San Antonio-born Walt Wilkins has been called a genius, more than once, and a writer the caliber of John Steinbeck and his voice as comfortable as a pair of old blue jeans, and he is, and has, all of that. His crafting of story-songs, hard-edged vocals to sing them and a plaintive guitar have made him a fixture of the Texas music scene (and Nashville before that). He's put his magical touch on recordings by new and veteran artists, too many to count.
Is he near done? Hasn't he done it all? Double hell no.
With The Mystiqueros, Wilkins has created something of a "Texas Hill Country super-group" that features five great singers and four great songwriters from the heart of the Lone Star State, all of whom have made their own records and are flush with recording credits.
Onstage and in the studio, Wilkins is joined by Bill Small (bass, percussion, acoustic guitar), John M. Greenberg (electric guitars), Ramon Rodriguez (drums, percussion) and Marcus Eldridge (electric guitars). Live performances around Texas are being likened to both outlaw country and classic rock bands, and they're captured on DIAMONDS IN THE SUN on Tex-centric label Palo Duro Records.
Wilkins says this is the most fun he's ever had playing music in a band in 30 years. He describes the music of The Mystiqueros (nicknamed mq5) as highly reminiscent of '70s country rock from Texas and the West Coast and blues and soul that members grew up listening to and features high-quality songwriting and musicianship, rhythm, and vocal arrangements.
Small, who wrote and sings the new album's title track, "Diamonds in the Sun," was born and raised in New Jersey, and lived and worked in New York City, Boston and Nashville before Austin. He had played with both Eldridge and Greenberg and had done a gig with Wilkins. "So we all knew each other," he says, "and once we all got on stage together, it became obvious that it was the thing to do."
Greenberg, a busy first-call guitarist, singer and producer around the H