Bob Mauldin Shares His Love of All Things Texas
Bob Mauldin is a familiar face in the Upper East Side of Texas with his syndicated TV show “Expedition Texas,” and a familiar voice from earlier days as a morning personality on Tyler-based KKUS classic country radio. The journey began many years ago.
“I knew early in life that I wanted to entertain,” he said. “I have been told that from early childhood I’d get up and sing in front of people. Anything I can do that brings a smile to people’s faces makes me happy.”
Some may know him from his stage shows at local venues, which he began again in 2016, six years after he released his first album, “Van Zandt County Line,” and a little more than two years before his most recent one, “Summer Days.”
“I wanted to jump back into music and I had all these songs ready to go. This album of personal songs “is more of an art piece for me, not necessarily designed to be a hit factory. It may be different, but it’s as real as you will ever get from me.”
While the album is a labor of love, “Expedition Texas,” which picks up again in September, is a labor of, well, love, too. And curiosity. The show, seen on TV stations across much of the state, features places that help give Texas its color, whether it’s back roads or city streets.
“Mauldin said he found his groove traveling across Texas to share the histories of small communities that might otherwise be lost.
“When ‘Expedition Texas’ became a success, I had to step away from my music and focus on my show,” Mauldin said. “I took a hiatus from the show this past spring to create the album, but we’re back at work on a new fall season.”
Mauldin was born in Dallas in 1978, the son of Robert and Sandy Mauldin, and moved to Canton five years later where his father established an air conditioning business. He has a younger sister, Angela, and learned his work habits from his parents.
“I’m not afraid to work hard and see it as my responsibility to my family to use my talents to earn my living.”
Growing up, he inherited his family’s sense of play.
“My dad was a prankster and always coming up with jokes. One night he pretended to lock me out of the back of the house. I quickly remembered that the front screen door was open and ran around the house and slipped in the front door. Mom, my sister, and dad were quietly giggling about me being stuck outside when I slipped back in the kitchen and took my seat. Dad was surprised but got a huge laugh out of it. He had us join hands around the table and said, ‘We’re this! (meaning a family) I could see how much all of us sharing laughter together meant to him and that I always wanted to be that way with my kids. Firm when I had to be, but truly a family man, not afraid to share a laugh with my kids.”
Bob and his wife, Tessa, live in Whitehouse now.
“Tessa and I have four boys. On the weeks the boys are with me, it’s controlled chaos and all the fun of being a parent. On the weeks they are at their mom’s, Tessa and I get to spend our evenings together. It’s nice to come home and relax and share your day with someone who cares.”
He calls his sons – Jacob, Ryan, Trevor, and Clay – his greatest contribution. Divorce has been his greatest challenge.
“I’ve been through that twice and they were both extremely low points in my life. I dealt with it. I stayed strong and kept working at life and making myself better, and as it turns out God was really getting me ready for something amazing. If I hadn’t grown and learned from those experiences, there is no way I would be ready for the precious love I have found in Tessa.”
Whether spending time with family or on his music or TV show, Mauldin has always got something going on.
“After dabbling in a lot of things, I find myself more and more wanting to just focus on one thing for a while,” he said. “Lately, I’ve always got several things going and I’m not content to slow down. I’d love to finish what I started, buy some land, raise some animals, and live quietly for a while. That would be nice.”
His advice for people considering a life in broadcast or music: “It doesn’t matter how much money you make. Get up and go do something you love and find a way to make a living at it. If you’re doing what you’re meant to do, it will come easy. I spent a lot of time trying to make things happen. When I finally just fell into what I was good at, it came easy, and people paid me to do it.”
Burnout – overworking and over committing – can happen.
“Maybe it sounds selfish, but sometimes it’s okay to rest. I love hanging out with my wife and kids. I love scooting across the lake on my old boat. I just hope it takes me to a few acres in East Texas where Tessa and I can raise chickens, goats, and llamas.”
Not quite yet, though.
“Right now, at this moment, I want to have a great season of ‘Expedition Texas’ and I want people to hear my music. That would make me extremely happy. Ask me tomorrow, and the answer may be different.”
Aside from his childhood, experience shapes him.
“Just that realization that comes only with age that if you don’t slow down and enjoy what you have, you might not have it tomorrow. It could be people, nature, things, or whatever. But always be mindful of blessings because sometimes the biggest ones are almost too small to see.
People from different backgrounds working together inspires him.
“There are two very prominent men in Tyler, one a Muslim and one Jewish. They are opposites in politics and religion, but they are best friends. Their work together in their community is one of the most inspiring things I’ve witnessed.
“I misspent a lot of my young adulthood worrying about what people thought of me or, worse, what I thought about them. When I learned to celebrate what makes us all the same and less on our differences, I found a peace within, and made many new friends.”
His philosophy is that “God made us all. He loves us, so let’s work on loving each other like he does.”
In the future, he says, laughing, “I’m most likely going to be a mall Santa. Seriously, I’m definitely going to be more settled down. I feel like I’m easing into a groove that I like in life and I’m happy to coast along here.
He hopes to be remembered as a good man.
“Really nothing else I do matters. I’m never going to be perfect, but I want people to remember me fondly for who I am, not what I did.”