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Showing tonight

Slaid Cleaves

Tue, April 25 / 730 PM

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Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes records. Travels around. Tries to be good.


Slaid Cleaves lives with his wife of 21 years, Karen Cleaves, in the Hill Country outside Austin, Texas. While Karen books the shows, the flights, the hotels, and the rental cars, designs, orders and sells the CDs and T-shirts, pays the band, updates the web site, answers fan questions, does the taxes and makes dinner, Slaid writes his little songs (and fixes things around the house). 


They travel around the world together while Slaid plays for fans far and wide and gets all the glory. If it wasn’t for Karen,  Slaid would be carrying around all he owned in a shoe box, scrounging around for a happy hour gig.

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Game Night - Irish Session

Wed, April 26 / 730 PM

Board games are hot right now — whether it’s the new Euro-style games like Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, 7 Wonders or Power Grid, or you’re kickin’ it old school with traditional games like the Trumpesque, land-grabbing Monopoly. For a great midweek diversion, head on over to the Mucky Duck for a pint and a little tabletop competition; they’ve been at it for almost 25 years. We checked in with Stevie Hazlewood, day manager for McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, and she says the club stocks a nice selection of titles for the Wednesday night Game Night and Irish Session. 


“It runs the gamut from Connect Four, to Scrabble, Yahtzee, Risk, three different versions of Monopoly, Scattergories, Cards Against Humanity,” says Hazlewood. Play one of those games or bring your own, and scarf down pub snacks like fish and chips, Welsh rarebit and the club’s famous shepherd’s pie. 


Best of all, there’s no cover. 7:30 p.m. 


- Susie Tommaney - Houston Press

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Jason Eady

Thu, April 27 / 7 PM

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CD Release!


Jason Eady’s inspired new album Daylight & Dark embraces multiple styles of die-hard country music to weave together 11 songs about the deep, messy details of love and life. 


The disc is sequenced to follow the arc of one man’s journey through the complexities of the heart. But the semi-autobiographical Daylight & Dark is not a concept album. Instead, it’s a powerful study in honesty; a collection of real stories populated by real characters that coalesced around Eady’s title track.


“The moment I came up with the first verse and chorus of ‘Daylight & Dark’ was a breakthrough,” Eady relates. “I understood that what I wanted to convey in the album is that life is not simple. Most songs don’t do that. They’re either happy or sad. But life doesn’t work that way. Most of the time we live somewhere in between. And that place is between the daylight and the dark.”


It took roughly three months for Eady to write and begin recording these songs that he describes as “going beyond the surface and digging into the little cracks in our lives, our dreams and our desires — the things that keep us from connecting, that we all have to deal with, all the time.”


Eady’s sixth release is the follow-up to 2012’s AM Country Heaven, an artistic and commercial breakthrough that cracked the Top 40 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart, boasting an old-school honky-tonk sound and a complete lack of artifice.


“One of the things that Kevin Welch” — who produced both discs — “taught me is that believability is number one,” Eady declares. “The things I’m writing about have to seem true and the words being said need to sound like they’d really come out of my mouth.”


Daylight & Dark’s high-powered barroom ballads 'OK Whiskey' and 'We Might Just Miss Each Other' offer a direct connection to the honky-tonk spirit of AM Country Heaven. But tunes like 'Other Side of Abilene' have gentler, textured arrangements, crafted by carefully layered fiddle and electric, acoustic and pedal steel guitars that are more reflective of the album’s overall sound. Also, 'Late Night Diner' and the title cut echo the narrative style of great singers like Vern Gosdin and Don Williams, whose recordings, like Eady’s, blend a novelist’s eye for detail with the welcoming voice of a natural storyteller.


“Their approach and the roadhouse style of artists like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens are both part of my DNA,” Eady relates. “I hope that really comes across on Daylight & Dark and makes it a deeper country music album overall.”


The new disc is Eady’s third collaboration with Welch. Their first was 2009’s When the Money’s All Gone. 


“Kevin is more on the same page with me than anybody else,” Eady says of his songwriting, performing and Americana Music Association award-winning Texas compatriot. “He is fantastic at getting the songs into the best shape before we record them and choosing the right band for the studio, so that by the time we start recording 90-percent of the important work is done.”


When Eady and Welch were making AM Country Heaven, it was initially intended as a side project that wouldn’t be released under Eady’s name. But the sterling results dictated otherwise, and made the album a game-changer. The disc’s swaggering palette and adult approach to timeless topics like love, loss and yearning helped Eady find a new, larger audience whose members now welcome him wherever he travels.


Daylight & Dark was cut just outside of Nashville at engineer George Bradfute’s Tone Chaparral studio with a superb team of players. They included Americana award winning multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin on pedal steel and fiddle, guitarist Richard Bennett (who’s worked with a diverse array of artists from Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris to Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond), drummer John Gardner (Jim Lauderdale, Don Williams, Dixie Chicks) and bassist Steve Mackey (Dolly Parton, Delbert McClinton).


Although country music was Eady’s first love, he was exposed to the musical stew of the lower Delta — blues, soul, R&B and primal swamp rock — while growing up in Jackson, Mississippi. Eady was performing in local bars by the time he was 14, singing and playing guitar. He began writing his own songs, but the live music culture in the Magnolia State was geared to hits and classics rather than original music.


Eady moved to Nashville to seek a record deal, but he became disillusioned and headed back to Mississippi, joining the Air Force on the way home. “Becoming a translator in the Air Force helped me be a better songwriter,” Eady says. “I got a much broader view of the world and of other cultures, which helped me see things from a better perspective.” After the military Eady got a job in a Fort Worth bank’s IT department, and he began attending open mic nights to blow off steam. Soon he developed a following.


“I was surprised to learn that Texas was exactly the opposite of Mississippi,” he says. “If you played too many cover songs the audience would get restless. They wanted original music.” That encouraged Eady to step up his songwriting and step away from his day job, never to return.


Eady says his first two albums, 2005’s From Underneath the Old and 2007’s Wild Eyed Serenade, “were about trying to zero in on what I wanted to do. They had singer-songwriter, country, southern rock and other kinds of songs. I had no idea about production or how to work in the studio. I was all over the map. Things really clicked when I started working with Kevin. He helped me focus on the music I heard growing up in Mississippi, but as a way of discovering more about who I was as an artist.


“With AM County Heaven and now Daylight & Dark, I’ve learned to stop second guessing,” Eady declares. “Now I understand that I’m a country artist. That’s the music I love, and that’s what I always want to be.”

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Vanessa Peters

Thu, April 27 / 930 PM

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Vanessa Peters is a wandering songwriting storyteller with an uncanny knack for melodies so catchy the listener might miss the subtleties in her poetry.  But the stories she tells from her many years on the road are made unforgettable with her uniquely clever turns of phrase and unpretentious delivery.  Her writing is that of a novelist - sometimes clear and direct, sometimes relying on a skillful turn of phrase to drive home a point - but always with multiple layers of both metaphor and substance.


As a performing musician, Vanessa has played well over 1000 shows in a dozen or so countries, earning her reputation as “a true poet and a brilliant singer/songwriter” and receiving accolades from abroad and in her hometown of Dallas (nominated “Best Folk Artist” – Dallas Observer). She continues to tour the US and in Europe, where she has a strong fan base thanks to the albums she made with her former Italian band (Ice Cream on Mondays) and the hundreds of shows she has played in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and elsewhere in Europe.


Vanessa’s latest album, “The Burden of Unshakeable Proof,” is still picking up rave reviews: “fully realized, written with elegance and imagination,” “a masterclass in probing matters of the heart,” “10 gorgeously sculpted tracks, a blissful shuffling of folk, pop and jazz bound together by Peters’s peerless voice.” The album finished the year on a number of “best of 2016” lists, including No Depression’s “Alt Country and Beyond,” and has received spins on over 100 stations across the USA and in Europe. Burden is the first album Vanessa has released on vinyl through a partnership with the indie label Palo Santo Records.

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Bruce Robison

Fri, April 28 / 7 PM

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CD Release!


Imagine you are Texas singer-songwriter Bruce Robison on any given Saturday night, and you might be forgiven for thinking life looks pretty good. You’re on your way to headline at one of the Texas Hill Country’s legendary dancehalls—the Broken Spoke, say, or Gruene Hall or Floore’s Country Store—when one of your songs comes on the radio. Maybe it’s Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s hit version of “Angry All the Time,” or George Strait’s cover of “Wrapped” or even the Dixie Chicks’ No. 1 hit, “Travelin’ Soldier.” It’s a pleasant interlude in what Dan Jenkins used to call “Life Its Ownself.”


As one of the most acclaimed tunesmiths to come out of Austin, Bruce has worked in the traditional musical model all his life: Sign with a label; Record an album; release single; tour to support same…and repeat.


But although his songwriting work ethic remains anchored to traditional values—strong storylines, compelling characters, hook-laden melodies—Robison is working hard to refit his business model to reflect new music industry realities.


For one thing, although he has an album’s worth of new songs (From the Top, produced by Rodney Crowell, for his own Premium Records label) ready to go, Robison is committed to recording and releasing a song or two at a time, as opposed to entire albums. By releasing singles directly to radio in chosen markets, and making them available online, he can use exposure to cultivate interest in his personal appearances.


As this is written, Bruce is giving away free “Song of the Month” downloads, via his website (www.brucerobison.com) and his Facebook page. By using radio, the web and old-fashioned, boots-on-the-ground live shows, Robison wants to make it easy for fans to find his music without having to rely on the vagaries of traditional promotion outlets.


“My feeling is now, that everybody’s on their own,” he says of the current state of the industry. “There’s no labels, there’s hardly any management. It’s like the Fifties again; we don’t know how it’s all going to shake out. But I’m really excited about the future, and finding new ways to get the music directly to the fans. And I’m having fun doing it.” 


In a similar spirit, he’s taken pains to revitalize his live sound. He has recruited Joey Sheffield from the Austin pop-rock band Fastball (their 1998 song, “The Way” was a massive radio hit) and Brian Becken and Bruce Hughes from the acoustic-music ensemble the South Austin Jug Band. In blending strains of acoustic roots music with pop melodicism and his own incisive sense of songcraft, Robison is injecting a new vigor and energy into his live shows.


“I’m the luckiest guy that I know, you know?” Bruce says rhetorically. “I just want to have a great time onstage, and I hope that comes across.”


“The best part of the whole deal is we’re really good friends and we were friends before we ever started collaborating, so that adds a nice foundation to the whole thing.”


At the same time, there are traditional avenues that Robison still pursues avidly. A working songwriter, he still goes to Nashville regularly to write songs and keep his hand in the mainstream country music market. But with a new band and a new blueprint for getting his music into folks’ hands and heads, Robison is not only confronting change, he is embracing it. 


Robison has hit the musical trifecta as a songwriter, performer and go-to guy for hits. Though it is as a songwriter that Robison has always defined himself, it’s as a performer that he feels most alive. 


“Man, it’s almost like foreplay and the other thing,” he says with a laugh, delineating the difference. “For me, writing a song--you might think that it’s good, and you record it.” But, he adds, there’s nothing like seeing the music take on a life of its own onstage in front of an audience. “I’m the luckiest guy that I know, you know? I just want to have a great time onstage, and I hope that comes across.”


Although he is about as far from a preening egotist as it is possible for an artist to be, Bruce Robison takes a fierce, unvarnished pride in what he has achieved in the field of songcraft.


"I always had very high goals and a very high opinion of myself as a songwriter," he said, adding, "and I don't say that in a conceited way. I just think everybody should feel good about what they do. 


"And I really loved calling myself a songwriter, from the time I first started doing it through the first ten years, when I never made a dime.”


The hit versions of Robison compositions by Strait, McGraw and Hill, the Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack and Allison Moorer helped change all that. "I've never not liked it anytime anybody's cut one of my songs. I'll always be amazed by that," he marvels.


Following in the footsteps of Texas icons Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker, Bruce has remained fiercely independent by making a base for himself in Austin. With his own recording studio, record label and fan base that fills a dance floor whenever he plays - the Lone Star State is home. Always will be.




Showing tonight

Ray Prim

Fri, April 28 / 930 PM

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Ray Prim is a Singer Soulwriter based in Austin, Texas. His music takes you back to the days when songs were inspiring,meaningful and thought provoking. 


His tunes are melody-based short stories that anyone can related to and identify with. It only takes one of his many songs to be instantly hooked. Five words sums it up - Ear Candy for the Soul...

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The Deer

Sat, April 29 / 7 PM

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With the sort of ingenuity you might expect to come out of Austin, TX, The Deer encompasses the innovation of the modern indie-folk revival and the cross-pollination of Austin’s diverse music scene. Described as transcendental Texas folk and stargaze surf-western, The Deer creates psychotropic soundscapes and tranquil, vivid dream-pop. In 2016’s release, Tempest & Rapture, The Deer marry their brand of moody Americana with rapturous psychedelia, like two wings of one soaring bird. What began as the solo recording project of singer/songwriter Grace Park (The Blue Hit), The Deer formed its core membership in 2012 after the release of An Argument for Observation under the band name Grace Park & The Deer. For their second album, On the Essence of the Indomitable Spirit (2015), their name was shortened to The Deer to represent the cohesive collaboration between all of the artists in the band, and because the group especially identified with deer as a symbol of protective guidance. Their music is like a beacon in the dark wilderness: shining of pure melodies, vivid images, and strong musicianship in a world of vapid ditties.

Original members include upright bassist/songwriter Jesse Dalton (MilkDrive), guitarist/sound engineer Michael McLeod (Good Field, Richard Linklater film composer), drummer/pianist Alan Eckert (Dimitri’s Ascent), and Park. Together they combine the Southern Gothic soul they’ve had all along with new cross-genre inspiration.

With Tempest & Rapture, The Deer has created a dynamic collection of songs ranging between the blissful and euphoric to the dark and the dangerous. Rooted in surreal folk and Southern gothic as much as transcendental surf-rock, The Deer moves fluidly between genres, eliciting emotion as varied and surprising as Tempest & Rapture implies.

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Hamilton Loomis

Sat, April 29 / 930 PM

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Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, Loomis is the son of musician parents who listened to blues, rock and soul. Music ran in his veins and, with instruments readily available around the house, he picked up drums, piano, guitar and harmonica, honing his multi-instrumental talent in addition to performing regularly as part of his family’s doo-wop group.

“My parents had a fantastic record collection and, when I started writing, I gravitated towards what I’d been listening to all my life. I have a huge reverence for the blues and all it encompasses, but I’ve always been fond of R&B and funky music.”


A protégé of Bo Diddley, Loomis met the icon backstage at the age of 16 at Houston’s famed venue Rockefeller’s. Before the night was over, Loomis was onstage playing guitar with the legend. Diddley quickly became friend, mentor, collaborator and supporter, appearing on two of Loomis’ albums and presenting a cherished red guitar that he still plays.