The lights can get very hot, and when you are the last band to go on for the night, the "headliner" as they call it, after having all night to warm up, they can be especially glaring. And, as they begin to fully beat onto the backs of Tyler Wallace, Gregg Maher, and Kim Taruc, of the Austin, TX rock and roll, country, whatever the kids call it, band, Union Specific, the sweat begins to pour out from under those "awful hats" and into the singers' sometimes hollow but always alert eyes. Any seasoned show goer who is expectantly listening, would note that the beads which begin to wet the mops of hair and beard of those under the lights, are certainly not there because anyone is uncomfortable
No, in fact, the bright lights would be better likened to some sort of radiant blanket that seems to also glow from inside our heroes, and in that glow, one begins to see inside that sweat, and realize that it carries much more than just the raw energy that these Austin, Texas boys, currently seem to be slinging into this late night show. It is the kind of sweat that is a product of the hard work this rag-tag outfit has shelled out over the past four years in order to be successful in whatever capacity they ever could.
Since the off chance meeting of singers, guitar players, Gregg Maher, and Tyler Wallace in Sherman TX in 2008, with the addition of bass player Kim Taruc, and whatever drummer will have them for the evening, Union Specific has played over 300 shows in their current city of Austin. The now iconic Ford Expedition, christened "The Union Special", has logged hundreds of thousands of miles, as the band has toured nationally across the greater Midwest, and east coast regions, not to mention the countless drives across the great state of Texas to play shows, and parties, in the big cities, and small towns that speckle the terrain like so many tiny dots on Gregg's handy GPS. Listen to the lyrics behind the steel guitar heavy, harmony droning, Gram Parsons-style, rock and roll, and one can pick out stories about far away lands, some of which Union Specific has managed to make not seem like such the dreamlike distant destinations they once seemed to be.
The band has released two full length LP's "Murderlights (2009)," and the very recent "Diesel Engines & Kerosene Visions (2012)," the former of which was made in college for a class; the latter of which is the culmination of a year's labor. "DEKV" was recorded at Sunday House Studio with producer, Stephen Ceresia. Determined to capture the grit and soul of their music, the boys insisted on not using one shred of digital pollution. These songs are 100% organic, and capture the feel of Union Specific, and the experiences of their time together.
Sometimes, getting to do extraordinary things like play with their own heroes such as Junior Brown, and Joe Ely, or playing festivals like SXSW, our heroes know that while each of these experiences carry with them amazing memories, the only path that really matters, is the one ahead. The only task that really matters is getting people to love what you make, as much as you love making it.
And now, as we return the reader to the aforementioned scene, white rays beaming down on fancy shirts, and silver strings, as is typically the case, the heat of the moment, replaces the heat of the lights. Another crowd of people walks away saying wow, another record/t-shirt gets sold, another gas tank filled, and another town set in the sights. No doubt, the tired, line faced, boys of Union Specific, crawling into the beat up "Union Special" all must ponder as they settle in for a few moments rest, that in just a short while, the lights will be coming on.