“In 2006, I had just moved here from Dallas a few years before, and the only thing that I missed about Texas was my jamming buddies. Then I saw Dean playing carols at the Christmas walk in front of Mountain Village by the bakery,” says Cort Langworthy. “He happened to own that building. I rented office space from him for the express reason of getting a jamming buddy.” Devoted fans may recognize this as the origin story of Open Space, a beloved local band that performed and delighted audiences with the ease of “jamming buddies” getting together on stage.

Cort, lead vocals and rhythm guitar, joined up with Dean Dalvit, mandolin, lead guitar and vocals, after that Christmas walk, then found Bob Strausser, lead guitar and vocals, for the regular jam sessions that Cort missed so much. “We had a really hard time finding a bass player, but in 2010 we found Lopey—Curtis ‘Lopey’ Wedel—and he’s one of the best bass players I’ve ever heard, plus he can sing a kick-ass harmony.” When the group finally formed Open Space, they were, at last, made complete by drummer Scott Messler, and found, not only local success, but played big shows on the road, including SXSW.

“ …Midday Sons is gracing local stages with slightly more folksy acoustic music than Open Space was known for.”

“Scott tragically passed away, and it was the worst thing you could possibly imagine. What an amazing man in every way. Losing one of your best friends and the heartbeat of your creative outlet at the same time—it’s been a lot to process,” Cort says. But if the memorial at last year’s Summerfest demonstrated anything, the best way to honor Scott’s memory was to keep the music playing. The group enlisted a new drummer—and I am not making this up—named Jack Drumright, a graduate of Evergreen High School. “We decided to change our sound a little bit and start fresh, so we changed our name, too.” Now, Midday Sons is gracing local stages with slightly more folksy acoustic music than Open Space was known for.

“Though we still try to absolutely melt face from time-to-time, just not the whole time,” Cort reassures.

That fans of the band immediately recognize a Midday Sons sound is not by accident. Cort has dedicated a lot of time to writing original songs, even though historically Open Space played 50 percent covers. “People want to hear something familiar,” he says, “and you use covers to find your path… to find your sound.” Cort has worked on creating music that perfectly balances the familiar and the unique. “I started filling gaps and branching out from our covers early on.” This, he says, is the science behind good songwriting. “Bands try to find ways to sonically extend one way or another. If you play something that’s only unique, it’s hard to get an audience to listen. If it’s too familiar, it doesn’t stick around. So it should be different enough to be interesting, but familiar enough to catch your ear. You have to find the right blend. It is a constant pursuit.”

Midday Sons has found their perfected sound based on this philosophy—and that had a lot to do with the switch to more acoustic-driven music. “Anytime I got inspired by a song I heard on the radio or a playlist, it was always super simple. When we play live, sometimes the songs that get the most best response are only two chords. They’re simple folk songs.”

At its heart, a catchy but easy folk song captures an audience. Cort explains, “You have to split the difference between playing crowd favorites and figuring out which of your originals fit with that.” He says audience response is powerful when it comes to on-stage chemistry and finding the right timing for a song. With this in mind, he says it doesn’t matter if the music is original or a cover, it’s all still part of the band’s sound. “We try not to play anything that’s typical, even if it’s a cover. All the guys bring their perspectives on different musical traditions and are rock star level players, so we shape these songs together through our collective artistic lens, whether they are originals or covers. When listeners come to love the sound, they become more invested in the original music as well. Once, a guy looked up a song we were playing and he didn’t know it was original—he assumed it was a cover and couldn’t find it, except on our website. When people want to absorb your art and reflect on it like that, that’s a shining star for us for sure.”

Midday Sons has music available online at themidddaysons.com, with hopes for a full-length album soon. They typically play twice a month in the mountain area as well as down the hill. Look for announcements on Instagram or sign-up to receive emails on their website.