A couple decades in, band sticks to its guns
Little Texas brings big sound to the Niswonger
February 20, 2020
Country act Little Texas continues to create new music after 24 years on the radio. The band will make a stop at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Feb. 29.
The name Little Texas originates from the group’s rehearsal house south of Nashville on a street called Little Texas Lane.
“We were trying to find a name for this thing, and we kept driving by that street sign,” bassist and vocalist Duane Propes said in an interview with Whatzup. “It’s kind of an oxymoron, and a really cool, different type of thing. So we grabbed it.”
Growing up in texas
Propes and lead vocalist and lead guitarist Porter Howell grew up together in Texas and started playing together as high school students in 1983.
Howell attended college in Nashville, and Propes followed him a few years later and enrolled at Belmont University.
While there, the two played at Opryland USA, met other members of their band, and eventually went out on the road.
“Warner Bros. got interested in this band we were doing and said, ‘You have to lose the drummer, you have to lose the girls and you need some different people,’” Propes said.
They then met two other members, and several months later, had their first rehearsal and concert all in the same day. Ever since, with the exception of one break, Little Texas has been entertaining crowds.
Little Texas first formed in 1991. Shortly after, in 1997, the group members went their separate ways to focus on individual projects and family.
After a seven-year hiatus, the band decided to start up again in 2004.
Through the restructure of the group, they lost two members. They then decided to form into a guitar band, and promoted a member who never sang to lead singer.
“He was the writer on most of the songs and knew them well,” Propes said. “He said, ‘Man, I think I can do this.’ And it’s been that way since 2004.”
Back in the ’90s, they had always wanted to be a guitar band. However, Propes said that back then, bands had to have a slick sound.
“We had to learn how to do a lot of stuff with just three instruments, so we had to work around that,” Propes said.
Connecting to fans
Following the group’s comeback, Little Texas changed the intensity of their tours. They now try to keep their concerts to the weekends instead of being gone on tour for three months at a time as they used to do.
At their upcoming show, fans can expect to hear the majority of Little Texas’ greatest hits. The band is also excited to showcase a few new pieces from a new album they’ve been working on.
“We throw in some surprises that just blow people away,” Propes said. “It’s just a fun show. We want the audience to be as involved as they want to be. We don’t expect everybody to just sit there, we want them up and having fun and enjoying the moment like we do.”
Propes’ favorite song to perform is, and always has been, “Kick a Little.”
“I just love the driving side of it,” Propes said. “It’s always been fun because it’s just right there in your face. It’s always been my favorite part of the entire show.”
Additionally, Propes loves “God Blessed Texas,” a crowd favorite.
“That’s when everybody goes bonkers,” Propes said.
Following the concert, members of Little Texas will be available to meet fans and sign autographs.
“We always stay after the show, and we want to meet everybody we can,” Propes said.
Little Texas was nominated for three Grammy awards in three consecutive years. They also received honors from both the Academy of Country Music for Vocal Group of the Year and the Country Music Association for Album of the Year.
The band prides themselves on selling out the Target Center in the round, just five days after The Eagles had performed there.
“They didn’t sell it out and we did,” Propes said. “Of course their ticket prices were higher, but we don’t talk about that.”
Propes’ advice to musicians is to never trust a manager, downsize when possible, and stick to their guns.
“Even when people say, ‘This isn’t radio, this isn’t something that we expect,’ do it anyway, because that’s not what people expect,” Propes said. “Difference is always going to be the thing that makes you stick out.”
Little Texas plans to continue writing music and performing as long as fans will show.