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Monday, September 25, 2023


Texas-sized sounds

Houston-based band The Literary Greats released its much-anticipated second album, Ocean, Meet the Valley, in 2009 and has solidified its status among Texas groups. | Courtesy of the Literary Greats

If you’re in touch with the Texas music scene, chances are you’ve heard of The Literary Greats.

They released their self-titled first album in 2007, but they were still just learning about each other — the band didn’t even completely form until they were in the studio recording together.  After a few years of touring and honing their sound, they’ve come out with their sophomore release Ocean, Meet the Valley.

The time they have spent playing together has paid off in spades – The Literary Greats have made a better album than their first, and there is a genuine attention to detail that so many artists seem to forget about on their second record.

“The last album, we recorded it ourselves, and we hadn’t played a lot of shows, so whenever you play shows (as a) full band…you figure out what the band does well live, and I think that translated more to the second record,” said guitarist Taylor Lee.

The lead singer for The Literary Greats, Brandon Elam, seconded that notion, saying, “For the second record we were already a band and writing and playing together.  That’s probably the biggest difference, actually.”

The Literary Greats have been cementing their place in the Texas music scene not only with their live performances, but also with the support they give their other local musicians.

“We all play in other groups, too.  We’re lovers of music; we’re not one of those bands where we play with other bands and we don’t stick around to see them,” said Lee.  “We like watching other bands that we play with; we like different genres of music.”

One of the best things about The Literary Greats is their dedication to Houston.  They got their start here in town at the Continental Club, and it’s their favorite venue because “they have a good vibe and they’ve been good to us,” Lee said.

They also have a very clear picture of the future and what it holds for them as musicians, as well as the impact the band has on their families. “When we’re not on the road, we all have our little things going on.  We all have day jobs as well,” Lee said.

The band knows they aren’t going to explode overnight and that it takes a lot of drive and passion to continue to make good music.  That’s what the group was founded on and that’s how they continue to view the future.

“Honestly the ultimate goal is to continue making music and try to make music for a living.  Ultimately we’d like to be able to make a good living playing music – a good enough living to support our families, really.  We have no aspirations to be superstars,” Elam said.

The Literary Greats aren’t just focused entirely on themselves, either.  If they could eliminate any band from history, it would be Nickelback, “so that I would never ever have to hear one of their songs again,” Lee said.

When the topic of illegal downloading came up, Elam stayed calm.  “I hope they (illegal downloaders) come to the show.  I hope they like it enough that they would rather come see us live,” he said.

It’s rare for a band to know exactly where their place in music is and to know exactly what steps they want to take moving forward.  When one does come along, though, it’s only a matter of time before they make it big.  Expect to see more, well, great things from The Literary Greats.

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