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Jam Session

Three local musicians are doing it their way.

Fort Worth knows how to bring the party. Between the entertainment and food, there's always something to see, taste, or hear when the lights go down in Cowtown. But the city also knows how to keep the party going by creating a culture that values and makes space for its artists. For three local musicians navigating the industry today, there's no right way to make a name for yourself in Fort Worth as long as it's your way. 

Joseph Neville
Joseph Neville's love affair with music began on a school field trip to Bass Hall. 
   "I saw the orchestra putting on this performance for the first time," he says. "I remember being moved to tears and developing a fascination for whatever the heck that was and pursued music through any opportunity given to me."
Critics lovingly describe Neville's style as "sad guitar guy music," but he loves that.
  "I'm a really happy person," he laughs. "I personally really like sad songs and think they do the best job of making people feel like they're not alone."
Growing up in the church, Neville didn't know if sad music had a place in the world, but he realized that a lot of healing and ministry could happen when he artistically expressed his feelings. 
Another sad guitar guy, John Mayer, influenced Neville's sound and also helped motivate him as a musician.
  "It would be a dream to collaborate with either him or The Killers," he says. "When I saw him play and saw that he sang and played the guitar, that inspired me to become a better guitar player."
Neville strives to connect with his audience lyrically, melodically, and instrumentally, using his guitar to express emotion. 
Besides playing in the school band, Neville's first performance was in the high school talent show, where he belted out a 7-minute power ballad that was terrible by his own admission. But the rush he felt was addictive, and he loved connecting with an audience through music. 
    "The best advice I've gotten in my career is that people want to be connected with more than they want to be impressed," muses Neville. "When you can connect with someone, that is when something truly magically happens."
Four years ago, Neville wrote a song that he thinks connects him the most to his audience and is his favorite to perform called "Sometimes," also airing on CBS 11 in the near future. 
Fans can catch Neville at his favorite place to perform, the Post at River East, because of its intimate setting. 
   "I know the owner, and he is so great about honoring the musicians." 

Josh Mather
Josh Mather started his career in high school singing for heavy metal garage bands, but when his group disbanded, he realized he needed to learn an instrument to keep performing. 
  "It's a little awkward to stand in the corner of a coffee shop and sing without a guitar in your hands," he laughs, and the line: "What do I do with my hands?" comes to mind. 
So, Mather learned some chords, more than a few, and the rest is history. 
Today, Mather doesn't like to pigeonhole his genre too much, saying, under duress, that he identifies with Alternative rock music, but prefers to keep things open and ambiguous, like genre-bending singer Halsey or the band Linkin Park, both inspirations for the musician. 
  "I like heavier stuff too like Bring Me the Horizon and Architects," says Mather. "But also, lighter things, like older 90's music."
His career has also run the gambit, starting with metal garage bands, transitioning to cover song coffee house gigs, and now, Mather says he wants to be loud again, giving birth to Therma, a solo band and anagram of his last name. 
The project rejuvenated Mather, allowing him to write songs again and reintroduce himself to Fort Worth with all original music after the pandemic.
 "In my personal life, none of this is possible without my support system," says Mather. "My family, especially my mom, and cousin."
His cousin Brandon led the first metal band Mather joined, paving the way for his musical confidence with constant encouragement, and his mother financially supported his dream until he could manage himself. 
"So, it's a story of a lot of support," says a grateful Mather.

Zach Coffey
Zach Coffey has nothing to prove after nearly a decade in Nashville, Tennessee, playing 250 days a year as a professional musician. 
   "Right now, I have my day job," he says. "And then I mostly do Corporate events and stuff like that, which is perfect for me."
Today, Coffey is the head of Western Rewind Band, covering country throwback songs, and he enjoys balancing his singing career with family. 
  "We're playing all the Cowboys games, big corporate events, and Grapevine Main Street, so we stay busy."
Coffey grew up in the '90s listening to older country singers like The Eagles and Merle Haggard, and their sound influenced him. 
   "I tried out for the Oklahoma Opry when I was 14 and made it," he recalls. "So, that was my first experience with a band, but I also sang opera in college."
Now, Coffey's favorite song to perform is "Nobody Frames Bad Days," an original piece and his most streamed song. 
His favorite venue is Filthy McNasty's Saloon, where the owner, Don Cunningham, gave him a chance as a young musician and shared with him how to survive in the business. 
    "Some of the best advice I ever got was, 'Don't rely on music for your full-time, sustainable income,' because what happens is you start to make musical decisions based on finances instead of letting music be the music," he says. "So, my advice is to work in addition to chasing music. Don't force yourself into a corner."