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He’s “feeling 22,” and he’s off to a great start! La Vernia native Luke Prater has been on the road performing original songs and covers since 2019, bringing his unique music, with its rock ‘n’ roll and classic country influences, to each stage he visits.
It all began with his father’s short run in Nashville. “He moved to Nashville when he was 17,” the musician recalled. “And really it started with my grandfather, who was a guitar player and played on a couple records in Nashville way back in the day. He got my dad started early!” He may have only stayed in Nashville for six months, but the music never left Luke’s father’s life, and so entered his.
“We were all babies with guitars in our hands,” Luke remembered. His father got his two older brothers started on the guitar first, and Luke soon followed. “Seeing my dad and then my brothers learn made me want to do what they were doing,” the young singer recalled. Family was his earliest inspiration.
For Luke, the guitar came before singing. His early performances were his second-grade talent show, where he played “Kansas City” by Buck Owens, and his fourth-grade talent show, with Merle Haggard’s “Working Man Blues.”
Singing entered the picture thanks to an opportunity with his church’s choir. One night, a man at church couldn’t sing. “I think his voice went out … so I ended up filling his slot,” Luke said.
He humbly recalls that his singing wasn’t great, but, Luke told us, “I remember thinking, ‘this is definitely something I need to work on if I’m going to try to do anything with [music].’”
Shortly after this, Luke began to play his guitar for free at Melanie’s Bar & Grill in La Vernia.
“[Music] was my world when I was younger,” Luke said. “My best friend growing up was my guitar. Still today, it is my therapy, my solace.” Even now, when songwriting for his first album, his guitar and a sweet melody are the best ways he can express his emotions.
Music is more than therapeutic for Luke; it’s also educational. “There’s an infinite amount of knowledge that you can grasp for in music,” Luke said, detailing the eight instruments he keeps out in his living room so he can sit down any time to learn something new.
With so much to learn, it’s no surprise that Luke’s interests go beyond country music. “Me and my brothers grew up listening to a lot of classic rock,” the singer said. “My dad is very into the gym and always listens to classic rock when he works out, so it was always around us.” The singer enjoys rocking out during car rides to this day.
Rock has influenced Luke’s music as well. In every live show he plays, he includes a special “rock medley,” a mashup of the coolest licks from 10 different classic rock songs. “It’s good to show diversity to people,” the singer said, admitting that the classic rock sound has surely influenced his own, especially in his song, “Don’t Take My Guitar.”
Another influence, mostly on his love songs, is his wife, Hannah. The newlyweds, married early this month, met at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels in July 2021. That night, Luke opened for Curtis Grimes. “It was a sold-out show,” the singer recalled, and it was also his first time playing Gruene Hall. Now married one year later, the two are meant to be: Hannah is also a musician. She’s played the oboe for 15 years and recently returned from a stint as an oboist with the Houston Symphony.
Being so multifaceted and talented, why did Luke choose to play and write country music? The answer lies in his childhood, and is well-related in his song, “Home.” In fact, everywhere he plays a show, this song has a special intro: “I’m from a little town outside San Antonio, Texas, called La Vernia, Texas, and this song is about where I’m from and where I plan to call home for the next little while.”
Growing up in the La Vernia area, and visiting his grandmother’s 80-acre ranch throughout childhood, exposed him to the country life that many of the greatest country artists write and sing about. Now, Luke is among their numbers, making his way with a unique goal in mind.
Bars are one of the most popular venues for Luke and many other performers. “Some of these places we play are really dark, and people are really hurting, and they’re there looking for something,” Luke said. Whatever people may be struggling with, he wants his music to spread the light.
“If they ever need some inspiration or Jesus in them, that’s about the place they need it most of the time,” the young singer said. This is where Luke’s faith appears in his work. Rather than let people wallow in their struggles, this artist picks them up. “Just [someone] being the light,” as Luke said, is sometimes all people need.
“Whether it’s to plant a seed or water a seed, knowing that it all has a purpose” is what keeps Luke Prater going.
Listen up for an inside look
Learn more about country artist Luke Prater in the first episode of our podcast, The Artist Review.
The Artist Review podcast will feature exclusive interviews with local artists who have been featured in the monthly “Arts & Entertainment” section of the Wilson County News. The podcast will air once a month.
In the first episode of The Artist Review (airs July 15), Luke and his wife, Hannah, share their love story. You’ll also learn Luke’s views on the messages he wants to spread as a musician, his opinions on newer country music trends, growing up in the country, and much more.
Follow the Wilson County News on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or YouTube.
Find more information about Luke on his website, www.LukePraterMusic.com.
There, you can also buy Luke Prater merchandise, find his next gig, or listen to his music. You can stream his songs on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube.