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Rockin' it, Nashville Style: McKinney graduate returns to Texas roots
Photo courtesy of Nathan Belt - Before he moved to Nashville to pursue his music career, Nathan Belt was a a kid with a guitar and a dream living in McKinney. Belt will return to the Lone Star State to perform at Mesquite's Rodeo City Music Hall, 214 W. Davis St., on Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
By Kelley Chambers, firstname.lastname@example.org, @KelleyChambers7 on Twitter
From crossing paths with Garth Brooks to bringing Elvis Presley to life on stage, Nathan Belt's music career has met with destiny more than just once.
And although the songwriter and McKinney High School graduate now lives in Nashville, it has never kept him from returning to his roots.
Belt will be back in the Lone Star State to show off his eclectic stylings Feb. 16 at the Mesquite Rodeo City Music Hall, where he is looking forward to reuniting with his original music family as well as making new fans.
"Because I was new to the community, I didn't know anybody," Belt said. "Dad thought it would be a good idea to give me a guitar, and that's basically how it started. I was into football, but when music took over. It took over all of my interests and couldn't do anything else."
Aside from family, Belt's inspirations include Garth Brooks and Elvis Presley. In fact, Belt recalls watching Brooks' televised Reunion Arena show in Dallas the day he moved to McKinney at age 12. "Immediately after, I fell in love and wanted to have all of his music," Belt said. "He has this electricity about him, this magnetic draw that just captures your attention. Almost like a super hero, like you're looking at somebody who's larger than life."
Belt first met his music idol years later in Nashville while waiting tables, but crossed paths with him a couple of times, opportunities which have fueled Belt's persistence in the music industry.
Belt's first trip to Nashville unpredictably plucked him from his work as a singing cowboy at Southfork Ranch in 2001 to Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he landed a job as an Elvis impersonator. After that, Belt returned to the Lone Star State, where he dabbled in rockabilly and continued his Elvis impersonations at the Grapevine Opry. Belt retired his Elvis act with a farewell performance at the Opry in February 2011 and is now a part of the theater's hall of fame.
In 2011, his Nashville contact reached out to him again, beckoning him to return to his solo career. After talking to his wife, the two took the leap and returned to Tennessee.
"It's not often that you get a second chance like this," Belt said. "Although I've created a steady career for myself doing Elvis, I thought maybe this is something we should try and see what happens."
Although the Mesquite Rodeo City Music Hall is one DFW-area venue Belt's never played, he is looking forward to teaming up with an opening tribute to Johnny Cash by Benny Wheels and his band, Walkin' the Line.
The family-friendly show promises a little bit of everything, or as he put it, "It's gonna be a pretty rockin' show, Nashville style."
Tickets are $10 at the door and $5 for kids 12 and under. Children five and under will be admitted free. For information, visit rodeocitymusichall.com. For information about Belt or for samples of his music, visit nathanbelt.com.
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