When you ask a Texan what it means to be from the Lone Star State, you're likely to get a wide range of answers. For some, being a Texan is about family heritage and pride. For Nick Garza, a 13th-generation Texan whose family has been in the state since the 1600s, there is no shortage of family heritage to be proud of. To Nick, being a Texan is everything. This rich history blended with Nick's musical talents inspires a unique musical style and songs that would be sure to make some of his famous ancestors proud.
Nick traces his family tree back to the first settlers of San Antonio (previously ‘San Fernando de Béxar’), the original 16 families from the Canary Islands. By decree of the Spanish Crown, all male heirs of these original San Antonians would inherit a title of nobility, making Nick “Texas royalty” (he says with a wink). Among this group was his 9th great-grandpa, Juan Leal Goraz, the very first Mayor of San Antonio in 1731. However, another ancestor of his had reached Texas years earlier. Captain Jose De Urrutia, a Spanish explorer, one of the first two Europeans to map out West Texas, and Captain of Presidio San Antonio de Béxar. Nick’s family's ranch (one of the oldest in the US) was founded with a Spanish Land Grant, and later, Republic of Texas Land Grant, and the house that was built in 1833 still stands today, adorned with a historical marker and recognized as one of the oldest buildings in the San Antonio River Valley. Pictures of this historic adobe house built by his 4th great-grandfather, Miguel Yndo, can be found in the Library of Congress.
A few years later, during the Texas Revolution, his 4th great-grandpa, Erastus “Deaf” Smith played a very important role as a spy, scout, and courier for Sam Houston and famously intercepted messages from Santa Anna, leading to his capture in the Battle of San Jacinto, during which Deaf destroyed Vince’s Bridge to prevent his escape. He was also the man who carried William B. Travis’ famous letters from the Alamo to Sam Houston, prior to its fall. Smith subsequently became one of the first Texas Rangers, had a county named after him, and appeared on a piece of The Republic of Texas currency, the five-dollar bill.
Another one of his ancestors, Nick’s 4th great-grandfather Carl Wilhelm Thomae, a German immigrant, was one of the Founding Fathers of New Braunfels, Texas, and its first Postmaster in 1846. Nick says this combination of Tejano and German ancestry is likely why he loves that polka beat so much. As it turns out, Germans introduced accordions and “oompah” music to the region, which would later inspire conjunto and Tejano music.
With all of these grand legends making up a wide range of history in his family, Nick started to develop meaningful memories of his own at a very young age. He can remember spending weekends with his grandpa working cattle, mending fences, listening to old stories, and maintaining the nearly 200-year old adobe house on the family ranch. It was his grandpa who introduced him to the guayabera, and made it clear that it dresses you up, but it’s also very comfortable. Nick also discovered his love for music at a young age and he credits both his “welita” who played piano and his mom who sings and plays guitar.
His love for music and Texas history runs deep and is apparent in his lyrics and playing style. Nick eventually moved to Austin to attend The University of Texas and his career as a musician continued to evolve. A critical moment on this journey was marked by Nick skipping his own college graduation to play at the Kerrville Folk Music Festival, the longest running folk music festival in The United States. After Nick’s previous band, Hello Wheels, disbanded to pursue solo projects, he started Nick Garza’s Get Along in 2019, and has since dropped several singles, one featuring Texas music legend, Augie Meyers (Texas Tornados, Sir Douglas Quintet), and performs all over Texas. If he’s not performing or writing songs, you can find Nick at his family ranch, eating Tex-Mex with friends, catching a show, hanging at a local dive bar, or just out meandering through small towns and generally getting away from the city and into “the sticks.”
Nick Garza gets his inspiration from his “Texas roots, conjunto music, Willie Nelson, Texas Tornados, Jerry Jeff Walker, 60s/70s Texas artists, all sorts of folk music, and the list goes on.” Though he loves a wide range of music and is influenced by many peoples & cultures, he states,“ I'm definitely inspired by them, but I don’t want to sound exactly like them. And in fact, I can’t.” This is one of the many connections that Garza makes with Texas Standard – the ability to take inspiration from Texas, and turn it into something modern and fresh. The Two-Tone Modern Western Shirt that Nick wears displays this blend perfectly. These shirts along with his favorite pair of Standard Denim are both made in Texas which again, means a great deal to Nick.
As Nick reflects on his family heritage, his current music career, and future aspirations, he has a clear goal in mind of always striving to improve. "It's an ongoing pursuit, I'm always trying to get better... I aim to write a better song each time I, well…write a song.”
You can read more about Nick at his website nickgarzasgetalong.com there you can also check out a few of his music videos and find info about upcoming shows. You can listen to Nick Garza's Get Along on: