Country Music in His Heart
A Young Singer-Songwriter Shares His Love of Honky-Tonk Music
Listen to Melissa Block's interview with Roger Wallace
Roger Wallace is one of the brightest young stars in Austin's country music scene
Photo: Texas Round-Up Records
August 7, 2001 -- Roger Wallace is living proof that much of the very best country music now comes from Texas. But this young singer/songwriter's musical influence reaches back to the traditions of country and bluegrass that prevail in his hometown of Knoxville, Tenn.
When Wallace was 17, he heard a band playing rockabilly blues and was instantly hooked. Soon, he started writing his own songs and eventually came to embrace honky-tonk music of his childhood.
Like many young musicians living in Austin, Texas, Wallace was a little-known singer when he first moved there in the early '90s. But unlike most of them, his music is getting noticed -- big time, and he's now becoming one of the brightest young stars in Austin's country music scene, with his own band and two CDs under his belt.
Wallace's first album Hillbilly Heights -- which is also a nickname for an apartment complex in South Austin he lived in -- was released in the summer of 1999. It was followed by That Kind of Lonely, his second album, this year.
Recently named "the most impressive new voice to emerge from Austin" by Country Music People magazine, he is busy making the rounds in clubs and dancehall circuits. But he's still far from being a household name. He still plays six nights a week in smoke-filled bars, trying to make ends meet. It may not be a glamorous life, but for Wallace, nothing is sweeter than performing and playing the music he loves.
On All Things Considered, NPR's Melissa Block talks to Wallace about his career and the state of country music, and listens to him perform live at his regular Monday night gig at Austin's Continental Club.
Listen to cuts from Roger Wallace's CDs, That Kind of Lonely and Hillbilly Heights.
• You're Gonna Break My Heart
• I Ain't Gonna Waste My Time
• The Runaround
Listen as NPR's Melinda Penkava talks with industry experts about country music's identity crisis for
Talk of the Nation.