Never2Young band to represent West Texas in youth showcase

ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- A musical trio from the Basin is heading to Memphis, Tennessee next year to perform after it was hand selected by the greater West Texas Blues Society to represent West Texas in the 2023 International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase and will play on Beale Street, “Home of the Blues” and America’s most iconic street on January 27. The trip will be the first step of many the band hopes to take toward a music career and a future filled will sold-out shows. 

The band, which won Odessa’s Got Talent two years in a row, says the honor of playing in Memphis is a true testament to the saying ‘hard work pays off’. 

The teens, 16-year-old guitarist, lead singer, and songwriter, Leon Carrasco, a Junior at Midland Legacy; along with cousins, bass player Elijah Ornelas, a 15-year-old tenth grader at Compass Academy and 15-year-old drummer, Ian Chavez, a Freshman at Odessa High School, have been performing together across west Texas for four years. You will find the Never2Young band performing at The Destination every last Thursday of the month on Blue’s Night where the teens perform their original songs and sounds, a mix of blues, rock, and soul. Or click here for a full schedule of shows.

Carrasco, who began playing guitar at age six, said music has become a way of life for the group, which practices several nights a week. It’s a passion and a purpose for the group because of the way music brings people together.

“To me, music is everything. I think music’s the best healer and brings people together,” he said. “It makes memories, you hear a certain song and it’ll remind you of something good in your life.”

A soft-spoken Chavez agreed, saying performing is, “A fun atmosphere. It’s a lot of joy…especially when the people you’re playing for are having a good time.”

And for Ornelas, he said time together with his bandmates is rewarding and that he sees a long and successful future ahead for the trio. 

“I can’t even explain it…I just love having fun on stage with my brothers,” Ornelas said. 

Carrasco and Chavez met when they were seven at a music store. Their parents connected over their shared love of music and from there, the boys have been unstoppable. The duo then partnered with Chavez’s cousin, Ornelas and, combined, the group plays an astounding array of instruments, from drums, to guitar, to bass, piano, and even the cello. They also write their own music. 

“Sometimes I just mess around and play with sounds and then bring it to them (bandmates) and we go ‘oh, I like that’, and it takes off from there,” Carrasco said of the song writing process. 

Carrasco, Chavez, and Ornelas even have a home recording studio to use to help perfect their craft. It’s all thanks to their parents, who they said introduced them to music and have supported their dreams, no matter what. 

“They were there even in the beginning when we probably didn’t sound that great,” Carrasco said. 

And while it’s hard to imagine there was ever a time when the boys didn’t sound like professionals, Carrasco’s other bandmates chuckled in agreement.

“They are the ones who introduced us to music, they helped us get our start,” said Ornelas, who began practicing the piano on the heels of a sibling and saw his musical talent take off from there.

It’s a family affair for Chavez too, who said he has played music with his dad for years at church and is now helping his brother learn to play.

“My brother is playing the drums now and I want to help teach him that. It’s a bond that keeps us together,” he said.

And the group said it’s the support of family, and hopefully the community as well, that will help get them to Memphis and beyond. The trio is currently trying to raise funds by performing at paying gigs, as well as through donations, to help pay for the pricey trip.

If you would like to help the teens realize their dreams of performing in Tennessee, you’ll find a gofundme here. You can also learn more about the group or watch a performance here