Luke Wade
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Luke Wade

Fort Worth, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Fort Worth, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter




"Life After the Voice: For Luke Wade a broken down van, brothers in the band, and music that is his own."

On a cold, gray day in late December, Luke Wade, his five-piece band, their guitars, drums, horns, speakers, amps and recording equipment were wedged into a small room in a non-descript Arlington warehouse. During that day’s rehearsal, as the group polished an arrangement of Wade’s newest song, Dreams (Keep Me Awake), road manager Blake Barker came in with bad news.

Rehearsing in the warehouseRehearsing in the warehouse

Just a few days before Luke Wade and No Civilians were to head out on the road, their geriatric van needed new struts and shocks. Six hundred bucks they didn’t have.

“Oh,” Wade said.

Welcome to life after The Voice.

It had been just a few weeks since the Fort Worth singer-songwriter had finished a dream-like stretch on NBC’s hit reality program. Celebrity coaches, Gwen Stephani, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and superstar producer Pharrell Williams fawned over Wade’s blue-eyed soul. Levine gushed early on that the lanky Texan was the best singer on the show. Wade lit up iTunes charts and Twitter after every performance. Stardom seemed assured.

That was then. Wade and his band have parlayed the national exposure into better gigs, including a quick tour across the South and a New Year’s Eve show before thousands in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square. But reality was still the warehouse and the old van, and the players that had stuck with Wade through years of struggle and obscurity.

And Wade seemed totally cool with that, away from the glitz, back with his brothers, playing music that was his own.

“Basically, when we got to the final eight I just ran out of steam,” he said. “I just got tired of it. It’s just exhausting to show people who you are every week through someone else’s songs.

“It was a new situation and it wasn’t music, it was the show,” he said. “Being good at music and good at the show are two different things. I was trying to learn how to be good at the show. And everything is under a microscope.”

He remembered the moment on The Voice when he came into a song two beats early and needed to recover. It was an everyday thing to any working musician. To the NBC promo, however, it was “the night that shocked America.”

“Like when I made that little mistake, I was really mad at myself,” he said. “It was amplified in my heart because I knew how many people were watching. When I got back up on stage I felt like I had to be perfect. I’m not good at being perfect. I’m good at being me.”

The glitz, the superficiality, the pressure, began to take its toll.

“I had been worried,” his father, artist Bob Stuth-Wade, posted on his Facebook page. “LA seemed to drain him somehow.”

Then, after being bumped from the show in the final eight, and a hero’s welcome in his hometown of Dublin, Texas, and a chance to write new songs and get back to the band, and deal with the van…

“I saw the Luke flow back into him,” his dad said.


Before The Voice, Wade’s Twitter followers numbered less than a thousand. He’s pushing forty thousand today. @LukeWade’sHair popped up on Twitter, a tribute to the tight coif Wade wore on the show. But that recent day in the warehouse, he sported a hoodie and an epic case of bed head. Lunch during a rehearsal break featured chicken tenders from Chicken Express.

Before a recent performance in Birmingham, from l to r: David Kurrasch, David Wade, Luke Wade, Paul Jenkins, Blaine Crews and Alcedrick Todd. Photo by Amy and Jamie photography.Before a recent performance in Birmingham, from l to r: David Kurrasch, David Wade, Luke Wade, Paul Jenkins, Blaine Crews and Alcedrick Todd. Photo by Amy and Jamie photography.

Blaine Crews, Wade’s longtime drummer, grabbed his food, joining the front man and Luke Wade’s brother, David, who plays sax and the flute.

“It was super nerve wracking,” Crews said of watching his friend perform on national television. “You feel like your career is hanging out there on the line a little bit, too. But we all believe in him and we expected him to do as well as he did. It was just cool to see America seeing what we already knew.

“There was lots of pride, for sure,” Crews said. “But even if he had gotten knocked out in the first round, we would still have been grinding it out on the road.”

Wade took a bite of chicken.

“Not me,” he said as the others laughed. “I would have quit.”

“Finally used your college degree,” Crews said.

“Yeah,” Wade said. “I would have become a political scientist.”

But the band wouldn’t let him quit. He had tried to a few times before when the music seemed to be going nowhere, gig after gig for peanuts. Crews remembered one in particular, a night four years ago when Luke Wade and No Civilians played to an audience of one, the bartender.

“When the bartender went to the bathroom, we were literally playing to nobody,” Crews said.

But there was something about the soul in his voice and his songs that the band believed in. The more they struggled, the closer they became, and the more fiercely supportive and protective they were of Wade. They finished each other’s sentences and musical licks. When Wade was invited to audition for The Voice, he almost didn’t go because of his loyalty to the band.

“He was real nervous because there was a good chance we weren’t going to be gigging for a few months. That’s kind of how Luke is,” Crews said. “He wanted to make sure we were okay. We said, ‘You have to do this. We’ll be fine.’”

So Crews and the band gathered at Fort Worth parties, watching as the nation became “Lukified.”


From his first performance on The Voice, Wade was viewed as one of the favorites, even after the stumble. But the final rounds were ever more brazen appeals to the tweeting masses who would determine the performers who would advance.

For Wade’s performance in the final eight, his celebrity coach, Pharrell Williams, made a risky song choice. Holding Back the Years, Simply Red’s moody hit from 1985, seemed in Wade’s wheelhouse because of the required emotion and vocal range. But it was virtually unknown to anyone under forty, in other words, unknown to the tweeting masses.

“Pharrell didn’t want to play the game. He wanted to make music and he thought that would be a good song for me to sing,” Wade said. “But it is a game and that might not have been the best strategy. If it would have been a different song, I would have been in the top five, no doubt. But he believed in that choice and I believed in him. I would rather have gotten knocked out in the final eight and earned Pharrell’s trust. He can do more good things for a person’s career than the show ever could.”

Then Wade’s performance of Holding Back the Years fell flat.

“As soon as it was over I thought, ‘Oh, well. I mailed it in.’ I didn’t mean to,” Wade said. “It’s just a thing that happens when you start singing. It’s just like sitting in a car with a dead battery. When I was done it was like, ‘Yep, that’s it.’”

On the next elimination show, amid drum rolls and cameras tight on his face, America watched up close as Wade was axed.

“Honestly, by then it’s hard to keep a straight face,” Wade said of all the drama. “It’s just silly and you know it’s silly.”

Before eight thousand on New Year's EveBefore eight thousand on New Year's Eve

So Wade came home to Dublin, the band, chicken tenders, etc. And he seemed very happy that gray morning in the warehouse.

“I don’t know what it’s done for my career yet,” Wade said. “I’m sure there will be more people at these shows than there would have been otherwise. But we have to convert those TV people to real life people.

“The show is not what real life is about,” he said. “It’s about how entertaining you can be for two minutes, not ninety minutes. The show is about how popular you can become and not about how much you can connect with people.

“Now, it’s like everything’s the same, but everything’s a little bit different,” he said. “I’m still acclimating to the real world.”

To that end, a geriatric van certainly helps. - Tim Madigan

"Luke Wade of The Voice: a long, hard journey to overnight stardom"

On a recent Monday night, for his career-making moment on television’s The Voice, Luke Wade chose to perform a rather obscure soul ballad called That’s How Strong My Love Is. The song was most famously covered by Otis Redding in the mid-1960s. Wade, on the other hand, is a lanky white guy, a singer-songwriter from Fort Worth.

That recent Monday night on national television, the crowd at Universal Studios in Los Angeles went nuts for Wade, and the four celebrity coaches/judges—Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams and Adam Levine—seemed flummoxed by the fact that Wade could pull off the number with such, well…soul.

The gushing seemed to bode well for Wade’s future prospects on the show, not to mention his career moving forward. Next up for Wade on NBC’s hit reality show is the “battle rounds” which begin next Monday, Oct. 13, and run on Monday and Tuesdays for the next few weeks.

My own first acquaintance with the artist happened long before and under slightly more modest circumstances. On a Sunday afternoon several months ago, my wife and I went to lunch at a popular Fort Worth hangout called the Woodshed, where Wade and his acoustic guitar were the weekly entertainment. We quickly turned from our burgers to listen. We were surprised.

The truth is that artists like Wade are all over the Fort Worth, uber-talented singer-songwriters scratching out meager livings by playing for pocket change in restaurants and honkytonks, waiting for the big break that for most will never come.

Wade, who is thirty-one, had been living like that for more than a decade. He grew up on Hurt Street in the tiny Texas town of Dublin, surviving a near-fatal bout of spinal meningitis as a child, and a paintball accident that left him blind in one eye. He and his and band, Luke Wade and No Civilians, have spent years as roaming troubadours, sometimes barely covering expenses with their gigs.

Then, last fall, came an email from The Voice and an invitation to audition.

On a recent morning, over breakfast tacos at the Ol’ South Pancake House in Fort Worth, Wade spoke of his big break and hard life that came before it. But few outside his circle of family and close friends have had any idea just how hard that life has been. Our conversation was the first time he has spoken publicly about his long battle with manic depression, a disease that regularly threatened to drive him from his calling on stage.

There is clearly much more to Luke Wade than the soul-full voice and musical chops to make superstars stand up and cheer. His talent will move people. It already has. But his courage in speaking about his struggles will give untold numbers hope. I think that Luke Wade and his story will save lives.

Our conversation.


Tim Madigan: Could you describe the struggles of the music life?

Luke Wade: I would say that the last ten years – wow, so long – it’s really been the same thing. Unless you’re making money at a show you’re not making any money, so you end up playing a lot. The last few years I’ve been doing five days a week. It gets so repetitive and you don’t see growth and you don’t have the money to pay the people who help you. It’s just really tough.

TM: So why did you do it? You must have realized that you had a chance, a special talent.

LW: I always knew that I had something to say. I had like a light in inside of me, but I couldn’t sing when I started, I swear. I was not a good singer. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. But I had the desire to be the best personal version of myself. I started writing songs and I started singing my songs in public.

The thing that I’m best at is not being afraid to fail. I mean that’s the thing I’m really good at. So I failed over and over again in front of people until my failures turned into successes and that’s been my process. It’s been almost twelve years of me going out in front of people and giving it everything I had until what I had was enough.

TM: So how did you learn to sing?

Luke Wade and No CiviliansLuke Wade and No Civilians

LW: By doing it, listening to myself and trying to figure it out. It was about the message. What was getting in the way of people feeling these things I’m saying? I would just listen, and I would feel the ways it wasn’t connecting.

TM: But did you ever feel like the life was just too hard?

LW: Absolutely. I battle with manic depression. Music lends itself very well to that because you’re always living months in the past or months in the future at the same time. I’ve discovered that the nature of manic depression is that you try to fix the present by changing your idea of what the future is going to be. That’s what creates the mania. ‘I’m going to write these songs. I’m going to get better at guitar. I’m going to work out and get sexy.’ Whatever it is, you’ll get a mania and you’ll have this idea about how things will be in the future. So you booked all these gigs twelve months out, then you get there and you’ve put all this work in and nothing changes. That’s when you bottom out again. That’s when you get to the depression part of the cycle.

That happened every four or five months. I would want to quit. I felt like I needed to quit, that it was just a waste of my time and no one cared or no matter how hard I tried nothing was ever going to happen. But I had support. I had people around me that would tell me, ‘You can’t quit,’ my friends, my family, my fans. My band, guys who weren’t getting paid hardly anything and they were working their asses off and they said, ‘You can’t quit. You can’t quit on us.’

TM: Manic depression, that sort of mental illness, is a very serious thing. How do you deal with it? Medication?

LW: I deal with it by understanding my tendencies. The first and most important part of the battle was to understand what my cycle was. Manic depression is about that cycle, about the high highs and the low lows. Trying to live in the moment really helps a lot, not trying to find your happiness in the future or the past because

ultimately that’s stuff that doesn’t exist yet, or stuff that no longer exists because it already happened. You have to be in the moment and find joy in what you can do today, for its own sake, and appreciate the fact that you had the opportunity to even try. It’s those kinds of attitudes, as opposed to, ‘I’m going to make myself happy tomorrow by doing something today.’

TM: How did you learn that?

LW: Survival.

TM: Do you have any qualms about talking about this?

LW: Not at all. I’ve never really had a problem letting people in.

TM: Why haven’t you spoken about it before?

LW: Because no one ever asked the right questions.

TM: I’ve heard the singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne has been a big influence you. He has been at that place you describe and so much of his music seems to come out of that suffering.

LW: I tell people his songs sound like how my insides used to feel.

TM: You are going to help a lot of people by speaking about this, especially with the platform your success on The Voice will give you. Speaking of The Voice, how did that happen?

LW: I guess they found me on YouTube. They contacted me last October and at almost the same time some friends of mine were on the show, Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes from Austin, and they had an amazing experience. I asked them, ‘Should I do it?’ and they said, ‘Absolutely.’ I guess the rest is history.

TM: But I hear you had some hesitation about doing it, were worried that if you took the time off to do the show you wouldn’t be able to pay your band.

LW: Yeah, that was a thing that I said but ultimately, that was a lot of fear, you know. I had this other thing that I was doing and I was used to failing at that. And I guess I didn’t want to fail at one more thing. Ultimately reason prevailed.

TM: Take me inside the experience of the night of the blind audition on The Voice. The judges are facing away from you in chairs. Your hope is that they like you well enough that they swing around and want you on their team for coming weeks. What was it like for you before you went on the stage?

LW: One thing I was afraid of the whole time, there had been a few occasions, maybe two in my life, where I was just paralyzed by nerves. One time was when I was playing somebody’s wedding, the first dance song, and I didn’t prepare enough. They turned on the lights and I couldn’t see my sheet music. It just felt like it was the running-naked-down-the-street dream from high school. I was just paralyzed. The other time was the first time I ever played in public, my high school talent show. I was super afraid, nervous, and on The Voice I was afraid that was going to come back. I hadn’t seen it for years, but you never know when it’s going to hit you.

I’ll just say that I realized as I was tested throughout the process, I found out that those kinds of intense situations bring out the best in me. By the time I made it to that moment I knew that I was going to deliver. I had no doubt. There were a lot of nerve-wracking situations throughout the process and I just responded positively to challenge after challenge.

TM: What was it like walking out on stage?

LW: Before you go on stage you just try to wrap your brain around the fact that this is really about to happen. I mean, ‘I’m right here, the stage is right there and it’s like, wow, this is really about to happen.’ You just say that over and over again. Oh wow, over and over again.

TM: So how do you make the transition from there to literally walking on stage, the music starts and the chairs are facing the other direction?

LW: I just focused on the first sentence, “If I was the sun, way up there.” See his The Voice audition here.I know my tendencies. If I’m really excited or really nervous I’ll rush. I knew that was the first time that anyone was going to hear me so those were the most important notes. I knew that if got those out and I sang them correctly the rest of it was just going to happen. So that’s all I was thinking about. “If I was the sun, way up there.” (He sings the line at Ol’ South.) I was just thinking, ‘Sing it slow and smooth and sexy. Pull everybody in and then that’s it.’ Everything else just happened.

TM: Did you have any doubts that you would turn a chair?

LW: Yeah, I did, because it’s just four peoples’ opinions. I’ve played for thousands of people and there has been at least four that didn’t like me. So it could be the four exact wrong opinions of what I do. Fortunately that wasn’t the case.

TM: How did you choose the song?

LW: I wanted a song that is really artist-dependent. What I mean by that is, there are some songs that kind of sing themselves. The lyrics are good and strong, the melody is strong, and if anyone sings it, people are going to enjoy it. Like, Sweet Home Alabama or something, you don’t have to be a masterful artist, singer, to get people to enjoy that tune. But this song, if you don’t sing it right, then it’s not a good song and I like that


TM: So at the end these four music stars are all fawning over you, wanting you to choose them as your coach for the rest of the show. After all the struggles we’ve been talking about, that must have been surreal.

LW: It was. But it’s interesting how quickly something can seem natural and normal. Human beings are extremely adaptive. It was very validating, but at the same time—not in an egotistical way I don’t think—I feel like anyone’s peer musically. So yeah, I mean it felt like they were all saying they wanted me, but being there on stage with them honestly felt like where I should be.

TM: So what do you feel about the future now?

LW: Gosh. Thinking back to our conversation about mania and depression, it’s really tough to get out of that cycle of managing my expectations. So yeah, I would I would love to get really excited and assume that everything is going to happen, but what I’m working on doing is just enjoying doing what I can do now. Already I can book better shows and I’m doing that. Already I can connect with more people, more people are listening to me. I get to talk about things I believe in, which is amazing, so I’m enjoying that.

I’m looking forward to being able to make decisions and knowing that those decisions will turn into things. That’s the thing that I think is going to happen. I’m going to have choices and all of them are going to be a good choices and that’s something that I really look forward to. - Tim Madigan

"A few minutes on Hurt Street"

I forget, sometimes, how much I love music.
When I entered Ken Schaumburg’s industrial chic abode some months ago, it was just as I remembered. Beautiful people tastefully accented the Venetian plaster, concrete, steel and glass of the fashionable ‘south side’ loft. Some of Fort Worth’s finest – or at least coolest – graced the room. Keenly aware that I should have tried just a little harder to stomp the manure from my boots, I removed my hat, found the bar, and made my way through the crowd toward my sisters.
“Come say ‘hi’ to Luke,” Amy insisted, dragging me further into the throng.
Dublin’s (Texas) Luke Wade appeared either unaware or unaffected by the fact that all of the pre-partiers were in attendance to celebrate the release of his sophomore album, ‘The River’. Still months from the announcement that he would appear on season seven of NBC’s megahit ‘The Voice’, Luke’s unassuming demeanor gave the impression that he might be astonished to learn that he was the subject of all the fuss.
Had he known, I’m sure he’d have worn better shoes.
It is but a few times in a generation that an artist comes along with the potential to reflect so honestly the human condition. Such a calling requires a humility and self-awareness that seldom find an artist until late in his career, when he’s turned the corner from idealistic to philosophical. Too often young singer-songwriters aspire to draw a picture with words, a melodic expression of the visual, hoping to capture a single meaningful moment in time. Music should aspire to capture our journey through it.
Music is at once frivolous and necessary. Those artists who don’t understand this balance risk becoming another gimmick lost to history. Those who embrace it become timeless, making the music that comes to describe generations and cultures, not simply as historical narrative, but as a conscious identity by which we willingly choose to define ourselves in real time.
Meet Luke Wade.
Appearing in recent promotional spots on E!, the Today Show, and the Ellen Show, Luke’s recent surge in popularity has spawned renewed comparison to Ray LaMontagne. Like LaMontagne, Luke surrounds himself with extraordinary musicians and remains keenly aware as to where he fits into the musical equation. He requires the accompaniment do more than just carry the lyric, he allows it to build a setting in which to tell his story. Luke has earned the comparison, his boisterous horn section and soulful voice are the perfect paring of audacity and nuance. And while both wear a vulnerability you couldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, Ray LaMontagne’s relatively withdrawn approach to life seems strangely at odds with Luke’s wild embrace of it.
Growing up on Hurt Street in a sultry little Texas town seems a fateful beginning for a soul singer. The youngest of four children, a childhood bout with spinal meningitis proved nearly fatal, a paintball accident left him blind in one eye and some years later a severe heatstroke left him with amnesia and took him to the edge once again. Though these experiences inevitably influence his music, it is not in the fatalistic way you might expect. On visiting his childhood home, it is easy to imagine that his timeless lyrics must have been penned from the front porch, sweltering outside because the house was just too damned hot. But Luke’s music remains eternally hopeful, and a few minutes inside will reveal just exactly why.
Certain influences within Luke’s music seem obvious enough - John Mayer’s pop and blue-eyed soul come quickly to mind – but a gathering in his parent’s Dublin home before a local gig this spring instantly revealed the uniquely organic roots of his music.
Bob and Wanda Wade are hippies. Though I had enjoyed an evening with Bob and Wanda on a previous occasion, to be received into their home is to truly feel welcome. Each is an extraordinary artist in their own right, Bob a talented visual artist and Wanda a dancer and dance instructor. But to reduce their hippiness to incense and beaded curtains would be to do them a critical disservice. They are not throwbacks of the 1960’s or seizing on popular nostalgia, they are the very epitome of the self-aware, non-conformist, free-thinking movement of the 60’s and 70’s. They are what the hippies should have been.
Just a few minutes on Hurt Street and I understood Luke’s music in a whole new way. Bob and Wanda spawned a self-awareness that makes Luke’s music inherently reflective, in no need of gimmick or clever hooks. In fact, I would have to believe that if Hurt Street were in a distant universe, this is the music he would create.
If the recent promo spots are any indication, when the new season of ‘The Voice’ begins on September 22nd, Luke will leave the four coaches cheering and fighting to entice him over to their side. It will present an interesting dynamic on the show. Artists like Luke don’t need to be molded or cultivated, they need to be left alone. My advice for his coach would be to just let Luke be Luke.
If you genuinely feel the need to coach him, maybe just talk to him about those shoes.
Luke Wade and No Civilians will be performing at City Limits on Saturday September 13 at 9:00p.m. Tickets are available at the door. - Jon Koonsman

"Voice of Reason"

From the looks of it, Fort Worth singer-songwriter Luke Wade is about to be a huge star.

Well, maybe.

The longtime veteran of Funky Town's folk rock, country and, more recently, gospel-tinged, blue-eyed soul scenes is set to appear on the premiere of NBC's The Voice on Monday night. And, while it's not guaranteed Wade will make it far into the competition or, hell, that he might even become a star if he does -- the program's detractors will surely be quick to point out that in its six previous seasons the series has yet to produce a single legit star -- there's plenty reason for Wade to be excited just the same.

In a sneak peek clip of Monday's episode that was uploaded to YouTube yesterday, Wade can be seen belting out a stellar rendition of Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is" in the blind audition round of the contest. Check it out:

Pay special attention to judges Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton who, one by one, are clearly shocked when they turn around to face Wade only to discover he's white.

From there, the enthusiasm from the judges only builds, with Levine climbing higher and higher in his chair and all four judges lobbying hard -- begging, even -- for Wade to join their teams. Stefani tries to appeal to her and Wade's shared experiences touring with a band, Levine sites his experience as one of the longest-tenured judges on the show and Shelton, similarly, touts the three previous contestants he's coached to victory -- more than any other in the show's history. Pharrell, meanwhile, simply offers up past success stores, citing: "I know a thing or two about blue-eyed soul. You can ask Justin. You can ask Robin."

And while the video cuts off just before Wade chooses his destiny, we can't help but wonder which one of the judges we'd choose if we were in his same shoes.

Team Adam.
He's an awesome vocal coach, he's been on the show the longest and he's clearly the most enthused about what he saw. Then there's the part about him being kind of a tool, and, oh yeah, that whole Maroon 5 thing.

Team Gwen.
With Gwen you'd get a twofer -- someone who could mold you into a great singer and performer and someone to help you step your fashion game up. She was the last to hit the "I Want You" button though.

Team Pharrell.
Man's got a point, he knows a thing or two about writing and producing massive hit songs. The man's got some skins on the wall, to be sure. And if he can make a star out of a drugged-up hack like Robin Thicke, thrusting Wade into the limelight should be a piece of cake.

Team Blake.
If we're going to punish Gwen for being last to hit the button on Wade, we've got to credit Blake for hitting the thing right away. Then there's the fact that Shelton's country background might play into Wade's roots and Cowtown sensibilities. And, like he argues in the above clip, Wade's got to worry about winning The Voice first and foremost before he starts worrying about making hit records with Pharrell. Fair point. - Central Track

"‘The Voice': Luke Wade Is Fabulous & Will Win Season 7"

The season seven premiere of ‘The Voice,’ Sept. 23 was full of so many talented singers but Luke blew them all away with his performance of ‘How Strong My Love Is.’ It was only the first night of the blind auditions, so you never know who could steal the spotlight, but for now Luke is reigning supreme.
Luke Wade is name you need to know. This 31-year-old, Texas native, is so incredibly talented. I was blown away when he took the stage as the first blind audition of the night and I had no idea that he would set the bar so high. This is a guy that is bound to make it to the finals, and I’ll explain why.

‘The Voice’ Season 7: Luke Wade Will Win
Luke isn’t just a guy with an amazing voice, he sings with passion. He explained before he performed that life has not been easy for him. Luke got emotional when he explained that a friend of his had accidentally shot him in the eye, causing him to go blind in that eye. That now explains his signature look, two different colored eyes, which set him even more apart in the competition, in the best possible way.

Luke isn’t someone who is just giving it a go at singing, he told the judges that he has been traveling around with his band, in a van for the past 10 years! This is a guy that has worked so hard for this and I couldn’t be more thrilled to put my stamp of approval on Luke.

He got every single judge, Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton to turn around, now that’s pretty awesome.

There were some other pretty great singers too. One being ElyJuh, who sang Beyonce’s “XO,” and he started to cry!

The only contender that I think could give Luke a run for his money is, James David Carter. He sang, “Nobody Knows It But Me,” and every judge turned around too. He was more country than Luke, but even Blake said it was quite possibly the best country performance ever.

HollywoodLifers, do you think Luke will win season 7? - Hollywood Life

"Luke Wade and No Civilians Rock Capital Bar"

Every once in a while, a band comes along that you’ve heard their name before, hear other people talk about them and sing their praises and you've made promises to yourself that you will go hear them play. Then they play a venue close to you, but dangit, you’ve already got plans that night. And then there are the other nights they play close by, but your schedule is always busy and you're forever missing them. They stay on your conscience for a while, always there like a favorite memory.

Finally when you least expect it, someone you know suddenly grabs you and hauls you off to hear them play cuz “they’re playing just down the street and you gotta hear them”. And off you go! (In this case my lovely wife grabbed me and herded me out the door mentioning something along the lines that I've worked hard enough this week and deserve to hear some good music now. My wife is very smart.)

Later after witnessing their performance, you become a devout disciple of their music and you can actually feel the light shining down from above on you as you transcend to the next level of awareness. You hear massive applause and catcalls (ok, it’s all in your head, but that’s okay) signaling that you “finally got it”! Their music is like a cool breeze on a hot day, a cold beer, your favorite incense, and that much coveted dessert all rolled into one big chalupa. Yep, we’re talkin’ about the band “Luke Wade and No Civilians”!/lukewadeandnocivilians and .

Folks, these guys cook! From the drummer keeping things honest and loose to the cool bass line to the horn section composed of a brilliant trumpet player and equally sensuous and cool sax player to the man himself Luke Wade. All five of these cats serve up music the way it was meant to be played: hot, honest, and righteous. Brother, if these guys played on Sunday mornings for church, a whole bunch of sinners would confess their deepest faults and be saved en mass. The pews would be full of believers. (Did I hear someone say “Amen!”?)

In these days of massive drum kits and equally massive egos, it is quite nice to see a drummer utilizing the very basics of the trade: bass, snare, floor tom, high-hat and cymbal. That's it. And this drummer relied on good old-fashioned technique and skill to keep the band rocking while proving beyond question there is brilliance in simplicity. Being a fellow drummer, it was a sheer joy to watch this man work.

Let's face it, horn sections bring an added demension to most any kind of music. Luke Wade and No Civilians has successfully integrated a trumpet, sax, and flute into their wide catalog of covers and originals. This band's trumpeter brought an added kick when needed plus soloed throughout the night on occasion, bringing roaring cheers.

Equally impressive was one of their brethren, Clay Shelburn, who not only warmed up the crowd gathered one recent Thursday night by providing his own brand of alternative blusey rock, but also sat in with Mr. Wade's band occasionally that night.

(I say Mister Wade because his name, Luke Wade, sorta reminds one of the wild west sheriff that keeps law and order while maintaining an ultra-hip, cool status amongst the townsfolk.)

Shelburn's vocal style, range, and guitar mastery as a solo artist is surprisingly refreshing and makes it obvious he knows a thing or two about Texas music and leaves the crowd craving more. In other words, he ain't boring.

One can't write about the band, or live music for that matter, without discussing the sound guy. Or Audio Tech as its known in technical parlance. The Capital Bar's (3017 Morton St Fort Worth, TX 76107) resident sound guy this evening provided a good balanced audio exerpience with few interruptions. Sure there were some minor technical tweeks that needed to be done here and there, but that comes with live sound. We've all heard bad audio at live performances, right? Well this wasn't one of them. Far from it. This guy knew what he was doing.

One last thing to mention. It's great to hear live music and even greater to hear live music done well. The icing on the cake or the whipped cream and cherry on top, so to speak, is when good friends or family can join you. This particular evening was one of those times. Members of our family got to join us and because of Luke Wade's No Civilians and Clay Shelburn's solo act a very good time was had by all.

Support Live Music. You'll be glad you did. -

"Concert review: A soulful night from Luke Wade"

Last weekend in Funkytown was the annual Lolaspalooza – three days of bands and booze at Lola’s Saloon. In Dallas, they were Spune-ing out large doses of indie music at Spune’s Index Festival all over big D. But Saturday I found out that the new lineup of Luke Wade and No Civilians was going to be playing Magnolia Motor Lounge. With the addition of legendary funkytown drummer Blaine Crews and the mighty Alcedrick Todd on trumpet, I knew something special was going on.

When I got there, the kitchen was shut down but the Salsa Limon taco trailer was still serving out front. Food taken care of, I made my way inside and found the stage was packed to overflowing. In addition to the new lineup, which also included Nick Choate on bass and David Wade on sax, we had Ryan Tharp and Chris Silverfox Watson on guitar, and Justin Barbee on trumpet and keyboard. They were performing a cover of Paul Simon’s Late in the Evening as I walked in, and the sound was fantastic. I stole a chair by the band’s merch table (the only empty chair in the house) and soaked up the music.

Having played in bands for many years, the words “professional” and “drummer” rarely find their way into a sentence together. Blaine Crews is an exception. The man is precise, creative and knowledgeable. Having Blaine behind the kit is a solid move, and no matter what direction the rest of the band goes in any song, that foundation is there. Luke Wade has always sounded good, but this is the best I’ve heard them.

Where Crews is focused and precise, Nick Choate is the sonic jack of all trades. Shove an instrument in his hands he can play it, put him in front of a microphone and he can sing anything. And he’ll make you believe he was born to do only that. On Saturday his bass lines were tasteful and fulfilling, and his (and Blaine’s) backing vocals were spot on.

Most of the night was pure Luke Wade though, both in songwriting and vocals. They did a few covers, like Roxanne by The Police, Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney, Bennie and the Jets by Elton John, and One More Chance by Jackson 5, but the originals were the essence of this performance. Luke Wade’s songs are emotive and soulful, with just enough funk and punch to keep them from being boring. Much of the music is danceable, some of it more downbeat-love-lost kind of feel, and all of it expertly executed.

The horns, like any good horn section, drove it all home. The high point of the evening – even with the amazing guitar work of Tharp and Watson – was the trumpeting of Alcedrick and Justin. There’s something about a good trumpet player, and these guys are two of the best.

There’s a lot to be said for a good music festival. A smorgasbord of great local music that lets you get a taste of each before moving on. But nothing beats a good night in an intimate venue with a stage full of first rate players. Luke Wade brings that. -

"Concert review: Wade knows how to make music special"

It’s been a while since I made a trip out to Magnolia Motor Lounge, and I’ve missed it. The place has good sound, good food, and I’ve always gotten good service. When I found out Luke Wade was playing there on Saturday, I had to check it out.

I got there a little before 10, and sat down near the stage. A waitress finally noticed me and asked for my order 30 minutes later. And then informed me the kitchen closed 20 minutes prior to that. No chicken fried bacon (one of their specialties) for me. Next time I’ll get there earlier and send up a flare or something.

No matter, Sean Russell was taking the stage, and music is where it’s at. The band consists of Jacob Martinez (bass), Taylor Tatsch (guitar), Shance Brentham (drums), and Sean Russell (vocals, guitar).

This was singer/songwriter act, at times a bit country, with a first-rate backing band. I hadn’t seen Jacob since he played for My Wooden Leg, and his bass work is always rock steady. Sean’s songs ranged from folk to rock to country, and when he wasn’t singing with an affected country accent, his vocals were excellent. Normally, this would be a headlining act.

But Luke Wade and No Civilians was up next, and while Luke is always a pleasure to see perform solo, his full band performances are something special. There was Luke (guitar, vocals), his brother David Wade (sax, flute), Paul Jenkins (bass), Chris Glenn (drums), and Justin Barbee took time off from his touring with Casey James to sit in (trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboard).

Luke Wade is one of Funkytown’s premier talents. His songs are emotive, romantic, often embarrassingly intimate, and his vocals and musicianship are flawless. He has a certain melancholic Paul Simon quality that really sets him apart from most of the traditional Fort Worth songwriters.

Luke gave us a long set, of mostly original material, plus covers such as Maybe I’m Amazed (Paul McCartney), Roxanne (The Police), Rich Girl (Hall & Oates), and Late In the Evening (Paul Simon). OK, most of Late in the Evening; Luke forgot a verse or two.

While his band took a break, Luke stayed on stage and played solo. Occasionally, his brother would pick up his sax and jump in. Then the band came back on. At the end of the set, the band started breaking down. But the crowd at Magnolia wasn’t ready to stop yet and demand an encore. Luke, once again, kept playing solo, and then was joined by the rest of the band for another six or seven songs. There was a crowd of women in front of the stage demanding more up until the very end. -

"Luke Wade to play Lone Star Bar"

Singer-songwriter Luke Wade will be playing at The Lone Star Bar on Saturday, Oct. 13, and the 30-year-old Dublin, Texas native said he always looks forward to a trip to West Texas.
“We like to go out there a lot because a lot of artists don’t really appreciate that area and don’t tour there very often, so it’s always a warm, welcoming crowd when we do,” Wade said. The show starts at 8 p.m.
His band, Luke Wade & No Civilians, has been playing together for three years, and has one studio album called “Tomorrow’s Ghosts,” released in June 2010. The group intends to release its sophomore album entitled “The River” in February 2014, and in anticipation of that release, they will release a single in early December.
Despite his roots, Wade claimed that his music is far from the normal West Texas country.
“Our instrumentation really sets us apart. We have a horns section, and it’s also about what we talk about in our songs,” Wade said. “We aren’t beer and trucks. I try to talk about things that are real motivational, inspirational things. If you’re at a down place in your life, I’ll try to help you out of it. I’ll try to make your day better.”
Wade began playing the guitar at age 17, and he coupled his newfound love for music with poetry he had begun writing, searching for a way to express himself. Wade eventually started a band named Hurt Street while attending Tarleton State University before settling in with his current group a few years later.
“It’s going to be a fun show,” Wade said. “We are a little different, and we’re really honest. You’ll leave remembering our songs.” -

"Funk Soul Brother"

Luke Wade might have grown up to be another Texas jock if not for a paintball that veered straight into his eye as a teen, altering the course of his life. As gruesome as that injury must have been, it was, in a way, serendipitous. Forced to explore interests that didn’t require perfect eyesight, Wade picked up the guitar and found a new calling. Now, as Luke Wade and No Civilians, the songwriter crafts soulful, rhythmic, layered rock full of tales of relationship wins and losses. “Strangest Angels” sets off on a bass saunter with spooky keys, streams of brass and jazzy guitars darting in and out. “Ghost On A Wire” is a mid-tempo meander through memories of a past love where he muses that, “today’s friends are tomorrow’s ghosts.” Wade’s a romantic, and nowhere is that more evident than on “Quiet As You Can,” an acoustic lullaby where quavering keys and the sepulchral blast of horns wrap the melody in vintage soul a la Otis Redding. Maybe he’s not on the field putting points on the scoreboard, but there’s no question that Wade is winning.


"Sung From the Heart"

In the past, Dublin, Texas’s sole claim to fame was the Dr. Pepper produced at its local bottling plant. Famous among soda cognoscenti, the Dublin Dr. Pepper Bottling Company was the only plant in the world that produced the original, cane sugar-sweetened recipe of the iconic soda.

As of 2012, Dublin Bottling Works no longer produces Dr. Pepper, and it has fallen to another homegrown original to account for the town’s wider distinction. Singer-songwriter Luke Wade, who came to fame on the stage of NBC’s The Voice, counts Dublin as his hometown. Throughout the course of Luke’s childhood and adolescence, it was this Texas town that provided the inspiration now given voice in his heartfelt songs.

“Growing up in a small town had a definite effect on my journey, which affected my story and perspective, and the sentiment of my writing,” says Luke. “More specifically, I think it gave me the advantage of being a blank slate for longer.”

This “small town advantage,” where the horizons of childhood fall firmly within town and family, can drive a person inward and cause them to cultivate the imagination and creative faculties. An openness and receptivity to new experiences can come with the sudden exposure to new influences.

“I was 18 when I left home for college,” says Luke. “I saw so many things for the very first time. At home we’d go to the city to get school clothes, but that was it. There were a lot of things I hadn’t seen or experienced.”

This exposure ballooned rapidly with Luke’s stint on national television, where he made it deep into The Voice’s seventh season and gained a widespread following. Luke’s career began well before The Voice, however.

“I had just released my second album, The River, before the show started,” says Luke. “We had an album release with maybe 600 to 700 people, so things were going pretty well. The show took it to to a different level, though.”

While The Voice may have brought Luke fame, he credits the true genesis of his career to the music-loving public of Fort Worth. Luke moved to Fort Worth after college in 2008, and got his first break at the club located across the street from his apartment.

“I begged the owner to let me play there on Monday nights,” says Luke. “I built that night up until a couple hundred people would come. I’d burn CDs for every show, hang flyers in all the coffee shops, stuff more flyers in the Fort Worth Weeklies, so people would find them. I really hustled in Fort Worth, and the city responded.”

In acknowledgment of Luke’s work ethic and success, Mayor Betsy Price inaugurated December 4th as Luke Wade Day.

“Fort Worth has definitely rallied around me,” says Luke. “Not only is it my home, but I feel indebted to it as well.”

Fans of Luke Wade can look forward to two special gifts: his third studio album, nearing completion, and a special headlining set at the MAIN ST Arts Festival on Friday, April 15th. The new album is born from an intensely fruitful period, in which Luke pushed himself to confront past fears in the attainment of new creative heights.

“This record is about my coming to understand that the things I’m afraid of are the things I need the most,” says Luke. “The previous album took about eight months, but with this one, we went into the studio and finished the tracking in four-and-a-half days.”

As for inspiration, Luke identifies two main sources that inform his art.

“The first is writing from your place in the world, when you draw inspiration from what’s around you,” says Luke. “Then, for me, I try to find some dark corners in my life and shine a light on them. I try to get out of my comfort zone and think about the nature of my relationships, my fixation on romantic love, and what about that is real and what is not.”

This new album marks a leap forward for Luke, as he refines his songwriting and performances, and pushes himself to make the most of his gifts and opportunities.

“I understand that I’m very fortunate to have a voice that is recognizable and can make people feel things,” says Luke. “What I wanted to do with this new album is cut a lot of the fat, to focus on writing great songs and recording great performances.” - West FW Lifestyle

"Singer-songwriter Luke Wade moves beyond ‘The Voice’"

It’s easy to imagine Luke Wade as a Dr Pepper plant tour guide.

He’s a good-looking dude. He’s courteous. And he knows a heck of a lot about Dr Pepper.

That’s not so unusual when one grows up in Dublin, the small Texas town famous for being the soda’s birthplace — and the last place where one could find Dr Pepper made with pure cane sugar the old-fashioned way.

“They mixed it all by hand, which made it a little bit more special,” Wade said. “And it was made on antique machinery the way it used to be made … Those 23 flavors were basically born of a ‘suicide.’ So it was probably a lot of local fruits. I would suspect apricot and plum and peach and different things that would grow around Texas.”

The Dublin plant doesn’t make Dr Pepper anymore. Wade has moved on, too. Sweetness is still part of the mix.

Blessed with an incredibly soulful voice, Wade made a valiant stand on season seven of NBC’s “The Voice.” These days he’s promoting his crowd-funded sophomore album, “The River.” One listen to the sexy single “Runaround” is all the evidence needed to realize he isn’t an ordinary reality TV show contestant.

Wade performs Saturday at Sam’s Burger Joint.

When he was in town in January, Wade had a long line of female fans waiting after the show looking to take a selfie with the singer. Just moments earlier, he had some 300 folks bopping to his horn-driven, neo-soul originals and fun covers of the Police’s “Roxanne” and Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl,” the latter sung from atop a shaky chair onstage.

Sam’s manager Erik Christensen chalks up some of the enthusiasm to “The Voice” effect.

“He definitely does draw the women out,” Christensen said. “It’s going to be interesting to see if we match the turnout or if there’s any drop. Being on TV doesn’t necessarily translate into ticket sales. He’s been one of the ones that it has translated into ticket sales. I don’t know if it’s ‘The Voice’ or just getting out and playing. It’s probably a little bit of both. He really fits with what we do.”

More Information

Luke Wade

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sam’s Burger Joint, 330 E. Grayson St.

Cost: $12-$50. Tickets available at

Opening act: Son of Stan

Wade is cool with fans of the TV show turning up. But he’d rather people come to hear his songs. He has recorded a danceable batch for a new EP at the Treefort in Austin. He’ll sing some of them Saturday — “Kiss and Make Up,” “Morningview” and “Say It Out Loud.”

“I put so much more of myself into what I write and what I record. If people know that stuff, and they’re coming because they connect with it, then that’s really the best,” Wade said. “But just having folks there at all is amazing. Awesome.”

Backed by his band, No Civilians, his sound is definitely not straight-forward Texas country or the rowdier Red Dirt. Wade credits his parents.

“My parents are kind of hippies, free spirits,” he said. “It just never occurred to me to be a genre. I just started by trying to be honest and try to find my voice. No offense to ‘Red Dirt,’ I think it’s great music and a lot of fun. It just didn’t inspire me.”

Music & Stage

Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle perform in Kansas City last month. Saturday’s Empire Theatre concert is one of the last on the duo’s “little tour.”
Colvin & Earle winding down their duo tour Saturday in San

Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, performs Sunday.
Legendary musicians arrive on consecutive nights for intimate

“Spring Scene of Texas Hill Country” can now be admired in its new home by visitors to the Mays Family Center, a new $15 million exhibition and event space at the Witte.
Porfirio Salinas landscape has a new home at Witte Museum

Parsons Dance will offer a sensory-friendly performance during its run at the Tobin Center.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts presents its first

Former New Order and Joy Division bass player Peter Hook is touring with his new band
New Order bass player arrives with ‘Substance’

SInger, songwriter and actress Chrysta Bell, a San Antonio native.
Smoldering singer Chrysta Bell is rare pop concoction

Kinky Friedman
Kinky Friedman playing rare solo nightclub date in S.A.

Small-town life had its own effect. For Wade, it was a positive one. He described it “as like the 1950s.”

“There are certain things that come with a small town,” he explained.

“There is no refuge from it. It’s sort of one size fits all. It is what it is, which can be a challenge. But it also teaches you to appreciate the differences in people.

“Being from a small town can be associated with being small-minded or set in your ways. But the truth is whenever there’s only 3,000 people or so forces everyone to interact and be a community together. In a lot of ways, it teaches you to be tolerant. Everyone knew everyone.”

Those humble roots got him through, what he described as, the insular craziness of “The Voice” and then “being back in the world.”

“I was very surprised at how quickly and intensely ‘The Voice’ bubble burst. But I was also very surprised by the amount of people who made the transition from being a ‘Voice’ fan to being a Luke Wade fan.” - San Antonio Express-News


The River - March 2014

The Runaround EP - January 2014

Luke Wade and an acoustic quartet - 2012

Tomorrow's Ghosts - 2010



Growing up on Hurt Street in a sultry little Texas
town might seem an auspicious beginning for a soul singer.  But for Dublin’s Luke Wade, it’s hard to
imagine that it would be anything short of destiny.

Born of extraordinary artists and self-described
‘Hippies’, Luke is the product of a home that truly cultivated creativity.  The youngest of four children, his music is
the modern manifestation of the introspective and enlightened notions instilled
by his parents.  Bob and Wanda spawned a
self- awareness that makes Luke’s music inherently reflective, without need of
gimmick or novelty.  His insightful and
thoughtful lyrics make it easy to imagine that if Hurt Street were located in
some distant galaxy, this is still the music he would create.

An unlikely series of childhood ailments provided
Luke with an early sense of perspective that many never find even as
adults.  A bout of spinal meningitis
proved almost fatal, a paintball accident left him blind in one eye and some
years later a severe heatstroke left him struggling to overcome temporary brain
damage and amnesia.  And though these
experiences inevitably influence his music, it is not in the fatalistic way you
might expect.  While his songs may have
that soulful ‘written on the porch because the house was too damned hot’ feel,
the end result is a style that feels ever hopeful.

It is but a few times in a generation that an artist
comes along with the potential to reflect so honestly the human condition. Such
a calling requires a humility and self-awareness that seldom find an artist
until late in his career, when he’s turned the corner from idealistic to
philosophical. Often young singer-songwriters aspire to draw a picture with words,
a melodic expression of the visual, hoping to capture a single meaningful
moment in time.  Luke aspires to capture
our journey through it - and his sophomore album, “The River”, speaks to a
brilliant departure on that journey.

The spring release of “The River” and a swell of
media coverage have prompted renewed comparison to the likes of Ray
LaMontagne.  Each stylistically unique,
Luke surrounds himself with exceptional musicians and remains keenly aware as
to his place in the musical equation. 
His incomparable musicality requires more of the accompaniment than just
support of the lyric, he allows it to build a distinctive setting in which to
tell his story.  When performing with his
full band, Luke’s boisterous horn section and soulful voice are the perfect
paring of audacity and nuance. 

Luke’s writing is always honest and never
self-indulgent, creating music that feels as much a part of the listener as the
artist.  His ‘damaged in transport but
absolutely delivered’ charm has endeared him to his audience and encouraged a
rabid following wherever he performs. Instinctively, Luke seems to realize that
his success is always secondary to the song, resulting in a refreshing
vulnerability that you couldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

Music is at once frivolous and necessary.  That rare artist willing to embrace this idea
will become timeless, making the music that comes to describe generations and
cultures, not simply as historical narrative, but as a conscious identity by
which we willingly choose to define ourselves in real time.

Meet Luke Wade.

Band Members