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Texases Modestly Declare Themselves The 'Greatest Country Cover Band, Ever'

The Texases performed at the TPR studios in May for the Summer Night City concert series.
Oscar Moreno
The Texases poses in front of the camera at TPR.

For The Texases, success isn’t about record deals or recognition, but to have fun and enjoy the music they play. The Texases, who modestly (but presumably tongue in cheek) dub themselves the “Greatest Classic Country Cover Band, Ever,” includes members Travis Buffkin, Jerid Morris, Mike Kelly, Charlie Cruz, and Nick Richman.

The Texases pay tribute to classic country musicians such as Johnny Paycheck, Garth Brooks, and their absolute favorite: Dwight Yoakam, who “supersedes genres,” according to Travis Buffkin.

This rowdy and lively country cover band, based in San Antonio, first began when co-founders and guitarists, Jerid Morris and Travis Buffkin went to college together. What started off as a fun, easy going music gig, became a full piece country ensemble that now performs regularly at large weddings and even motorcycle meet-ups like the Giddy Up Vintage Chopper Show.

What continuously fuels The Texases is their joy of bringing their audience the best performances of the oldies through “an emotional attachment because [they] grew up with these songs.” Songs such as the popular “Don’t Take Her, She’s All I Got,” by Johnny Paycheck, is an example of one “great tune everybody knows about,” Travis Buffkin relates.

The relationship between The Texases and their built-in fan base is a close-knit one. From treating them to drinks and two-stepping swiftly on the dance floor, or even perhaps a gushing fan shooting a beguiling glance, it boosts their performances at late night shows in venues such as The Lonesome Rose or Paper Tiger. They are supported by a “community [of]... a lot of our circle of friends and people we care about,” says Jerid Morris.

Success is no longer about a record deal, as they imagined in their twenties, but rather a good ol’ time singing nostalgic tunes with a beer in hand in their mid-thirties alongside their best buds. “[The Texases] came in a really great time of my life,” added Travis Buffkin.

The formation of the band has uplifted the guys from being “downhearted and depressed” in their younger days as musicians to a now celebrated cover band that drums up successfully the bops of timeless country classics.

The Texases will be one of three featured bands at a public watch party event hosted by Texas Public Radio at Legacy Park on Thursday, June 24 at 7 p.m. Get details on this free event at this link. Below is an extended interview with Jerid Morris and Travis Buffkin, with TPR’s Jiawen Chen.

Jiawen Chen: Can you first describe to me your background and role in The Texases?

Jerid Morris: We are both singers and guitar players for The Texases and co-founders back in 2016. We may be the only consistent members of The Texases. We’re both songwriters from San Antonio. We’ve lived here most of our lives. For 20 years.

JC: Since your family is in San Antonio, how would you balance playing in a band with other areas of life, such as your jobs and family?

JM: That’s a good question, it’s a bit easier because it’s sort of a hobby that you get paid for. Travis is much more of a working musician than I am, but it makes it easier because this is my hobby. On the other hand, I think both of our spouses enjoy coming to the shows. It’s kinda like community things, a lot of our circle of friends, and a lot of people we care about.

Keyboardist and Singer Travis Buffkin sings into the mic
Oscar Moreno
Keyboardist and Singer Travis Buffkin sings into the mic.

Jiawen: What keeps you together during rough times to continue to perform?

Travis Buffkin: We have a lot of fun. Jerid and I have been friends for a long time with our former guitar player James Brown. He and I went to college together. We had this ongoing joke that we were going to start a classic country cover band called The Texases, and we would all be named Travis Texas, Jace Texas, etc.,. After we graduated, we decided we should actually do this and it would be a lot of fun. I knew Jerid would be perfect. And so, we got together and then had a really good time. And get paid extravagantly.

JC: How would you define success in music?

JM: I always define that as a record deal. I don’t know what it is anymore. The difference between doing this and original music for me is that there’s an emotional attachment because we both grew up together with these songs. Trying to be successful with an artistic endeavor is, I think, a lot more elusive. The Texases are really successful at what we set out to do, which is to play songs we love and know other people would love. Do it to a high level, put on a good show, have a good time and reminisce about what we grew up with, and sometimes poke fun of, a little bit of an ironic way, but mostly, just enjoying it.

TB: I would agree with that, it all depends on how old you are as well. I’ve got a kid and Jerid's got two kids. When I was twenty-five, success was if I were going on TRL [Total Request Live] or a record deal. I realize now, that I’m in my mid-thirties; success is having a real good time doing it, such as hanging out with friends, playing well, making a bit of money, catching a buzz without being too hung over, the simple things. Having a good time at the show is the most important thing. Fun with friends, seeing our old band members who come back into town, spending time with them, our partners, Humble, modest things like that are where I find success nowadays.

JC: As a cover band, who is your, favorite singer or band, to cover?

JM: I really like doing Johnny Paycheck and Garth Brooks and Dwight Yoakam.

JC: And why is that?

JM: [Dwight Yoakam] was one of the guys when I was younger; I wasn’t ashamed to listen to him, even though he was country music. Dwight Yoakam was a touchstone for things that seemed cooler and bigger than radio country. You grew up with the kind of music but outgrow it, coming back to it later in life, which I feel is what we’re doing, it’s almost like we should start an NSYNC cover band because that would be a full circle. Dwight Yoakam was one of those guys who you didn’t really have to be ashamed of being into.

TB: Yeah, I agree 100%. I think Dwight Yoakam, totally supersedes the genre in a lot of ways. Yeah, like Jerid said, the Johnny Paycheck stuff is lot of fun, where you’re skating between obscurity and mainstream. “Don’t Take Her, She’s All I’ve Got” is a great tune that everybody knows.

Jerrid Morris performing live at TPR's studios.
Oscar Moreno
Jerid Morris performing live at TPR's studios.

JC: Other than Paper Tiger, what were some of your other favorite venues?

JM: We all just love playing at The Lonesome Rose, I like playing at White Horse too, a really cool place in Austin.

JC: What is your most memorable performance for the both of you?

TB: The Giddy-up is always pretty fun. They’re like a chopper, motorcycle show and really good to us. They invite us back almost every year. All the dudes look cool and tough and the females look cooler and tougher. A cool gig.

JM: We did a Sadie Hawkins dance last year. That was at the ballroom.

JC: What are some of your favorite reactions coming from the audience?

JM: When you look back and you see people singing songs that maybe for a long time you didn’t expect your peers to know the words to. Seeing people sing the more obscure songs that we do is really cool.

TB: I like the occasional wayward glance from a female who’s dancing with her partner and you just kind of get that vibe. That’s like a nice little ego boost and it makes us sing a little better. Any appreciation is great. One of the best things about The Texases is that it has a built-in fan base in that most people already know the songs. The hardest work is performing those songs accurately, because then you don’t have to win them over. It’s kind of a fish in a barrel if you can keep your wits about you and perform it accurately.

JC: What are your goals for 2021 in terms of performing?

TB: Play more and have more fun, learn some new tunes.

JM: Matching suits would be cool. Everyone will tuck in their shirt at every gig. The band members, audience can look like trash if they want to. Haha.

JC: Last question, what advice would you give to your younger selves?

TB: I would say, have more fun. The Texases came in a really great time of my life where I was taking my music seriously and was downhearted and depressed about the lack of career I had. I just was not having fun playing live music and was bitter about it. The Texases was a great shot in the arm for my sense of fun again. I think to not try to squeeze it so hard and enjoy yourself.

Jia Chen is a freelance journalist and photographer for Texas Public Radio. She began with TPR working as the Bexar County selected Summer Arts Intern in 2021. Her coverage includes arts & culture, technology, politics, and more. She holds a BA in Communication from University of Texas at San Antonio and has lived in San Antonio for over 20 years.