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September 10 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
His influences—musical and otherwise—are as varied and rich as the small-town Texas soil that nurtured his talent, yielding 12 stellar songs ranging from the insinuating multi-layered musicality and storytelling of “Déjà Vu” to the dark alt-pop of “Happier Alone,” and on further to the new-age, Sabbath-inspired “Dopamine Drop. ”Thanks to his metal-and classic-rock loving dad, Meade got to see bands like Judas Priest and worshipped Whitesnake.
In junior high he related to the intense emo-rock of Paramore and Fall Out Boy, and the power of songwriters like John Mayer. Yet, thanks top lain spoken but deep heartland songwriters like Tom Petty, and cutting his teeth touring in the Texas and Oklahoma Red Dirt scene, Meade’s music overflows with wide-open soulfulness. He was a drummer for years, even teaching to pay the bills, but Meade found his true voice when he began playing guitar as a teen in his pastor-father’s church. Those experiences lend both a gravitas and rebelliousness to Meade’s songs and self. The songs on Black Sheep, produced by Taylor Kimball (Koe Wetzel, Read Southall, Kody West) are instantly memorable, but far from simplistic.
Meade challenges the status quo, both musically and lyrically. “I like to question those standard math formulas,” he explains. “What if we just add two more lines and make somebody feel uncomfortable here, ’because the song itself is about being uncomfortable?” And within a song—and video—like “Déjà Vu,” Meade explores the cyclical, Groundhog Day-like nature of a month—or lifetime—of Sundays. Throughout school, “I was one of the weird kids who actually liked writing class. I would describe ridiculous stuff, and in elementary school I was a Harry Potter nerd. I’d get lost in those books,” he remembers. Soon, though, records became his new sanctuary. “I started to hear songwriters that were telling stories in three to five minutes; concepts and ideas that were not only spanning just that one song.
One of my favorite lyricists is Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys; the way he describes things, you can almost touch it or smell it. ”Likewise, on Black Sheep, Meade’s vivid descriptions are palpable and immersive. They paint a picture the listener can step into, like taking a journey through “two-lane highways and speed-trap towns ”that Meade traverses in “Déjà Vu.” “That’s my goal,” he explains. “To make people feel like they’re in the room with the stories in my songs; they’re within that experience. ”Meade’s carefully crafted songs manage to be profound and provocative, sonically suited for both dive bars and arenas. From these is mic guitars and painfully honest lyrics of a song like “Dopamine Drop” to the mournful, lilting nostalgia and hard reality of “Settle Down” and on through the fantasy of “handwritten letters, candle-wax seal, Midwest American feel” in “Cave In,” it is clear Meade’s ambitions and dreams are weighty.