Justin Trevino

If you’re a two-stepper, find Justin Trevino in a Hill Country beer joint and travel back a few decades. Born in Brownsville, raised in Austin and now living in Brady, Trevino delivers impeccable “pure country” originals in the footsteps of yesterday’s Ray Price, Faron Young and Floyd Tillman. Look for Trevino with the wonderful Amber Digby at the Broken Spoke, or at a beer joint or VFW Post in Fredericksburg, Brady, Bandera, Possum Kingdom, Colorado City, Navasota or Marathon. Slick back your hair, put on your boots and hit the floor!

The seeds of country music were planted early and deep in Trevino, nurtured by parents who shared a love for Justin and a love for country music. His father Joaquin, a hardcore fan, often brought his son along to performances in local honky-tonks. Justin has fond memories of listening to Joaquin’s vast collection of country vinyl at home, and cruising the highways of Texas in the family truck with an 8-track tape playing, over and over again.

Music was almost a language for the young boy, who was blind from birth. “When I was three years old, Mom took me to the grocery. As I was sitting in the cart waiting for her to check out, I started singing the words of an old Johnny Cash song, ‘Delia’s Gone.’ So, there I am, barely more than a toddler, belting out ‘Delia, oh, Delia, Delia all my life…If I hadn’t have shot poor Delia, I’d have had her for my wife…Delia’s gone, one more round, Delia’s gone…First time I shot her, I shot her in the side…’ Well, by the time I got around to shooting poor Delia for the second time, the clerk was in shock. She turned to my mom and said, ‘Ma’am, does he not know any nursery rhymes?'”

Trevino picked up a guitar at the age of seven and his own talent began to blossom. He listened and learned and remembered, then he began to create. Over time his voice developed into its own powerful instrument…twangy and honest, all country, all Justin Trevino.

Performing came naturally and at the age of thirteen he formed his own band, Justin Trevino & Sunset Country. They played honky-tonks in and around Austin. Four years later he caught the eye of Harry Weiss, owner of the Red Eye Saloon (located in a San Antonio flea market), and Weiss invited him to lead a weekly jam session. One Sunday Justin had the chance to meet Johnny Bush, a Texas music legend and one of the boy’s favorite artists growing up. Bush remained an idol, but over time also became a mentor and friend. Ultimately, Trevino was invited to become a “Bandolero” in Johnny Bush’s band, and stayed for nine years. He played bass, sang harmony, and opened each show as lead vocalist until Johnny came on stage. To this day, Johnny thinks of Justin as a son. “Justin was my biggest fan until I heard him sing. Then I became his!”

When Justin is not in a dance hall or a honky-tonk firing up the crowd with his true country, he can be found in his Martindale studio working his recording and production business, Heart of Texas Records. He has a “play it forward” approach to life, helping new artists get a start, like Bush did for him. Amber Digby was fortunate to work with Trevino early in her career, and he feels blessed to have helped her grow and mature as a performer.

Justin has also been hosting a live radio show, The Pure Country Revue, since 2011. The program airs on radio (KEQX 89.7) and online (www.KEQX897.com) every Wednesday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, central time.

Over the years Trevino has shared the stage with the likes of Don Walser (who helped Justin record his first album), Darrell McCall, Tony Booth and Curtis Potter. He has also recorded such storied songwriters as Leona Williams, Tillman, and Frankie Miller, and newcomers Georgette Jones, Kimberly Murray and Rance Norton.

Justin is truly a living giant in authentic honky-tonk music, with a heart as big as Texas and enough grit to make John Wayne proud.

Three things (no, make it five) you should know about Justin: (1) he is named after Justin Tubb, son of Ernest and his father’s favorite songwriter, (2) he owns a complete collection of Johnny Bush’s records, (3) he is not related to Geronimo Trevino or Rick Trevino, (4) he likes being on stage as a “band”, rather than serving as a “front man”, because it gives him a chance to sing harmony vocals, and (5) he has recorded and produced thirteen albums, with many more to come!

If you love Justin Trevino, Austin Songwriter suggests you check out Kelly Willis, Houston Marchman and Doug Sahm.

A|S Series (June 28, 2016)

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