“The book, Ishmael, had a huge impact on me,” says 28 year old Texas singer/songwriter, Derek Larson, who explains that the classic novel is where he has found a great deal of inspiration, for both his life on and off of the stage. While citing such an influence isn’t exactly common among the artists that reside in the world of Texas Country, such a lack of commonality is, indeed, common for the Tarrant Country troubadour.
At times brash, at other times insightful and always compelling, Larson understands that truth typically lies below the surface of the easily understood and just above the core of the incomprehensible. Refusing to roll off of the red dirt assembly line, Larson can look back on his early days, where a decade ago, he began performing as an all-out rocker, and feel confident that the statements he makes with his music, just like life itself, are a collection of triumphs, gut-kicks and the awkwardly enjoyable happenings that inevitably pop-up in between the daily dramas that bring both good and bad.
The Americana-inflected songs that Larson lives, as much he actually writes them, highlight all that is real in life by shining a flickering light on its imperfections and the complexities that can frustrate, as much as they can exhilarate.
As it is in life, variety is the buffer between the mundane and the authentic. Showing that he can blister a song as much with some dirty blues, as he can with following in the footsteps of the alt-country tunesmiths that have inspired him, Larson deftly displays an ability to switch gears – and genres – while still maintaining a remarkable, cohesive finish.
This mature ability to keep things vital and true has been the key factor in helping Larson gain many prime spots on many a prime stage. Opening for Radney Foster at Ft. Worth’s 8.0 doesn’t come to those who simply want to be a good opener, but to those who can bring something to the table that an artist of Foster’s stature can appreciate.
Country? Check. Blues? Check. Folk-Rock? Double check. Compelling insight? You got it.
The absolute truth? Absolutely.