Joel Weaver and Brad Davis, better known as The Heroes band of Commerce, don’t consider themselves rockstars. This is despite the fact that Davis has a Grammy, Weaver worked in television, and between them, they have played with nearly all the modern country greats.
Having riffed with acts like Reba McIntyre, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and more hasn’t given these locals a celebrity ego. In fact, quite the opposite– Weaver and Davis have dedicated themselves more than ever to uplifting the Northeast Texas community through music.
During the week of January 15, the Heroes found themselves hard at work in their Commerce studio for an upcoming concert at the grand re-opening of Sulphur Springs’ Main Street Theater. They were prepping their classic setlist: John Denver, The Eagles, Johnny Cash… but adding in some new material like jazz, bluegrass and sketch comedy.
Although they’re now playing smaller venues than their days as studio musicians in Nashville or headlining Vegas ballrooms, Weaver and Davis embrace the unique opportunity of intimate and beloved spaces like Main Street Theater, Foster’s Place in Como, and more.
“The arts are so important,” guitar player Joel Weaver noted. “We’re happy to contribute to this charitable cause because without the arts, humans lose their humanity.”
Northeast Texas crowds also bring The Heroes a reminder of why they got into music in the first place, Weaver said.
“We get to see people, we get to see their personalities come out, we get to interact with the audience,” he noted. “It’s a group effort between the people on stage and the audience, as well.”
“The music was perfect, and it’s great to see how much they engage the crowd,” said theater president Lyndie Mansfield. “We would love to have them back– it’s amazing how dedicated they are to supporting the arts in small venues.”
This, in general, has been Weaver and Davis’s experience upon returning home from the world of international recording artistry. Fourteen years ago, native Northeast Texan Davis moved his equipment into a storefront on Main Street in downtown Commerce.
In 2019, longtime musical partner Weaver followed, finding it very much like his hometown of Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
The friendliness and connection of our rural area is what has inspired the Heroes in their recent philanthropic projects.
“People approach you and talk to you that you might not otherwise visit with,” Weaver said. “They’ll approach you from across the street, or in a restaurant… to me, that’s the coolest thing. It’s just about the people.”
Weaver recounted a recent time when they played John Denver’s “My Sweet Lady” at The Texan Theater in Greenville. An older couple recounted to the duo that they rose from their seats and began to dance in the aisles– later telling the Heroes it was one of the songs that played at their wedding.
Although the two men still do projects for big clients in Nashville and Los Angeles, they are putting the gears in motion to help develop the local area’s musical talent.
For example, they have converted the front of the studio into a music shop. No longer does a musician-in-need have to drive all the way to Dallas for a broken string or failing amp– the Heroes “probably has anything you could need” right in Commerce.
Davis and Weaver encourage folks to drop in– if the studio seems closed, it’s probably because they’re in the back working on some new tunes. Just call the number posted on the door and they’ll let you in, they said.
The Heroes also hosted jam sessions for local musicians at Commerce Green, and look forward to more once temperatures warm. One dream the band has for the future is to bring the sessions to Sulphur Springs’ Downtown Square.
Nowadays, the Heroes are willing to help a multitude of worthy causes throughout our local area.
“Even if we haven’t heard of someone before, it’s worth our time and effort to lend a hand,” Weaver said. “We’re fortunate to have a job we love. We have a lot of projects in the works– we’re doing everything.”
By Taylor Nye