By Matthew Ybarra June 14, 2019
His roots are buried deep in Navasota, but the music of local legend Randy Pavlock began branching out at an early age.
Since the days of picking on his daddy’s old guitar something special began to transpire. “Dad had an old Stella guitar that sat in the corner with only five strings and always out of tune,” explained Randy. “I would play around on it and find the right keys to songs and eventually making up my own songs. Even though I asked for a set of drums, I ended up with my first guitar on Christmas at age seven. I still joke about that to this day.”
Randy began taking lessons from local guitarist and singer Scott Brooks. “Scott was one of the few local artists along with Paul Failla that taught me a lot. I would pay attention to them onstage and watch them at their homes playing guitar. They let this annoying little kid ask questions and learn from them. It gave me a push that makes me forever grateful.”
As a young child Randy was exposed to a vast array of music genres. “I’ve loved music since I was able to crawl. For as long as I can remember music always grabbed my attention. I was always around country, rock and blues music. My parents had an open record collection and I was exposed to them all before kindergarten.
Randy Pavlock jams on a borrowed guitar at age seven. Even though he asked for a drum set Randy eventually received his first guitar for Christmas later that year.
I remember hearing a lot of Elvis, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Fats Domino and Jimmy Reed. My mom listened to all those songs on our record player in the living room while working from home.”
Music became even more important to Randy as a freshman in high school. “An unknown illness came close to ending my life at the end of my freshman year. I always say music saved me during those hospital years along with my family and friends. That experience made me grow up fast. The rest is history from there.”
Someone somewhere always asked Randy to get onstage and play guitar, but it wasn’t until he turned 14 that he began playing in bands. “I started playing in bands at 14 but things really got going once I was able to drive and started my own groups.”
Randy left home when he was old enough to drive. “I was just seeking more and chasing my dreams like the Chris Stapleton song “Traveler.”
Randy burned lots of gas following several bands who became some of his influences. “I would travel whatever radius the gas in my car would take me to watch many local bands in Brenham, Houston, Conroe, Bryan, Hempstead, College station and so on. The list goes on and on. Most of the time I would tag along with local groups such as The Fire Ants, Maiden Texas, The Junction Band etc.”
Eventually Randy landed in Austin. “I was able to get a feel for living in a bigger city. That’s where I met a lot more mentors. There are so many and i’m sure I’ll forget to include some on the list. Among those are Pinetop Perkins of Muddy Waters Band, one of the best shuffle drummers of the late Johnny Winter Band Uncle John Turner or “Unc” as we called him RIP. Unc was one of the first to welcome me to Austin. I remember the first time I went to jam at his home. It finally hit me who he played with throughout his career.”
“I was never a star struck person and it tickled me knowing I was around the same circles of my heroes.” Randy worked at the Heart of Texas Music store and ran across many greats like Jerry Jeff Walker and Jimmie Vaughan. “Rob Roy Parnell, brother and songwriter of the famous Lee Roy Parnell would get me onstage at the famous Antones every Monday night. You never knew who would walk through that door to sit in.”
Randy was introduced to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s bassist Tommy Shannon by Uncle John. “We met around 2002 and are still friends to this day. Tommy and Unc played together in the Johnny Winter band. Tommy and I played together at the Buddy Miles and Friends show at the famous LaZona Rosa along with Buddy.”
Gary Clark Jr. and Mal-ford Milian also performed that night.
Miles and Randy had a close friendship and losing Miles is one of the biggest downs Randy has experienced. “The hardest downs are losing close loved ones who have impacted us. During the last days of Miles, I would sing to him at his bed side while he was under hospice care. It’s still one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I had to honor a legend who came into this world and gave the gift of music to us all. I wanted to make sure he went out of this world with dignity and style.”
Randy also lost good friend Lars Vad who introduced Randy to Norway where Randy’s music is still popular. “Lars and I had the exact same taste, style and passion in music. I always tell people he was like my twin from across the pond. Lars and I talked about life and goals throughout our journeys until his passing in 2013.”
Lars wasn’t much older than Randy. “Losing my best friend and songwriter Lars taught me that things happen unexpectedly but we still go on and keep their memories alive with us.”
Randy has taken the stage at many venues including headlining in front of thousands in Chatanooga, TN. He opened for David Allen Coe and played amongst bands such as Europe, Thin Lizzy, Joe Bonamassa, Canned Heat and Three Dog Night.
Some of his most memorable performances however were taking the stage at The Navasota Blues Festival opening for Eddie Money, Buckwheat Zydeco, Chris Duarte and playing beside Buddy Miles.
Randy has had many members throughout his time with his group Randy Pavlock and Twenty Four Seven. “They are all considered family. “Each one added something to the plate.” Cory Bosley has been my drummer throughout the years and a longtime friend. Also, long time traveling drummer and friend Tim Mondragon. I always tell him he kept my sanity in check while touring throughout the years. My bassist Will Rose has been with me for some time and is very supportive. He has worked by my side with me on many shows and is there anytime I need to bounce ideas in the studio. It is important to have musicians who support trust and believe working with you. You can expect to see these guys on a lot of upcoming music and then some.”
Randy Pavlock and Twenty Four Seven take the stage at the Sounds of Summer Music series in Pavlock’s hometown Friday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. The event is free to the public.
“We’re a twist of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Travis Tritt, jazz, blues, rock and country.”
Randy’s latest album entitled “Fly on/ Live on” in memory of his friend Lars will be released soon. The Album will feature She’s Getting to My Head, and Stevie Ray Vaghan’s Love Struck Baby.
Southwest Blues CD Review
Randy Pavlock and Twenty Four Seven - 'Miles to Go' CD
Guitarist and singer Randy Pavlock hails from the official blues capital of Texas, Navasota. Whatever you think of the Texas Legislature’s having bestowed that honor without consulting any of us, Pavlock has a solid grounding in the blues, having misspent his youth hanging around places such as Neal’s Hideaway, perhaps the last real juke joint in this part of the country. He’s done his homework on record, too, soaking up the music of everybody from Navasota icon Mance Lipscomb to Lightnin’ Hopkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.
Pavlock has also spent a lot of time in Austin, where he found friends and mentors in two unfortunately now-departed drummers and singers, Uncle John Turner and Buddy Miles. Turner, famous for having played with Johnny Winter, played some gigs with Pavlock and showed him around the Austin scene. Miles, whose Band of Gypsys album with Hendrix had a big impact on Pavlock, joined his protégé on a cover of “Hey Joe” on Pavlock’s new CD, Miles to Go.
The Hendrix influence comes through loud and clear, too, on the doomy “Prison Land”. But Pavlock makes it work; this ain’t Blue Cheer. Pavlock does a good job, too, on the T-Bone Walker classic “Cold, Cold Feeling,” the Freddie King instrumental “Side Tracked” and the funky Stax staple “Breaking up Somebody’s Home”. He makes each song his own while staying true to the original. Pavlock’s own songs on the CD run the gamut from shuffles such as “I’m Crazy” to the wistful ballad “All the Things,” about the sad fact of deeds undone and words unsaid. The instrumental title track is downright pretty. “Where I’m Going” rocks along gently with some neat turns of phrase and some nice, understatedly stinging guitar.
Randy Pavlock has found his own voice and continues to grow, as both a performer and a songwriter.
- Jay Brakefield -