Honky-tonk Men: Midland promises fans the best night of their lives | Phoenix.org
Honky-tonk Men: Midland promises fans the best night of their lives

Honky-tonk Men: Midland promises fans the best night of their lives

Photo by Harper Smith

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | September 30, 2021

Mark Wystrach has high expectations for his Phoenix and Tucson shows. He promises fans one of the best nights of their lives — “without doing anything illegal.”

“As a live act, we’ve built quite a reputation that speaks for itself,” Wystrach says.

“We put on a show that’s not only musical but it’s an amazing interaction between the audience and the band, and within the band itself. We never play the same setlist either. The show itself is completely live. Whatever spirit moves you, moves me in part. It helps guide the show to a different coloring or level. It is joyful. I compare it to a honky-tonk.”

Arizona is special to Wystrach, as he grew up in Sonoita. His family has owned The Steak House, near Highway 82 in Sonoita, since 1977. He graduated from UA.

“I’m a Tucson, Southern Arizona guy, through and through,” he says.

This “Arizona guy” is joined in Midland by lead guitarist/vocalist Jess Carson and bass player/vocalist Cameron Duddy. They recently released an EP, “The Last Resort.”

“I’m particularly proud of ‘The Last Resort,’” he says. “The collection shows the band’s maturation. From the theme and subject matter to actual arrangement and sonic production, it’s a nice evolution. I love all five of those songs. To me, the ultimate indicator is how they play live.

“I got a chance to play all five live and the audiences have loved it, and they’re my five favorite songs to play live. They’re pretty crafty songs.”

The music continues Midland’s legacy; it was named new vocal group of the year and was nominated for group of the year at the 2020 ACM Awards.

“I’m humbled by it,” he says about awards. “It’s just like a video game. You reach a certain level and celebrate it for a few moments, then you get back to work.

“I’m incredibly grateful. It was a long journey getting here. We went through a lot of (expletive) to get here. It’s something I don’t take for granted. What I’m impressed by is people know our music. I’m impressed by our fans and how dedicated and supportive they are. They show us a lot of love. They fill up my tank quite a bit. It’s really cool, to be honest with you.”

Fans have supported “The Last Resort,” which blends thick harmonies, sad melodies, tart lyrics and steel guitar. The lead track is “Sunrise Tells the Story.”

“Getting to make music is one of the greatest joys of my life,” he says. “We have fans globally — Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Germany, Amsterdam, you name it.

“Fans have reached out to me from Africa. That is really surreal to think the music is penetrating like that. I hear how integral the music was to lift them up. For me, that’s the ultimate compliment.”


When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 7

Where: Arizona Federal Theatre, 400 W. Washington Street, Phoenix

Cost: Tickets start at $39.50

Info: 602-379-2800, arizonafederaltheatre.com


When: 7 p.m. Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9

Where: AVA Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, Tucson

Cost: Tickets start at $25

Info: casinodelsol.com