You may have seen this duo perform at a local bar recently. Maybe you saw them perform at the high school a year or so ago. Or maybe you even recognize the names and saw them on the football field, either wearing a helmet or the band garb.
Wherever you may have seen Josh Calvin and Johnathan Hidalgo, expect to see more of them as the pair have officially inked a record deal with Red Room Recordz in late May, forming The 183 South Band.
Both hailing from Gonzales, Calvin and Hidalgo have known each other since kindergarten and have been friends ever since. Although both musicians have a lot of similarities, such as their passion for the career as well as their upbringings, Calvin and Hidalgo had different paths to get to where they are now.
Fans of the Apache football program should recognize the name Josh Calvin. Calvin was a first-team all-district offensive player as a running back who used his quickness and agility to not only break tackles but break away from defenders. He scored many touchdowns and had multiple 100-plus yard games, including a massive 320-yard game against Giddings back in October 2016.
While this was going on, Hidalgo performed for the Mighty Apache Band, Gonzales’ award-winning high school marching band. Hidalgo played the drums, performing for the band from junior high throughout high school.
Both of them were friends throughout their school days. Calvin “got serious” with music his sophomore year of school, but then took a break to put his attention all on football.
“Honestly, I never thought I’d pursue a career in music because I was all about football at the time,” Calvin admitted, “but after I got to perform in front of a whole audience, hearing everybody go crazy made me realize it’s a shot I can talk, this is something I can do that can turn into a career. That’s what stopped me from going to college and going into music.”
While Calvin re-found his passion for music, Hidalgo continued his quest to get better and better at the drums, an instrument his father played throughout his life.
“I grew up in that,” Hidalgo said, “[my dad] kind of pushed me to do that. It’s just something I’ve always liked to do.”
Mainly a drummer, Hidalgo has tried to learn some guitar from Calvin.
“Josh has been trying to teach me some,” he said. “I think I’m picking it up pretty well.”
Not only is he teaching Hidalgo some guitar, Calvin shows off his multi-talented personality by sharing that he can play five different instruments, “all self-taught.”
“I play harmonica, piano, bass guitar, guitar and drums,” he said.
One self-taught, the other classically trained, Hidalgo believes that music was already in their blood.
“I think it all comes back to how we grew up, just our family in music, it’s been in our blood,” he said. “For [Calvin], he taught himself how to play everything, but it was already in him the whole time, he just had to pick up an instrument and start playing.”
Back in 2015, Calvin had a band called Josh Calvin and The 183 South Band. He wanted his friend Hidalgo to join as a drummer.
“I wasn’t really interested in being in a band at the time,” Hidalgo recalled. “But he’s my best friend, I told him, ‘yeah, I'll play.’ We practiced from there, started playing little gigs here and there and that’s what got us to where we are today.”
Calvin knew their connection would be beneficial for the band, hence why he convinced Hidalgo to join.
“I told him, ‘I want you to be my drummer, I don’t want nobody else but you,’” he said. “We kind of vibe, you know, it’s more to the friendship, it’s kind of like a brotherhood, know what I mean? He’s like my brother. I convinced him to play with me and it took off from there.”
Later when they linked up, Calvin wanted to make sure that the band wasn’t “his” band, but rather “our band.”
“I’m just the lead singer of it,” Calvin said. “I told him that and we came to an agreement with The 183 South Band. I think that suits us best.”
Influenced by many, The 183 South Band is a Texas country band with a little bit of a twist. When asked who they were influenced by, the duo rattled off names such as Parker McCollum, Koe Wetzel and even John Meyer.
“We have a country band but I don’t listen to country music, I listen to rock, blues, a lot of BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, AC/DC, I like Aerosmith,” Calvin said. “Blues wise, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, all those great voices, Luther Vandross, all of them. I put my voice to country and I sing it my way, it’s a unique sound, it’s pretty different, we got our own twist to it. That’s what makes the band unique.”
Greg Ramirez of Red Room Recordz remembers the time Calvin first performed in front the school and knew the young musician had talent.
“I didn’t have a choice but to want to sign them,” Ramirez said. “I know that we can do good for them.”
As for the name of the band, Calvin and Hidalgo want to not only represent Gonzales and the area, but become a good role model for the community.
“I want everyone else around me to look at us and think that if you have a dream, chase it because it’s possible to get it,” Calvin said. “I want us to be a perfect example of that for our hometown.”
Music brings everyone together, Calvin noted. That’s what it did for these two bandmates. They hope their style can bring in even more.