There is a young generation of independent artists that preserves Roots and True Country Music. Talented artists like Triston Marez, Zac Clifton or Hayden Baker with new records out. Perhaps born in the wrong generation but living their dreams.
22 y.o. Country singer Triston Marez’s sound isn’t just centered around the crying steel or prominent fiddles that often go hand in hand with the rolling plains or legendary dancehalls that come to mind when thinking about country music -- they’re part of a way of life for the 22-year-old.
A Houston native, Marez’s sound isn't just centered around country music, it's weaved through his entire 22 years. As a member of a musical family from Oklahoma known for their bluegrass and fiddle talents, Marez started playing guitar at age six and his first live performance was a Buck Owens song in the first grade talent show. Marez worked as a ranch hand and even rode bulls as a hobby for years to support his music career. He also won the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s talent competition in 2014.
On the EP, Marez’s influences -- Chris LeDoux, Aaron Watson and Cody Johnson -- weave throughout a collection of pure country music. In the EP’s title track, “That Was All Me,” a raucous night can be blamed on the jukebox, neons buzzing and one too many whiskeys, but insists any feelings felt were true. “Where Rivers Are Red, Cowboys Are Blue” hearkens back to the heyday of cowboy songs with an ode to a former flame, while “Dizzy” features the other side of the coin and a fledgling love story found on the dancehall floor. “Reservations For Two” is a romantic night set in the great outdoors, and “Here’s To The Weekend” offers an appreciation for a few cold beers with good friends while searching for a reprieve from the daily grind.
Zac Clifton is an 18 year old Traditional Country singer/songwriter. He started singing when he was 9 and started playing the guitar and writing songs at age 12. After seeing Randy Travis and then George Jones in concert at age 9, Zac fell in love with traditional Country songs and knew that he wanted to sing traditional Country music.
He attended a Merle Haggard concert at 13 and was invited on Merle’s bus to meet and sing for him. He was blessed to open for Merle several times following their meeting. This was a great turning point for Zac, which opened new doors for him, enabling him to meet many Country legends. Kris Krisofferson compared Zac’s singing and songwriting to that of a “young Hank Williams”.
“Honky Tonk Heaven” is Zac’s first album and was produced by Grammy-winning musician / producer / arranger Bobby Flores in San Antonio. It includes 10 songs written by Zac and one that he co-wrote with his goodfriend, Matt Engelhardt. Zac believes that by recording this album he is carrying the torch that keeps Traditional Country Music alive. Once you hear this young man, you will certainly agree.
Texas native, Hayden Baker, has gone from posting cover songs & “how-to” guitar tutorials on YouTube, to opening for some of country music’s biggest stars in the span of just a few short years. In May of 2016, he caught the attention of Brad Paisley, who complimented Hayden’s performance of his song, “Without a Fight”, on Twitter. He credits watching Brad at the Houston Rodeo as a defining moment in his desire to become a performer himself.
In January of 2018, Hayden released his first single on iTunes & Spotify, entitled, “How It Used To Be”. He has received praise for both his guitar playing and songwriting skills from many industry giants; including, Ronnie Dunn, Clay Walker and Tommy Foote. As Clay put it, “You have to be born with the gift of songwriting to be successful. This kid was born with it!”
Hayden’s love for classic country music and the great storytellers of past generations has helped to set the foundation for his songwriting and live shows. He seamlessly blends the classics of yesteryear, with current chart-toppers and originals, to put on an unforgettable performance night after night. Though he has only been performing for a short time, demand for Hayden’s shows continues to grow and he now performs throughout the Houston Metro area and Central Texas.
When he’s not on stage, you can find Hayden in Lufkin, TX, where he currently attends Angelina College and maintains a 3.9 GPA while playing on their baseball team.