Dillon Chevalier
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Dillon Chevalier

Dallas, Texas, United States | SELF

Dallas, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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"A New Path"

Dillon Chevalier got his start as a musician when he was in high school.

He played guitar for a few rock bands while a student at Harmony High School in Big Sandy

Today, Chevalier's music and style is drastically different.

He's traded in amps and electric guitars for a more simple, yet no less complex, sound.

In 2005, he began school at the University of North Texas. Since he didn't have any close friends there, he began writing and performing music as a solo act.

Around the same time, he wrote a song called The Gentle Breeze. Although it took him nearly a year to finish, he said it was the catalyst for the move to exclusively writing folk music.

"I wrote [The Gentle Breeze] that had a hint of folk and it was good," the Texas A&M University junior said. "I could tell it was better than my other songs. So I decided that maybe [folk music] fit me. So I just kept going in that direction. I worked on that song for almost a year. I had the music and part of the chorus, but I could never find anything to write to it. But I knew it would be good if I could find something meaningful, lyrics-wise, to go with it. Finally I came up with something, and there it was."

Now things are rolling for Chevalier and his folk music. The 21-year-old will release his first full-length album, Across From Me, in the next few weeks and is starting to make a name for himself in the Bryan-College Station area.

Chevalier said crowds at his shows are steadily growing in size, a far cry from his first days as a solo performer when he played for a handful of people at The Frog Theater in Fort Worth.

"I was really nervous, but there was hardly anyone there. It was kind of a chill place. When you do the solo gig, you're up there by yourself. And the music was different [from my previous bands], so it was kind of scary."

He admits he still gets a little nervous before shows, especially since they're mostly solo gigs. Without a full band, Chevalier said the pressure is squarely on his shoulders to put on a good show.

The more played, the less nervous became.

"Eventually it just kind of becomes routine. It's not so bad. But it's always a little nerve-wracking before a show. Once you play that first song, it's not as bad."

The performance aspect of a being a musician seemingly is the only tough part for Chevalier. Writing the songs comes easy.

Chevalier said many of his songs are "relationship-type" tunes that are inspired by his life. He also incorporates his friends' experiences.

What's unique about Chevalier, who is a wildlife and fisheries science major at A&M, is he also uses nature to inspire his songwriting.

"Growing up, I was always in the outdoors, and it's something I'm comfortable with. I have a lot of past experiences I can write about that happened outdoors, like camping and stuff."

Chevalier doesn't stick to just his comfort zone.

For his new album, Chevalier recorded his songs with a drummer, bass guitarist and a violin player.

The songs are essentially the same as those he's been performing in the area for the past year, but now "they're just a little more upbeat."

"I almost felt like my music was better with [a full band]," he said. "When I put out my first EP, it was strictly me. I wanted to do something different."

He's hoping showcasing his music with a band will also lead to more gigs by showing venue managers that he can appeal to a wider audience.

Chevalier has three songs from Across From Me posted on his Myspace page. By including drums, bass and a violin, his sound is reminiscent of Dashboard Confessional and Bright Eyes.

The combination is working for him.

Chevalier said audiences at his shows aren't just limited to his friends.

He's noticed there are a lot of faces he doesn't recognize.

"I can tell it's getting better. When I first got down here, I couldn't find anything. Gradually it's getting better. You just have to keep at it. There are a lot of people are coming not because they're my friends but because they want to be there. People will come up to me who I don't know who said they heard me playing and liked it."

Chevalier said Across From Me will be available through his Myspace page, myspace.com/dillonchevalier, where you can also find song samples.

He'll also be performing at La Bodega, 102 Church St., College Station, at 11 p.m. Wednesday.

• Greg Okuhara's e-mail address is greg.okuhara@theeagle.com. - Greg Okuhara


Discography

All I Need (2011)
Across From Me (2007)
The Gentle Breeze EP (2005)

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Bio

Dillon Chevalier is a Dallas-based folk singer/songwriter originally from Northeast Texas. His first release was in 2005 called “The Gentle Breeze EP”. Following that, he released his first full-length album in 2007 called “Across From Me”. He is currently promoting his second full-length called “All I Need”.