and just have a good time. When an artist sends that vibe in their music and appears like a regular person, that goes a long way. It creates a bond, and I think that’s one of the largest reasons Wetzel has grown so quickly. He appears, and I sincerely believe, that he is a solid guy that likes to crack a cold one and play the music he and his band enjoy. His generosity during the holidays was well received when he purchased Christmas gifts by using the proceeds from their sold our show in Terrell, Texas
There are people within the Texas scene that feel rock infused music has no place, as that makes it just like another Nashville. It’s a battle that has gone on and will continue for the foreseeable future. In my opinion, the beauty of Texas music is the sheer diversity and independence that artists are able to exercise in their music. There are minimal record labels (aside from artist owned of course), a radio system that plays everything from the little guy to the next big thing, and a rabid fan base that will fill a bar or Honky Tonk for a band who drives a beat up van. That’s my kind of music.
While I love country music, I grew up on 90’s and early 2000’s pop. That means all the boy bands, the power bands like No Doubt Destiny’s Child, Weezer, Blink 182 and Third Eye Blind. Some older readers may scoff, but for many of us in our 20’s – 30’s, these were huge bands we enjoyed. Even many current college-age kids enjoy this same music because it was and still is, considered a good quality of pop/rock music. Listening to Koe Wetzel is like the present-day Blink 182 and Third Eye Blind. It’s not country, but it isn’t hard core rock. It has some edge and an indescribable level of catchiness. And it’s what many of the next generation of Texas music fans are craving.
Koe’s ability to engage the crowd is a large part of his success. I saw an Instagram post a few months back where someone threw a beer and hit him in the head and instead of flipping out, Koe grabbed it and chugged it. Who the hell would have thought to do that?
His career has been the definition of a grassroots movement. There are no massive budgets giving him this kind of traction. It’s the fans who passionately sing back the band’s songs and keep selling out shows. They line up just to see these guys. A social media post about the show leads to more exposure. This new generation of artist and fan relies heavy on word of mouth, streaming and social media sharing. In the age of viral posts, artists like Koe and Parker McCollum are the masters. They have cracked the code at how to have their fans help spread the word – in a very big way, might I add.
You may listen to Koe Wetzel’s music and be unimpressed or you may love it. But what this guy has accomplished in a very short span of time, is insanely admirable. And he isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!