Western Youth
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Western Youth

Band Americana Rock

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Taylor Williams isn’t afraid of genre labels. After all, it was his love for groups like Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown, bands known for pioneering the genres of Americana and alt. country, that pushed the guitarist and songwriter to start his own band Western Youth in a similar vein.

“Late in high school I started getting into country and bluegrass. I didn't grow up around it, but I got really into it. It really changed the way I viewed music. Country has a deep-rooted tradition in songwriting - it's all about the hook - and I really gravitated towards that. Also, all of the alt. country bands like Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown. I decided I wanted to be that kind of artist and started focusing on songwriting,” says Williams.

Western Youth is fronted by the unlikely duo of Taylor Williams and Matt Gregg. Williams has been playing guitar in the live setting since he was 15. His childhood in the Dallas-Fort Worth area gave him a natural gravitation towards playing blues music.

“When you're 15 and playing guitar there aren't a whole lot of places for you to go out and play, especially in Fort Worth. It's not nearly what you have here in Austin. I kind of realized that there were a lot of blues bands around town and I liked that outlet. I realized if I was going to get a gig, playing blues was probably the easiest way to get there,” says Williams.

Over the years Taylor has played with well-known musicians such as Leon Russell, Taj Mahal, and Joe Ely. Yet, it was only after connecting with Matt Gregg, a fellow guitarist and songwriter from New Zealand, through Craigslist that Taylor was able to pursue his love for alt. country and Americana and form Western Youth. Despite coming from opposite ends of the world and meeting through the unnatural means of the Internet, Taylor and Matt realized they shared similar musical backgrounds and interests, and after putting together a band the two got to songwriting and hit the studio.

“I can't remember if it was me or Matt who posted the ad, but we saw similar influences and emailed back and forth. It's kind of funny because you always have to legitimize yourself so you'll send them stuff you've done in the past and [vice versa], and you can get a feel if they're legit or not,” says Williams, adding that, “the first meeting is really weird because it's like, ‘hey I met you on Craigslist, I don't know what to expect.’ Especially with Matt, because he's a Kiwi from the other side of the globe; somebody who [grew up] so far away from Texas, yet just had this huge love of Americana, Southern rock and country. I thought it was unique how he came to the table with that.”

The result of this collaboration is the band’s debut EP Leaving The Station (April 9, 2013), a masterful album that leaves you wanting more. From the opening harmonica blast and bluesy guitar licks of first track “Somewhere, Somehow,” Leaving The Station takes you on a 5-song roller coaster ride reminiscent of Son Volt, Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen. The songwriting of Taylor Williams and Matt Gregg is on full display, and each song is catchier than the next. With the presence of the pedal steel, and even a horn section on “Waste Of Time,” the album stays true to the alt. country genre yet manages not to sound redundant. - The Horn- Neil Ferguson


This is the debut record from an Austin-based band that struck that vein in my arm where the rock and roll goes. Part Ryan Adams, part Reckless Kelly or Drive By Truckers, the 5 songs here have you playing air drums on a frequent basis. Somewhere, Somehow and Black Freightliner are straight ahead roots rock, while Waste Of Time kicks it up a notch with some horns that add another tasty layer on top for when too much is just enough. Should’ve Been Me leans more to a ballad tempo, but with a feedback vamp Crazy Horse would be proud of. Falling Down explores the alt country side of roots music and is the song I find myself going back to most often. - Twangville


ustin-based band Western Youth released its debut EP, LEAVING THE STATION, on April 9, 2013. Recorded in Austin and produced by Britton Beisenherz, the EP continues the Texas outlaw tradition of roots rock, blues and country, with five standout tracks written by the group’s songwriters.

The band includes New Zealand native Matt Gregg on guitar and vocals, Fort Worth’s own Taylor Williams on guitar and vocals, Brian Bowe on drums, James Hart on bass and Joey Borja on pedal steel. LEAVING THE STATION features assists from Jeff Bryant on keyboards, Geoff Queen on steel and slide guitars, and Bob Schneider’s Hellfire Horns on trumpet, trombone and sax.

The EP is an eclectic treasure trove of barroom rock ‘n roll and Americana. “Somewhere, Somehow” firmly raises the roof while lamenting the age-old struggles of a rocker’s life on the road. “Falling Down” is a two-stepping tune that introduces country into the mix. And with all the drive of a 200-ton locomotive, “Black Freightliner” is a fitting addition to the canon of train songs forged by Johnny Cash, Billy Joe Shaver, and Townes Van Zandt.

Western Youth was founded in 2011 when established singer-songwriters Gregg and Williams both found themselves in Austin, ready to try something new. “Austin might be the best place in the world to form a band,” Williams says. “Once Brian and James came on board everything just clicked,” Gregg adds. “The songs became greater than the sum of their parts.”

The band’s singles are already getting airplay on major Texas stations from Central Texas to the DFW area. Western Youth has performed on The Dudley and Bob Show on KLBJ-FM and on Bob Cole in the Morning on KOKE-FM. - Music News Nashville


With a smartly balanced mix of southern rock and pensive weepers. Austin roots four piece stakes out some interesting territory with its first release.
Opening with "Somewhere Somehow" an attention- grabbing Black Crowes boogie, the twin guitar attack of Taylor Williams and Matt Gregg has a beat farmer-sh, hell bent on trouble swagger. But it's the confessional bar room ambiance of "Should've Been Me" and the Gram Parsons lonesome lilt of "Falling Down" that makes these guys instantly likeable. And when they get back to rocking with the horn- drenched I'm-done-with-you "Waste of Time" The deal is solidly sealed. While the band has only given us five tracks, they've whetted our appetite to hear much, much more. Texas radio should be all over this one. William Michael Smith - Texas Music Magazine


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