By MIKE CHAIKEN
If you think about music in Texas, you might think of the blues. Or you might think of Tex-Mex music. Or you might even think of country music.
Typically, you don’t think of soul music.
But Luke Wade is the exception to that Texas musical stereotype. The former contestant on “The Voice” offers up a sound more akin to Al Green than ZZ Top.
Wade makes two nearby stops this month. He’ll be at Daryl’s House in Pawling, N.Y., over on the other side of the Connecticut border, on Friday night and then he’ll be at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts in Westport on Saturday.
Wade said he likes the sound of soul because the music allows him to express himself. “It was the best fit for me. I wanted to be able to write interesting things… You can say more things with soul.”
Growing up, Wade said there wasn’t much soul music played in the house. Both parents were Hindus, and mostly they would listen to classical music on NPR. He had come across albums his parents owned, but he said they had not bought any new music in 15 years. And his sister was interested in music such as Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Sheryl Crow, and Nirvana.
Asked about what inspires his songwriting in the soul genre, Wade spoke about how the inspirations have evolved over time His first album, “Tomorrow’s Ghost,” was about how to to be comfortable as yourself. The second album, “The River” was inspired by the difference in perception of what you are versus what you want to be. Wade said his newest songs on his upcoming album are inspired by the thought that “the things you want are on the other side of your fears.”
Although Wade advanced pretty far into the competition during season seven of “The Voice,” it’s clear speaking to him that the experience did not provide as much of a career bump as he had hoped.
In the time following his appearance on the show, there was a bit of a bump of interest. But many people who came out to the shows following “The Voice” were there more because of the television connection. The music was secondary. Some of these television fans would come to the shows for a couple of songs and then leave.
“The TV bubble burst really quickly,” said Wade.
Unlike some competitors, however, Wade said he was lucky that he already had an album out before the show. So he already had fans who were interested him because of the music and less because he was a television celebrity.
Being on television, he said, “doesn’t make you an artist.” When you’re on television, he said, you’re a celebrity first, artist second.
While fans wait for the release of his next full-length, Wade has new music coming out that is intended to help others.
Recently, the Susan G. Komen Foundation chose Wade to follow last year’s artist, Josh Groban, to record the song and music video for their 2015-16 fundraising campaign. He has recorded a duet of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (which was made famous by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrill) with Mia Z from Season 8 of “The Voice” (who is opening Wade’s current tour). The single releases Sept. 1 and the music video will debut in October 2015 to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Asked about how that project came together, Wade explained, “I try to spend my time when I’m not touring, working on something worthwhile.” At the children’s hospital in Fort Worth, he said he recently was honored as the volunteer of the year for his efforts in helping out. Through those connections, he found himself asked to be part of the campaign.
When Wade comes to the area, it won’t be the first time for the alumni of “The Voice.” He has performed in New York City and recently performed at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Conn.
When fans come to see his gigs in Pawling and Westport, Wade said, “I’m a pretty rambunctious performer.” He said he has been known to jump out into the crowd and climb on top of chairs. “There’s a lot of energy.”
Wade said he is accompanied by a six piece band, complete with a horn section. The set list will feature music from his last two albums and some new songs that he will trying out on stage for the first time
“I want to inspire people, to lift them up,” said Wade of his approach to live performances. “But I also want to make sure people have a really good time.”
On Friday at 8 p.m., Luke Wade – along with Mia Z— performs at Daryl’s House Club, 130 Route 22, Pawling, N.Y. Tickets are 15, $25, and $50. For more information, go to DarylsHouseClub.com.
On Saturday at 8 p.m., Luke will perform with Mia Z at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, 40 Jesup Road, Westport. The outdoor performance is free. For more information, go to LevittPavilion.com
For more information about Luke Wade, go to LukeWadeMusic.com