Q&A with blues/rock band of Lone Star Mojo, with decades of experience crafts a niche in todays musical landscape

"I just hope the generations of the future don’t forget the genre. There is a lot of great younger players climbing up the ranks. Hopefully they keep the blues tradition alive. I would like to see schools have more music classes and teach the kids about the culture of the blues. Today’s society tends to be too busy and fast paced. I miss the simpler times."

Lone Star Mojo: From Heart and Soul

Lone Star Mojo is a Texas-based blues n' rock band with decades of experience. They have done extensive road work and studio time with different bands in Texas. This band was created during the Covid-19 lockdown, and each was picked for their individual talent and song-writing ability. Joe Splawn plays Hammond B3 and sings lead and background vocals. Legally blind since birth, music has been his passion his whole life. Mark Snyder plays lead and rhythm guitar along with lead and back-up vocals. He plays left handed inverted guitar like Albert King and Eric Gales. He was influenced by Johnny Winter and Billy Gibbons. Tim Maloney is a fantastic bass player who also sings lead and back-ground vocals. He is in great demand around the area playing in several different bands. Barry Sloan is the drummer and sings background vocals. He is very polished and played The Grand Ole Opry when his gospel band won group of the year in 2018. 

(Lone Star Mojo crafts a niche in todays musical landscape, Wichita Falls, Texas / Photo by Troy Larson)

Based in Wichita Falls, Texas musicians with decades of experience between them. From heart and soul rock and blues to quirky off beat humorous numbers, Lone Star Mojo crafts a niche in todays musical landscape. The band is not perfect and a little rough around the edges. This is what makes these tunes stand out. They are real and sincere. Each of the players has accomplished notable things in their long careers. The members have worked with Scott Ellison, worked with members of ZZ Top’s long-time opening act Point Blank, and toured with ELO, among other things. All that experience is on full display on their new album “Rough Around the Edges” (2024) a 15-track ramble through the rough, gritty landscape of Texas blues. All contributing their unique style to this album of "new old songs". The songs show the sophistication of the players’ decades of songwriting; each is true to Texas blues tradition while made original and fresh with clever arrangements and catchy tunes. 

 

Interview by Michael Limnios                Special Thanks: Frank Roszak Promotions

How has the Blues and Rock music influenced your way of life and the journeys you’ve taken?

Joe: It allowed me to go to places I never would have gone and meet people of many cultures I never would have met.

Mark: I’ve been playing guitar in various bands for nearly 50 years. Music has brought me great fellowship. I’ve met some great people and visited fantastic cities. I love creating and playing music.

How do you describe band’s sound, music philosophy and songbook? What is the story behind band’s name: Lone Star Mojo?

Joe: Our sound is a throwback to the era of analog technology, but with a modern viewpoint. Our songbook has a variety of genres but are all blues based. Were from Texas and we're badass.

Mark: We try not to sound like run of the mill blues/rock bands. We have a different take on modern blues music and try to expand basic 3 chord songs with different time signature and breaks. It helps having really talented guys working with you. I came up with the name Lone Star Mojo because we are from Texas, and we have Mojo. 

"Mainly I miss the spirit of the music from the past, songs had a cause and a message, music today is too commercial. My fear is that music will rely on technology to replace technique." (Lone Star Mojo, their album “Rough Around the Edges” ramble through the rough, gritty landscape of Texas blues tradition while made original and fresh with clever arrangements and catchy tunes / Photo by Troy Larson)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Joe: I got to open for Delbert McClinton in front of 35,000 people, I once opened a show for Iron Butterfly, and I got to play the House of Blues in Oklahoma City.

Mark: I’ve played so many great gigs through the years. I mainly remember the comradery of people and lifetime friendships. It is a special feeling that the musician community produces. 

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Joe: Mainly I miss the spirit of the music from the past, songs had a cause and a message, music today is too commercial. My fear is that music will rely on technology to replace technique.

Mark: I just hope the generations of the future don’t forget the genre. There is a lot of great younger players climbing up the ranks. Hopefully they keep the blues tradition alive. I would like to see schools have more music classes and teach the kids about the culture of the blues. Today’s society tends to be too busy and fast paced. I miss the simpler times.

Why do you think that Texas Blues Scene continues to generate such a devoted following?

Joe: Because of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Johnny Winters.

Mark: The Texas blues scene is a little rougher/grittier than other parts of the country. It lights a fire under you, and you can feel the intensity. Texas is known for some great guitar slingers and the tradition continues today. People are devoted the style.

"We try not to sound like run of the mill blues/rock bands. We have a different take on modern blues music and try to expand basic 3 chord songs with different time signature and breaks. It helps having really talented guys working with you. I came up with the name Lone Star Mojo because we are from Texas, and we have Mojo." (Photo: Lone Star Mojo is a 5 piece blues/rock band with decades of experience. They have done extensive road work and studio time with different bands in Texas)

What's the balance in music between technique and soul? How do you want the music to affect people?

Joe: I don’t know you just have to feel it man. I want my music to make people happy, make them dance, and make them think.

Mark: That is a tough question. Everyone has a different take on the feeling of certain tunes. I like to write more upbeat songs. Lyrics can go anywhere from crazy to sappy. I can write a love song for my wife, or I can write a song that’s just like talking to you in person. I draw inspiration from practically anything. 

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Joe: Play the cards your delt, and no gig is too small.

Mark: Never give up and don’t get caught in a rut. I’ve been writing music of all genres my whole life. I can go back and listen to some tunes I wrote years ago and think- that is really pretty good or wow, that sucked. Live and never quit learning. Not everyone is going to like your stuff but don’t let that get you down. 

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Joe: I would want to go back and see the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix play.

Mark: I would love to hang around with Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter. Those cats could really educate you. Maybe Albert King could show up and we could jam.

Lone Star Mojo - Home

(Lone Star Mojo / Photo by Troy Larson)

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