Texas Hill is a trio of three solo artists who have had success on their own: Craig Wayne Boyd (Season 7 Winner of The Voice), Casey James (Third place finisher on Season 9 of American Idol) and Adam Wakefield (Season 10 Runner-up on The Voice). Now, these powerhouse vocalists have joined forces in a band that weaves together their roots of country and southern rock.
Texas Hill chatted with Music Mayhem about how they came together, their transition from solo artists to bandmates, and how they chose the songs for their debut album.
The name Texas Hill came from Wakefield’s hometown of Plymouth, New Hampshire, where he grew up on Texas Hill Road, but the concept of the trio came from Boyd.
“I was sitting in the garage talking with my wife and trying to figure out what I wanted to do musically,” said Boyd. “The thought occurred to me to go back to my roots, which was singing vocal group stuff. Casey and I had met up a couple of months previously and sat down and chatted, played music for our families. Our wives went to elementary school and middle school together, which was crazy. We didn’t already know each other like that. Adam and I had been out on the road together playing music. I told both of them, ‘Hey, I got this guy, he’s in.’ Finally got them together and we sat down and played music. The first time we did, it was like, there it is! This is actually going to work.”
The trio have spent two years learning how to be bandmates instead of solo artists, and what each of their roles are in the group.
“I mean, I’m the talent of the thing,” joked Wakefield. He’s [James] probably the face, and he’s [Boyd] like the heart.”
All jokes aside, the guys have worked hard to join together for a common purpose.
“I didn’t realize how much I lacked the ability to work with people,” admitted James. “I was like, well, I have to compromise now. It’s forced me to become a better person. It has taught me a lot and I really enjoy the dynamic of it. It really just takes us all back. All three of us, before we did The Voice and Idol, we were band guys. That’s what we did. I ran with multiple different outfits and was a part of different things and it was never the Casey James show. It was just a group of people that I loved playing music with. And to be back in that scenario is just a breath of fresh air. It’s nice to have people that are equally invested in what you’re doing.”
Once the band came together, they began writing and recording songs, releasing their self-titled 5-track EP in September 2020. They tested those songs on the road, then went back into the studio to finish up their debut album, Heaven Down Here, which was released in January 2022.
When it came to choosing songs, Boyd joked, “Well, we put ’em all on pieces of paper, and we folded those pieces of paper and put them in a little jar and drew.”
Wakefield added, “The album is kind of a chronological representation of what we’ve been working on. So when we first got together, it was very much just kind of like a seventies classic, like Southern rock kind of vibe to everything. Whether it’s straight up country or Texas Mavericks country or Alabama country. I think it’s got that kind of line that rises, even though I would think it’s more of a rock and roll record than a country record, but I think that’s kind of the tie that binds it together… I think the record shows the evolution of what we’re into. I went through a little Jerry Reed phrase and it was very much during the time we were writing those songs. There’s a lot of Jerry Reed influence in a lot of the songs that I had a part of writing. So that’s what it’s supposed to represent. It’s not supposed to represent what kind of songs are trending right now.”
When the trio went back in to the studio to finish the record, James felt they were stronger on all levels. “It’s been exactly a progression of where we were and what we were doing and what we were thinking about,” said James. “And when you put it all together, it kind of represents the band in a really nice way.”
When it came to choosing a name for the album, the guys debated between the track titles “Heaven Down Here” and “For the Love of It.” They ultimately decided that Heaven Down Here was the best name for their debut album, reflecting how they felt about the trio.
“I felt like that really encompassed overall where we were at,” said Boyd. “For me, the joy that I found in being a part of a group was just that, finding heaven down here. I kinda felt like I had lost the magic I was missing in music and I found it with the group.”
“We’re enjoying this so much,” added James, “that it feels like heaven for us.”
For more info, visit texashillofficial.com.