Matt the Electrician crafts sharp narratives with equal measures heart and home. Evidence: It’s a Beacon, It’s a Bell. The longtime Austin resident’s excellent new album showcases a seasoned songwriter in top form. “Look out the window at the road rushing by,” he sings on the stunning “Muddy Waters.” “The shatterproof glass breaking up in your eyes/Your own private movie when things fall apart/Everyone’s trying to break your heart.” Details whittled from real experience frequently fortify his songs.
“Muddy Waters” backs the claim. Matt dreamed up the song as he drove around Austin with his 12-year-old daughter after a big storm. Water under the Lamar Bridge was brown and green, colors he thought an interesting mix. “Yeah, it’s dirty, Dad,” his daughter said, unimpressed. “Muddy Waters” deftly charts our decidedly varying perceptions at different times in our lives and with age comes an acute awareness that everything moves in cycles. Listen closely. Lessons quickly emerge within the song’s ebb and flow.
Andrew Dansby of the Houston Chronicle calls the MilkDrive repertoire “a virtuosic blast of bluegrassy string-band music.”
With labels that range from jamgrass and nu-folk to redneck gypsy jazz, the band has built a following that’s as funky and friendly as they are.
The group plays festivals from coast to coast every year, with stops in between at Colorado’s beloved RockyGrass Festival and at home at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
"From Day One, Red Molly conjured musical magic. A decade later, they've honed their songwriting, their covers, their playing and, above all, their harmonies into something joyful and sublime." -John Platt, WFUV FM, Sunday Breakfast
Americana powerhouse vocal trio Red Molly is known for their gorgeous harmonies, crisp musicianship, infectious songwriting, and warm, engaging stage presence. Laurie MacAllister (bass), Abbie Gardner (Dobro), and Molly Venter (guitar) weave together the threads of American music—from folk roots to bluegrass, from heartbreaking ballads to barn-burning honky tonk—as effortlessly as they blend their caramel voices into their signature soaring, crystalline three-part harmonies.
Organic musicianship, a respect for the traditions of American music, and an obvious love of crafting music together lend a joyous atmosphere to their legendary live performances, and a natural balance to their studio recordings.
Gracing stages from Denver to Denmark, from Australia to Austin, Red Molly is renowned for their live shows. Four-time featured artist at MerleFest, breakout stars at RockyGrass, and the darlings of the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, the "Mollies" bring audiences to their feet, whether it's on a grand festival stage or in an intimate concert hall.
Their latest CD, "The Red Album", was featured in USA Today and CMT Edge. It debuted at #1 on the Folk DJ radio chart and is currently at #10 on the Americana Radio chart, and climbing.
"Femme Phenom! No root from the grand tree of music is left untouched - classic country heartbreak, undeniable swing, authentic folk, gospel rock with an edge, and Americana stomp. With smart production, a strong thread runs throughout the album and every note sung is upheld on cosmic harmony. Red Molly is unstoppable. Highly recommended."
-Mary Sue Twohy, SiriusXM Satellite Radio
“…his flare for songwriting is better than ever. Life’s troubles are laid out with fiery humor in “Late for My Funeral,” the anguish of love is woven through “This Year,” and a there’s a poignant dose of introspection as he tries to find his way out of the “Lost Side of Town.” - Los Angeles Magazine
“…in the honky-tonk world of southern California (and now, Texas), Mike Stinson is king. His latest album, Hell and Half of Georgia, covers your classic country bases – loyalty (“Died and Gone to Houston”), money struggles (“Box I Take To Work”), heartbreak (“This Year”), general life problems (“Late for My Funeral”) – and with the help of R.S. Fields, ups the roadhouse rock ante while prescribing a liberal dose of the “Texas treatment.” - American Songwriter
“…other gems show that his flare for songwriting is better than ever. Life’s troubles are laid out with fiery humor in “Late for My Funeral,” the anguish of love is woven through “This Year,” and a there’s a poignant dose of introspection as he tries to find his way out of the “Lost Side of Town.”Houston’s clearly lit a new fire in Stinson’s music, and R.S. Field turns out to be the right man to get it on tape.” - No Depression / Hyperbolic
“He can kick out the honky-tonk jams with the best of them, and he can tear out your heart with a ballad. - Houston Chronicle
To me, Brian Whelan will always be the Kid. When he first materialized several years ago at the Cinema Bar, that charmingly crowded, noisy little room in Culver City known as “The World’s Smallest Honky Tonk,” he was an alarmingly boyish presence. At first he stood out because he didn’t look old enough to legally consume the beer he was holding.
But he soon distinguished himself as a young lion behind the roots-rock sages – Randy Weeks, Mike Stinson, Tony Gilkyson – whose shows packed out the tiny joint. It became quickly apparent that Brian could play just about anything, and brilliantly; his formidable chops later found him a primo spot in Dwight Yoakam’s band. But he displayed other musical dimensions: He also played in a tough little pop-rock
He fronted another rockin’ unit, Wheelhouse, as a prelude for the album you’re listening to now. It shows off splendidly the many things – singing, playing, writing — that Brian does so exquisitely well. And it cuts across the broad swatch of stylistic turf that he occupies effortlessly, from the rootsy inventions of Gilkyson’s “Mojave High” and Stinson’s “Brand New Love Song” to a group of originals (two of them co-authored by Broken West cohort Ross Flournoy) that to my ears bear favorable comparison to the best of Nick Lowe or the Plimsouls.
Yeah, he’s still the Kid to me. But Brian Whelan’s work is thoroughly mature and emotionally wise, and many another grown-up musician will envy its excellence.
Chris Morris Host, “Watusi Rodeo”/Scion Radio 17 Los Angeles
With special guests Cindy Cashdollar and Suzy Thompson
Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur have been playing American roots music for nearly ?fty years. The Jim Kweskin Jug Band, a major influence on John Sebastian and the Lovin Spoonful as well as the early Grateful Dead, was probably the original Americana band.
"Rock historian Alex Ward of the New York Times went so far as to place the Kweskin Band alongside the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Byrds as that period's most influential groups."
Geoff Muldaur, an original member of the Jug Band, as well as a longtime member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, is a musical star in his own right.
English folk-rocker Richard Thompson has said: "There are only three white blues singers, and Geoff Muldaur is at least two of them.”
Each performer gets three songs or 15 minutes on stage.
McGonigel's award winning Open Mic, ongoing since 1990, has been hosted by such well respected musicians as Will LeBlanc, Lisa Morales, Michael Stroup and Wayne Wilkerson. Some pretty famous long tall Texans have made the Duck Open Mic their testing ground for new material.
The Duck stage is open for you to present your original compositions or a favorite song made famous by someone else.
Comedians, poets, jugglers and mimes also welcome.
Don't be shy. Come on out ~ It's your turn to be a Mucky Duck Open Mic Star.
Signup at 6:30. Music at 7.
No cover charge
The CBGB (Colin, Bonnie, Graham, Band) is a full band collaboration of Austin singer/songwriters Colin Gilmore, Bonnie Whitmore and Graham Weber. Like the iconic NYC rock club the shares the band’s initials; this band is a musical community of like-minded artists and friends who have, toured and recorded together in various combinations. The CBGBand is a reflection of the singer/songwriter, country-rock that is the essence of this one-of-a-kind music and a good way to pay homage to their name sake of CBGBs.
Colin Gilmore is a Texas songwriter with an Americana pop rock sound. Son of Texas music icon Jimmy Dale Gilmore of the flatlanders; Colin developed his own unique song writing style that draws from a variety of influences ranging from Buddy Holly to Townes Van Zandt to The Clash. His solo albums have won fans across the world and critical acclaim, including 4-star reviews in Mojo and Uncut.
Bonnie Whitmore not only provides her voice and songs to CBGBands, but will be do what she does best on bass. This Denton, TX native began playing bass at age 8 in her father’s family band with her sister Eleanor Whitmore. After spending some time playing and touring as bassist and backup vocalist for the likes of Hayes Carll, Justin Townes Earle and Mando Saenz, Bonnie took it back home to Texas to release her last two solo records Embers to Ashes and There I go Again. Both have garnered considerable critical praise. Bonnie was named as an up-and-coming artist to watch by both Austin Monthly Magazine and Paste.
Graham Weber is a singer-songwriter who hails from Texas by way of Ohio. In the 9 years since moving “sight unseen” to Austin, TX, Graham has staked his claim as one of the area’s finest singer-songwriters. He quickly became highly respected by peers and fans “in the know” on the strength of both his live performances and his exceptional solo albums. His 2011 solo record Women was name to several “best of” lists by Austin Chronicle music critics. Graham is releasing his latest solo record Faded Photos in May of 2014.
The CBGB will also feature guest instrumentalists and is anchored by drummer Matt Winegarder who has worked in both Colin’s and Bonnie’s solo projects and played with Graham in the rock band So Long, Problems. The band strives to focus on the songwriting and infusing it with the groove and energy that comes from having a full band--a creative collective of friends and colleagues.
You can hear the lively blend of fiddle, flute and percussion from the muddy sidewalk outside the pub. Inside, musicians pack the corner stage.
On the right are the fiddlers, three or four of them. To the left are the bodhran drummers, holding their ancient Irish tom-toms like shields.
An acoustic guitarist strums the rhythm at center stage, with a couple of penny-whistle players blowing in his ears. All the musicians are playing hard to be heard over the boisterous banter of patrons lifting pints of ale and stout malts at tables or at the bar.
A fiddler calls for The Cliffs of Moher, an instrumental known to Celtic musicians around the world. This leads into a medley of traditional jigs and reels that inspires one lass to do a high-hopping ceili dance in a corner of the room. An older man watches, smiles, claps along for a minute and orders another pint.
THE pub could be in Dublin or Belfast, where Irish folk musicians have passed down traditional tunes from generation to generation. Or it could be in New York or Boston, where tight Irish-American communities have kept a bond with old-country culture.
But it's not. It's right here in Houston's Upper Kirby district. The scene is replayed with minor variations every Wednesday night at McGonigel 's Mucky Duck's long-running Irish session. - Rick Mitchell, Houston Chronicle
For more than three decades, Texas singer-songwriter Shake Russell has been entertaining audiences throughout the region with his unique, Americana style of folk-rock. A prolific songwriter, Shake has written or co-written hundreds of melodies. Through the years, Shake’s songs and albums have frequented the Billboard charts, with many, including “Deep in the West,” “You’ve Got a Lover,” “Put Yourself in My Shoes,” “One More Payment,” and “Our Kind of Love” being recorded by such distinguished artists as Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Ricky Skaggs, Clint Black, and Carolyn Dawn Johnson. Ricky Skagg’s hit recording of “You’ve Got a Lover” has appeared on three of Ricky’s albums.
In 1983 Shake was commissioned by the Texas State University in San Marcos to write a song ,''River of Innocence''. for a documentary filmed and produced by the university. In 1986, Shake was asked by longtime friend Bruce Bryant, creative producer at Houston television station KTRK, to compose a theme song commemorating the Texas sesquicentennial. He obliged and wrote the regional favorite, “Traveling Texas.” Shake is a two-time recipient of the BMI “Million Air” award for Clint Black’s recordings of “Put Yourself in My Shoes” and “One More Payment,” both of which he co-wrote with Clint, and a four-time recipient of the BMI Writer’s Award. The Texas Music Association nominated Shake's song, “Cowboy Coffee,” for the “2007 Texas Music Awards Best New Song.” Shake made history by being named Entertainer of the Year for the third time (2004, 2008, 2011) in the Texas Music Awards!
Weaving sophisticated harmonies through his songs and drawing from various genres, Shake created a style of folk-rock that is uniquely his own. His repertoire consists of a blend of love songs, ballads, and waltzes, skillfully balanced with lively rockabilly tunes and soulful rhythm and blues pieces. His lyrics are imbued with beautiful imagery, catchy phrases, and inventive similes and metaphors. But it is the rich, melodious voice of Shake Russell that breathes life and spirit into the lyrics.
All Tickets are "general admission". Seating will be available on a "first come" basis.
Dinner service will be available inside the Duck.For fifteen years Reckless Kelly has been doing things their way, bucking the mainstream system and playing by their own rules, straddling the fence between country and rock as if they built it themselves. Throughout the years their old school approach to recording has always adhered to one main objective: make each record better than the last. Their latest effort, “Good Luck & True Love” is no exception to this rule.
That’s country rock. That’s old school. That’s Reckless Kelly.
Dinner will be available inside the Duck.
We are looking for people to join our team who are:
• enthusiastic - we prefer enthusiasm over experience.
• in possession of a good attitude and a strong work ethic.
• always aiming for excellence.
• self motivated.
• team players with an enthusiastic attitude.
• are responsible, reliable, punctual, hard working, outgoing and friendly.
• are available to work nights and weekends.
• are able to pass a background check.
An appreciation for good music and sense of humor, definitely helps too.
Please, no phone calls.
Apply in person.
Whitehorse's story has been told as two acclaimed musicians joining forces under one new name -- no drummer, no keyboard player, violinist or even bass player on call, and no producer. Just Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland The first album and EP demonstrate the success of this simple equation, one plus one, with an abundance of guitar slinging, songwriting expertise and white-hot desire.
Of course, the live show has been anything but simple. Melissa and Luke present a full band sound using live loops, bits and pieces percussion, and swapping guitars left right and centre on stage. By the time Whitehorse took to the stage at Toronto's esteemed Massey Hall for their sold-out debut in 2013, the edge of the ledge effect of their earliest shows had transformed into a nimble ballet of moving instruments, layers of percussion, voice and keys, layered upon each other.
A quote from Trouser Press sums up Marshall Crenshaw’s early career: “Although he was seen as a latter-day Buddy Holly at the outset, he soon proved too talented and original to be anyone but himself.” All Music Guide captured Crenshaw’s vibe perfectly: “He writes songs that are melodic, hooky and emotionally true, and he sings and plays them with an honesty and force that still finds room for humor without venom.”
“His intelligence, integrity, and passion for the great song always show up in his music,” wrote Robert Christgau in his Consumer Guide of Marshall Crenshaw. Over a span of 30 years, Crenshaw has released 13 albums, all of which have received the highest marks from critics and have earned him a fiercely loyal fan base.
"This ain’t your run-of-the-mill indie band folks. Sirsy offers up a veritable soup of ardent originality. Krahmer casts her lyrical and vocal spell with a voice that is a standout among wannabes in today’s radio drivel. Bursting and belting out emotion and substance, she can be the queen of ‘in the groove’ rocking or be simple and delicate.
The band shines in comparison to the stock inventory of what is commercially available. Originality starts from the top down and with Sirsy it doesn’t stop at the depth and insight of the music and lyrics. The performance is stellar...bringing the listener back to emotions that one might not want to revisit, but the beauty of Melanie’s voice and the invitation of the music whisper, "it’s okay."
Emotional, original, rock with a singer who gives major label releases a run for their money. Take notice, this is one indie band with the clout, talent and know-how to make great records and groove its way to musician nirvana." — J. Schaefer, Aftertaste Magazine
Stephanie Urbina Jones is a fiery Latina poised to be the first female Hispanic American artist to break through Country Americana music with her county rock south of the border sound and style all her own.
Jones is not only a soulful singer and inspiring entertainer but a hit songwriter as well. In late 2014 Craig Wayne Boyd, who rocketed to stardom as the winner of "The Voice", sang a song penned by Jones entitled "My Baby's Got A Smile On Her Face". The song debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Chart the day it was released. In January 2015 the song was released to Country radio and is climbing the charts once again.
Drawing from her passion, she became the first independent female to reach #1 on the Texas Music Chart as well as the first to sign to the latin division of Gibson Guitars. She has been the face and voice in English and Spanish for Fernandez Honda and is sponsored by the national product Arriba! Salsa. She is a celebrated Kerrville New Folk Finalist and an international artist taking her style of Latin Country-Americana music across the US, Mexico, Europe, and Japan playing the prestigious Montreaux Jazz Festival, CMA Music Festival, Magic Town Music Fest in Mexico, Country Rendez-vous in France, and Country Gold in Kumamoto, Japan.
The spotlight on Nashville, with its musical values and timeless traditions, is currently bright. And no band embodies what’s right about 21st century Nashville more completely than the quintet known as Humming House.
It’s the way they weave together threads of Music City’s folk, soul, and bluegrass legacies. It’s in the inspirational and revealing songwriting. It’s in their acoustic instrumentation, presenting mandolin, fiddle, acoustic guitar and bass in fresh roles. It’s in the pleasant tension between rousing energy and nuanced arrangements. And it’s in the voices, with two complimentary stylists up front and backed by the full band’s rapturous harmonies. “Put Humming House on your list of Must-See Acts of 2015.” Huffington Post
“Party-worthy roots music.” Mic.com
“…infectious and grin-inducing.” American Songwriter Magazine
“…a ruckus, jubilant good time. They have a sense of fearlessness that allows them make the kinds of musical choices that lift their music far above the average.” Roughstock
“…a solid Americana band with Irish folk influences and a tight live show.” Consequence Of Sound
“A new Nashville band with a throwback sound.” All Things Considered – NPR: Blake Farmer
Del Barber grew up in the Canadian Prairies, and the landscape is as much a part of him as the people he has met along the way. From the fertile Red River Valley to the pastures of the west, straight into the factory floors and slaughter houses of the city, Barber’s fourth album, Prairieography, is born out of a love for his home, its people and their stories.
Barber has emerged as one of the next wave in this country’s proud tradition of songwriting talent. The follow-up to his award-winning albums Love Songs for the Last Twenty and Headwaters, Prairieographyis the earnest travelogue of a wandering troubadour, and the realization that creativity is rarely a bolt of lightning.
“Samantha Crain hits a home run with Kid Face…eleven beautiful and thoughtful songs crafted by a gifted musician underscores both Crain’s considerable skill as a lyricist and her uniquely lovely voice.” — No Depression
“…she prompts plenty of comparisons to Joanna Newsom and Neil Young – but you’ve got to witness this tiny chanteuse deliver her punch of a punk alto live to truly grasp her ever-changing take on Americana.” — Time Out New York
“Over the course of [Kid Face], she paints an honest and heartfelt masterpiece that’s emotionally charged, infectious and tender, all at the right moments.” — ARTISTdirect
“…a spartan and elegantly beautiful album.” — Indie Music
Johnny Nicholas -- Texas songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and bluesman extraordinaire--
"Johnny was a member of Asleep at the Wheel when they won their first of many Grammy awards in 1978--he was also nominated for a Grammy in 1979 - he continues to blaze new paths in Americana and modern blues interpretations--deeply rooted in tradition yet a remarkably fresh and innovative voice as a modern Texas songwriter and raconteur"
Hayes Carll is an odd mix. Wildly literate, utterly slackerly, impossibly romantic, absolutely a slave to the music, the 35-year old Texan is completely committed to the truth and unafraid to skewer pomposity, hypocrisy and small-minded thinking.
In a world of shallow and shallower, where it’s all groove and gloss, that might seem a hopeless proposition. Last year, “Another Like You,” Carll’s stereotype’s attract duet of polar opposites, was American Songwriter’s #1 Song of 2011 – and KMAG YOYO was the Americana Music Association’s #1 Album, as well as making Best of Lists for Rolling Stone, SPIN and a New York Times Critics Choice.
But more importantly than the critical acclaim is the way Carll connects with music lovers across genres lines. Playing rock clubs and honkytonks, Bonnaroo, Stones Fest, SXSW and NXNE, he and his band the Gulf Coast Orchestra merge a truculent singer/songwriter take that combines Ray Wylie Hubband’s lean freewheeling squalor with Todd Snider’s brazen Gen Y reality and a healthy dose of love amongst unhealthy people.
“I guess you could say I write degenerate love songs,” Carll says. “That, and songs about people who’re wedged between not much and even less; people who see how hopeless it is and somehow make it work anyway. “And the best kind of irony, sometimes, is applying no irony and letting reality do the work.”
Letting reality do the work has sure worked for the lanky Texan who walks slow and talks slower. Born in Houston, he went to college at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas – getting a degree in History, then heading back to Crystal Beach to play for a wild assortment of people either hiding out, hanging on or getting lost in the bars along Texas’ Gulf coast.
Letting reality do the work has sure worked for the lanky Texan who walks slow and talks slower. Born in Houston, he went to college at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas – getting a degree in History, then heading back to Crystal Beach to play for a wild assortment of people either hiding out, hanging on or getting lost in the bars along Texas’ Gulf coast.
Hearthmusic.com says, “Della Mae are a ridiculously polished all-grrrl nouveau bluegrass band based out of Boston. Each woman in the band is a lead player on her instrument, and their vocals and harmonies are tighter than the hangman’s noose.
This is bluegrass music played with a love for its roots and great hope for its future. Bluegrass played with the knowledge that Bill Monroe’s vision fits just as well in a new century as it did in the last one. Bluegrass played with confidence, drive, and the pure energy that birthed the music in the first place.”
Della Mae features the reigning 2-time National Fiddle Champion Kimber Ludiker; innovative guitar player Courtney Hartman; the very talented mandolinist Jenni Lynn Gardner; well-known and respected bassist Amanda Kowalski; and powerhouse vocalist Celia Woodsmith.
Formed during the Fall 2009 in Boston, Della Mae was born from a yearning for a traditional bluegrass sound in the heart of New England. Della Mae strives to create music that tells a story while delivering a punch. The energy that this band puts forth spills out into the aisles, leaving everyone with a smile on their face.
Ashley’s beautiful, smooth and warm sultry vocals are breathtaking. This girl has really got some pipes, which took her to Hollywood in the 10th season of American Idol. Some compare her to the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones, Jewel & Sheryl Crow with a hint of Janis’ raspy quality.
Having lived and traveled internationally growing up, Ashley Monical moved from Colorado back to her (Austin) Texas roots in 2006 with her guitar strapped to her back and a yearning in her heart to make music. Embraced by the “Live Music Capital of the World” she was inspired to write songs that carry the soulful vocals that have wanted to speak her truth since she was a little girl. Ashley has traveled extensively to share her music and is internationally known for her talent.
Austin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jimmy LaFave brings a passionate rock & roll energy to his original folk songs, whether he's playing solo or with a band.
Quite a fixture on the Austin music scene, upon his return to Texas in 1986, LaFave racked up critical accolades among not only Austin–based publications, but periodicals across the country and two Austin Music Awards, in addition to other laurels.
LaFave’s visibility on the musical radar increased with an appearance on Austin City Limits and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute to Woody Guthrie, where he was hand–picked by Guthrie’s daughter to appear.
Grammy nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter Bill Kirchen is one of the fortunate few who can step onto any stage, play those trademark licks that drove his seminal Commander Cody classic Hot Rod Lincoln into the Top Ten, and elicit instant recognition for a career that has spanned over 40 years and includes guitar work with Nick Lowe, Emmylou Harris, Doug Sahm, Elvis Costello and many more.
Named “A Titan of the Telecaster” by Guitar Player Magazine, he celebrates an American musical tradition where rock 'n' roll and country music draws upon its origins in blues and bluegrass, Western swing from Texas and California honky-tonk.
Coined the “Tina Turner of jazz” due to her long legs, fierce hair, and aggressive vocal stylings, Tameca Jones is a rare creature – an Austin, TX musician actually born and raised in the musical city.
Since embarking on her mission to put her unique and soulful spin on covers in 2008, she has taken the local scene by storm with her potpourri of jazz, blues, rock, and soul. She opened for Gary Clark Jr., BB King, Smokey Robinson, David Sanborn and Joey Defrancesco, Oleta Adams, Take 6, Al Di Meola, Robert Cray, Ruben Studdard, and many other notable artists.
In the summer of 2010, she won a prestigious contest that allowed her to open for Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton, and Mint Condition.
Rank and Revue Article
On September 30th, 2014, Houston-based singer-songwriter Brant Croucher releases a brand-new full-length album produced by Jack Saunders (White Cat Studios, Houston, TX). The 11-track “Americana” project – an ambitious, eclectic representation of Croucher’s vast musical interests and influences – featuring folk-inspired acoustic songs, swampy groove-driven tunes, toe-tapping country numbers, and a pair of thoughtful, piano-driven ballads.
Croucher was born and raised in Houston, schooled in Denton, TX and has since spent time living in Dallas, Nashville, Austin, and Wimberley. Appropriately, the album’s songs explore themes of moving around -- and moving on -- while finding a way to make life as an aspirant troubadour work.
There are songwriters who sing their songs, and then there are songs who sing their writers.
Alejandro Escovedo is one with his muse and his music. Over a lifetime spent traversing the bridge between words and melody, he has ranged over an emotional depth that embraces all forms of genre and presentation, a resolute voice that weathers the emotional terrain of our lives, its celebrations and despairs, landmines and blindsides and upheavals and beckoning distractions, in search for ultimate release and the healing truth of honesty. Sometimes it takes the form of barely contained rage, the rock of punk amid kneeled feedback; sometimes it caresses and soothes, a whispery harmony riding the air of a nightclub room, removed from amplification, within the audience.
His rise has been gradual, a steady incline rather than a quick ascendance, but it has deepened and burnished his music, made it closer to the bone, where it begins to break, deepening his insight and his ability to find that insight in performance. His tireless touring, and dogged determination to place one album after another, has taken him through many musical scenes, remaining the same persona within each, of an artist who doesn’t settle for the easy way out.
Amy Lavere - John Paul Keith - Will Sexton
There’s something strange yet familiar about Motel Mirrors—like an old photograph of a place you think you know, but don’t quite remember having visited.
If the collaboration was obvious to LaVere, the style was obvious to Keith: he wanted to emulate the classic 50s and 60s country duets?—?George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. The two dove into their respective record collections, searching for songs they could make their own. Timeless is a good word for it. If you put the needle down and close your eyes, you might mistake yourself for being somewhere else. At another time, in a different town. In a bar, listening to a band of strangers, whose voices are at once, both fleeting and familiar.
" It's hard enough to get this many talented guys in one room much less on the same stage. The first time I saw them I could feel the energy and really enjoyed seeing that they were having as much fun as the packed house was. " - Joe Ables Owner of the Saxon Pub
"The energy is great, the song selections, vocals and musicianship can't be beat. These guys are pros and they are there to make the audience have a good time." Abbey, Talent buyer Luckenbach Events
The eclectic range of Mulvey’s tireless past pays handsome dividends on this stylistically sweeping, LA-recorded album. A crack specially convened band (including regular Dylan drummer David Kemper) adhere to his well-established live and direct recording approach and allow the performer’s deeply matured, naturally wry and hard-edged Americana to attain full, flowing life.
From the raunchy melodic pop of “Sympathies” through suburban requiem “Remember the Milkman”, the dizzying weirdness of “If You Shoot At A King” and even Led Zeppelin modal thunder on “Copenhagen Airport”, Mulvey’s troubled visions attain striking clarity. – Gavin Martin, Uncut
"I've been a fan of guitarist/singer/songwriter Annie McCue for many years so I'm very honored and happy about singing with her on a damn fine song for her upcoming album. She wrote the song with John Hadley and the brilliant David Olney. You can't go wrong with such talent." Dave Alvin
"I had done some gigs with Annie McCue out in California and thought that besides her phenomenal playing and great songs she had a unique presence. She has an angelic quality to her but also a Charlie Chaplin-esque vibe. Fearless and tender and alluring." David Olney
Alternative Country icon Lucinda Williams has said of McCue: “Initially, her stunning voice hooked me in. Then I got inside the songs. The first chance I got, I went to see her perform . . . I was floored!"
Born in Sydney and raised just southwest in Campbelltown, McCue has toured the world playing her music in Concert Halls, pubs and festivals, living for a year in Vietnam. She has most recently been based in East Nashville, a thriving songwriting community on the Cumberland River's left bank.
Her love of music forged in Sydney, Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City, McCue landed in America and performed on the Lilith Fair tour. After setting up shop in Los Angeles, she became a vital part of the city’s roots music scene and has since recorded 5 acclaimed studio albums and a DVD ‘Live In Nashville.’
Her music is included in Time Life’s ‘4 Decades Of Folk Rock’ alongside Bob Dylan, The Byrds, etc. and in Starbucks Artist Choice alongside Leonard Cohen, John Coltraine etc.
McCue recently produced Emma Swift's debut album in Nashville. The record has since been nominated for an ARIA Award in Australia. Other artists she has produced include Audrey Auld and Tracey Bunn. She is currently working with Reckless Johnny Wales at Flying Machine Studio.
Expect great guitar work, compelling songs, and an eclectic set list.
"Listeners will delight in her slide guitar prowess, as well as her pointed and powerful lyrics." --Seattle Post Intelligencer "Anne McCue is the virtual definition of "triple threat." A potent singer, thoughtful songwriter and tough guitarist, she completely comes into her own on this new project." -- Billboard
"The Australian earns accolades with an album of songs that stretch from urgent to world-weary with bracing bluntness." -- Philadelphia Inquirer
"My new favorite artist and an amazing guitarist" -- Lucinda Williams
"She used every guitar in the battery she brought on stage, from the National steel to the Danelectro 12-string to the lap steel, and each allowed her the freedom to explore a different type of roots music, including swampy Creedence stomp, ethereal blues, and countrified jangle. These days, there are very few women working the same territory as McCue who can combine tough and vulnerable. That she does it with poise and a self-deprecating sense of humor makes her an artist worth seeing again." --Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle
Phoebe Hunt sings The New American Songbook
Bridging the past with the present, Phoebe’s music is influenced by legendary artists such as Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee who made their marks as singers rippling into the hearts of music lovers around the world.
Join Phoebe as she presents a unique show nodding to the jazz and swing roots from where she came, sing her renditions of the classics.
This captivating performance will also feature Hunt’s original material infused with the nuances of the art form. Come experience history in the making as Phoebe Hunt sings for you the New American Songbook.
Slaid Cleaves spins stories with a novelist’s eye and a poet’s heart. Twenty years into his career, the celebrated songwriter’s Still Fighting the War spotlights an artist in peak form. Cleaves’ seamless new collection delivers vivid snapshots as wildly cinematic as they are carefully chiseled. Dress William Faulkner with faded jeans and a worn six-string for a good idea. “Slaid’s a craftsman,” says Terri Hendrix, who sings harmony on “Texas Love Song.” “He goes about his songs like a woodworker.”
Accordingly, Cleaves’ earthy narratives stand oak strong. “Men go off to war for a hundred reasons/But they all come home with the same demons,” he sings on the album’s title track. “Some you can keep at bay for a while/Some will pin you to the floor/You’ve been home for a couple of years now, buddy/But you’re still fighting the war.” Few writers frame bruised souls as clearly. Fewer still deliver a punch with such striking immediacy.
with special guest Joseph LeMay
“Strong hooks elevate every song, providing a significant but unobtrusive foundation for Watkins’ thought-provoking lyrics. Melodically and poetically sound, the latest release from Nickel Creek’s guitarist rivals the genre-blurring trio’s best work.” – Glide Magazine
Glide Magazine Review of All I Do is Lie
The Guardian announced their list of the top 10 country albums of 2014 and we are excited to announce that Jason Eady's "Daylight & Dark" made the cut!
Here's what they had to say about the album...
"A tried-and-true country record for fans of traditional country music, Jason Eady’s Daylight and Dark features some of the cleanest and most engaging country production – not overly polished or filled with AutoTune effects – of any album in recent memory. This whole collection, rife with simple fiddle and pedal steel productions, just sounds great. Eady has a fittingly undecorated lyrical style as well, delivering lines like “I’ll be hurtin’ when I wake up on the floor/but I’ll be over it by noon,” from standout song Whiskey and You, with the gruff attitude of a coal miner. Eady’s music is lean and straightforward, and whereas some artists may prefer more experimentation, Eady excels with these humbly constructed compositions, which would make a perfect soundtrack for the sad patron trying to take the edge off at a local bar."
Based out of La Grange, Texas, The Youngest reaches a middle-ground somewhere in the center of Folk, Rock, Americana, Country, and Blues. Blending various educations and influences, The Youngest has a sound that is both classic and refreshing. Their elements of well-crafted vocal harmonies, ruminative songwriting, and instrumental virtuosity are all promenantly displayed on their debut album Feral Road that was releasedOctober 3, 2014 .
“Bluefish Fellows brings together a great friendship and lots of fun to create a unique musical style..... they cleverly incorporate new and old musical styles while creating music.” — Takia Simpson, Northern Star
Fans of Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss and Dolly Parton, take notice: Nora Jane Struthers embodies everything you could want in an Americana singer-songwriter.” — NPR Music
“Old time music continues to reinvent itself in the able hands of young artists like Nora Jane Struthers” — Tim O’Brien
“Spend some time with [Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line] and you’ll quickly discover what separates them from the rest of the roots-inspired crowd: Rich storytelling, repeat-worthy melodies and a modern mashup of traditional, bluegrass, folk, country and rock influences.”” — Paul Wallen, Tampa Bay Times
Humming People's long awaited and highly anticipated 3rd album "City of Lost Men" was recorded in an old wooden house in Trysil/Norway, alongside the well acclaimed American producer Phil Madeira. Their first single "Silver Spoon" got A-listed on Norway's biggest radio channel and rotated for 13 weeks.
Country legend Emmylou Harris came in and sang on the title track "Lost Men" after hearing the song and expressing her love for it.
Amy Speace Album Release Show for 'That Kind of Girl' with Very Special Guest Ryan Culwell.
"There are voices that serve as a bridge from the past to the future and act as soul connectors, and as a people we need them to keep singing. These voices open hearts with this rare, one in a million quality. Amy Speace has such a voice. Just ask the legendarily discerning Judy Collins; she'll tell you. Amy's got it, and then some. She is a timeless artist, a time traveler. Part past, part future. And that’s a good thing, a really good thing." - Mary Gauthier
Loomis and crew shine on stage proving his music is best experienced in person, where one can see and hear its intended splendor. Described by Blues Blast Magazine as “a non-stop turbo of power, one minute moving from side to side of the stage, and then taking on his horn player in a head-cutting contest on the apron of the stage the next minute.” Loomis’ energetic, get-in-with–the-crowd antics are infectious. The swaying and clapping are just as he envisioned.
Bridging the gap between generations of music-lovers and redefining blues-based American music for a contemporary audience, Loomis created his own path and built a loyal following by blending myriad influences, clever songwriting, and an expressive voice into a sound that defies description.
Feeling his current style, layered onto his bluesy foundation, will attract a new generation of fans, Loomis looks forward to the appeal GIVE IT BACK will have on today’s young listeners.
“Depending on the Distance,” Jimmy LaFave’s first studio album in five years, lives up to the intriguing promise of its title, finding the Oklahoma-Texas troubadour in a contemplative mood whether he is crooning his new original songs, covering an ’80s pop smash or reinterpreting anthems penned by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
Much like his mentors Bob the Bard and Oklahoma songwriting icon Woody Guthrie, what the red dirt pioneer’s voice lacks in technical prowess it more than makes up for rootsy, relatable authenticity. The Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter, who spent his teen years in Stillwater and dug his musical roots in the red dirt hotbed, is in such a mellow mood on the follow-up to his 2007 “Cimarron Manifesto” that the passion of the achingly lovely opener indeed seems to come out of the “Clear Blue Sky” and the sharply written socially commentary of “It Just Is Not Right” sneaks up to prick you in the conscience despite the tip-off of the title.
There’s even an understated elegance to his rendition of John Waite’s often-covered 1984 chart-topper “Missing You,” which LaFave strips of the cheesy, dated production and transforms into an emotionally layered guitar-and-piano ballad with the help of Oklahoma guitarist Travis Linville.
Golden-throated folk songstress Eliza Gilkyson prettily backs the fellow Austinite on his take on The Boss’ “Land of Hope and Dreams,” while big-voiced Texas jazz/soul songbird Tameca Jones amps up the gospel groove of LaFave’s uplifting original anthem “Bring Back the Trains.”
LaFave also boosts the volume and energy on “Red Dirt Night,” his boogie-woogie tribute to his Oklahoma upbringing and the small towns that dot the Sooner State.
But the moments of introspection dominate “Depending on the Distance,” with the wistful ode “A Place I Have Left Behind” lingering in the heart and mind long after the final notes have faded as surely as the lost love affair the song memorializes. — BAM
Will Kimbrough is a singer, songwriter, award-winning guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, producer, performer and bandleader with a voracious appetite for every aspect of music.
Born and raised in the deep south of the Alabama Gulf Coast, he ingested eclectic FM radio sounds and the music of nearby New Orleans. In his quest to develop his musical capacities to their fullest, Will Kimbrough has become a modern-day Renaissance Man.
Join us in celebrating Johnny Boy's 61st birthday!
An evening of eclectic blues with the 'freight train rhythm' of Milton Hopkins' guitar playing and the vocals and horn playing of Texas Johnny Boy.
Hopkins, nephew of the great Sam "Lightin' Hopkins, left a career with blues legend BB King both as a recording sideman and bandmate on the road to settle down in Houston. (Lucky us, huh?)
Texas Johnny Boy, who is first and foremost a vocalist, also plays harmonica, flute, and saxophone in the classic Texas and Delta blues styles.
But besides all the music credentials, they're pretty good looking, don't you think? - Houston Press
More Than Just Horn Rims and Hair.
With music born on the bayous of Houston and injected with influences from the Mississippi Delta to the boroughs of NYC, John Evans has already taken over his hometown with EIGHT STRAIGHT YEARS OF HOUSTON PRESS AWARDS including six time BEST MALE VOCALIST, four time BEST SONGWRITER, two time MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR and BEST ROOTS ROCK.
"I know people think, 'Oh great, another guy with an acoustic guitar,'" says Charlie Mars. "What I really want is to say to them, 'Not so quick. Just one minute. That's not what this is.'"
Charlie Mars has been a journeyman artist with all the ups and downs that entails, from major label releases and high profile gigs opening for the likes of REM, KT Tunstall, Citizen Cope, Steve Earle, among others, from uncertainty to redemption. Now, with the extraordinary new Blackberry Light, the Mississippi-based troubadour builds upon the distinctive musical approach first mined on his 2009 breakthrough Like A Bird, Like A Plane, employing supple grooves and ambient Daniel Lanois-inspired production to enhance the elemental force of his classic songwriting influenced by the likes of Bob Marley, Bill Withers and Dire Straits. From the dreamlike, "Nothing But The Rain," to the shimmering "Picture of an Island," the album sees Mars delving deep within to offer insight and a path to self awareness and ultimately transcendence via a gracefully beatific distillation of folk, rock, and smooth acoustic soul.
"This music takes my mind to a place that allows me to see more clearly where I'm falling short," Mars says. "It takes my mind to a reflective place. It makes me sentimental about my past, my present, my future. It has a way of humanizing me and helping me shed some of the things that get in my way."
Currently residing in Oxford, Mississippi, Mars was at a professional standstill before Like A Bird, Like A Plane. With "no manager, no agent, no band and no money," he doggedly developed a sonic style uniquely his own, a sound informed less by traditional rock than by sinewy and soulful rhythms that seemed to bubble up from within his soul.
"We stumbled upon this percussive, atmospheric tone that, as far as I'm concerned, was different from anything else out there," Mars says. "I thought, 'This is my sound. This is what separates me from the things that I'm hearing elsewhere and I want to explore that further.'"
Mars kickstarted his second act by spending much of the next two years on the road; growing an increasingly fervent following while slowly compiling a sheaf of new songs.
Recording officially got underway in August 2011 at Austin's Texas Treefort Studios, with Mars once again accompanied by many of his cohorts, including producer Billy Harvey (Bob Schneider), keyboardist John Ginty (Santana, Citizen Cope), bassists George Reiff (Ian Moore, Steve Poltz) and Dave Monzie (Fiona Apple), and drummers J.J. Johnson (John Mayer, Tedeschi Trucks Band) and Dony Wynn (Robert Plant, Robert Palmer).
That stripped down framework comprises a stark and cinematic sound inspired in part by producer Daniel Lanois' famed collaborations with Bob Dylan, Ron Sexsmith, and Emmylou Harris. With its sparse instrumentation and focus on transcendent grooves and ambient space, the minimalist approach serves to add maximum intensity to Mars' already powerful songwriting.
"It's not just less is more," Mars says. "Less can be massive. When you find that special place of less, everything just opens up. Sometimes I'll think we're doing so little, we should do more, but then it's like, let's do less and see what happens."
Mars took a similarly modest tack towards the overall recording, looking to capture those perfect uncalculated moments where everything just clicks. "Back of the Room" â€” written initially as part of an Esquire feature asking five songwriters to compose a tune incorporating the words "Somewhere in Mississippiâ€¦" â€” was literally cut live as the band unwound from a long day's work, while the rollicking, funk-fueled "How I Roll" was truly born of spontaneous energy, its unabashedly wicked opening lines put down by Mars while Johnson was out on a brief appointment. Upon his return to the studio two hours later, the band jammed the track and recorded it straightaway.
"That was it," Mars says. "We never did it again."
Penned as a "counterbalance to some of the slower, more moodier songs" on the album, "How I Roll" sees Mars acknowledging his myriad demons, even celebrating their essential place in his complete being.
"Part of what I've gone through is acknowledging that I have a darker self," he says, "and I have to work diligently to try and improve myself so that I can stay out of that. At some point, I came to the realization that that darker self is going to win sometimes and I'm a little tired of apologizing for it. It's part of the whole, I don't have to carve that part of myself out and deny it."
Like any songwriter worth his salt, Mars employs his art as a channel towards personal discovery, candidly exploring all the human limitations â€” from pride and fear to cynicism self-doubt â€” that stand in the way of his attaining true happiness.
"The desire for connection and my terror in the face of it," he says. "That's what the album is about."
To get there, songs like "Great Wall of China" or the title track take lyrical cues from such literary heroes as Haruki Murakami, Cormac McCarthy, Walker Percy, and Denis Johnson, relying on spare language and abstract imagery to create vivid-to the bone revelations about universal life experience.
Upon the sessions' conclusion, Mars began aggressively pursuing one of his dream collaborators, legendary producer/engineer/mixer Tchad Blake. The Grammy Award-winner â€” known for his distinctive work with such artists as Elvis Costello, Richard Thompson, and Sheryl Crow â€” ultimately agreed and helped give Blackberry Light much of its uniquely spacious warmth.
"If there is a leap from the last record to this one, Tchad played a huge part in it, Mars says. He's an artist. He takes something and infuses it with his artistry and it becomes something else. He's the real deal."
The same can be said of Charlie Mars. Imbued with jazzy warmth, simmering dynamics, and uncommon use of space and intensity, Blackberry Light presents a gifted writer and musician at his confident and creative peak, a milestone work in what has proven to be a most extraordinary artistic evolution.
Look up Texas Troubadour according to Webster…n. Shake Russell. Few have made contributions to Texas music comparable to Shake. Winsome melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and a truly Texas spirit are the signature of Shake’s unmatched style. Like no one else, Shake Russell can capture the timeless beauty of Texas with songs more vivid than a summer's dream. Most of us cut our musical teeth in the early 70’s with Shake Russell showing us what Texas music could be. Like a fine wine, Shake has aged, mellowed, and improved over the past three decades culminating in his latest, and arguably greatest, releases in the past few years. Shake's contribution to the body of Texas music is undeniable yet proven incomplete with each new song he offers.
- Barney Goodman, Texas Nights House Concerts
“The Texas Legend himself… Shake Russell -- Austin, Texas any place touched by Shake becomes “hallowed ground”. Shake leaves a little Texas behind him, no matter where he goes. You just have to hear this legend and his legendary songs!” - East Texas House Concerts
Pigeonhole Carrie Rodriguez at your peril. Sure, she has gained notoriety as an Americana singer-songwriter as highlighted by last year’s studio effort, “Give Me All You Got”, which reached no. 1 on the Americana Music Charts. But musical predictability isn’t in her world view or her performing reality.
"I have to say I am very impressed. She's got something unique in her voice that's very subtle and a little smoky and sweet. She's got a refreshingly spunky attitude to go along with it." - Lucinda Williams
"There's a real earthiness in both Carrie's singing and fiddle. She's hot and steamy one minute and pure Nashville the next." - MOJO
"…Rodriguez is a triple-threat artist who sounds more formidable with each successive release." - Gary Graff / Billboard (Critics Pick)
QandA (pronounced “Q & A”) QandA’s musical roots in rock, pop, folk, blues, and singer/songwriter traditions have created a unique sound that has given the band growing recognition as a talented group that will continue to make a mark on the American music scene.
With influences as diverse as Neil Young, Wilco, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Guy Clark, Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt, and many others, the four-piece’s wide-ranging sound and fresh yet accessible shows have been lighting up audiences nationwide.
"One of Virginia’s best exports, Scott Miller’s been very busy since his last Austin visit. He just issued CoDependents with North Carolina fiddler Rayna Gellert, an excellent collection of his Southern tales that, on the whole, are both sharply satirical and vividly told." - Jim Caliguiri, Austin Chronicle
"10 Unforgettable Moments from Cayamo. You realize how spoiled you are on the boat when the songwriters in the round features Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Scott Miller, Allison Moorer and Dar Williams. With each performer getting just three songs each, it was Scott Miller who surprisingly made the biggest impact on me and others in the crowd." - Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine
Piper Jones band combines the talents of Mucky Duck favorite piper EJ Jones of Clandestine and recent regular of the Grand Ole Opry, Houston native Frances Cunningham.
As the Piper Jones Band, EJ and Frances will join pipe band drummer Dean Atkinson for a night of brilliant bagpipe tunes and Celtic songs.
Nobody can manage to fit a novel into a five- or six-minute song like McMurtry, and the 12-song Complicated Game offers several: “Carlisle’s Haul,” “South Dakota” and “Long Island Sound.” Though none are as cinematic and poignant as “Ruby And Carlos” from 2008’s Just Us Kids, all three are keeper songs, the type to revisit over the years, different lines jumping up and demanding attention. Whether it’s the fishing story that frames “Carlisle’s Haul,” or the soldier returning home to not much at all in “South Dakota,” or the family man seeking contentment in “Long Island Sound,” McMurtry’s story-songs shine, vibrant and relatable.
The lyrical praise McMurtry has earned over the last 25 years has left his lead guitar playing unheralded, but he mainly bypasses that aspect on Complicated Game. Mainly acoustic, the album incorporates banjo, mandolin, accordion, violin, piano and organ, all deftly in service to a sound that’s subdued, yet lush and full.
Having long earned his place on the short list of best American songwriters, McMurtry is remarkably turning better with age. Complicated Game is brilliant album, dense and thoughtful as McMurtry swirls around inside the heads of another set of fascinating characters.
During a solo journey to the Azores Islands in 2011, Dana Louise, a visual artist, taught herself to play guitar. The daughter of Ezra Idlet of the Grammy-nominated Trout Fishing in America, Dana forged the beginnings of her sound, practicing amidst the archipelago’s lava rocks and dragon trees. Back in the States, she began singing and songwriting professionally, touring regionally and internationally, and is currently recording her debut album with Trout Records.
Joined by the Glorious Birds -- Adams Collins (vibraphone and 5-string banjo), and Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood (Trout Fishing in America/guitar, percussion and bass) -- Dana brings her vibrant, melodic vocals and finger picking to a body of complex songs.
Drawing from jazz and bluegrass, carrying a contemporary beat, the sound is roots-rooted flung-into-the-future folk. Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds work to leave their audiences glowing with the magic music can bring: genuine human connection.
Double CD Release!
Tom Russell songs have been recorded by such icons as Johnny Cash, Dave Van Ronk, Jerry Jeff Walker, Doug Sahm, Joe Ely, Nanci Griffith, Iris Dement, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, among others.
No less than Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the legendary poet, has said that he shares “a great affinity with Tom Russell’s songs, for he is writing out of the wounded heart of America.”
Over the weekend, Daniel Markham celebrated the release of his sophomore record, Pretty Bitchin' with a release show at Dan's Silverleaf up in Denton. And yet he barely cracked the Top 10 in our weekly local music power rankings last Thursday.
A week later, we have a different story, as Markham's managed to garner even more buzz for his newly-released disc over these past few days. To wit: TheDallas Observer's Kelly Dearmore wrote that "Markham's deft handling of such universally inspiring themes as heartache, anger and uncertainty make for a new album of infectiously relatable songs that beg to be played on repeat."
Meanwhile, the Star-Telegram's Preston Jones had this to say: " Coming off his nearly perfect 2013 LP, Ruined My Life, Markham serves up Pretty B----in', another deceptively brilliant record."
That kind of praise was enough to earn Markham his first-ever trip to the No. 1 spot in these Buzz Rankings this week. Perhaps worth noting; He'll perform a second, free-to-attend release show for the album this weekend at Deep Ellum's Twilite Lounge. - Cory Graves - Central Track
Griffin House writes a great pop song. That isn't such an unusual talent in Nashville, a town where every other drink is poured by an aspiring songwriter. (And a lot of drinks get poured in Nashville.) There are sardonic artists in Nashville and, alternately, singer/songwriters who treat the stage like a confessional. But House manages to pull off both wry and sincere at once. He then he sets it all to viscid melodies that stick in your ear like a warm hunk of taffy. That is pretty damned unique.
His latest album, Balls, was funded by his fans through Kickstarter. It's a stripped-down sound that showcases his voice, his guitar, and his knack for songcraft. Bostonians will appreciate the references in "Fenway, though there's clearly a lot more going on in the song than a trip to a Red Sox game. "Colleen" is a catchy, up-tempo tribute to a lusty crush he once had on his sister's roommate. And then there's "Woman With the Beautiful Hair," House's ode to the murder ballad.
House is more accustomed to dabbling in the typical singer-songwriter fare -- love, loss, crush, heartache -- but with a detail and specificity that only comes from personal experience. A song with a refrain like "Relationships I don't know why, they never work out they just make you cry / but the guy that says goodbye to you is out of his mind," could only be written by a guy who once spoke those words to a woman -- or at least terribly wanted to. Likewise, "Ah, Me" is an unflinching tale of a broken engagement too candid not to have actually happened. (And yes, it did.) "New Day," one of his best, is a soaring gospel-inflected tribute to finding redemption after loss, could only have come from someone who -- well -- found some redemption after a loss. - Huffington Post
Introducing the Austin Lounge Lizards' still-new album, Home and Deranged!
The Austin Lounge Lizards are arguably the perfect pairing of their hometown’s moniker, “Music Capital of the World,” and its motto: “Keep Austin Weird.”
For 33 years, the Lizards have been spoofing the topics American families try to avoid at the Thanksgiving table; subjects like politics, religion, romance, the music industry, and their crazy/stupid relatives.
With pointed lyrics, precise harmonies and instrumental expertise, the band has become legendary for its satirical skewering through song.
POSSESSED BY PAUL JAMES Best Concerts of 2014. "The one-man folk wonder Possessed by Paul James." - N.Y. Times... [Read more...]
LIVE AT LUCKY BARN: POSSESSED BY PAUL JAMES HOWLS 'OLDER IN MY BODY'
Konrad Wert, better known on stage as Possessed by Paul James, was raised in a small Mennonite community in Florida. There, he picked up strange whispers and Hoodoo hymns of the South, infusing his bare bones music with magic. [Read more...]
PLAYING TO THE RAFTERS, SINGING LIKE A MAN POSSESSED
Konrad Wert is a teacher by day, but when he plays his country-folk songs for fans in his home of Austin, Texas and elsewhere, he goes by the moniker Possessed By Paul James... [Read more...]
PPJ FEATURED ON CMT EDGE
"So while his own gale-force performances sometimes resemble a musical cyclone, the one-man-folk-tornado says “Hurricane” is all about the craziness of bringing a child into the world." - CMT Edge... [Read more...]
The Austin, Texas scene has survived and thrived for decades, outlasting brief artistic novae from places like Athens, Minneapolis, Raleigh/Durham and Seattle. Another notch on Austins musical barrel can be attributed to decidedly irreverent 7-piece combo the White Ghost Shivers, who harken back to the string band days of the Roaring 20s while adding elements of bawdy cabaret, bluegrass, swing and raunchy blues. Not unlike a volatile batch of bathtub gin, the music is potent, dynamic, a little dangerous and, once youre properly acclimated, easy to swallow. And funny as hell.
The instrumentation on Everyone's Got 'Em is period-correct: saxophone, prominent banjo, upright bass and acoustic guitar; theyre all played with equal parts precision and abandon. The title tracks jittery rag is chock-full of cheeky humor and old-fashioned vibe. My imagination instantly conjured up the singing frog from that old Looney Tunes cartoon, warbling as several monocle-wearing Monopoly bankers jitterbugged along, fingers wagging. That was during the opening song, mind you.
The bands mixture of pathos and humor shines on Mama Said which features brassy female vocals intoning morbid lines like In the end the worms will have their say, all the while inducing Happy Feet. Its certainly the peppiest rumination on death, the devil and retribution Ive heard in awhile.
The Ghost Song creeps along on a brooding clarinet line and trudging rhythm, while the narrators quavering, almost strangling vocal describes the haunting of someone who once performed a terrible deed. The staircase-climbing-and-falling accordion adds to the almost visual depth of the instrumentation, which effectively conveys a gothic oldness and coldness. Its still a hoot, though.
The jarring My Land is hilariously disorienting, as a retro-genteel rag is overrun by the ribald modernity of its lyrics, which (among other things) mention mullets, Camaros and liquor store robberies.
The White Ghost Shivers give the impression of a particularly aggressive 20s-era band transported to the present and realizing the ruckus they make is not only novel but also highly entertaining - so they naturally step up the energy level another notch. Yiddish fiddles rival modern guitar leads, manic banjos pump out feverish rhythms and horns leapfrog and argue throughout the faster numbers, leaving the listener more breathless than the players.
As a songwriter, Sayers manipulates classic tropes, from blues, R&B, and rock into something not quite new, but plenty fresh. Melodies and hooks are his strengths, along with passionate vocals and a plethora of guitar licks.
Showcasing a variety of approaches to the blues, heis consistently engaging and enjoyable. For the most part, Sayers gets in and gets out, gearing his musical statements to three-minute blasts of hook-filled, energetic songs the way they did it back when people bought 45 rpm records.
What the Critics are saying.......
“…a masterful approach to song craft reminiscent of John Hiatt and James Taylor…-NoDepression.com
“…an unforgettable album.” –SomethingElse.com
“Solid songwriting meets with soulful vocal delivery and a brilliant guitar tone…” -Roots Music Report
As a musician and performer, he looks up to the art of pioneers such as Ryan Bingham, Ryan Adams and Townes Van Zant, artists who have lived their songs and have the battle scars to prove it.
A mix of Americana, Texas Country and Indie Rock is the genesis of McCollum’s music career and he channels his creativity into delivering a genuine sound all his own.
Kicking things off with his first single, “Highway” is a driving introduction to this spirited artist who aims to inspire and entertain in a way only one who declares he has no story of his own to tell can, by making one up with words and music.
It is the smile that is the key for reading the musical universe of Beppe Gambetta. An open and disarming smile that is also the contagious and unresistable smile of a person who invites you to a musical journey with light heart and curiosity. The destination, as for any traveller, is not totally defined because it is beautiful, at the very last, to find ourselves where we never would expected to be.
With the horizon's line as a challenge and attraction, Beppe is continually composing his personal mosaic of sounds and flavours. From his unique background as an Italian musician in love with both American roots music as well as the music of his native country, Beppe has travelled the world and even crossed the “Iron Curtain” to dazzle and charm music enthusiasts everywhere. After eleven CDs, DVDs, teaching books and collaborations with many other top-flight musicians, Gambetta is increasingly known as one of the true live master innovators of the acoustic guitar.
While Beppe still lives in his native Genova, he travels to North America at least three times each year. His reputation in the U.S. and Canada is reinforced by his participation inprestigious festivals like the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, Merlefest in North Carolina, the Four Corners Festival in Colorado and Canadian Folk Festivals in Winnipeg and Edmonton, as well as events like the radio shows “All Things Considered” and “E-Town”. Beppe has performed in prestigious rooms like the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In his career he has performed with some great heroes of the folk scene like David Grisman, Gene Parsons, Doc Watson, Norman Blake and with the band Men Of Steel: an international guitar summit (Dan Crary, Tony McManus and Don Ross) of different guitar schools with complex musical interactions.
In a world dominated by the trends and logic of the market Gambetta's playing and singing stand out for their intimate emotions, communication, research in tone, sobriety and humour. An inspired music thatt modestly avoids relying solely on his high level of technical excellence, but also reveals the innermost feelings of a brilliant, playful mind that is always exploring and innovating while staying firmly routed in tradition.
With America in his heart and his roots in the sun and the olive trees of the Mediterranean sea, he naturally and seamlessly bridges the shores of the two continents, creating in spite of the interposed ocean a musical "koiné" (fusion) where American root music and Ligurian tradition, emigration songs and folk ballads, steel string guitars and vintage harp guitars not only co-exist but interact, weaving a deep dialog unaware of any rigid classification.
Music on its way, proud of the past but looking to the future, able to talk to us in the present because it is rooted in the history of generations of men and women so different but so equal to us. Strolling music, intolerant of frontiers and passports, exclusions and obsessions. Vital music, passionate but sober. It is waving to us. Let's follow it.
Country music’s Brandon Rhyder has undoubtedly established himself as a ?xture in the Texas Country/Red Dirt scene. Rhyder has released seven albums and boasts an impressive four #1 singles on the Texas Music Charts, along with a plethora of other milestones.
He continues to push boundaries and deliver fresh material, all while maintaining his signature sound that fans across the country have grown to adore.
“Take a good, working rock and roll musician, strip him down to the basics, give him an acoustic guitar and say, ‘tell me what life’s taught you so far, seriously’ and in this perfect world you would get John Moreland “ – Rick Reilly – No Depression
“With the soul of a poet and the look of a Sons of Anarchy extra, Tulsa’s John Moreland has been gifted the sort of gravely, booming voice that does Bruce Springsteen proud and a similar understanding of the universal human experience. It’s made for some fantastic records — both as a solo artist and with his dissolved Black Gold Band — and In the Throes is his best yet.” – Joshua Boydston – Oklahoma Gazette
“In the Throes is immersive. The commitment and engagement are so strong, at times it feels like the songs are coming out of you, not John. Moreland puts every drop of blood on the page and every tear in the song. This, my friends, is what songs are for. “ – Farce the Music
“With the ten songs on In The Throes, John Moreland has shown himself to be the closest thing to the ghost of Townes Van Zandt walking the earth. “ -Charles Hale – Nine Bullets
“Not enough can be said about John’s ability to write a memorable line or phrase. Nearly every track on here has an immediately quotable lyric and Moreland delivers every line in a way that assures the listener he has lived them all. “ - Adam Dawson – Broken Jukebox
A world traveling troubadour with a long string of recorded songs and albums, Butch Hancock has been called "one of the finest songwriters of our time" and is acknowledged by his peers and critics alike as one of the premiere singer-songwriters Texas has ever produced.
His tunes evoke mystical visions of wind-swept dry-plains and his lyrics are profoundly imaginative, often displaying for his listeners the miracles that occur in the ordinary through creative irony and metaphors. His lyrical style has often been compared to that of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie and his songs have been covered by the likes of Emmylou Harris.
Hancock is also a member of renowned country rock super-group, The Flatlanders, along with his lifelong friends, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, a band they formed in 1972.
“What’s so bad about happy?” John Fullbright sings on the opening track of his new album, ‘Songs.’ It’s a play on the writer’s curse, the notion that new material can only come through heartbreak or depression, that great art is only born from suffering. “A normal person, if they find themselves in a position of turmoil or grief, they’ll say, ‘I need to get out of this as fast as I can,’” says Fullbright.
“A writer will say, ‘How long can I stay in this until I get something good?’ And that’s a bullshit way to look at life,” he laughs. That plainspoken approach is part of what’s fueled the young Oklahoman’s remarkable rise. It was just two years ago that Fullbright released his debut studio album, ‘From The Ground ’ to a swarm of critical acclaim.
The LA Times called the record “preternaturally self-assured,” while NPR hailed him as one of the 10 Artists You Should Have Known in 2012, saying “it’s not every day a new artist…earns comparisons to great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Randy Newman, but Fullbright’s music makes sense in such lofty company.”
The Wall Street Journal crowned him as giving one of the year’s 10 best live performances, and the album also earned him the ASCAP Foundation’s Harold Adamson Lyric Award. If there was any doubt that his debut announced the arrival of a songwriting force to be reckoned with, it was put to rest when ‘From The Ground Up’ was nominated for Best Americana Album at the GRAMMY Awards, which placed Fullbright alongside some of the genre’s most iconic figures, including Bonnie Raitt.
As Rolling Stone puts it, “Tuneful, clever and carefully observed, Sara Hickman’s material has all the strengths expected of a contemporary Texas songwriter, plus one more – whimsy.”
Since she started performing at the age of seven, Hickman has been embraced by both followers and critics. The Associated Press proclaims, “Seek out her albums and club shows for her melodic sense, excellent guitar playing, rich voice and mix of sunny optimism with heartache.”
Hickman’s home state of Texas loves her too, naming her the 2010-2011 “Official State Musician of Texas,” joining luminaries such as Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett.
"Best Americana/Snger-Songwriter Album fo 2013" - Mike Ragogna, Huffington Post
"Colin is clearly his own man in his own world. His easygoing, conversational voice summons the same spirits Woody Guthrie and the young Bob Dylan walked with... I want to hear more." - John Swenson, Twisted South Magazine
“A West Texan Nick Lowe… instant sing-along quality” – Sylvie Simmons, Mojo
Rhett Miller is the front man and main songwriter of the hard-charging rock ‘n’ roll quartet the Old 97’s, as well as an accomplished solo artist.
In addition to his music being featured in countless films and television shows, Rhett has appeared in an episode of the NBC hit series 30 Rock and the Old 97’s were prominently featured in the Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy, The Break Up.
Primarily known for his songwriting and awe-inspiring live performances, Rhett is also a critically-acclaimed author whose work has appeared in several books and such well-known periodicals asRolling Stone, McSweeney’s, and The Atlantic.
On her 5th studio album, “Rattle My Cage” finds award winning singer, songwriter and actress Patricia Vonne collaborating with some of the most distinguished Texas musicians that have inspired & informed her music: the late Doyle Bramhall, Alejandro Escovedo, Rosie Flores & Johnny Reno alongside some of her other favorite musical talents.
The 10-song collection is suffused with Vonne's bracing passion, deep heart, and determination that led her to make music her life, start her own label and to become a popular live attraction in Europe where she was the critics pick at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Rattle My Cage also distills the distinctive multicultural rocking borderland roots style she has developed into its most potent and tantalizing brew to date.
Vonne can be seen on the big screen reprising her role as Dallas (aka “Zorro Girl”) in her brother’s (director Robert Rodriguez) recent noir jolter Sin City 2; “Traeme Paz”, appeared on the soundtrack to “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” starring Antonio Banderas & Salma Hayek.
“Patricia Vonne has absorbed just about every indigenous musical style Texas has on offer, and can summon any one in the flick of a castanet or guitar pick,” notes the Houston Press.
Visit Patricia's Website / Video
Rosie Flores whips the best of rock and roll, honky tonk, early rockabilly, blues and jazz with the traditional sounds of her roots in San Antonio, TX. She took flight in Southern California, and has been a major figure in the Los Angeles, Austin, TX and Nashville music scenes – as well as Europe and Japan.
Critical raves from prestigious publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Guitar Player magazine, an LA Weekly Music Award for Best Rockabilly Swing Artist, a 2007 cover story in the Austin Chronicle, and the proclamation of Rosie Flores Day in August 2006 by Austin Mayor Will Wynn was topped off by an induction into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 2007. She was recently voted as one of the "Top 75 Greatest Female Guitarists of All Time" by Venuszine.
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BJ Barham from American Aquarium has this incredible knack for capturing all of the complex emotions we continually experience throughout our twenties and translates them into simple, hard-hitting, and almost hauntingly-realistic lyrics over some rockin’-ass alt-country music.
BJ Barham is not a musician. He is not a comedian. He is a performer. He owns the stage and the comfortably controls the crowd when he performs.His lyrics are poetic and to the point. He has a bunch of songs about heartbreak but you can tell he’s not bitter. He’s not throwing a pity party. He’s just being honest, literal, and real. by Mitch Foster, June 12, 2014
Fulks is a gifted guitarist, a soulful singer with an expressive honky-tonk tenor, and a natural performer.” —The New York Times
“Robbie Fulks knows better than most that country music needs a touch of Viet Cong attitude: Sometimes you’ve got to burn the village in order to save it.” —Playboy
“The great Robbie Fulks: a Chicago area country/alt-country genius. Why are you still listening to me? You should be going on iTunes right now...buy it, buy everything.” —Tina Fey
"Chicago's most fertile musical mind...so good, he's scary" - Chicago Tribune
"One of the great honky-tonk voices of his generation" - Washington Post
Crawdaddy, Jan 2009
Redd Volkaert is a master of the Telecaster with an impressive resume that includes fronting the superstar hillbilly band the Twangbangers with Bill Kirchen and Dallas Wayne, lead guitar duties for Merle Haggard, ...
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If you really miss Danny Gatton, then discovering a Telecaster slinger like Redd Volkaert is one of the few things that can assuage the abiding grief just a little bit..
The California Guitar Trio can play the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, minus the voices but with pretty much everything else intact, on three guitars and nothing else.
They play progressive rock, surf music, jazz, blues, country, probably the definitive version of "Bohemian Rhapsody," and some traditional North African and Asian sounds for good measure. Like most Californians, the three members of the California Guitar Trio all come from someplace else: Bert Lams is Belgian, Hideyo Moriya is from Japan (where the band has a strong following), and Paul Richards is from Salt Lake City.
The CGT is a melding of diverse talents unlike anything you've heard before, and one you can't afford to miss. They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary with the release of a fine new album, "Andromeda."
Sam Baker might be the most captivating songwriter in America. You’ll probably never catch yourself singing one of his songs in the shower, because his melodies generally tend to be as bare-bones servicable as the raspy scratch of his singing; but by God, you listen to what he has to say, hanging on for every line like a baby bird at feeding time. Sometimes his words come out haltingly, one by one; others tumble out of his mouth in spurts of nursery rhyme cadence (“copper penny for your thoughts/copper jacket full of lead/they wanted little Jimmy Cagney dead …”)
By the time he sing-speaks them all, he’s burned a black-and-white image or sometimes even a whole movie in your mind that lingers long after each song ends. Some, like “Juarez” and “Odessa” from 2007’s Pretty World, will haunt you for life. Baker’s fourth album, Say Grace, adds several more masterpieces to that gallery, begining with the title track’s poignant portrait of a woman weighing the ghosts of her past against the lonely onset of advancing age. In “Migrants,” he tells of 14 men who cross the border only to succumb to the elements of the brutal Sonora desert. “Ay mijitos/they looked like dried leaves/scattered in the sun,”
Baker sings with a sadness underscored by Joel Guzman’s keening accordion. “They got 12 lines in a midwestern paper/on the pages with the ads for shoes.” But there’s true grace here, too, from the sweetly touching but unmawkish “Isn’t Love Great” to the surprise sense of humor leavening the blue-collar angst of “Ditch”: “My wife God bless her and for what it’s worth/thinks she and Taylor Swift/were twins at birth/separated at birth/Earth to wife/wife to earth!” — RICHARD SKANSE
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