Waking Norman
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Waking Norman


Band Rock Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Monthly Hotbed - Introducing: Waking Norman"

You’re in Dallas, TX. Home to heavy metal and country music. How do you persevere if you are an Alternative rock band that is more Matchbox 20, John Mayer, and Counting Crowes than Drowning Pool or Charlie Pride? If you’re Waking Norman, success comes in the form of five of the most talented full-time musicians together that you can find. Success has never come easy, but as these guys will tell you, good things come to those wait (and work hard!).

The roots of Waking Norman take you back to a previous effort called the Benjamin Allen Band, which formed in 1997. Founding member and lead singer Troy Mayfield had recently moved from Fredericksburg to Dallas and was tired of just “writing” songs for Texas musicians. He decided to start up his own country and western acoustic cover band. The act stuck to country music because it seemed that was what audiences wanted to hear.

“When they hire you they wanna hear what they wanna hear. That was the reason we played country,” states Troy.

As the group began writing their own material though, they noticed that the music didn’t quite sound country anymore. They continued to tour regionally though and garner support within areas such as Norman, Oklahoma. It was during this last year of touring as the Benjamin Allen band that guitarist Nick Knirk and violinist Mike Horne entered the picture.

“We did not intend on having violin in the beginning,” admits Troy. However, the precision playing of Mike (whom attended the Grammy Award winning High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX) won him over.

The Benjamin Allen Band eventually gave way in name to Waking Norman. The name is based upon the band’s initial success in Norman, OK. “It was the first place that really started catching on to what we were doing.” That, plus it probably sounds better than Waking Duncanville!

After touring as Waking Norman for 2 years, in early 2003 the fearsome five-some entered Buffalo Sound Studio in Denton to record their aptly titled debut effort, “Two Years Gone.” Sparing no expense, the group hired highly renown and respected engineer Scott Noll of Proteus Music in New York to mix their album. And to put the icing on the cake, Rick Rowe of MediaForce Masters, lent his mastering talents to the experience. The results? Well, you can check out the DFW Music Portal January Hotbed album review for the full story (for the convenience of you lazy web surfers, let’s just say the results are spectacular).

Right around the time of the album’s release, the group filled out their current roster with Wes Stephenson on bass and John Carruth on drums. Wes, who was a “hired gun” musician by trade, has played in numerous bands (from cover to jazz) and still plays in church and jazz bands. John has always leaned towards music throughout his life. “It has never been about the fact that I knew I wanted to be a full-time musician,” but guided by his undeniable talent he found his way. He now owns his own production company (FD Musak Productions) and is putting the finishing touches on a hip-hop solo album.

In the summer of 2003 and in support of their new album, the now completed band flew out to Ojai, California for 4 days to work on production of a video for their single, “Stuck In A Stare.” It was at Old Creek Winery where they teamed up with the camera crew and Director of Photography of “Six Feet Under” and “American Beauty.” It seemed that the crew of “Six Feet Under,” headed by Rob Stanger, was looking to get involved in HD Music Video Production. They interviewed several bands throughout the United States and hand picked Waking Norman. It was around this time also that Waking Norman entered Guitar Center’s Battle of the Bands at Sherlock’s Pub where they won 1st prize in Dallas-Fort Worth. Currently, the band continues to tour in support of the album throughout the Southwest.

“2 Years Gone” demonstrates the band’s full array of talent and professional approach to the music industry. Don’t get me wrong, though. Nowhere will you find a greater ratio of putdowns per minute amongst band members than Waking Norman. Waking Norman is more like a family though than a band. Complete with an entire line-up of support, they are fully committed to the effort of ensuring success in this heart wrenching industry. Manager Pete Dupre, Booking Manager Beth Fucaloro, Marketing and Merchandise Director Mary Ann Dupre, Production Manager Billy Rodriguez, and Assistant Manager Rosie Suayan all work tirelessly in support of their leading men. As Mike would state about his fellow bandmates, these guys are “like the Harry Potter spell –meticulous!”

Waking Norman’s success stems largely from their wide array of influences. While Troy leans toward Rhythm & Blues, Mike adds Damien Rice to the equation. Wes, in the meantime, adds a flavor of gospel, country and jazz to the mix. “I don’t listen to rock and roll as much,” professes Wes.

It is these influences that also dictate a large portion of who/what they listen to (both live locally and in their own CD players). John’s CD player sports the soulful Musiq Soulchild, and Mike can’t get enough of Pop/Rock cult favorites, Screaming Headless Torsos. For local favorites, Nick cites Chomsky and Tomorrows Rescue. Mike also listens to Chomsky but is partial to Arlington’s Rocket Summer. Troy likes fellow Battle of the Bands semi-finalist mates, Dirty Helen.

With such a versatile background of talent, it is no wonder that both the music industry and fans have taken notice of Waking Norman. You can be ensured that it will be much less than “2 Years Gone” before you hear of Waking Norman making waves within the music industry. To keep attuned of the latest happenings within the WN camp, visit www.wakingnorman.com often.
- dfwmusicportal.com

"CD Review by Ali"

Two Years Gone is the first full-length CD from Dallas-based wakingNorman (made up of former members of the Benjamin Allen Band). I consider this the first step in a road straight to the top. If the "powers that be" hear lead singer Troy Mayfield's voice just ONCE, it will seal them a major deal. Troy oozes talent and soul from every pore.

Opening with "Lullaby", a song I'd heard many times live, but wN perfected it for the CD version. Cleaner, and it focuses on Troy's vocals. "Stuck In A Stare" jumps out at you. Slower paced, and lyrically brilliant. "3ms" (written by Troy and former BAB violinist Daniel Hart) has been resurrected. This is one HIGH energy tune.

I have a tendency to focus on Troy's vocals simply because they are THAT incredible, but I don't want to discount the other band members. Mike is one HELL of a violinist (check out the opening to "Losing" for a quick display of his skill). Quite an accomplishment for the youngest band member. A band with a lead violin tends to make people think of Dave Matthews, but don't. wakingNorman is BETTER! Nick Knirk is not only a good guitarist, he can write, too. "Sister" is such a sweet tribute - as an older sister I can't quite relate, but I was still touched nonetheless. Former band members Jeff Sorenson and Mikel Combs provided the EXCELLENT drum & bass work on the album. wN's new bassist and drummer, Wes Stephenson and John Carruth, are now touring with the band. From what I've heard through the grapevine, they're excellent!

My favorite track, "Love In The Wasteland", will blow you away. This song, written by Jay Johnson, was on BAB's first album and has been remade into something more wonderful than the sum of its parts. Lyrically beautiful, vocally beautiful, backed with beautiful music. My favorite line, "Would you wrap your arms around me and heal this broken heart of stone," brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it... and I've heard it a LOT over the years that I've been following this band. Keep singing it... A LOT.

"Holding It In" - OUCH! Bitter! "I'm really tired of holding it in, knowing you're a liar, I'm exploding within." More lyrical brilliance from Mr. Knirk. The song that made me fall in love with this band, "Found", sounds sooooooooooooooo good. It's still just as powerful now as it was years ago when I first heard it. "Found" has even converted hardcore metalheads! "Don't Believe In Me" is yet another incredible song. Written by Troy, music by another favorite of mine, Dave Shrank, I was hoping this tune would be on the CD. There's a deeply personal story hidden in the lyrics - "would you like me to let you down easily?" "Bank" closes the CD. A beautiful tribute written by former violinist Daniel Hart, this is another of my favorites.

Every track on this disc is great. wakingNorman is going places. Their talent pool is "born to see ourselves succeed." - AustinLive.com

"Monthly Hotbed - CD Review"

Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming. From the shadows of Jazz/Blues/Rock fusion greats like the Freddy Jones Band comes Waking Norman (for those still accustomed to more main-stream audio waves, see also: Dave Mathews Band, Counting Crows, John Mayer). Bucking the Dallas – Fort Worth trends of Country and Western or Heavy Metal, Waking Norman (WN) has released their debut album with their own blend of Pop / Rock. The result is one of the areas best independent releases.

Who are these guys? Waking Norman is a five-piece band that features Troy Mayfield (vocals), Nick Knirk (guitar), Wes Stephenson (bass), Mike Horne (violin), and John Carruth (drums). A reincarnated version of the previously known Benjamin Allen Band (1997-2001), WN has now played together for just over two years (hence the clever album title!). They have quickly built up a loyal local following through their hard work. Perhaps one of their greatest achievements recently was their 2nd place finish at the Texas State Guitar Center Battle of the Bands in October 2003.

The album as a whole is a showcase of talent, especially for songwriter / lead vocalist Troy Mayfield. His bluesy enchantment takes center stage on each and every song. Nowhere is this more adamant than in the album’s opening track, “Lullaby” (one of the LP’s hottest tracks).

Complementing the crooning vocals of Troy is the tasteful musicianship of guitarist Nick Knirk and violinist Mike Horne. Mike holds together the song with his stylish fills in tunes such as “3ms” and “Lullaby.” Nick utilizes a delicate balance between a driving acoustic rhythm and simple arpeggio to formulate the light, flaky crust for our listening palette.

Other hot tracks on the album outside of “Lullaby” include “Sister”, and the first single of the album, “Stuck In A Stare.” The band recently finished production of the single after filming the video in California this past summer. The single addresses the turbulent relationship that anyone in the music industry can attest to—that between the love of music and your significant other. “Sister” is Nick’s “Cats In The Cradle”-ode to all little sisters that insist on growing up everywhere.

The album features 11 tracks and runs for 48 minutes and 31 seconds. It is currently available over the web at www.wakingnorman.com, or may be purchased at Virgin Records in the Grapevine Mills Mall or the Virgin Records - Mockingbird Station. - dfwmusicportal.com

""Two Years Gone" CD Review"

I don't know who Norman is, but I know once he hears this album, he'll surely be awake. A gleeful blend of jam band sounds with a professional edge give this album its stance – inspiring jam band music. The lead singer sounds a lot like that of Creed, and the lyrics are uplifting and honest. What makes this band sparkle is the violin, sort of a Boyd Tinsley aspect going on here with a classical undertone. I like this album because the sound doesn't reflect the lyrics in the songs...meaning that everything sounds pretty light even when more subdued emotions are described. "Lullaby" is a grand first track, with swift violin strums and brilliant lyrics, such as "I saw my eyes in your eyes tonight/Do you see how you hurt me and won't let me fly/I won't let you bleed me and keep me from my life." This is the kind of band that I imagine would sound even better live...definitely a group to keep an eye on.
Favorite Tracks: Lullaby, Sister
Rating: 3.5 stars - discoveringartists.com

"Additional Press"

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"Two Years Gone" - July 2003


Feeling a bit camera shy


Waking Norman is an exciting original rock band from Dallas, Texas. Thoughtful lyrics, a fresh blend of styles from pop, rock, jazz, and funk, and unique songs are delivered in the Band’s original sound. Signature instrumentation, including electric violin and electric acoustic guitar, creates a distinctive chorus of pleasing sounds that can only be described as Waking Norman.

The album “Two Years Gone,” with award winning producer Jimi Tunnel, was released in the summer of 2003, selling a startling 1000 units in two months. 3000 CDs and eight months later, another shipment of CD’s is on its way to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Waking Norman’s fans.

In October 2003, Waking Norman won the local (North Texas) competition for Guitar Center's Best Band Search. In December 2003, Waking Norman released their first music video “Stuck in a Stare”. In February 2004, Waking Norman was selected as “Band of the Month” on DFW Music Portal.

In the past few years, Waking Norman has shared the stage with numerous national and regional acts including: Blue October, Vanessa Carlton, Counting Crows, Reckless Kelly, Blues Traveler, Deep Blue Something, Pat Green, Live, Monte Montgomery, Vallejo, Third Eye Blind, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Vertical Horizon and the Goo Goo Dolls. Waking Norman has also played some mentionable venues such as the Chevy Main Stage at the State Fair of Texas, Six Flags over Texas, 8.0’s in Fort Worth and the Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas, TX just to name a few. Waking Norman has also donated their time to community events such as Operation: Entertain the Troops, the Uptown Borden Run benefiting the Special Olympics, and the White Rock Marathon.

Over the past year, Waking Norman has cultivated a tenacious staff that works around the clock, laboring for the ultimate success of this band. This team includes: business manager/financial manager; booking agents; investors; lawyer; accountant; sound engineer/production manager; merchandise manager; webmaster.

Waking Norman is Troy Mayfield on lead vocals, Mike Horne on violin and vocals, Nick Knirk on guitar and vocals, John Carruth on drums, and Wes Stephenson on bass.