Midland On Why Their Live Act Is 'One Of The Best In The World'

9 August 2023 | 10:52 am | Anna Rose

"You’ve been a honky-tonk hero, now… I think it’s going to be an evolution of sound and changes."


Midland (Source: Supplied)

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This month marks the return of country music superstars Midland, set to make the journey from their native Texas to Australia for an eight-date stretch of shows. It’s a highly anticipated run; the outfit’s original tour last December was postponed following the release of their third studio album, The Last Resort: Greetings From.

A taste of The Last Resort: Greetings From came by way of an EP, The Last Resort, in 2021, featuring And Then Some, Sunrise Tells The Story and Adios Cowboy, among other songs which would later feature on the album.

It's interesting now, then, for Midland’s Mark Wystrach to reflect on how the EPs songs stand alongside the tracks that joined them in the album. “It was more of a strategy than a creative decision than anything,” he says. “The new album was recorded as a complete batch of songs that are meant to tell one story.”

Thus far in the tenure of the Grammy-nominated trio, Wystrach attests to strategic decisions being prevalent but never made in place of a creative one. “When you’re a recording artist trying to make a living, they go hand in hand,” he says. “It doesn’t refer to any compromise when writing a song, though.” 

Writing new material since they released The Last Resort, its follow-up, Wystrach says, is ready to be recorded in the studio. Though songs will be released by the end of the year, Wystrach will give no hints as to the release’s sonic or thematic direction.

“You’ve just got to wait and hear it,” he teases. “Words can’t describe it. As a band, of course, we’re pulling from a lot of our experiences – since The Last Resort came out, we’ve probably played a hundred shows. When you tour, you get better on your instrument, as a singer. We’ve got a broad horizon view of the world – all that stuff; you kind of see that arc in our first four albums so far.

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“Your focus changes when you’re not in your 20s, and you’re in your early 30s. You’ve been a honky-tonk hero, now… I think it’s going to be an evolution of sound and changes.”

Indeed, since their inception, Midland have grown to be family men, open about their spouses and children across their relative social media platforms.

It goes without saying that their families have provided a solid foundation of support and inspiration as Midland have made that transition from, to use Wystrach’s phrase, honky-tonk heroes and into heroic husbands. “You know, when you get married, find a life partner as I have; everything is different now,” he says. “You’re no longer operating from a selfish standpoint; I’m generally third on the list as far as priorities go.

“It evolves. You want to go through life and not stay the person you were eight years ago, four years ago, three years ago. You’re constantly changing at different times of your life. That’s the journey all three of us are on. I know that’s something that’s reflected in our music and when we perform.”

In the spirit of moving forward, next year marks ten years since Midland’s inception. Despite the milestone, it’s not a moment in time that Wystrach feels require a great deal of reflection.

“Ten years for anyone professionally is an accomplishment, especially in something as complicated as being a recording artist and live touring act,” Wystrach reasons. “I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, how we’ve been able to grow our music, especially our live touring act; I feel it’s one of the best in the world.

“We get to play all over the world, [in] these incredible venues, in front of huge crowds of people who are singing every word of your music and doing that with their own memories of experiencing your music.

“Ten years, it’s wild, but also time flies. When I think about the millions of miles and hundreds and thousands of hours, we’ve put into this music. It excites me to think about milestones and accomplishments, but it doesn’t satisfy you.

“I still see us as a band that has so much to prove and show – I still walk around with a chip on my shoulders; we can be bigger, better; it continues to drive me. I’m proud of [Midland], but I try not to live in the past. I try to stay focused on what I’m doing right now and what’s directly in front of me.”

Midland are heading on an eight-date Australian tour throughout late August and early September with special guest Travis Collins. Tickets are available via the TEG Live website.


The Last Resort – Greetings From Tour:

Friday, Aug 25 – Great Western Hotel, Rockhampton

Saturday, Aug 26 – Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane

Sunday, Aug 27 – Gympie Music Muster, Gympie

 Tuesday, Aug 29 – Tamworth Town Hotel, Tamworth

Wednesday, Aug 30 – UC Refectory, Canberra

 Friday, Sept 1 – The Forum, Melbourne

 Saturday, Sept 2 – Bar On The Hill, Newcastle

 Sunday, Sept 3 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney