Tony is best known as the lead singer and songwriter for the Austin based bluegrass quartet, Wood & Wire. In his solo act, Tony changes things up and keeps it interesting by mixing in guitar, banjo, and even the occasional fiddle playing different versions of tunes he's written over the years; many of which aren't a part the Wood & Wire catalogue.
A born and raised Houstonian, he's been writing and singing tunes since he was 12 and has spent the last 15 years in Austin honing his craft and collaborating with some of the finest musicians around.
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
"The cream always rises to the top, and there are young performers out there who will find their audience [such as] Warren Hood, a terrific songwriter and singer." - Lyle Lovett
Warren Hood began playing the fiddle at the age of eleven. He attended Berklee School of Music where he was awarded the school's top honor - The String Achievement Award. He has since gone on to win numerous awards for string virtuosity and has been recognized three times as String Player of the Year in the Austin Chronicle Music Poll. The son of Austin, TX music legend, Champ Hood (Uncle Walt's Band, Toni Price), Warren has become an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer.
He has toured extensively as a member of acclaimed Bay Area band The Waybacks (featured on NPR) who accompanied former Grateful Dead founder Bob Weir and as violinist for world-renowned recording artists, The BoDeans and Texas singer-songwriter Hayes Carll.
He has also performed and/or recorded with such noteworthy artists as Lyle Lovett, Joan Osborne, Emmylou Harris, Ben Kweller, Little Feet, Elvis Costello, Susan Tedeschi, Gillian Welch, and Alejandro Escovedo.
"Hood has style to burn, with a knack for composing songs as ageless as they are pleasing to hear." - Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle
At only 30 years old, singer-songwriter Chase Gassaway has more musical experience than most artists twice his age. And he’s putting it to good use with the release of his second solo album, Certain Circles, his first full-length record in nearly a decade.
A lifelong Texan, Gassaway studied music composition and theory in college, honing his skills as a composer by creating works for a wide range of ensembles from choirs to full orchestras, as well as composing the score to short film Take Two. He has also been trained in classical guitar and voice, and plays a variety of instruments from banjolele to reed organ. His training, and the onstage lessons he’s learned as a solo performer and member of groups such as Canaries in the Coal Mine and formally the Matchmaker Band, has resulted in multi-textured pop songs that recall the Head & the Heart and Ben Folds. In a Chase Gassaway song, it’s not unusual to hear strings, horns, woodwinds and piano accompanying Gassaway’s engaging lyrics and slightly husky vocals, which might remind listeners of Jakob Dylan’s.
Married to his college sweetheart, Gassaway rarely writes about the trials and tribulations of relationships. Instead, he prefers to use his music as a means to explore the inner workings of the human spirit, call for social justice and hope, and encourage people to “ask questions they never thought to ask.” The result is an album that’s both insightful and inspirational.
Certain Circles has been a work of optimism since its Kickstarter campaign genesis. While Gassaway does get pensive on “Break of Dawn,” the introspective and rootsy “Where I’m Coming From,” and the poignant piano ballad “The Ship,” the overarching theme of the record is hope.
The opening track, “Turn This Thing Around,” is a buoyant, horn-heavy tune that offers a positive outlook for the future while serving as a plea for people to find common ground and love one another. The banjo licks and group singalong anchoring “Feeling Good” are guaranteed mood-enhancers, and the anthem “Hear Love,” which closes the album, is the apotheosis of that hopeful tone. Recorded in six days at Ramble Creek Recording Studio in Austin, most of the album’s 10 tracks were captured in one take. The result is an organic feel perfectly suiting the material, which Gassaway wrote and produced himself.
Instead of pigeonholing his music into Americana, folk or alternative categories, Gassaway prefers to pursue diversity and eclecticism. “I’ve written full symphonic works, choral pieces, chamber music and folk songs, and they’re all the same for me,” he explains. “I like to think of my style as ‘honest.’”
Out of the heartland of America, stomping grounds of Truman and Twain, “powerhouse” troubadour Dana Cooper dedicated himself to a life of music over 40 years ago.
This song poet engages and inspires audiences around the world with his quick wit, insightful stories and commanding presence. He is the recipient of the 2014 Heritage Musician award from Pilgrim Center for the Arts in Kansas City, MO. He was also named the 2015 Spirit of Folk award winner by Folk Alliance International.
He has performed on Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage and the Kerrville Folk Festival where he was nominated for their Hall of Fame. Cooper’s songs have been recorded by top-notch artists such as bluegrass star Claire Lynch; Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell; and luminary songwriters Pierce Pettis and Susan Werner.
Cooper’s mixture of flat-picking, finger-picking and percussive strumming style is legend among other guitarists. An expressive singer his voice is ageless evoking a rich lifetime of experience.
If you love Texas and you love music, you’ll love Danny Everitt because he is the perfect combination of the two; strong and bold. Everitt’s music is at once as beautiful and lonely as tumbleweed blowing across West Texas.
The Academy of Texas Music recognized Danny as the 2014 Singer/Songwriter of the Year. His last solo album “Acoustic Souvenir” was released that year. Additionally, Danny was a nominee for the Texas Music Awards' Singer/Songwriter of the Year honors in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Early in his career he was a New Folk Winner at the Kerrville Folk Festival. And in 2017 he is about to release a new CD called “Dream Big”.
The title song is a co-write with Shake Russell. Other well-known artists including The Animals, Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps, Scott McGill and Brook Benton have recorded Everitt songs. He is featured in Boys From Houston and Boys From Houston II – Deep In The Heart; picture/biographical books about the ‘70’s Houston music scene.
Danny’s been a troubadour for most of a few decades now and he captures a lifetime of heartache, love and life in his songwriting. Those who know Danny love his music. Those who don’t will.
One of Houston's true roots-music icons, Jack Saunders can be described perfectly in one word: Integrity.
Saunders has been at this so long he cuts straight to the chase. This isn't some over-thought, let's-play-at-folk-rock schtick that numerous young bands have, this is a full-grown pro matching sounds and words -- "I say goodbye to gravity when you come around" -- with all the precision of someone who's been at his craft 40 years. This one is Houston proud. - Houston Press
Texas Jazz & NoLa Blues! Centerpiece Sharon Bourbonnais; pianist, songwriter and seductive vocalist ... take equal parts Diana Krall, Marcia Ball add splash of Bonnie Raitt and Peggy Lee for a soulful Texas-Louisiana style jazz.
Enjoy folk, country and acoustic renditions by performers that spent their afternoon in classes at Rice or a long day at the office.
Although less common, other performers such as comedians, poets, jugglers and mimes are also welcome. - 365thingsinhouston.com
Sign up at 6pm. Music begins at 6:30
Members of the classic rock band, Spirit, The Staehely Brothers (Al and John) are hosting two very diverse shows on the same night for one ticket price. The first, at 7:30 PM, a cool collection of Staehely written acoustic numbers- some recorded by Marty Balin, Keith Moon, Bobbie Gentry, John Cippolina, Nick Gravenites, Patti Dahlstrom, Peter Cox of Go West and up and coming blues sensation, Annika Chambers- others recorded by Al and John when they left Austin in '71 to join the legendary West Coast group, Spirit. Also featured will be songs from the the Staehely Brothers Epic Records release, Al's solo recordings on Polygram and SteadyBoy Records, as well as new songs- some influenced by Al's travels to Brazil. John's guitar work makes clear why Robert Palmer, Bob Dylan, John Hiatt and Jo Jo Gunne chose him as their guitar slinger. Sitting in with the brothers is Evelyn Rubio, the beautiful and uniquely talented singer and sax player from Mexico City. A cameo performance by Al's son, Christian, featuring his compositions, will offer a glimplse of more to come from the Staehely millinneal.
At 9:00 PM Al and John will rock the Duck along with Texas Music Hall of Fame drummer, Freddie Steady Krc, and keyboardist Mike Robenbaum with an electric set including songs from their Spirit days like "Nature's Way", "I Got a Line on You" and "Cadillac Cowboys". The Staehely Brothers are not only contemporary artists but they are also a part of America’s musical heritage. Merging their Texas style with West Coast rock they took their music on the road headlining Carnegie Hall as Spirit members and touring the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia. On November 1st, they bring it all back home to Houston.
Reservations are highly recommended for this two show, one ticket, one night special event.
with special guest, Evelyn Rubio
Mystery Loves Company is a touring and recording Chamber Rock duo and band from Houston, Texas.
“Madeline Herdeman can rock your socks off when she gets rolling [on the electric cello] coupled with Carlos Machado’s acoustic guitar prowess. They both have above average pipes and spending an evening with these two can be a mystifying experience.” -Eddie Ferranti, HoustonMusicReview.com
“If you are looking to be blown away by raw talent, then look no further than Griffin House.” —American Songwriter
It is a true, and nowadays rare, musician who writes lyrics so vulnerable and authentic that an audience is irrevocably captured by the powerful experience of sharing the journey. An album that is essentially an autobiographical account of personal mistakes, change, and growth, offers listeners a chance to reflect on their own experiences and connect with another’s story.
With Griffin House’s upcoming album, So On and So Forth, it is clear the artist digs deep and offers up his narrative after much reflection. House is now a young family man and artist who is choosing sobriety and celebrating the path to his success, through songs which share his perspective on how people remember the past with rose-colored glasses, how we grow up and realize what we deeply need, and how we must find happiness in ourselves in the present.
“The record has a lot to do with recognizing the ego in one’s self and letting it die. It can feel like your whole identity is being wiped away, and you don’t even know who you are anymore. For the person singing these songs, holding on to one’s own individuality in order to remain special or important in the world has started to became far less important than being content with being a good, decent, and loving person. But old habits die hard,” adds House.
The project was tracked last summer at Lakehouse Recording Studios, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. House’s ties to Asbury Park go all the back to 2004, when he was invited to tour with Patti Scialfa. His first show in the boardwalk town was opening a show for Scialfa at the Paramount Theatre. It was there that Griffin met her husband, Bruce Springsteen, and all the wonderful characters in their crew and band. Those memories and experiences made returning to Asbury Park over a decade later to record So On and So Forth feel like a full circle moment in his career.
House recorded the essentially live project with no click track and very little overdubbing. Lakehouse owner, Jon Leidersdorff, helped assemble the band. Prior to walking into the studio, House had never met the musicians and had no idea how the songs would turn out. He adds, “The experience ended up being one of the most fun and positive of my career. The process was stress-free and freeing.” The resulting album reflects this journey — a leap of faith with triumphant results.
Recording and performing for over a decade, House has toured with Ron Sexsmith, Patti Scialfa, Josh Ritter, John Mellencamp, Mat Kearney, and The Cranberries. He received early critical acclaim on the CBS Sunday Morning, and his songs have since been featured in countless films and television shows such asOne Tree Hill, Army Wives, and Brothers and Sisters. He has also appeared on Late Night with Craig Ferguson. Most recently, CNN Newsroom invited House to perform “Paris Calling,” from So On and So Forth, live on the air, and the song has been picked up by radio prior to being serviced. House has released ten albums and continues to headline his own national tours. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Jane and their two daughters.
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.
Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes first met in 2010 when he crossed an Austin barroom floor and asked her to dance. A modest beginning became an undeniable attraction the first time they sang together.
“Undeniably intimate” - Texas Monthly
"Impeccable vocal harmonies and instrumentation” - Acoustic Guitar
“Outstanding musicians individually, they are absolutely magical together.” - Houston Press
"Transcendent alternative-folk - you will find yourself craving more from this amazing, dynamic duo" - Huffington Post
Houston native Nathan Quick belts out his bluesy, raspy growl atop lush boogie/roadhouse guitar rhythms and soaring lead guitar.
His sound draws from a vast pool of genres including classic rock and roll, blues and contemporary Americana. He is a multi Houston Press Music Awards winning singer/songwriter and looks forward to sharing his stories through sound with you.
“I have seen Minton Sparks. And if she’s not the ghost child of [Flannery O’Connor] and [Hank Williams], then cotton doesn’t grow in a cotton field.”— Rocker, Marshall Chapman
The official music video for Minton Sparks’ title track, “Time Flies.”
"...warm, vulnerable and relatable, like a bowl of gumbo and a mug of Shiner Bock at the end of a hard, rainy day." - NO DEPRESSION
"...she sings her story with a little twang, some slide guitar, and a lot of heart." - TEXAS MONTHLY
"...the kind of crisp but classic country-pop that has all but vanished from Nashville but guarantees the album a welcome spot in the libraries of any Rosanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter or Patty Loveless fan." - HOUSTON PRESS
"...Libby Koch is quintessential. If I had to sum up country music in one shot she might be my pick." - THAT MUSIC MAG
"Everything about this album reminds me that country music isn't dead, but up until now, has been buried in the heart of Texas." - KELLY'S COUNTRY
Linville is legendary regionally for his work in the now-defunct Burtschi Brothers and for his behind-the-scenes influence—including producing John Fullbright’s first album and teaching guitar lessons to a then nine-year-old Parker Millsap. The “Oklahoma Gazette” rightly called him a “godfather of modern Oklahoma folk” and noted that his success opened doors for a state teeming with talent: a mentor and contemporary for other Oklahoma acts like Fullbright, Millsap, Turnpike Troubadours and John Moreland.
His acclaimed solo releases include 2012’s “Sun or Moon” and 2014’s “Out on the Wire” EP, called “rich, soulful and beautiful” by Jimmy LaFave. A live audition of a track from the latter even netted him a role in aWilliam H. Macy film, in which he performed the song.
A gifted instrumentalist, Linville is also known for his work as a sideman with Texas songwriter Hayes Carll, who calls him “criminally underrated.” He’s also performed with Willie Nelson, Tommy Allsup and Ryan Binghamand shared billing with Merle Haggard, Other Lives and Billy Joe Shaver, among countless others.
Independently, Linville has sold 15,000 albums and played thousands of shows across his 20-plus year career, with an ever-evolving repertoire deeply rooted in songcraft, sly humor and subtlety.
"Travis Linville writes, plays and sings music the way it's supposed to be done,” Carll says. “With depth, heart and soul. One of my all-time favorite musicians."
“Somehow this exciting band manages to sound like they’ve been around since the early days of the Grand Ol’ Opry while sounding new and fresh at the same time. Gal Holiday is the cure for modern country music’s doldrums if commercial radio would just pay attention.” -Marvin O’Dell, Musikode Productions, The Country Campfire, Defenders of Freedom Radio, Albuquerque, NM and KKRN, Redding, CA
“A southside collective of songwriters modeled loosely on the template established by Saxon supergroup the Resentments a decade ago, the S.A.Moonlighters take a big step with “Burn & Shine,” their first studio album.
Former members of Mother Truckers, Stonehoney and Monte Montgomery’s touring band collaborate on an eclectic mix of rock, soul, funk, blues, country and more; whereas the previous live disc was highlighted by covers, they’re now bringing their own material to the fore. Highly Recommended.”
Possessing all the vibe in the world (Rolling Stone), Suzanna Choffel feels equally at home singing in a dimly lit, smoky club as she does front and center in front of (literally) millions. Credit the Austin TX natives musical upbringing: with a name inspired by Leonard Cohen's Suzanne, she was steeped in her parents 70s LP collection and grew up cultivating an interest in pop, soul, jazz, reggae and more. The budding talent began writing songs at a young age, took up piano and guitar, and gigged in teenage R&B bands at the legendary Continental Club and Antones. She shot to the top of the Austin music scene after her debut album Shudders & Rings won multiple songwriting awards, and her dynamic live show earned her Best Indie Band at the 2009 Austin Music Awards. Suddenly she was headlining SXSW, appearing at Austin City Limits festival, CMJ and Voodoo Experience, and sharing stages with the likes of Angelique Kidjo and Solange.
As her profile soared, her music began to appear in commercials and film, including a track during a pivotal moment of the 2010 indie hit Catfish (a surprise even to her). In the slipstream came her evocative and expansive second album, Steady Eye Shaky Bow, hailed as a record of shimmering soul (Austin American-Statesman), and Best Album winner in the 2012 Independent Music Awards. Primed for the national stage, Suzanna auditioned for and appeared on NBCs The Voice, wowing the judges with her renditions of Fleetwood Mac and Bob Marley and earning singular praise from Rolling Stone as “the only artist you’d want to listen to a complete album from. Soon came offers to share a bill with Emeli Sande and Skylar Grey, and tour the U.S. with Wakey!Wakey! After moving to New York around the same time as her appearance on The Voice, Suzanna quickly become a fixture in the NYC music scene. Since then she re-released her album, renamed Archer, with "Golden Fires" as a bonus track, internationally on Red Parlor Records in 2013 and toured France to rave reviews in early 2014.
In 2014 Choffel decided to move back to her hometown of Austin, TX to record her third album with producer David Boyle (Bebel Gilberto, Robert Plant, Patty Griffin) at Church House Studios (a renovated church in historic East Austin). Enlisting JJ Johnson on drums, Charlie Sexton & David Garza on guitars, Cat Popper & Brad Houser on bass and many others, Choffel recorded eleven tracks in the fall/winter of 2014 and is set to release Hello Goodbye late 2016.
Andrew Duhon is a songwriter from New Orleans, a teller of stories with an undeniable voice, weighted and soulful. Duhon has released 3 recordings, the latest of which, ‘The Moorings’, was nominated for a Grammy in 2014 for ‘Best Engineered Album’.
He has toured solo for much of his career, and that troubadour element is certainly present, an usher of modern day folklore. His latest group, The Andrew Duhon Trio brings a new musicality to the tunes with upright bassist, Myles Weeks and drummer ,Maxwell Zemanovic.
Since recording ‘The Moorings’ together as their first project, the Trio has been crossing the American landscape, touring and creating together, the thoughtful colors of the trio breathing a new musicality and direction into Duhon’s songwriting traditions.
John Doe has worked as a roofer, an aluminum siding mechanic, a manager of poetry readings, a musician, and an actor. With Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, and DJ Bonebrake, he continues to tour with X, one of the last original punk rock bands standing, and as a solo artist.
He has recorded ten solo records with numerous renowned singers and musicians and as an actor has appeared in over fifty films and television productions. On this tour he will perform solo renditions of songs from his latest album, The Westerner, along with selections from his entire career.
Over the last 4 years, John Baumann has been steadily building a fan base that is all about the lyric.
Since quitting his day job at a non-profit in the fall of 2015, and going full-time as a singer-songwriter and front man, Baumann has been in a state of constant evolution, having racked up almost 140 shows in 12 short months while continuing to write songs that emphasize his earnest style of phrasing and vivid approach to storytelling.
Baumann has also bolstered his songwriting resume, having written with the likes of Pat Green, Wade Bowen, Cory Morrow and Waylon Payne, while also having his song “Gulf Moon” recorded by Nashville’s Kenny Chesney.
With the release of the 6 song EP ‘Departures’ in 2015, Baumann has generated a ton of buzz resulting in a featured artist slot at the 2016 and 2017 Steamboat Music Fest and as a performer on Jack Ingram’s Songwriter Spotlight Series on the Texas Music Scene.
Over the course of the past year, Baumann has been leading a 4 piece band around Texas, and in to the Midwest, honing his sound and garnering new fans in all types of venues. And having just finished a 10-day recording session in Austin, Baumann is looking forward to releasing his a brand new full length record.
Three chords and the truth.
That was Harlon Howard, the King of Music Row, deftly prescribing the formula of the perfect country song. It’s been a catch-cry for the folk musician ever since.
Before then, it was the psalmist’s motto. The Bible poets wrung it from every note. It was hallowed as the great expositor, the songwriter’s muse - wisdom’s bride, calling faint from heaven’s faraway home.
And it’s still the songwriter’s holy grail today. From the bluesman to the politico-punk poet, to the strung out folk prophet, truth is always the muse and the horizon. The volatile partner at the end of each verse.
Growing up on strains of Dylan and the rich mine of the old Christian folk troubadours, Strahan seemed always destined to seek the truth. His songs speak of that moment where “poetry kissed reality”, his modern Psalms wrestle with that same world that David did, the world that struggles to reconcile the face of heaven in this constant economic, political and spiritual upheaval.
His first foray into folk theology, 2011’s Water & Fire provided a refreshing salve of imagery and language. A free gift downloaded by fans in over 22 countries, the E.P’s track “Heaven” charted on radio in New Zealand and garnered radio play in Australia. He then embarked on an intimate nationwide living room tour in 2012, a pilgrimage which armed him with journals of stories and melodies. When it came to his debut full-length Strahan knew his new album Posters had to delve deeper.
And it does. Like the old psalmist, he reaches to nature to find the face of the divine, wrestling with truth as insistently as the tide claiming the shore. Like the old folk man, he stares through a dim glass and sees a broken world caught in that age old tension. Hallelujahs. Laments. Death. Life. All is beauty.
And that old familiar catch-cry. Chords and truth. These old worn songs that carry hints of the divine.
With his unique voice, more unique song writing, and even more unique double necked “Guit-Steel” guitar, there has absolutely never been ANYONE like Junior Brown. He’s the American Original. Born in 1952 in Cottonwood, Arizona, Junior Brown showed an affinity for music at an early age when the family moved to a rural area of Indiana near Kirksville.
In the following years, Junior began to experience Country music and remembers it as “growing up out of the ground like the crops – it was everywhere; coming out of cars, houses, gas stations and stores like the soundtrack of a story, but Country music programs on TV hadn’t really come along much yet; not until the late fifties.”
Discovering a guitar in his grandparent’s attic, he spent the next several years woodshedding with records and the radio. Junior was also able to tap into music he couldn’t hear at home which older, college aged kids were listening to. This was possible due to his father’s employment at small campuses throughout the next decade as the family moved twice again.
As a young boy he was able to experience the thrill of performing before live audiences, at parties, school functions even singing and playing guitar for five thousand Boy Scouts at an Andrews Air Force Base jamboree; then while still a teenager, getting the chance to sit in with Rock and Roll pioneer, Bo Diddley. Armed with this broad spectrum of influences, he began to develop a storehouse of musical chops.
Early on, Junior realized he had to keep his interest in Country music a secret; “it was like a secret friend I carried around, being careful not to tell anyone (especially girls) about my love for it because I thought they would laugh at me.” It wasn’t until the late 1960’s that Junior Brown would proudly explore the passion for the music he had loved since his early childhood in Indiana.
With many prominent figures as his inspiration (Country legends, some who he would work with years later), he spent his nights in small clubs across the southwest. “I played more nights in honkytonks during the Seventies and Eighties than most musicians will see in a lifetime… I did so many years of that, night after night, four sets a night, fifteen minute breaks; I mean after that, you’ve gotta get good or you gotta get out.
The early 1970’s California Country dance club scene was particularly competitive, but I learned professionalism and stage demeanor which has served me well to this day.” More recently however, Junior has shown himself to be equally adept at a wide variety of American music styles beyond Country. These include Rock and Roll, Blues, Hawaiian, Bluegrass and Western Swing.
There is a dependable consistency in Junior’s writing style (he writes nearly all his material) yet he’s always full of pleasant surprises. Though Junior always knew he could sing and play what he wanted, he had yet to explore his potential as a songwriter. “I realized no one was going to walk into a club and discover me…so I started hanging out with some songwriters who I’d played some jobs with, and they showed me how to support myself by writing and publishing.”
With his writing coming together by the mid-Eighties, Brown upgraded his gear in a way that no artist had ever done. Struggling through each show, going back and forth plugging and unplugging guitar to steel guitar while singing, he had a dream one night about the two instruments mysteriously melding into one. The result was Brown’s unique invention, the “Guit-Steel”, a double necked instrument combining standard guitar with steel guitar. Built by Michael Stevens of Stevens Electric Instruments, the Guit-Steel allows Junior to switch instruments quickly in mid song while singing.
According to Brown, his guitar and steel guitar playing became more his own around this time, with less imitation of others and more his own original ideas and licks. This maturation coincided with the development of a completely “Junior Brown” style of songwriting which employs subtle dry wit to some songs – others can be more overtly humorous, or just plain dead serious; like his playing, there is a wide range of styles that when combined can only spell Junior Brown.
In the early nineties Brown and his band (including wife Tanya Rae) relocated to Texas to the active Austin music scene and landed a weekly gig at the Continental club. Having worked as a sideman for many of the Austin-based acts over the years, Junior was already well familiar with the town. His unique and entertaining combination of singing, songwriting, instrumental and production skills led to a seven record deal with Curb Records that began with “Twelve Shades of Brown” in 1993.
He later released two albums on the TelArc label. There were several Grammy nods, a CMA (Country Music Association) award for “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead”, movie and repeated TV appearances like Letterman, Conan, Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits, SpongeBob, X Files, Dukes of Hazzard, Me Myself and Irene, Tresspass, Still Breathing, Blue Collar Comedy Tour 1 and 2, and more recently, Better Call Saul. And there were the Ad Campaigns; The Gap, Lee Jeans and Lipton Tea. As Junior became more well known, he began to collaborate on projects with some of his heroes.
These include a duet with Ralph Stanley for which Junior received a Bluegrass Music Association Award (IBMA), a duet and video with Hank Thompson, as well as duets with video and record collaborations with the Beach Boys, George Jones, Leon McAuliffe, Ray Price, Leona Williams, Lynn Morris, Lloyd Green and Doc Watson. He even played guitar for Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys in a radio commercial.
Junior is currently finishing up recording on his latest album, “The American Original”. Release date is slated for mid-summer 2016. Junior’s performance on the promotional song, “Better Call Saul” was recorded and released both as a video on AMC as well as a flexible 33 1/3rd vinyl record included in the show’s box set from Season One. Junior, Tanya Rae and the band continue to tear up the highways and no doubt will be appearing in concert near you one of these days. Seeing Junior live is a definite must, so GUIT WITH IT ’cause he’s THE AMERICAN ORIGINAL!
We've been asked repeatedly, "When is Robyn coming back to the Duck?" and finally the answer is "now!" Get your tickets, come early, have dinner and settle in for a real treat.
Robyn's 2014 Release Little Rain, produced by Gurf Morlix, crowned Robyn the “Queen of Modern Texas Country Soul” by No Depression and “The Best of Americana and The Best in Texas”.
“Packed with vivid lyrics, steel guitars, and hot licks, Jewell’s Americana-driven brand of country music sounds tailor-made for sweltering, stagnant summer nights.” – Eric Renner Brown, Entertainment Weekly
“Though her fifth album consists entirely of original songs, ‘Sundown Over Ghost Town’ feels like a welcome return to a set of classics you’ve known forever, gently touching on desire, loneliness, and the longing for home… Perfect for fans of Madeleine Peyroux.” – Jon Young, Mother Jones
“Evocative.” – Craig Shelburne, CMT Edge
“Eilen Jewell is an artist to keep your eyes on… Fans may also hear a bit of Kacey Musgraves in her laid-back and effortless sound.”- Christina Vinson, The Boot
“Tantalizing… Wonderful voice… this slightly restrained, beautifully crafted and enticing Eilen Jewell disc proves she remains one of American’s most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices.” – American Songwriter, Hal Horowitz
“A revelatory journey rich with cinematic visions, elegant, sweet, and smoky vocals, and hauntingly autobiographical songs inspired by her return to the West.” Jeremy D. Bonfiglio, No Depression, May 28, 2015
Graham is constantly reinventing himself. His new album #BecauseOfYou released in June of 2016 leans heavily upon his reggae influences while seamlessly combining them with his love for rock n' roll and hip-hop. It features Adrian Quesada of Groupo Fantasma, Trevor Nealon from Band of Heathens, the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns of SHINYRIBS, as well as a rootsy, folk-country duet with Katie Shore; the fiddle player from Asleep At The Wheel.
Graham was recently selected to be in a new documentary for PBS about the person who wrote "I'll Fly Away"; Albert E. Brumley. Albert's granddaughter who runs their nonprofit ~ http://illflyawayfoundation.org ~ has asked artists from across the globe to put into song his notebooks of words that have no music. The documentary will be filmed mid September 2016 in Austin, Arkansas & Nashville with collaborating artists Jim Lauderdale, Dawn & Hawkes, as well as others from Austin, England, Nashville, Australia and more. Stay tuned for more updates to come!
Born in Texas, the son of a preacher and school teacher, Graham was raised on the importance of family and service to others. Over the last 7 years, Graham has independently booked himself to the sum of nearly 200 shows a year; while also being a dedicated father, husband and family man of three wonderful daughters (one in college as well as twin 6-year olds) & two dogs. The line in his song “Laugh Until Life Makes Sense” sums up a message of positivity and love that Graham strives to exemplify and share through his music and home life.
The single "FOCUS" off of his 2011 release "the spiritual accessories ep" made it all the way to MTV.com and remained the #1 Most Shared, Most Commented On, & Most Viewed for over a week; all done as a completely independent, unsigned artist. All of this is on the foundation of his 2009 release "YEARBOOK" which featured Alejandro Escovedo & Hayes Carll.
In between recording, family time, & touring he has opened for such national acts as G. Love, Trevor Hall, The Gourds, Johnathan Tyler & the Northern Lights, Soul Rebels Brass Band & Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Hayes Carll, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Greg Brown, Alejandro Escovedo and dear friend Kimya Dawson.
Graham Wilkinson has been named one of Black Fret’s inaugural nominees for their 2014 grant cycle. Black Fret believes local music is art, worthy of community support and patronage. To support Graham and musicians like him while attending amazing house parties and musical events, please visit Black Fret.
Graham is like no other musician on the scene with charisma in spades and the songs to match. Graham will make you think, drink, dance, maybe even kiss a stranger.” Hayes Carll
“Imagine if Bruce Springsteen fronted an “up-and-coming” indie band. Then imagine if they lived in So-Cal for a few years, picking up a pair of ears for the surrounding sounds. And then they moved to Texas.” WONY Red Dragon Radio
“Graham Wilkinson makes beautiful music for mountain drives and nature hikes, but also for boisterous bars across North America. The music is original. Some might claim it is a kaleidoscope of roots music, folk, rock, Americana, jazz, and reggae, but really Graham Wilkinson melts away genres and makes new and exciting music.” JamTex
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.
After 20 years of accompanying other musicians, Frances is being backed up by some of her dear friends on this first album released under her name.
Frances Cunningham lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and for the last 20 years, has accompanied bagpipes, banjos, fiddlers, singers, and everyone who needed her brilliantly thought out chords behind them. She is originally from Houston, Texas, and learned to play Irish music through guitarist Lloyd Gibson and flute player Turlach Boylan at their weekly sessions at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. She went to high school at Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where she studied the French horn and started playing at weekly contra dances with her friend Eden MacAdam-Somer. Frances toured the US with a Celtic rock band (SixMileBridge) in the mid-90s with her husband Sean Cunningham, who plays the flute and pipes. She discovered a talent for arranging tunes and songs together and especially for coming up with just the right chords and timing to make everyone she plays with sound great.
In 2011 Frances joined the Mike Snider Band at the Grand Ole Opry and was the primary accompanist there for five years playing every weekend. In 2015 she joined the Piper Jones Band and has been touring and recording extensively with piper EJ Jones.
In 2013 Frances won the Midwest Fleadh (traditional Irish music contest) in both tenor banjo and accompaniment and was the primary accompanist in the US for Shetland fiddler Lynda Anderson.
Frances teaches workshops on accompaniment and illustrating the difference between Scottish, Irish, and American Old-Time tunes.
(with special guests Q&A)
Mary Sarah, who recently turned 21, belongs to two pretty exclusive clubs, making her perhaps one of the few artists who can claim membership in both. This spring, she advanced to the Top 5 in the latest season of NBC’s The Voice, which won its second consecutive Emmy for Reality-Competition Program this past Sunday. Shortly after she was voted off in May, she got the call that most country singers can only dream about: to perform onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, the 89-year-old Nashville institution known as the Mother Church of Country Music. She’s now done it three times, and admits the initial nerves she felt at her Opry debut have receded somewhat.
Mary Sarah Looks Far Beyond The Voice
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2016 AT 6 A.M.
BY CHRIS GRAY
“There’s nothing like being on that stage,” says Sarah, who was born in Oklahoma but grew up mostly in Fort Bend County. “So I still get nervous but...it’s not nervous. Larry Gatlin told me, ‘It’s not nerves, it’s excitement.’ [That’s] what takes over you at the Opry. So I get really, really, really excited [laughs]. It has gotten a little easier as we’ve got on, but it’s still — like I said, it’s still the Opry.”
The reason Sarah has the likes of Larry Gatlin giving her advice is that despite her youth, she’s known many such old-school Opry types for a while now. Released the day before her 19th birthday, her most recent album, 2014’s Bridges , features Sarah more than holding her own with a virtual Rushmore of country-music greats, including the since-deceased Merle Haggard and Ray Price. Other partners include Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Tanya Tucker, Lynn Anderson (“Rose Garden”) and her early benefactors the Oak Ridge Boys, one of whom had heard her sing on YouTube and reached out on Twitter. Sarah herself has been in show business since she joined preteen pop troupe Kidz Bop at age ten, but she says Dolly Parton, whose haunting duet on “Jolene” kicks off Bridges in style, left the deepest impression during those sessions.
“The one thing I learned without her even saying it, by just kind of watching her, was how real she is; how she knows how to make somebody feel so special,” Sarah says. “I feel like with her name, Dolly Parton, you could go two ways with the fame that comes with that. You could either let it go to your head or you could take it and use it in a positive way, and that’s exactly what she does.
“I walked into the room, I was like so nervous, and then all of a sudden she starts talking and you feel like you’ve been friends forever,” she continues. “She has a way of doing that to everyone. It’s definitely a gift.”
Parton was in fact the first star to come aboard the project, and Bridges drew widespread acclaim from the likes of The New York Times, Rolling Stone Country, and numerous other outlets. When the tour was up, Sarah returned to Nashville, where she had moved with most of her family after graduating from Richmond’s Foster High School. In a 40-minute phone conversation earlier this month from her home, Sarah talks like a young person, self-confident and staccato, her sentences full of enthusiastic words like “crazy” and “amazing” and “gigantor.” She likens her audition for The Voice, where she sang another favorite from Bridges, the Connie Francis weeper “Where the Boys Are,” to a video game, “like ‘Wii Sing’ or something.” (This does exist, btw.) Showbiz credentials notwithstanding, she also displays a preternatural amount of poise for someone still so young, which no doubt also served her well in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of reality TV.
Although Sarah says she never watched much of Voice competitors like American Idol or America’s Got Talent, she does admit to being drawn in by the NBC show’s emphasis on pure singing skills. She survived the early rounds and into the knockout phase, charming both judges and audience with a savvy mixture of vintage-country classics (“Stand By Your Man,” “Rose Garden,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough”) and more contemporary fare (“My Church,” “Johnny and June”). While bonding with her castmates, who were often sequestered in their hotel on their days off with only each other for company, Sarah advanced far enough that she admits she allowed herself to entertain the thought that she might actually win the whole thing.
“One of the biggest things I feel like I had to overcome was just the pressure of being perfect,” she says. “Several times I just sat in my hotel room and it just hit me, like, ‘What am I doing? Why am I putting so much pressure on myself?’ Because I totally believe that what happens is gonna happen, and it’s gonna happen the way it’s supposed to. So it’s either you can sit back and enjoy it, or you can literally freak out all the time. But it’s still going to happen the same way. It’s inevitable. So I always did my best, but I never tried to put too much pressure on [myself].”
Alas, it was not to be. Sarah faced elimination after her version of Randy Travis’ “I Told You So,” and her performance of Carrie Underwood’s “Something In the Water” in the show’s “Instant Save” round was not enough to persuade Voiceviewers to let her continue. But as quoted in tasteofcountry.com, Sarah’s coach Blake Shelton couldn’t say enough good things about the young singer’s potential.
“I’m just saying no matter what happens here tonight, when you go back to Nashville, you’re going to find there’s a big giant door open for you there and that makes me very happy for you, Mary Sarah,” Shelton said.
Despite such ringing endorsements, or having a legend-packed album like Bridges under her belt, or that she’s still so young that she’s still getting used to being able to spend Friday and Saturday night on the town instead of staying home (because that was just a few months ago), Sarah knows what she’s up against. To put it kindly, modern country radio offers a less than hospitable climate for up-and-coming female artists, even those who have appeared on The Voice, and especially those whose own voice evokes a more traditional sound. But Mary Sarah has been working with Nashville songwriter and producer (and fellow Texan) Bart Butler, who has had some recent radio success with neo-honky-tonker Jon Pardi. For now she plans to keep writing, learning her craft, and doing her best to stay positive. It’s taken her this far.
“Right now my main goal has just been to write what I love, because when I think about the legends that I worked with, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price — I mean, I don’t think they were ever listening to radio going, ‘We need to sound like this,’ Sarah says. “They were living on houseboats, drinking and smoking and writing whatever the heck they wanted to write, and it turned out to be great.
“If what I write isn’t what people want to hear, that’s OK, but there are people who want to,” she continues. “So my goal is just to be happy with what I do and what I love to do, and share it with other people.”
Jimmie Dale Gilmore is a native of the Texas Panhandle, born in Amarillo, Texas and raised in Lubbock. Early musical influences were Hank Williams and the honkytonk brand of country music. In the 1950’s he was exposed to the emerging rock and roll of Texas greats Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly, as well as to Johnny Cash. He was profoundly influenced by the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the folk and blues revival in the 1960’s. In the early 1970’s he founded The Flatlanders, who have been performing as a group off and on for more than four decades. He has also had a prolific career as a solo artist.
Jimmie Dale Gilmore is coming to the Duck with his son, singer/songwriter Colin Gilmore. They will perform the progressive, alternative country music that Jimmie Dale and fellow Flatlanders band members Butch Hancock and Joe Ely first introduced in 1973. As a solo artist, Rolling Stone named Jimmie Dale Gilmore “Country Artist of the Year” two years straight and he received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Artist of the Year.
Colin Gilmore is a fine songwriter in his own right. He has been a touring musician for 14 years, has several albums to his credit and has played venues all over this country and in Japan and Italy. He also enjoys the opportunity to perform with his dad from time to time.
Cory Branan is like a particular breed of bad boyfriend — never around when you need him, wildly inconsistent with his emotions, arrogant, vulnerable, quixotic, brilliant and, of course, ultimately irresistible. — Nashville Scene
With one foot planted in the blue-collar alt-country of Steve Earle and the other in the ragged folk-punk of Chuck Ragan's Revival Tour, he stretches his songs to their near-breaking points. — Rolling Stone
Left-leaning roots music that owes more to the rhythmic whiplash of Memphis' Sun Records than the poppy, polished twang of Nashville's Music Row. — Rolling Stone
He’s a powerful songwriter, a world-class guitar player, a singer with enough melody and grit to please the ear and stick to bones. He crafts complex songs, toying with structures and characters in ways most songwriters never consider, let alone have the guts to commit to record. — Noisey / VICE
Like all good country music, Cory Branan is hard, if not impossible, to define. — PopMatters
Cory Branan is perhaps the most unheralded man holding a guitar today... there’s no question that the guy can write the absolute hell out of a song. — Noisey/ VICE
Cory Branan’s new album is wryly titled The No-Hit Wonder, but despite the self-inflicted jab, the Memphis-bred roots-rocker is at the crest of the new wave of Americana. — CMT Edge
The No-Hit Wonder is brimming with vivid and infectious songwriting. It’s a breath of fresh country air in an otherwise stale market. — Consequence of Sound
I get heartily sick of people saying they don’t write country songs the way they used to – open your eyes and ears; they do and Cory Branan is one of the best, even if he doesn’t wear a Stetson. — No Depression
Whether the protagonist or antagonist in his own set of narratives, Branan coaxes listeners firmly to his side with his whiskey-smooth croon and a transparency that is somehow bold and vulnerable all at once. — Interview
Throughout his career, Cory Branan has been too punk for country, too country for punk, too Memphis for Nashville, and probably a little too Cory Branan for anyone’s damn good. He has proven himself as a top-notch songwriter
(Chuck Ragan recently called him “the greatest songwriter of our generation”), fierce lyricist (in Lucero’s “Tears Don’t Matter Much” they sing that Cory has, “a way with words that’ll bring you to your knees”), and a hyperdynamic performer with the ability to fingerpick finer than ‘60s Greenwich Village folkies and brutally strum like a proto punk shredder.
Throughout his career, he’s made collective struggles poetic and breakthroughs into sympathetic acts of populist heroism.
Cory Branan is a natural-born storyteller, his seemingly conversational, painstakingly crafted anecdotes benefitting from a hard-eyed stare at hydra-headed life experiences. Not unlike his musical and literary pedestal sitters, from John Prine and Leonard Cohen to Raymond Carver and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cory's gift for detail and phrase-turning is a thing of wonder. There's a novelistic flair to his writing, an approach full of layers and depth. Songs seemingly reveal something new with every listen.
Cory has a well-documented history with groups like former label mates Lucero, musicians of his ilk who trend toward the rawer end of roots music (The Loved Ones' Dave Hause, Chuck Ragan, The Hold Steady, The Gaslight Anthem, Two Cow Garage, Drag the River's Jon Snodgrass), and rock stars like Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), who has covered Cory's gorgeous "Tall Green Grass" and been a reoccurring tour mate.
Never one to shy away from an itinerary of non-stop cross-country shows, Cory possesses a unique performance style that enables him to gravelly sing a coy double entendre in one ear of the audience, while yelling the most beautiful love song into the other.
Austin-based singer/songwriter/creative force of nature Bob Schneider has a guy in his band, Oliver Steck, who plays keyboards, accordion, trumpet and assorted whistles and horns. Also, Schneider notes, “Oliver also does a lot of dancing. He doesn’t necessarily get paid for the dancing. He does it because he can’t not.”
Apparently, the same could be said of Schneider in terms of artistic endeavors in general. He can’t not be creating something.
Sometimes it’s writing songs — he has written some 2,000 songs in the past 16 years — sometimes it’s creating videos to accompany some of those songs and sometimes it’s making gallery-ready art, including paintings and collages. He also has played a wedding singer in an indie film, written two books and penned a rock opera that has a title that can’t be printed in a family newspaper.
Some of his musical mates even wonder when — or whether — he ever sleeps.
“I love making things, so that’s what I spend a lot of my time doing,” says Schneider… “I do have periods where I feel like I’ll never create anything that’s any good ever again. The good news is, it doesn’t stop me from creating things, and eventually that feeling will pass and I can look over the stuff that I’ve made and figure out which of it is better than the other stuff. Because I like to do it so much, I’ll end up with quite a bit of it at the end of the year.”
Schneider has been a recording artist for 25 years, putting out his first record (“Party Till You’re Dead”) in 1991 as frontman for Joe Rockhead, a funk-rock combo in the vein of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That band was followed by his best-known group, Ugly Americans, which toured with the Dave Matthews Band and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Ugly Americans was a kind of alt-rock supergroup, with former members of Cracker, Poi Dog Pondering and Mojo Nixon’s band.
Schneider also fronted a full-on funk ensemble that played around Austin in the late 1990s called The Scabs, at the same time he was establishing himself as a solo artist. His first solo project, “Songs Sung and Played on Guitar at the Same Time,” came out in 1998, and he’s gone on to record an almost inconceivably diverse and eclectic array of songs since then, with his work making it onto the soundtracks of seven major motion pictures (and one indie film).
All told, Schneider has been the singer and main songwriter on nearly 30 studio albums, and he has been named Musician of the Year six times at the Austin Music Awards. Considering the renowned strength of the music scene in Austin, that’s saying something. His artistry coupled with his movie-star looks and boyish charm makes it a wonder he’s not a household name around the rest of the country the way he is in Austin.
His prodigious musical output is a result of a songwriting challenge group he started 16 years ago while touring. At first, the challenge was to write one song a day, and the people doing the writing were on the tour bus with him. They’d come up with a title each morning and at the end of the day play the songs they came up with for each other.
The pace of the songwriting challenge has eased up substantially since its beginnings, going to one song a week, but the scope of the participation in the group has widened to include a lot of widely known musicians.
“We’ve had lots of famous folks in the game from time to time, but they usually don’t last very long,” Schneider says. “The exception would be Jason Mraz, who has been in the game on and off for six or seven years and is one of the most consistent songwriters in the group. Very talented and will always turn a song in. At the end of the day, though, I really only have the group as a motivation to get me to write a song each week. Otherwise, a month might go by without writing anything and that would be a shame.”
The past few years, Schneider has grouped the songs he’s written in a year under an album title, just to kind of keep track of when they were written. Titles for recent years have included “Here’s the Deal,” “The Ever Increasing Need to Succeed,” “Into the Great Unknown” and “Mental Problems.” This year’s theme (and the name of his current concert tour) is “The Practical Guide to Everything.”
Schneider has a fantastic website where fans can listen to all of the songs from the three five-song “King Kong Suite” EPs he released last year, with humorous commentary from Schneider himself between songs. The website also has the 10 videos he created for “King Kong” songs using public-domain found footage, including the menacing “Black Mountain” video that culls scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s directorial debut.
The website also offers a chance to stream his regular Monday evening shows at Austin’s Saxon Pub.
“The Saxon Pub shows are unique in the fact that I play a lot of material there that I don’t play anywhere else,” Schneider explains. “New stuff that I wrote that week or in the last few weeks. Really old material that we haven’t played in a while. I hardly play any of the stuff that you’ll hear on the road, which is a mix of the best of everything. The best new material alongside the best of my last 20 years of writing songs.”
…He has an almost Dylanesque reputation for keeping things fresh, with shows so different from one another that for years he [has] recorded every show and…[sold] copies for people to purchase right after the show.
“I play a lot of cities twice a year, and I like the fact that a lot of my fans will come see me play every time I come to town, knowing that I’ll be playing material they’ve never seen me perform and might not ever perform again,” Schneider says. “I don’t have any of the banter planned either, so that stuff is usually unique to that night as well. It keeps things fresh for me and allows me to play crowd favorites that I’ve been playing for years, but still makes the whole thing feel new overall for me and hopefully for the audience.”
Adapted from "Bob Schneider surfs an ocean of creative juices" written by Randy Erickson and published in the LaCrosse Tribune, April 14, 2016
“With an expressive voice and a way with words, Ely stands among the finest musical storytellers. You’ll be glad you embarked on musical travels with this rambler!” — Paul Freeman / Pop Culture Classics
“This Lubbock luminary ranks among the greatest songwriters of his generation.” — Julie Wenger Watson / No Depression
“Ely’s at his best when he’s playing the defining sounds of his home in the vast upper square. Panhandle Rambler will thrill Ely’s faithful, and damn, it ought to gain him plenty of of new converts.” — Tom Clarke / Elmore Magazine
Shawn Phillips is one of most fascinating and enigmatic musicians to comeout of the early '70s singer-songwriter boom. The mere fact that he was a musician as much as a singer and songwriter made him stand out, and helped him attract a dedicated following.
His refusal to shape his music -- which crosses between folk-rock, jazz, progressive, pop, and classical -- to anyone else's expectations has allowed him to hold onto a large and dedicated cult following, without ever achieving the stardom that his talent seems to merit. Read the full BIO
“Austin’s got no shortage of indie blues musicians whose music sounds great from a coffeehouse stage, but it only has a few who can put together the total package of eclectic, soulful jams and a stridently powerful voice the way that Jackie Venson can.” (read the full article here) TEXAS MONTHLY
“With an astonishing mix of raw soul, superb musicianship and laid back grace it was easy to believe that we were participating in the origin story of Austin’s next great export — a Gary Clark Jr. level talent who speaks boldly through her guitar while simultaneously entrancing with her gorgeous smoky voice.” (read the full article here) AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
"I can't breathe but I'm still smoking, I'm so high but I keep toking" is a hell of a way to start a song, but would you expect anything less from the cow punk revivalist granddaughter of Willie Nelson, Raelyn Nelson and her Sonic Youth-loving, flannel-shirt-sporting band?
Their new single, "Brother," is a high-energy threat to a philandering lover, that combines a quick-stepping country boogie with a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am punk shred — all with Nelson in the center, strumming mischievously away on her ukulele.
"The song came about when I was watching a TV show and got inspired by the storyline of a girl getting her three older brothers to track down her unfaithful boyfriend," Nelson tells Rolling Stone Country. And for the video, she and her band went super DIY, shooting it all with one GoPro camera. "[Guitarist Jonathan Bright] and I got together and wrote it, and we were trying to come up with a video concept that we could do on our own.
The 'band side' was done with a tripod, some cheap workshop lights and a clear shower curtain as a light diffuser. The other side was just Jonathan running around with the GoPro strapped to his head. Then with some tips from friends, YouTube tutorials, and editing software we managed to pull it off. And we came in right on budget — which was zero!"
That scrappy nature is nicely reflective of Raelyn Nelson Band's overall mantra – which is to not really care if things look perfect or fit into current country convention. "It's not that we're against the Nashville music scene, it just seems like there is no place for us right now," says Nelson, who spends more time playing local rock clubs than honky-tonks — probably because their sound has much more in common with Social Distortion or LA punk outfit OFF! than, say, current chart-toppers Zac Brown Band or Darius Rucker."
Our music doesn’t fit into any playlist. The collaboration of old country and dirty garage rock is original in itself and kind of cool." Indeed, feedback, head-banging and fiery shouts of "one, two, three" aren't the most familiar sounds in the new incarnation of "Papa Willie's" genre, but they sure are welcome.
When it comes to releasing new music, Raelyn Nelson Band don't plan on doing that conventionally, either. "I think we've decided this year to skip the traditional 'CD release' and just release a single every month or so, with a video and new T-shirt to go along with it," Nelson says. "We have the songs, but it makes more sense to us to release them as singles and have something new to offer each month, instead of beating a record to death for a year."
And the Red Headed Stranger approves. "Before I do anything I text him," she says of her famous grandfather, whose famous Fourth of July Picnic she'll be playing this summer. "And he'll send me a big smiley face."
"I think there are plenty of guys in today's country music that are creating the same sound, and I'm a country girl with an actual rock band so I don't see how the sound doesn't fit in," she adds. "And I'm having a blast rocking out with those guys. I get to sing my country tunes louder."
- Marissa Moss
“With her smoky, sultry vocals and smart, soulful songs, King is easily one of the finest singer/songwriters on the Austin music scene. She is a powerful, formidable presence on stage and her live performances are legendary among local music fans.” - The AXS Examiner
“Filled with sinewy soul and King’s trademark brand of torrid Texas gospel and blues, it’s her most confident work yet. One where the songs, band, and singer sound comfortable together, each filled with the kind of grace that’s scarce and delivering salvation.” - Jim Caliguri, Austin Chronicle
"Heard Market Junction for the first time about a year ago and since then have been a BIG fan". "Market Junction brings something different to the Texas scene and that's always a good thing."— Katie Key, Keymusicnews.com
"After all is said, or sung rather, and done, Market Junction leaves the listener with a sense of hope for the future and a feeling of freedom in the present." - The Daily Cougar
Guitarist Nick Diaz is a musical chameleon who negotiates his cinematic shifts and twists with passion and purpose ~ Guitar Player Magazine A mix of Americana, electro pop, and bluesy hook filled rock, Buenos Diaz is one of the more impressive live acts you can catch coming from the state capitol today ~ Free Press Houston Heavy fuzzed-out rock n’ roll bass, wailing 80’s electric guitar, driving rock drums, psychedelic spoken word promoting an all-out reign of love ~ See/Saw Music Blog Buenos Diaz is a breath of fresh air ~ Tip Cow Music Blog
Singer-songwriter acts that we’ll take a pedicab in inclement weather just to see ~ Tour Worthy Blog
"Potenza is to the blues what Alele is to pop” - Rolling Stone
After Potenza's spellbinding blind audition yielded a four-chair turn on NBC's The Voice, a visibly moved Pharrell Williams told her she was "giving this generation something they've never seen before." Potenza is to the blues what Adele is to pop: a colossal-voiced singer who merges her old-school influences with a modernistic sound. Her new album, Monster, solidifies endless Janis Joplin vocal comparisons but also colors between the lines of Memphis blues, Nashville Americana, New Orleans funk and L.A. punk. Its lyrics are personal and personally therapeutic, as she empowers herself through tunes denouncing industry naysayers and embracing her fuller-figured, boisterous self.
Stalling's style is modern with a vintage feel. With Jeff Howe on drums and percussion, Clay Willis on guitar, and Jason Steinsultz swapping between upright and electric bass, Stalling creates a dynamic live show that’s smart, charming and as listenable as it is danceable. Stalling and troupe are equally at home on a huge concert stage in front of thousands or playing an acoustic set for a hundred.
Despite playing the same circuit as many household names in Texas country, grouping Stalling with them would be premature. His unique voice and amusingly clever song lyrics pull him in a different direction - a direction most obviously evident in his newest record Home to You.
"Mary Fahl - Former Lead Singer of the October Project"
“Sounding like no other singer of her generation” (Allmusic.com), Mary Fahl is an expressive, emotional singer/songwriter who first achieved fame as lead singer and co-founder of the mid-1990s NYC- based chamber-pop group October Project. The hallmark of their sound was Mary Fahl’s awe-inspiring power vocals over gorgeous melodies played with passion and sophistication.
As a solo artist, Mary has released several compelling albums, including the fantastic re-working of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” for V2 Records and her wonderful, original studio album “The Other Side of Time” on Sony Odyssey. She has also written and performed songs for several major motion pictures, including the lead song (“Going Home”) for the Civil War epic Gods and Generals.
Her most recent album “Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House”, winner of the Indie Acoustic “Album of the Year” award, is a collection of twenty-four tracks recorded live at one of America’s oldest vaudeville theaters that captures the soaring, soul-permeating vocals and musical breadth that makes the Mary Fahl concert experience what the Portland Press called “soul-permeating”.
The show was filmed for PBS and is currently airing on PBS affiliates around the country. Fahl’s elegant, cinematic songs draw on classical and world music sources, American art song, as well as thinking man’s folk-pop which she performs with an earthy, viscerally powerful contralto that Boston Globe critic Steve Morse calls “a voice for the gods that can transport listeners to other realms”. Her music appeals to a wide range of musical enthusiasts, including a large, loyal fan base of Mary Fahl evangelists.
With a voice uniquely her own, Hawaiian singer-songwriter Kawehi draws you in with her catchy hooks and honest lyric. Manned by a Guitar, 'Ukulele and Boss RC-30 Looping Station, she's a "one-man band" creating intricate loops via beatboxing and creative guitar usage. Since taking a GIANT leap to L.A. from her home in Hawai'i, she has been featured in Music Connection Magazine's "Hot 100 Unsigned Artists & Bands" in 2011. Her videos have been featured on CBS News Most Viral Videos, Vimeo, Booooooom! and Sony Music.
Now with over 200 shows nationally under her belt, Kawehi is making a name for herself as a true DIY artist, creating music that is both tangible and relative - and generating much-deserved attention from both fans and industry folk alike.
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.
Austin-based, Alabama-raised singer/songwriter Nakia has a heart that beats to the rhythms of Muscle Shoals soul, pumping blood infused with Stax funk to cells lined with Chicago blues grooves. His vocal talent is the kind that instantly turns listeners into fans — among them CeeLo Green, who invited Nakia to sing on his Muppets Christmas special.
Nakia was a Top 8 Semifinalist on CeeLo’s team during the first season of ‘The Voice‘ on NBC.
Nakia moved from Chicago to Austin in 2002. After a brief stint in The Small Stars, a tongue-in-cheek lounge act fronted by Fastball’s Miles Zuniga, he formed Nakia & His Southern Cousins, got booked to perform at the 2008 Austin City Limits Festival, and wound up singing with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings.
Alejandro Escovedo heard him at a Rolling Stones tribute, which led to him singing backing vocals on Escovedo’s Street Songs of Love album, and to a second recommendation — this time by producer Tony Visconti — for Nakia to front his own Blues band. So he formed the Blues Grifters. A YouTube video of the band led to The Voice producer Mark Burnett recruiting him for the pilot, which resulted in his relationship with CeeLo.
Nakia is a active member of the Austin music community. He is an outspoken advocate for organizations such as Black Fret, HAAM, and The SIMS Foundation. He has served as the Chair of the Austin Music Commission and as a member of the Board of Governors for the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy.
Nakia is a two-time Black Fret nominee. Nakia and the Blues Grifters appear on the new ALL ATX album, “Low Down Violet Crown: Austin Rocks the Blues.” Nakia recently performed at the 2016 Austin City Limits Music Festival with the Barton Hills Choir.
Piper Jones Band is centered around beautifully and energetically played Highland bagpipes accompanied by the percussive chords of the bouzouki and drum. In addition to original instrumentals and traditional tunes from Ireland, Scotland, and Appalachia, the group sings powerful harmonies and can lead the audience in traditional Celtic dances.
They bring authentic traditional music in an entertaining form. Piper Jones Band seeks to share abundant spirit, life-filled dance tunes, and song – with those who know Celtic music well and with those who are hearing it for the first time.
The band’s first album The Wandering Stars has been played on the BBC Radio Scotland’s program Pipeline, NPR’s The Thistle and Shamrock, and has been enjoyed on the WNCW Celtic Winds program. With the recent release of Crossing the Sabine, Piper Jones Band is expected to reach even wider audiences.
Clandestine is hard-driving, toe-tapping Texas Celtic sound. Formed in 1991, the band is known for their brand of blasting tune sets and fresh songs. Piper EJ Jones and fiddler Gregory McQueen lead the tunes with the full force of their individual musical energies. Al Cofrin brings cittern and occasionally another set of bagpipes to the mix.
Percussionist and singer Emily Dugas captivates with her original song collaborations with Al, as well as her singular interpretations of songs in the Celtic genre. EJ and Al also join Emily on vocals, with many songs now set in three-part harmony.
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.
Free Sneak Preview of this year's production at the Duck tonight! 7pm
Join us for a free preview of "The Gondoliers" at McGonigels Mucky Duck pub. Join the entire cast as we perform the songs from the show with explanation, history, and anecdotes between songs by Alistair Donkin.
Come early, have dinner, we've heard that the Duck has the best fish and chips in Texas!
If you’ve ever wondered how it would be to exist for a time in a collage – or better yet in the mind of the artist who created that collage – then go see a Bob Schneider show. It’s the closest thing to a musical out-of-body experience.
Between straighforward solo guitar-based songs, Schneider beat-boxed into a mic and sampled it along with keyboard and guitar riffs, and then looped the playback behind such gems as “Ready Let’s Roll” from his King Kong Vol. III EP, a frenetic, high-speed-chase of a rap rife with pop culture references. Balanced against this would come “Love Theme from Mork and Mindy” and “Let the Light In,” his eyes playfully scanning the sellout crowd for their reaction.
Schneider was introduced to Red Clay Music’s Eddie Owen by none other than Alejandro Escovedo, back in 1991 at Owen’s previous and eponymous venue (Eddie’s Attic) in Decatur, Georgia. On this magical Friday night, Schneider opened with “Montgomery” from his King Kong Vol. I EP, an all-out tour de force showing an artist stripped to his core, laying it out there in all its raw emotional form.
A mainstay of the Austin, TX, music scene, Schneider is a one-man show of serious yet playful songs with references to IKEA, cocaine, witches flying to Atlanta to go clubbing, Stephen Stills, marriage, and fatherhood. An accomplished visual artist himself, his performance resembled a retrospective of his collage paintings, alternating between heartfelt acoustic folk numbers and eclectic surprises. At one point near the end of the show he even broke out a trumpet for an emotionally charged moment…… No Depression
'Hadden is pretty much my hero.'' ----Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top
''Houston's best all around rock guitarist.'' ----The Austin Chronicle
''Sayers duet with label-mate Ruthie Foster is a solid contender for any critics' ''Blues Duet of the Year'' lists. This song is brilliant.'' - ----Blueswax