Band life is a breeze for Graham St.Clair and the Western Wind

Graham St.Clair is a band that is getting buzz all across Texas. Photo courtesy of Graham St.Clair

Erika Kuehl | Staff Writer

Watching Graham St.Clair and the West Texas Wind perform on their second-floor balcony looks like a scene straight out of a Hallmark movie. With string lights illuminating their instruments and raspy voices heard from the street, the allure to come closer is hard to ignore.

Last March, a friend from Texas State University reached out to Lubbock junior and lead singer Graham St.Clair and offered him an opening gig at Cheatham Street Warehouse.

“He said, ‘Do you have a full band?’ ‘No.’ ‘Can you get one?’ I said, ‘Yeah, maybe,’” St.Clair said. “We put together this whole deal and started up, and we practiced our tails off for about two weeks in order to play that gig, and we’ve been going ever since.”

Inspired by Lubbock — where St.Clair is from and the recording place of their upcoming album — the tumultuous wind translated into the last part of their band name.

“We just kind of went as Graham St.Clair, and we were recording an album this summer,” St.Clair said. “We were freaking out because we were like, we need a band name. We’re gonna put out an album. We had bookings this fall, calling us weekly, ‘Hey, we really like y’all’s band name.’ I don’t have one of those yet.”

The Turnpike Troubadours and Flatland Calvary most inspire the band. However, guitarist and La Crescenta Calif., junior Sean Douglas credits classic-rock roots to his style.

“My favorite band growing up has always been The Eagles, and two of their guitarists — Joe Walsh and Don Felder — have been huge inspirations behind my guitar playing and kind of trying to mix their style together to sound unique in a way,” Douglas said.

St.Clair said their unreleased song “West Texas Wind” was the most challenging to produce. He decided to omit the verses altogether and add something unique instead.

“We had a bunch of empty space, and I said, ‘I don’t know what I want to do with this, so we got to figure that out,'” St.Clair said. “And so we spent two days just workshopping the longest solo that we have in the album, figuring out what we need to do with it, and I’m so happy with the way that it came together. But, it was a challenge for sure.”

They said their style ranges from soft Texas country to a new rock ‘n’ roll style that’s accessible for all audiences to appreciate.

“So I think that the whole album is a sound that a lot of people can get behind, in terms of, you know, there’s something there for everybody to enjoy,” St.Clair said.

Over the summer, the band traveled to Lubbock to get started on their upcoming album. With five days to record an entire set, long nights were no stranger to them.

“So we were together for five days straight from, you know, we would get done at two in the morning and wake up at 7 a.m. ready to hit it again,” St.Clair said. “Because we didn’t have compositions or nothing. I mean, most of the songs, I played for them for the first time when they got to Lubbock. And so, just really getting to see each other’s creative personalities and styles come together to form this thing was really cool. And I think we got a lot closer as a band.”

St.Clair said he first shared his music with his friends from home, who showed immediate support and encouragement.

“It just got me kind of amped up about, you know, maybe this is something that we could do, and then getting here and meeting these guys, it’s just increased that feeling of hope,” St.Clair said.

The band said their greatest supporters are not only friends and family, but also the West Texas community as a whole.

“The whole kind of West Texas music atmosphere is just so welcoming, and they really care about what we’re doing,” St.Clair said. “We had musicians that, you know, made it in their day play on our album, some of them for free because they wanted to be supportive of us.”

Douglas said that being a member of this band fulfilled his dream since he first came to Baylor.

“It’s been my dream since college started to play live music, and I feel pretty lucky to have these guys and being able to do that,” Douglas said.

Waco senior Jackson Wright, guitarist for the band, said he got the most encouragement from seeing crowds react to their music.

“Just seeing people dance to our songs like in a live show, it’s like, ‘Oh, wow, they liked it enough to dance,’ you know,” Wright said. “So that’s pretty encouraging when we see that.”

Spring junior Nathan Carlos has lived with a band member for the past two years and is excited to see how much they grow in the future.

“It’s awesome being able to hear the band perform and practice as they tweak different songs and create different songs,” Carlos said. “It’s been quite the experience for sure. And you know, sometimes they are loud, and I’ll be trying to study, but I’m just very proud and lucky to be able to live with such great friends who are starting a band and having success in that.”

Graham St.Clair and the West Texas Wind are set to release their first album, “Roaming Home,” on Nov. 11.