The long-running video series “Texas Music Cafe” starts its 22nd season with a Saturday concert that shows a new Waco-flavored emphasis for the Texas music showcase, with performances shot at a new stage at downtown Waco’s Nexus Esports.
The move is the latest for the series, which has seen multiple platforms over the years, including a satellite-distributed public television show, local broadcasts, online distribution and, most recently, videos on YouTube.
Its core of Texas musicians in live performance, however, won’t change, said TMC executive producer Chris Ermoian, the Waco musician and producer who created the music series 22 years ago with his brothers T.J. and Jeff. “We’ve always been a music show and we’ll always be a music show,” he said.
In its 22-year history, TMC has captured more than 10,000 hours of live footage of such Texas stars as Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green and Randy Rogers as well as scores of other bands. Some of that footage is housed at Texas State University’s Center for Texas Music History archives.
The upcoming series will continue on YouTube, where the series has built a monthly viewership of about 3,700 viewers and a bit of advertising revenue from that audiencce. YouTube broadcasts of TMC’s Texas State Technical College talent contest in Waco last year pulled more than 47,000 viewers in a month.
The new series kicks off with an 8:30 p.m. Saturday concert by Austin alt-rockers Tough on Fridays, with Waco’s Michael Biggerstaff on drums, at Nexus. Opening for Tough on Fridays is Alex Owens. The concert is BYOB and admission is $20 a person.
The show’s video coverage will feature a new twist: a look at Waco with each participating band. Ermoian said the added dimension largely tapes what he and his crew often did with visiting bands: drive through the city for a look at its major sights. Video shot on the Waco trips will be edited within hours and shown between band sets with the final edit posted to YouTube.
Stepping to the front of TMC production and video work this year as hosts are TMC staffers Brody Gamble and Cleyver Abraham, joined by Keep Waco Loud’s Jacob Green and Katie Selman, and KXXV-TV reporter Lindsay Liepman. Ermoian said their eagerness and love for live music led him to wind down his involvement with TMC this season.
The Nexus Esports soundstage, intended for live broadcasts of its gaming competitions, and audience capacity of 250 people also open the door to possibilities such as a regular family-friendly live music show, a regular Waco talent show or a Waco music television show, Ermoian said. It also will provide the possibility of video and audio tech jobs and training for Waco residents, said Ermoian. Jobs and training, in fact, has long been an aspect of TMC that he’s proud of.
Where TMC goes from here will depend in part on audience support of the Waco shows, he said.
“There’s no reason to discount Waco from the possibility of being the next music town like Nashville or Seattle or Austin,” he said. “We hope that Waco sees the artistic value of what we do and supports it.”