By: Stacy Keith
Quiet even shy was the Butch Avery I encountered when we visited about his music and career, but that is not the Butch Avery that performs R&B dazzlers around Lubbock, Texas. Butch began performing with his dad in a gospel group as a child. The group, Wayside Travelers, toured and performed regionally for many years. A native Lubbock, Butch attended and graduated from Estacado High School and was the “Matador” mascot. Performing was a part of Butch’s life and when he was about 20, Butch began making his own way musically. Inspired by famous Gospel singers’ soulful and truth filled sounds such as Walter Hawkins, James Cleveland and Shirley Caesar, Butch began to carve a career locally as a R & B performer. Butch said he liked not only their sound, but the emotion and meaning in the lyrics they sang. It inspired him to pursue a performance career to carry this musical genre forward in Lubbock.
He can be found performing at the Cactus Theater and the Lighthouse. He is a favorite to open for touring groups too. Longtime friend and Lubbock music guardian Don Caldwell played and toured with Butch for many years as well as promoted him through Cactus performances.
I asked Don about their friendship, and he commented, “The first time I saw him, he was with a band. I was so impressed; I began hiring him for performances at the Cactus Theater regularly. I love to work with him – he’s like a son to me and we gave him the nickname The West Texas Soul Man.”
When I asked Don to reflect upon Butch and his music he said, “He is a very rare talent and one of the highest quality singers in West Texas. His singing is always dead-on – always in tune, in time and in the groove. He’s a great overall performer – with his moves and his voice and his songwriting – he can captivate an audience immediately.”
Butch says he enjoys Lubbock and has always felt supported by its music community and audiences. He said he feels rooted in the community and surrounded by people who are talented singers and musicians. He continues to perform at New Hope church playing piano and singing. When Butch isn’t performing, he is doing photography work for “On the Scene.”
But life isn’t always perfect, and Butch had a very scary experience at a 7-11 witnessing a horrific crime. He escaped that episode unharmed, but it stayed with him and when he returned to his home, he wrote a song that would impact his life and he hopes the lives of many others. A song about healing, talking, listening, and using kindness to bring people together. “Come Together” was the song which Butch wrote that day and it can be viewed on You Tube as can many of his performances including those for “The Music Factory”, a new television show produced by Caldwell Entertainment which features the incredible array of talent in the Lubbock music community. Butch’s You Tube channel may be found at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBljYkEnwVEPdIsrEverW0w
The West Texas Soul Man won’t disappoint with his engaging performance style. He’s a true Lubbock legend and this Texas Music Friendly Community is happy we can claim him as our own.