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Josh Weathers prepares for ‘see-ya-later’ show at Billy Bob’s Texas

Josh Weathers Band

8 p.m. Friday

Billy Bob’s Texas, Fort Worth

$10-$20


Posted 6:26pm on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014

Josh Weathers is ready for a change.

After 10 years in the band bearing his name, the singer-songwriter says his “heart has gone other places.”

What that means for the Josh Weathers Band’s die-hard fan base is that, as of now, Friday’s JWB show at Billy Bob’s Texas will be the last for the foreseeable future.

The 30-year-old Weathers is quick to say the performance isn’t necessarily a “farewell,” as it has been advertised, and he admits the reaction from anguished fans has been “really humbling.”

“I would call it more ... like a see-ya-later,” Weathers says. “I’m going to be doing some other things. ... I’m still going to be performing every once in a while. Being able to play music is a blessing, and God only allows so many of us to be able to do that, so I would never neglect that blessing. I just want to do some different things, rather than grinding it out. That’s not where my heart is anymore.”

Those other things include expanding his family (Weathers and his wife, Kady, who have a young son, are in the process of adopting a little girl from India), building their Advocare business and helping raise awareness of the Asante Choir, which is comprised of East African children.

Weathers says he, along with producer-musician Nick Choate, hopes to record the Asante Choir when the group travels to Texas next month.

“My life has changed a lot in the last two years,” he says. “I want to use music for something different, more than entertainment. I’ve been playing in a band at my church, and that’s been really satisfying. ... I sat with the founder of Asante [Amon Munyaneza] and he changed my life. ... A lot of blessings can come from putting it down in one area. All my musical satisfactions are taken care of.”

Another event causing Weathers to stop and take serious stock of his life, as it relates to making music, was his brush with fame last year, when a two-year-old clip of him covering Dolly Parton-by-way-of-Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You at the Kessler Theater went viral. To date, the six-minute video has racked up more than 889,000 views on YouTube.

The ensuing attention — fielding phone calls from producers for Ellen and Conan, and gaining notice from national media outlets like the Huffington Post — was met not with euphoria, but ambivalence.

Weathers has long insisted on doing things his way, much to the consternation of outside observers, and his approach to this unexpected stroke of good fortune was no different.

Although some bands would kill for an opening like the one Weathers got (and, indeed, when I spoke with him for a 2011 profile, he told me "I want 'all right' to be a little bit better. I don't think you ever stop kicking at it"), he looked before he decided to leap.

“I got a little bit of a taste of that next level, and that next level didn’t taste so good,” he says. “It was what I was after forever and ever. … When I finally got there, I was like, ‘I don’t want this; this is not for me. I love music so much, I feel like this is going to make me hate this. Thank you but no thank you; I’ll go this way.’ Since going ‘that way,’ the peace and the joy [I’ve felt] — it’s amazing.”

Still, Weathers admits, to his bandmates — Kevin Rennels, Jeff Dazey, Danny Ross and Sammy Boe — the decision to turn down bigger opportunities was surprising.

“It was kind of a shocker to the guys,” he says. “[They were like] ‘I feel like we’ve been training for the Olympics and now we got here — what’s the deal?’ They’ve taken it really well. We’re still buddies. I know they’re disappointed, but it’s just the way it is, I guess.”

And, as they do every time they perform, the Josh Weathers Band is leaving it all on the stage.

Its most recent LP, Big Night in the City, was released in 2012, and according to Weathers, there aren’t any leftovers in the vault.

“It’s all pretty much out there,” he says. “There was one song that we recorded that we didn’t release called Two Bottles. I don’t know if I’m going to release it because I don’t really like the song, to be honest.”

What he would like to do, at some future date, is get into the studio and record an acoustic album.

“I’ve never really gotten to do that,” Weathers says. “I want to do something good and heartfelt — I already have the title for it: Songs for Asante.”

There is no firm timetable for whatever comes next. Although he’s closed the Josh Weathers Band Facebook page (and says the JWB website will be “closing soon"), he has created a new Facebook page (facebook.com/joshweatherspage) “to let people know what I’m doing,” he says.

So, Friday night, the Josh Weathers Band will take the stage one more time.

Weathers jokes that he’ll keep playing “until they get the ol’ hook out,” and sounds momentarily wistful talking about his bandmates’ musical chemistry.

“To say that we’ll never play together again, that’s just silly,” he says. “I feel like the music we make together is really good. We had rehearsal last Thursday and hadn’t played together in a couple months and it went off without a hitch … When the five of us hit the downbeat, there’s something electric about it.”

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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