He’s got a new album called “Colfax 85”. On this project, Bob Mauldin shares a bit of his upbringing with audiences. Colfax is in Van Zandt County, a Texas community where Bob grew up. He says, “I’m proud of where I’m from and have a real appreciation for the people who influenced me growing up. There’s a lot to be celebrated here and I’ve been able to do some of that through this music.”
In a lot of ways, this community helped make Mauldin into the multifaceted entrepreneur he is today. He’s never had just one career path. In fact, he has taken many paths in his career, all of which have lead to various levels of success. These days, the Renaissance Man is showcasing his singing and songwriting skills. And for over 10 years and counting, Mauldin has also been producing and the host of Expedition Texas, a syndicated TV program that dives deep into the history of unique places across Texas. “I love what I do, which is taking audiences on a trip, whether it’s through music or television.”
Mauldin’s love for broadcasting goes way back. He started out in the business during the 90’s, as a DJ at KNUE 101.5 FM, a top rated station in Tyler, Texas. Later, Mauldin would become a GM at his hometown station, KRDH 1510 AM in Canton: “I really enjoyed radio broadcasting, and it taught me a lot about the music industry.”
Eventually Bob switched over to recording his own music, and released a song called “Baby” in 2001, which started getting played on KKUS 104.1 The Ranch by Tom Perryman, a well-known Nashville DJ, who came back home to East Texas. He wanted to promote local artists like Mauldin, through his radio show.
It wasn’t long before Bob was booked in concerts as an opening act for a variety of country legends being promoted by the station. “I was having a lot of fun, and I’ll forever be grateful for that time, working with these great artists I grew up hearing on the radio.”
Mauldin later signed a record deal with an East Texas indie label and put out “Van Zandt County Line”. On that project, he had a duet with popular artist Billy Joe Shaver, called “Ride Me Down Easy”. The song was doing well but was somewhat overshadowed by another duet Billy Joe’s label released a few weeks later. “Wacko From Waco” featured Willie Nelson. Faced with a choice of which Billy Joe Shaver duet to play, it was apparent which one DJ’s would choose and “Ride Me Down Easy” fizzled short of the charts.
In 2019 Mauldin released “Summer Days” a project that was reflective of the changes going on in his life; combination of grief an inspiration.
And now in 2022, we’re back to his latest project, “Colfax 85”. We talked to Mauldin about this album and his other accomplishments.
Bob, you have a lot of talents and professions. How would you describe your career?
Everything I do comes from wanting to create and entertain. From radio, to TV, to music… it is all grounded in creating things that I think people will like. When I hear that something I’ve done has entertained or helped someone have some fun, it’s very gratifying. I love the business side of what I do and would love to spend more time behind the camera producing projects for others or in the studio producing music for others.
Tell us about the new album
“Colfax 1985” grew out of one song that I wrote around the time we released my last album. So it sat on the shelf for a while. During the pandemic, I began to add to the song and it became what you now hear as the title song of the album, “Colfax 85”. I wanted to produce more acoustic and country songs that paired well with it and that is why this album has a more raw country sound. I love it and think I’ve finally made the kind of music I heard in my head when these songs were written.
What kind of feedback are you getting about the project?
I’ve heard a lot more enthusiasm about this project. I think folks are surprised by just how country it really is and that it isn’t really trying to fit in with any real styles of music, but to have a voice of its own. Several DJ’s have commented on that and their comments make me hopeful that some of the singles will get good spins on radio.
What’s your process for deciding which music will go on the album?
There is no process. I agonized over which songs would make it on the project, just as I’m sure every songwriter does. Some songs were cut because they just didn’t fit the overall sound I was going for and some were cut because, even though I loved them, they weren’t going to be beneficial to the goal here…which is to sell my music. None of my music is very “commercial”, but these songs were a little more commercial than others I had in my pocket at the time.
What sets this album a part from the others you’ve done in the past?
“Colfax 1985” is as close as you can get to the way I hear music. The opening bars of “Wanted Man” contain just bass, acoustic guitar and light drums. The only thing added to it once we get rolling is steel guitar. It’s a raw, simple sound that I usually seek out from other artists for my listening enjoyment. I hadn’t heard it lately, so I just recreated it. If I could get away with it, all my songs would be the same arrangement…but that would be boring wouldn’t it?
What drives to you to make music?
Of all the things I do, music is the ONLY thing that allows me to express my own feelings and emotions. I’ve been very blessed to have a way to get those thoughts out over the years. It’s better than any therapy and mighty fun to play!
What’s the best career advice you’ve gotten about your music?
It wasn’t necessarily advice. It was more of a trend I’ve noticed lately that liberated me from the worry or desire to compete in a very crowded independent music scene. Because of so many great artists that some people may have never heard of, I have found that it’s okay to have a small but dedicated following of what you’re trying to make. Artists like Charley Crocket, Nikki Lane, Lauren Morrow, Jaime Wyatt, Shooter Jennings and others are proving that there is an audience for more traditional sounding country and outlaw country music.
How has your music changed since the first album?
My first album in 2001 featured songs I had created almost identical to the way I created the new album. I played all the instruments, wrote most of the songs and handled everything. It was out of necessity then. Today, it’s by choice. I’ve gone the path of being with a record label and that was a very rewarding experience. But at the end of the day someone else is making the decisions about whether or not you’ll be putting out that next single.
In 2011 my Van Zandt County Line album had at least four very solid contenders for singles. I felt that with the right promotion, we could have had multiple hits. But things beyond their control meant that they couldn’t promote additional singles. That was sad but I’m truly happy to have had that experience with them. They are awesome people and true fans of the music. When I returned to music in 2019, I was ready, but with 8 years between projects, I needed help producing. Thus, Summer Days came out sounding much more polished. After that, I certainly wanted to keep working on music, but I was presented with some professional opportunities I couldn’t pass up, so I stepped away again for another few years. I kept recording in my downtime and because it wasn’t produced on some deadline, I found I had more time to perfect these simple arrangements to fit my original visions for the songs! Finally, this year, things lined up so that I had a project ready and the time to promote it properly in the months between seasons of Expedition Texas where nothing else was happening. The stars aligned and I’m dipping my toes in the water again and having a great time!
Tell us about the tour is shaping up.
I’m blessed with great folks working behind the scenes to put together tour dates and to come up with creative ways to promote it. We announced a series of dates when the first single was released, but since then there has been more work taking place and some VERY exciting things to announces regarding our tour. We’re trying to first focus on locations where Expedition Texas airs because we feel that we can tap into that audience to introduce them to the OTHER thing their host is doing.
For more information, visit: https://www.bobmauldin.com