By Tyson Taylor
Throughout its history, Texas State University has produced elite talent in various fields, from 36th President Lydon B. Johnson to Olympic Gold Medalist Charles Austin. Texas State alumni are leaving the university ambitiously driven and aiming for the stars. However, one field that I feel doesn’t get enough respect within Texas State is the music alumni. There are numerous, very talented artists and bands that have originated from Texas State that go unappreciated by many. With that being said, here are my top five most notable musicians from Texas State University.
Coming in at fifth place is the American Folk duo, Jamestown Revival, made up of Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance. The duo has maintained a close-knit relationship since the age of 15 in their hometown of Magnolia, Texas. Clay and Chance took their friendship to San Marcos where they would be roommates here at Texas State. In 2014, the duo self-released their first studio album Utah, which would be re-released by Republic Records. It is important to mention that iTunes named Utah the 2014 singer-songwriter album of the year. Since the release of their first album, Jamestown has released three albums with quite a bit of awards and fame. The duo has made appearances in both Rolling Stones Magazines along with being on the cover of the Wall Street Journal. You can get the full Jamestown Revival experience in Texas as they frequently perform at SXSW and ACL.
Making an appearance in fourth place is none other than the country singer, Sunny Sweeney. Sweeney was born in Longview, Texas and was exposed to music at a very young age, but never pursued it seriously until she graduated college. In 2001, Sweeney graduated from Texas State University with a degree in Public Relations. Just five years after graduation, Sweeney released her debut studio album Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame. Sweeney’s debut album garnered attention around the country as she then got signed to Republic Nashville, where she would release her second studio album Concrete. This album would give Sweeney the recognition she deserved as the lead single “From a Table Away,” reached the top ten of American Country Songs in 2011. Since then, she has released three studio albums along with being nominated for annual awards such as Female Vocalist of the Year.
Randy Rogers Band
Coming in hot at third place is the Randy Rogers band. In 2001, Rogers graduated from Texas State with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in business. During this time, Rogers and his band began playing in venues around San Marcos, such as the legendary Cheatham Street Warehouse. As the band expanded and gained more attention, they began recording more albums and playing outside of San Marcos. The band has recorded seven studio albums and seven singles which have made it to the Billboard Hot Country Songs. Notably, both of their albums Burning the Day and Trouble made it to the top ten of Billboard 200. Rogers has not forgotten his roots as this February he made a very generous donation of $25,000 to the Kent Finlay Endowed Scholarship in Texas Music History.
The Oh Hellos
Coming in second place is a band that is quite newer than the last few on this list. That band would be The Oh Hellos, consisting of the sibling’s Maggie and Tyler Heath. This indie folk-rock duo came into existence in 2011. Before the sibling’s collaboration, Tyler Heath was studying at the University of Austin while recording his own music. During this time, his sister Maggie Heath was studying here at Texas State University taking classical vocal training classes. In 2011, the siblings decided to make the song, “Oh Hello, Will You Have a Drink With Me?” for their mother’s birthday. Following the success and fun they had making the song, the two decided to come together to form the band The Oh Hellos. Since then, they have released eight albums and have remained an independent band. Despite not being signed to a record label, The Oh Hellos have retained a very large community as they have nearly three million monthly listeners on Spotify.
In the first place, without question, is the king of country music: George Strait. Strait attended Southwest Texas State University (Texas State University) in 1975 after he was honorably discharged from the Army. He would go on to get his degree in Agriculture in 1979, later receiving his doctorate from Texas State University in 2006. Over the course of his career, Strait has earned 33 platinum or multi-platinum albums, which is third for any artist of any genre. Strait also has more No. 1 hits (60) than any other artist including the likes of Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Texas State has surely paid its homage to Strait as you can see his influences around campus such as George’s in LBJ’s Student Center.
There have been and currently are amazingly talented musicians here at Texas State University. A lot of people aren’t necessarily aware of their favorite artist’s educational upbringing. However, if they did, they would be aware that Texas State has nurtured many successful musicians and hopefully the list will grow longer in the future.
Written by: kadencemakenna