Roger Wallace

In the typical fashion of teenagers, Roger Wallace turned his back on the music favored by his mom and dad. Rather than embrace the traditional country music of Willie Nelson or Hank Williams as his parents had, during his early teens he closed his ears to the sounds coming out of his parents' radio and instead opened his heart to the blues. And in the typical fashion of parents, mom and dad ultimately knew best. They predicted that their son would one day be a country music artist, and they were right. Until their prediction came true, however, Wallace remained fixed on the blues for a number of years. During his student days spent in the halls of the University of Tennessee, he spent time as host of the school radio's blues program. He also became a member of several different local groups that primarily played rockabilly and blues. He finally discovered what his parents knew all along, thanks to a friend with a penchant for Willie Nelson. She was fond of the country giant's Red Headed Stranger album, and being with her meant exposing himself to Nelson's brand of country music. That's when the light bulb clicked on for Wallace, and he finally started to appreciate his parents' music. But his transformation from blues to country was not yet complete. With the blues still calling to him, he set off for Austin to check out the city's blues artists. Along the way, he listened to a tape of Hank Williams' music, which someone lent him for his car trip. Listening to "Your Cheatin' Heart," Wallace was awestruck by the emotion the country legend could pack into a song. While country music was making headway, the blues still held sway with Wallace. In 1994, with a degree from the university in hand, he again went to Austin, this time to work for Antone's Records as a blues promoter. Unfortunately the job didn't pan out. Wallace was out on the town practically every night, drawing inspiration from the rich Austin music scene and such performers as Junior Brown, Ted Roddy, and Wayne Hancock, among others. Within a couple of years, he was holding a contract from Antone's sister label, and he was ready to sing country music, exactly as his mom and dad had predicted years earlier. In 1999, the singer/songwriter made his debut with the release of Hillbilly Heights. ~ Linda Seida

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