Middleton first came to San Marcos in the fall of 2007 from his hometown of Kirbyville as a student. He said he realized in his first semester at Texas State his passion was playing music rather than sitting through lectures.
This prompted his move to New Braunfels, where he would eventually meet Justin Nelson, Mitchell Pyeatt and Jeromy Yager, who, along with Middleton, formed the Midnight River Choir’s original lineup.
The band’s name was inspired when the four, along with 23 friends, sang songs while floating down the Guadalupe River one summer night. That next morning, a man camping on the river was overheard saying he had been “awakened by a midnight river choir.”
Four years later, the band is frequently traveling and playing all over the U.S.
“There’s really not a word to describe how I feel about my life,” said Middleton, lead vocalist. “To play a different gig almost every night, to wake up and see the (Gateway Arch) of St. Louis? It’s nuts.”
The musicians are living their dreams, recently debuting their album “Welcome to Delirium?” and landing two radio singles on the Texas Music Charts.
Middleton wasn’t always confident he would find success, especially at the beginning of his music career.
“You hear horror stories of musicians going hungry. Trust me, it’s hard when your entire band is traveling in a pickup truck all crammed together for days at a time,” he said. “But we had made the right decision, and proved that by driving 500 miles just to still be in Texas, pouring our hearts and souls out to bartenders and waitresses.”
This, Middleton said, is when a passion for the music and the lifestyle that comes with it are important for pushing through.
Since teaming up with the Texas country music artist Cody Canada and his wife, Shannon Canada of 36D Management, to produce their latest album, success has followed the New Braunfels-based musicians.
Middleton said at gigs there were previously barely 10 people in the crowd. There are now 100 at the same venues a year later, with a front row singing every word to the band’s songs.
“It’s all turned into a family. The label, management, they’ve all welcomed us,” he said.
A lot of changes have taken place since Middleton’s first “real” venue gig at Antone’s in Beaumont.
Some of the band’s accomplishments include four consecutive years of being invited to play at the Music Fest in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and having the opportunity to play with Cross Canadian Ragweed.
One thing is guaranteed to stay the same throughout Middleton’s career. Middleton said he will always draw his music straight from somewhere deep in his existence. He said the tattoo on his left forearm that reads “soul” is representative of how who he is and the music he makes are intertwined.
“Being on stage is when he gets to share his true love of music with other people,” said Ashton Smith, his girlfriend. “He puts his soul into everything he plays, and wants you to see that each time you watch him.”
As far as Middleton is concerned, he will be happy touring and playing music forever.
“I would be completely satisfied if my career went exactly as it is right now for the rest of my life,” Middleton said. “(I want) to let as many people hear what’s inside of my soul as much as possible and how music means everything to me. I don’t want to compare it to religion, but it’s the closest thing out there that I’ve ever seen.”