Jon Stork: Family Man, Versatile Skill Set, and “Rocky Tonk” Coming to Country Music
Updated: Apr 26
Click here to view the full album of Jon Stork performing at the Starlight Ranch Event Center in Amarillo on April 8th, 2023.
Have you heard of the term “Rocky Tonk”? Not exactly honky tonk, but a harder rocking country mix that’s seemed to be a term coined by the artist we had the privilege of interviewing in Amarillo: Jon Stork. We talked with Jon in the back of his cargo trailer, where he sat on an overturned moving dolly and I sat on a drum carrying case. These humble settings are often where I can find the best stories.
In this interview with Texas Country Tour, Jon Stork shares how loved ones have played a role in his personal and professional growth, how becoming a father has both impacted his career and outlook on life, and how he always keeps the faith during this long journey.
Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
TCT: Can you tell us about yourself?
JS: I grew up in a musical family. I'm one of four kids from a very small town southwest of Houston named Beasley. I honestly never thought I'd be doing this. I was the last one out of any of us that picked up a musical instrument purely out of spite. I wanted to make sure that they understood that I could do this as well.
I eat, sleep, and breathe what I'm doing right now. This is all I’m doing. I have a heart that is worn straight on my sleeve and a mouth (most of the time) that is as well. I'm nothing special. I'm just another person trying to chase down something that they feel like they're supposed to be doing.
I've been doing this for going on seven years and I'm still trying to figure out myself, honestly. I love Texas. I love my Texas roots. I grew up on in the middle of nowhere working cows and riding horses. That only changed out of necessity. I had to move out and grow, not staying in the same place.
TCT: What has been your favorite live music venue to perform in so far?
JS: That's tough!
We actually played the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California with Randall King. In the same year we played Billy Bob's, Texas in Fort Worth.
I've gotta say Billy Bob's! Even though they've both had massive talents roll through,
being in those walls, putting your hands in the concrete molds of so many other people that you've listened to, danced to, or felt like you grew up with.
Troubadour in Hollywood was amazing because of the list of people that have come through there, but Billy Bob's, Texas took the cake!
I think hopefully we'll be back there sooner than later.
TCT: If you weren't a musician, what career field would you be in?
JS: I would be somewhere on the back of a horse, hopefully. Doing this for so long made me realize I can handle anything at this point. This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I’ve dug trench for pipe and worked sales. I guess working sales got me set up really well for this job. Hearing the word “no” time after time is challenging. Most people would just pack up and go home.
I'm thankful that I did so many different things. I’ve worked in restaurants, from serving food to bartending. I’ve got all the stories from bartending. I got the people skills from serving food and waiting tables. I got the rejection down really well and learned how to maneuver and work with people in sales. I have the grit from working in the fields.
With all that being said, I have no idea what else I would be doing. I don't know. I’ve been playing guitar, singing, and writing songs since I was 12. I can't imagine myself doing anything else because one way or the other, the
song's gonna come out. I've learned that. They've been coming out. I just wasn't putting them to work for me. What you’re going to do is going to find you, if you’re fortunate enough.
TCT: What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
JS: We have so much on the books right now!
We had the first new batch of songs debut on the EP from last December. We have another batch of songs coming out this year in 2023. We’re still writing and working on the next project. I think it is rolling into a full length album now.
On top of that, we'll be raising a baby and continuing to play shows across the country. We’re pushing to tour all across the country, especially Nashville. Nothing will slow us down.
TCT: You recently became a father. Congratulations! How do you find a healthy balance between pursuing your musical passion on the road and raising a family?
JS: Thank you!
I'm still in the midst of figuring that out, honestly. I am extremely blessed because I get to spend a lot of time with my baby girl during the week. My daughter is constantly growing, so we’re figuring it out together. Fortunately, my wife has been able to return to her career while working from home. We can work from home and still accomplish the same goals.
That's a silver lining out of the whole thing. We're still trying to figure that whole working and traveling combination. We're blessed to have people that'll help us. I’m extremely thankful and appreciative for those that chip in, “Hey, we’ll watch the baby for you!”
My wife went from being on the road with us constantly to not being out hardly at all because of our baby girl. So it's definitely a big change. The scales have tipped and we're just figuring out what works as we go along.
TCT: What is your most personally meaningful song you perform and what's the story behind it?
JS: I've had a few and they've gone through phases. The band has changed and what we need for each show can differ. Some songs have been played a lot and some aren't played anymore. Some were written, played once or twice then got pushed because “we need this for the crowd response” or whatever.
We don't play it every show. It's a new song coming out this year called “Missing You Lately”. I just played it acoustic the other night.
I lost my oldest sister, Megan, a few years ago. I was sitting in my living room on my birthday. I realized the one person that I wanted to call and talk with the most, I couldn't. I just couldn't.
I immediately started laughing because growing up Megan was like, Mother Goose, because she took care of a lot of us. That’s what the oldest sibling does. She would always make fun of me when I started crying because I was a younger one out of the group of kids.
I’d think of her and missing her terribly then just start crying. I’d eventually catch myself and start to laugh. I looked up at the sky saying “I get it, sis! Okay! Haha! That's right. You caught me crying again.”
The song “Missing You Lately” came from the idea of holding it all in for so long. I didn't want to write the whole song by myself because I knew it was too good. I didn't want to mess it up by only having one viewpoint in the song.
I ended up writing it with Mark Nesler, who wrote “Just To See You Smile" and a laundry list of other hits. We recorded it and it's coming out later this year.
But man, for anybody that's ever had that feeling of missing somebody you can no longer see once more, it definitely hits home. Nobody's really in control of anything, right? At the end of the day, the illusion that you think you are is, is just that. It's an illusion.
The hook of the song is, “‘cause I'm always missing you lately.”
There's always somebody that's in the back of your mind or you think of on a regular basis. That's gotta be my most meaningful song right now.
TCT: Looking back to when you started performing live, who has always been there for you and how have they supported you?
JS: My wife, Haley, hands down.
She was the foot in my back that kicked me over the cliff. She gave me enough courage to not be discouraged. She’s been there from the solo nights where it’s just me, a guitar, and a tip jar. She’s been there during the first band, to the first breakup of that band, and all others.
She's been my constant reminder of whichever way this journey goes, it always gets better.
Her monumental support is the only reason that I've kept moving, growing, and doing this. I've got a constant reminder of why I'm doing this and who I'm doing this for at the end of the day. If I was doing this for myself, there's no way I'd be doing it still.