Portraits of a Musical Life

Ten up-and-coming musicians on the people, places, attitudes, and influences that have defined them


You hear a song with your ears, but you feel the really good ones with your heart. It’s why “Sunday Morning Coming Down” soundtracks so many lonely morning-afters, and why “He Stopped Loving Her Today” can reduce even the most stoic to tears. For songwriters, pieces of everyday life—little insecurities and serious struggles, chance encounters and lighthearted moments—are the basis for their livelihoods, lyric by lyric. We sat down with ten up-and-coming musicians at the Luck Reunion, an all-day concert held each year on Willie Nelson’s ranch in Luck, Texas, to ask them about the obstacles, triumphs, and, of course, the tunes that have shaped them and their art. Read on for a selection of their answers.

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