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Standing tall between the swagger of outlaw country and the punch of rock & roll, Koe Wetzel is a singer and songwriter from Texas who rose quickly from obscurity to become one of the most popular acts on the Lone Star State's country scene. Wetzel's songs deal with hard living and misadventures -- one of his most popular tracks is titled "Drunk Driving" -- matched with heavy electric guitars, thunderous drumming, and powerful vocals. He found a large, loyal audience with 2017's Noise Complaint and made the switch to a major label with 2020's Sellout without watering down his music or his storytelling. A spate of singles throughout 2022 heralded the impending release of his next album, Hell Paso.Koe Wetzel was born in the East Texas town of Pittsburg on July 14, 1992. His interest in music came from his mother, who was a singer and brought young Koe on the road with her; he sang on-stage with her for the first time when he was just six. Meanwhile, his father was a fan of classic hip-hop, blasting Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. as he drove, and a cousin turned him on to alternative rock, giving him a taste for the edgy guitars of Nirvana and Soundgarden. He took up the guitar at the age of 12, but while he had a love of music, it took a back seat to sports in his teens.In high school, Wetzel played both football and baseball, and he went on to play football for Tarleton State University. As his interest in football began to wane, however, his love of music grew, and in 2012 he left school to focus on songwriting and performing. He put together a band, Koe Wetzel & the Konvicts, and they released an EP, Love and Lies, in June 2012. Wetzel and his group hit the road hard, playing extensively in Texas and around the Southwest, and their passionate live shows, rowdy but relatable lyrics, and strong charisma helped them win a loyal following, especially among college students and twentysomethings.The buzz on Wetzel grew after the release of his first full-length album, Out on Parole, in January 2015, but he became a genuine star in Texas with the release of Noise Complaint, which arrived in March 2017. "February 28, 2016," "Something to Talk About," and "Tell It All Town" won regional airplay and became favorites on streaming services -- so much so that when one major streaming outfit pulled Wetzel's music due to a licensing oversight on the artist's part, fans flooded social media with demands that his music be reinstated. The mistake ultimately did more to help his popularity than hurt it, and he continued to sell out increasingly large venues and book festival appearances across the Southwest, all while releasing his music by himself and handling his own management.
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