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“No one told me the music industry would be easy, but, no one told me it would be this hard either.” After 13 years of struggling in the Texas Music scene, Rex Robards has finally found his way home; finally found a place in this music scene where he feels comfortable and most of all, where he feels necessary. “We all desire to feel wanted or needed and I used music to fill that desire. Honestly, I was lost.” Rex describes his struggling music career as good, then bad, then good again. It is full of memories; some pleasant, some not. “It seemed at times I was willing to do almost anything to move forward in my career. I made a lot of bad choices and burned a lot of bridges. Ask anyone that knew me before the music and they will tell you that I let the music scene change me, and not in a good way unfortunately, not until now at least.”
That “change” is finally coming full-circle for Robards. He is now trying to use the lessons learned from his mistakes in life in an attempt to reach out to others in the Texas Music scene, fans and artists alike. “I decided to stop booking shows earlier this year and take a little break. My last show was at Windfest in Portland, TX. with Jon Wolfe. I have been playing music at church for the past two years and that has really changed my life, but, I still have an overwhelming desire to play secular music as well as Christian music. That’s how the idea came to me. I just knew there had to be other musicians in the Texas scene that felt the same way I was feeling. That’s why I started this association.”
The association Rex is referring to is the Texas Music Christian Association. Self-described as a group of talented artists; Real People writing Real Music who have Real Faith. From this association was born the Music That Matters concert series. “I think one of the reasons I was never popular in the Texas Music scene is because my songs are too deep. The Texas scene is largely driven by college age listeners and they typically have two things on their mind, parties and more parties. My songs are about life experiences and you actually have to listen to get it. College kids at the shows just want to drink and have fun. They don’t want to be contemplating life. Music matters to me and it really speaks to me. My songwriting is a tool I use for healing. My guitar and my songs have never let me down. They have seen me through some very tough times in life.”
It is these tough times in life that Rex felt he needed to share with others. He felt the need to share the ideas behind the songs and the life behind the man in hopes of reaching other artists and fans who have shared the same experiences. “Life is not supposed to be lived alone. Fellowship is important, but, I’m pretty much a loner, so I had some changing to do. I gave my life to Christ and let me tell you, things got real in a hurry. My outlook on life changed; my outlook on music changed; the reason I wanted to play music changed. I devoted my life to a cause much bigger than myself and God began leading people into my life that gave me hope again. He healed me and I wanted to share that testimony.”
From this desire to share his testimony, a thought was born; a thought that secular and Christian music could exist in the same place at the same time being enjoyed by the same people. “We are all just regular people you know. Christian or non-Christian. We like good country music and we like good Christian music. The songs I played at church I couldn’t necessarily play in the secular scene and the songs I played in the secular scene I couldn’t play at church. I decided I needed to bridge the gap between those two locations. I wanted to introduce the bar crowd to Jesus in their own atmosphere, free of the condemnation which kept them from attending church. There are A LOT of Texas artists that have a faith and a story to share. I wanted to give them an avenue to tell that story in hopes of reaching their fans. What if, just what if….one song reaches one fan and it leads that person to Christ? What if it saves a life? There is no greater reward than that. No amount of money or fame can outdo the possibility of your music saving a person’s life. Music has that ability. I know it because I’ve lived it. God can use any song He chooses to reach a person. It doesn’t have to be a Christian song. It all depends on the person receiving the lyrics as to what that song says to them.
Rex laughs as he talks about the changes in his life and the changes in his music, but, it is easy to see the determination and sincerity in his heart. He wants to be a support structure for musicians and fans in the Texas Music scene. “The Texas Music Christian Association is growing every day. I believe it will succeed for two reasons; One, because God has given His blessing and two, because we are not judging anyone. Our door is open to ALL Texas Music fans and artists. I’m very excited to see what will unfold."
Rex Robards and the Texas Music Christian Association might be in uncharted territory as far as the music scene goes, but, Rex says he likes the challenge. “I’m not sure I ever really fit into the Texas scene anyway. Like I said, I sort of have a loner mentality at times. I don’t like the clicks that develop in the music industry so I’ve always tried to avoid those. Problem is, if you’re not in the click, you’re not in the click. That means you struggle and don’t have a coat tail to ride on. It’s tough paving your own way and every musician running the road out there, going broke for the love of their music, knows exactly what I’m talking about. I have decided to build my own click I guess. I tell everyone I meet; this is NOT a Christian music association. This is a music association of Christians. There is a difference. We don’t limit ourselves by categorizing our music. If it was only Christian music, that has already been done. There are a lot of Christian associations out there. I want to join Christians and non-Christians together in hopes that the love will wear off on one another. We all need someone in our life at some point. I want to be that person you can call at any hour of the night when you need a shoulder to lean on or a word of wisdom right before making that stupid decision that may change your life forever. That’s what a real Texas Music Christian should do for his brothers and sisters in the scene.”
Music That Matters concert series; Texas Music Christians; probably not a new idea, but, it just might be a new beginning for some artists and fans. Who knows, if the avenue is created, maybe more Texas artists will come out from behind the walls of the church, wanting to share their stories and share their songs in hopes that they too can reach just one person and make a difference in this ever changing world.
Rex shares his story with us about all God has brought him through. His struggles, his victories and defeats. To see where Rex came from to where he and his family are today is the power of God's forgiveness and redemption in his life. That same love is available to all of us, no matter where you are in life. Remember God loves you more than you can imagine...
Here is Rex's Story. It will be worth 21 minutes of your time I promise...
-Pastor Clint Shuttlesworth