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Musician Lee Winright returns to play his hometown

February 15, 2023 - 00:00
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    Singer songwriter Lee Winright will appear at the Kickback Korner on February 24. Courtesy Photo

Singer and songwriter Lee Winright will return to play his hometown of Bandera for the first time in twenty years on Friday, Feb. 24.

While Winright has played a few acoustic sets in the past two decades, this next Friday’s show will be a full electric show at Kickback Korner.

Winright says it will be a real rock and roll show.

Winright’s band consists of Chris Valdez on bass, William Anderwald on lead guitar, Lee Winright vocals and guitar and Joshua Small, drums.

Scott and Julie Baker handle sound and production. Seth Ralph oversees the lights and is stage manager.

Winright and Valdez figure they have played every live music venue in Bandera at some time or another, including the Purple Cow, which Winright speaks of with humor and respect. According to Winright, his friend Charlie Robison says if you can “survive the Purple Cow, you can play anywhere.”

The soft-spoken artist will focus on his new single, Broken Down, at his homecoming performance and prioritize performing original music, although he does play a few more abstract covers.

The video to Broken Down is set for release soon, hopefully before the show on the 24th.

“We shot the video for Broken Down in Terlingua,” said Winright. “There were people from Indonesia, England and New Zealand visiting Terlingua.”

Willie Nelson has been a big influence in Winright’s life. “The thing about Willie Nelson is that you can be as happy as you can be but put on a Willie Nelson record and you could be cryin’ while you are pouring your whiskey,” he states. “I try to hang onto the feelings as much as I can. That’s why I like songwriting so much because it’s about feelings. Some of them are not the happiest feelings but somebody has felt them somewhere or sometime in their life.”

Winright recounts some songs that changed his life years ago.

“I listen to them now and smile. I think, ‘wow,’ I was in a terrible spot back then.”

Winright explains said older sounds don’t necessarily sound different.

“The lyrics are still the same and the chords are still the same, but the feeling is different behind it. It’s amazing to have something that you have written at such an important time in your life, change in front of you and feel it,” he said. ““The best part is to share it. It’s a pretty amazing thing and I am so happy I am able to do that,” Winright said he remembers how close-knit the community was when he grew up in Medina, where he went to school.

“I would get in the car after school, and we would go straight home to Medina,” he recalled. “I pretty much had no social life. But my guitar was there, and I spent a lot of time practicing.”

On weekends, Winright would stay in Medina, which allowed him to get to hone his skills. He remembers sitting in his room and practicing a lot.

“I have moved away a few times, more than I want to count. People always ask me why I live in Bandera, I tell them it’s really pretty. The song writing material around here is fantastic. I like it here. I don’t really come to town as much as I used to. It’s really exciting to be back,” he said.

Winright likes to tour and has been as far as Iraq with Charlie Robison in 2007. He has also toured throughout Canada and from New York to Los Angeles.

COVID-19 had a big impact on Winright’s touring, and he says he’s happy to be returning to the road.

“I have a good feeling about this year. I have a lot of solo shows coming up. I have one in April at the Kerrville Arts Center, which is a nice place to do an intimate show. It is very different from a bar room setting; it’s more of a listening show.”

Winright says he has no regrets because there was no other path for him except music. He has also been a guitar tech and a road manager.

“Even though I did other things, the result was the common goal to make the music happen. I kinda did things backwards,” he said. “Robert Earl Keen was the first guy who hired me. They taught me everything – taught me the business end of it all.”

Winright admits he enjoys every part of the music business, but playing music is his favorite. As far as the future goes, Winright would like to make another record very soon.

“I want to keep playing music for bigger audiences,” he said. “I enjoy playing to different types of people and meeting new people. I normally see good in them. That’s why I do like to perform, I like to play for different kinds of people.”

Lee Winright and his band will play at the Kickback Corner on Friday, February 24 at 8 p.m. Tanner Scott will also play.