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
Are you a Cowboy/Girl Crooner?
Join us at Mucky Duck for an open mic night ... you may just find yourself hired as the opening act for HGOco's production of Das Barbecu at Jackson St. BBQ and Neon Boots Dancehall!
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
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
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
Music by Nashville chanteuse Shannon LaBrie defies genre and brings to life insightful stories of a woman who remains true to herself in a life where uncertainty is certain. The Lincoln, NE native instantly became a favorite among music fans and critics alike with her powerful 2013 debut Just Be Honest. With her lead single, “I Remember a Boy,” the independent release reached inside the Top Ten on iTunes and the Triple A Radio charts. Famed music blogger Bob Lefsetz wrote, “This track affected me. Made me believe like the great singer-songwriters of yore, maybe this woman has something to say. That in this crazy, mixed up, shoot-up world she can illuminate her story and people can relate.”
Austin Chronicle calls LaBrie, “a true guitarist singer/songwriter whose soulful voice’s sensual honey-crisp highs brings to mind the late, great Jeff Buckley.” Rolling Stone says "It's as if Norah Jones and the great late Jeff Buckley started a band and went a tiny bit country."
“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
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.
The Lizards originated in 1976 in New Jersey, when Hank Card (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Conrad Deisler (vocals, lead guitar, mandolin) met as mutual history majors at Princeton University and started songwriting together. Following graduation, both Hank, a native Oklahoman, and Conrad, a Tex-Cali-Connecticut-Venezuelan, ended up in Austin. University of Georgia philosophy graduate and banjo/dobro player Tom Pittmancompleted the founding-troubadour trifecta in 1980, and the Austin Lounge Lizards was born.
With a series of talented fellow players and writers, the band began playing dates around Austin and across Texas. Soon, they had developed a widespread following of loyal Lizard fans, and by 1987, began appearing at festivals and concerts throughout North America and in the United Kingdom. Five-time winners at the Austin Music Awards, the Lizards have played many celebrated festivals, including California’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and Strawberry Music Festivals, New York’s Grey Fox and Florida’s Stringbreak Festivals, Canada’s Vancouver and Edmonton Folk Festivals and Summerfolk, the Americana and Iron Bridge Festivals in the UK, and the Kerrville Folk Festival close to their home in Texas. They have also performed at dozens of prestigious concert venues, including The Barns at Wolftrap (Vienna, VA), the Freight & Salvage (Berkeley, CA), the Kuumbwa Jazz Center (Santa Cruz, CA), John Ascuaga’s Nugget (Sparks, NV), Eddie’s Attic (Atlanta), The Ark (Ann Arbor, MI), Calgary Folk Club (Alberta, Canada), the Bass Performing Arts Center & McDavid Studio (Fort Worth), McGonigel’s Mucky Duck (Houston) and Austin’s own Cactus Café.
After more than three decades, Tom retired from the band to Asheville, NC, in 2011. The departure of Tom, who stands about 6’4”, literally downsized the band; to honor his legacy, the Lizards chose to do so figuratively as well, continuing as a quartet, less a banjo but no less eccentric. The band is now made up of Hank, Conrad, Darcie Deaville (fiddle, mandolin, vocals) and Bruce Jones (electric bass, vocals). Darcie joined the boys in 2008, bringing a womanly perspective to the traditionally all-male revue, while Bruce became part of the group in late 2009.
With their unique amalgamation of highly literate Ivy League roots; the folk, country and bluegrass musical conventions of Appalachia and Nashville; creative influences like Frank Zappa, Spike Jones, George Jones, and Flatt & Scruggs; and an unquenchable thirst for the absurd, the Lizards specialize in musical eclecticism, excellence and extreme entertainment.
The songwriting and warm, honest, straight-to-the heart voice of lead singer of Ross Newell draws listeners into the group’s signature sound, where the harmonies of Greg DeLuca, Ben Leininger and Melody Duncan make the songs soar or haunt from the shadows. De Luca plays drums and Leininger is on the bass. Fiddler Melody Duncan recently joined the band, bringing a female voice and perspective.
The group’s latest single, “Divine Design,” is about being taken advantage of by the person you love. “The offender doesn’t see it as hurting someone else, but as helping himself or herself,” says Newell. “It is a terrible feeling and I want the song to create an awareness of what it is like to be treated that way, whether it is intentional or not. I want the listener to think if this is a song about them or the people around them. If this is divine design, then divine design is behind the times.”
I feel like a suit of second-hand armor. It can protect you but may never wear a shine. Every time you see me you know I’ll be there when you need me, never thinking of the dead man left inside. Pay no mind to the dead man left inside. - “Divine Design”
“Writing songs is one of my favorite things, but I take a while to write a song,” says Newell. “If a line seems forced or anything but honest, then I have to scrap it. I have to live through something or feel strongly about it to add authentic details. I have to sing these songs hundreds of times a year and it is important to me to identify with that song every time. Fortunately the songs take on a life of their own and people are willing to listen and read more into the lyrics that what was said.”
“We have to make music that stays true to ourselves.”
The Mulligan Brothers have released two albums, The Mulligan Brothers and Via Portland (recorded in Portland with Grammy-winning producer Steve Berlin) and will soon release a Live from The Netherlands album, recorded during the recent tour that included shows at the famed Paradiso in Amsterdam and a spot on The Ramblin’ Roots Festival in Utrecht. They currently have over two million plays on Spotify, including over 1 million of the song Lay Here.
The band kicks of 2017 with a return to the prestigious 30A Songwriter Festival in Florida ,an appearance on Music City Roots Nashville, and are excited to return to Ireland for January-February tour dates followed by a spot on Cayamo A journey Through Song a 7 day Roots Music Cruise in the company of such artists as Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle.
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
“The album is replete with irony and dark humor—more likely to bring tears than raise hackles.” -Wall Street Journal
“The thing about Kinky, people know about him from songs like that one [‘Ride ‘Em Jewboy’]. But he’s such a Renaissance man, it’s impossible to pigeonhole him.” -Billy Bob Thornton
"Southern Avenue is simply the best band in Memphis ...coolest music to come out of Memphis in years." - Memphis Flyer
"If Memphis Music Is A Genre, This Is It!" - American Blues Scene
"Most talked about band in Memphis." - ROCK 103FM Memphis:
"If you were only going to go to one concert this summer, Southern Avenue would be the band to catch." - Memphis Flyer
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
“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.
Margaret Moser of the Austin Chronicle credits the songwriting of the six original tracks on McHone's 2013 EP with a "curve-ball edge…songs such as 'Pale Blues' resonating with the confidence of a veteran"
Under the X in Texas host, Ted Branson of KOOP Radio, assures, "Carson McHone is a breath of fresh air in a town full of Texas songwriters who all try for the sound she was born with and presents confidently in an easy, natural way."
In 2014, Carson sang on "Chick Singer Badass Rockin" on Ray Wylie Hubbard’s new CD. Of the delivery, he said, “… I wanted a woman Keith Richards sloppy rock thing and she went there like she was him before the blood transfusion…plus she writes songs like her life depends on it…”
“Perfect storm of songwriter and vocalist” — Bucket Full of Nails "Goodluck Man" review
“Don’t miss McHone, the beauty with a bankroll in her boot, who writes with depth and sings with gritty confidence.” — Kevin Curtin, Austin Chronicle
“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
You can’t help but admire the tenacity of Lucas Jack, the old school, soulful piano man.
One day, something clicked in his head, and he decided to abandon a successful law practice — preferring instead to set up his piano on dusty Texas stages. From his perch in these smoky bars and ballrooms, Lucas Jack powers through ballads, while people enjoy the atmosphere he creates. He’s not just playing a piano anymore. Lucas Jack is painting a room with the stories of his life.
More than anything else, Lucas Jack is a reflection of the man he is: A dad with two kids, and a wife he beams about. He leads a band that swaggers around stage like sailors, grinning and jamming. Make it Beautiful is filled to a surfeit with stories of fatherhood, loss, coping, and his struggle to navigate a music industry that doesn’t seem to “get” what he’s doing.
His second full length EP is like walking into an unfamiliar bar, and seeing some guy just wailing away in the corner, with a piano, for about a dozen people. It’s not a popular bar, but the music is fantastic, so you decide to order a beer. Four songs later, you’re into another beer, talking to the person next to you. The bouncy piano chords fill the room, and you get an idea for who Lucas Jack is. You ask the bartender who the piano player is.
“Oh, that’s Lucas. He hauls that old upright piano in here every time he plays. I heard he was like a lawyer or something? I don’t know. He just came in here and offered to play piano one day, so I gave him a shot. Now he’s in here every week. People just like his stuff.” You can feel the narrative of his gumption through his music, and that’s hard to find. People say they want something “authentic” — which is the most overused word in any press release. Lucas Jack is authentically himself, a guy who probably should have been on stages in the 1970s, jamming with a bygone era of piano pop artists, yet he relents into our era. Nothing on Make it Beautiful is a compromise, or a song that’s written for the sake of writing a song. He’s telling stories about his kids. He’s talking about moving. His marriage. A life filled with joy. It’s a happy album, but sometimes there are moments of self-doubt. It’s a story of a life well-lived.
"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.
"Took a whole lot of miles to know what I know now," sings Will Hoge on "Growing Up Around Here," the opening track off of his tenth studio album, Small Town Dreams. "I'm kinda proud of growing up around here." It's been a whole lot of miles, indeed: miles on the road, driving the bus himself from venue to venue since the nineties; miles to and from Nashville writing rooms, where he's spent countless hours penning songs – some for him, some for others; miles exploring lands outside of his native Franklin, Tennessee, chasing the spirits of his musical heroes. Roads meet, roads split, roads led to home. This is the album that follows them all, every twist and turn in Hoge's American journey – a journey that's positioned him as one of our keenest, most honest modern storytellers, telling both his tale and ours.
"It's a reflection of where I am currently in my life," says Hoge of Small Town Dreams, "but also where I grew up, and, ultimately, where I think I'm going." From the streets of the town where he was raised, to the sidewalks of cities a hundred times the size, we all have dreams; and these are the stories of growing up, looking back and passing on those dreams, told as only Hoge can. Nostalgia, in his hands, is truly magic.
An extremely prolific songwriter with ten albums under his belt and countless songs written for others (including a Grammy nomination for Eli Young Band's number-one hit, "Even If Breaks Your Heart," co-written with Paslay), Hoge saw this next phase of his journey as an opportunity to explore even deeper into both his country and rock & roll roots. Never fitting particularly neatly into a genre box, he's always just made the music that moved him – but it's safe to say that he feels more kinship with the country community than ever, particularly as a storyteller.
“The sweet honey of Colonna’s voice fills our cups with the enduring energy of her pure songwriting. She has blossomed as a songwriter, but it’s the unadulterated beauty of each song that moves us from one flower to the other." - No Depression
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.
DOUBLE DATE NIGHT: Libby Koch & Chuck Hawthorne + Brant Croucher & Lainey Balagia Croucher
Describing Americana singer-songwriter Libby Koch (pronounced like the soft drink) as “country meets soulful,” Free Press Houston perfectly pegs the sound captured on Koch’s new album, Just Move On (June 24, 2016, Berkalin Records). Working in Nashville with Grammy-winning producer Bil VornDick, she draws on legends from Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn to Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, among others, to craft an album of “true cryin’ and leavin’ country songs.” Combining her country soul with a seventh-generation Texas troubadour’s storytelling skill, Koch fills these songs with intimacy and honesty. Like the most timeless country classics, they’re the kind that make you feel good about feelin’ bad. More info at www.libbykoch.com
Austin singer-songwriter Chuck Hawthorne's album Silver Line has garnered critical acclaim in the US and Europe, with the UK's Daily Telegraph naming his debut one of the best country albums of the year. The retired Marine Corps veteran's second career kicked into high gear following a chance meeting with Juno Award winning artist Ray Bonneville, who ultimately produced Chuck's album. "Hawthorne's voice is a hybrid of Eddie Vedder’s and Gordon Lightfoot’s, his instrumentation spare like Townes Van Zandt, and his songs—in particular, "Post 2 Gate" and "Welding Son of a gun"—are deliberate, workaday tales reminiscent of Nebraska-era Springsteen or James McMurtry." (No Depression). More info at www.chuckhawthorne.com
Brant Croucher was born and raised in Houston, schooled in Denton, TX and has since spent time all over the USA, while receiving mail in Dallas, Nashville, Austin, and Wimberley. Appropriately, his songs explore themes of moving around -- and moving on -- while finding a way to make life as an aspirant troubadour work.Such themes aren’t new to the genre, but Croucher approaches them with a genuine, no-frills openness and honesty, delivering each with a strong vocal presence, supported by a guitar or piano.
In the past three years, Croucher has played hundreds of shows all over Texas, the Southeast, and the UK, sharing bills with many notable acts and personal heroes along the way. His music is currently being played on Texas radio, European radio, and Americana radio across the U.S.
In 2012, after graduating law school, Lainey Balagia released her debut album, Neverland. With a title inspired by her favorite book and songs inspired by little boys who won’t grow up, the 10 tracks run the gamut from emotional ballads to high energy country rock. In addition to practicing law and releasing an album, in 2013 Lainey formed a band with singer/songwriters Debbie Forrest Byrd and Libby Koch. Their band, The Grievous Angels, released their debut album in July of 2013 and received awards from the Houston Press and the Academy of Texas Music. A full time attorney and new mom, Lainey can now be heard most frequently performing with her husband, Brant Croucher.
"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.
Kawehi is a new breed of musician, a one-woman-band from Lawrence, Kansas who uses technology to carry the weight of a full band on her own. She was seen and heard in the Super Bowl 50 commercial for Intel, has landed in publications such as People Magazine, Spin, Esquire, and on the front page of Reddit.
Elle magazine has dubbed Kawehi “The Genius One-Woman Band” and HuffPo has praised Kawehi as “Killing the DIY scene.” With over 11 million views on her YouTube channel, Kawehi has been performing to sold out shows across the nation and has already been on three headlining tours. With eight Kickstarter projects under her belt, Kawehi shows no signs of slowing down.
Her newest project, EVE – a Sci-Fi Short Film/Visual Album – was funded via Kickstarter in less than a day and is set to release in the Spring of 2017.
The best music knows no boundaries, transcends borders and genres, and mixes, matches and melds styles into something all an artists own. Doing just that comes naturally to Sisters Morales.
A veritable spectrum of sounds and styles can be heard in the music created by Lisa and Roberta Morales, but their music is rooted in the Southwestern spirit of Texas(they live in San Antonio), Arizona (where the girls grew up) and Mexico (their family and cultural roots). The Sisters Morales are Border Rock. The live show combines their songwriting, both in English and Spanish, breaking down to just classical guitars and percussion singing traditional Mexican songs. Then there is the “All Spanish Show” which is Gitarron, Percussion, Accordion, Vihuela, Guitars, and sometimes violins and trumpet as well...add Sisters Morales sibling harmonies- there’s nothing better.
They started out sitting in with Mariachis when they were 4 & 5, and eventually honing in on their own compositions, each eventually going their own way and coming together again later after they had developed their own styles. That adds a different dimension to most sibling groups because each of them has there own identity. When they come together in their Mexican traditional songs there the magic of their sound unfolds. The listener then witnesses music from deep within their souls.
Mike Stinson can write songs in his sleep....no really, check out Walking Home In The Rain from his fourth and most recent album Hell And Half Of Georgia. "Well that only happened once but yeah it's true. I woke up with that song fully formed playing in my head. No idea where it came from." General consensus is that Mike's blue collar songwriting ethic earned him that freebie. That kind of 'luck' comes from putting in the time. Here's a glimpse at what that time has looked like. Raised in Virginia, schooled in DC, Mike moved to Los Angeles where eighteen years made him a veteran of what he calls "the trenches of beer joint warfare." The last six years have found him based in Houston and barnstorming the roadhouses of Texas week in and week out.
Along the way he has written his very own version of the American songbook and developed an expansive live show that "has taken country and rock and boiled them down to their essence before injecting everything with the kind of ju-ju that Gram Parsons died for." (Bill Bentley, The Morton Report) Critical acclaim has followed. Los Angeles Magazine named him Best Country Artist (2004), The Houston Press awarded him Song Of The Year (2010), Texas Music Magazine named him one of their Artists of The Year (2012) and one of their Records of The Year (2013), and The Houston Press named him Best Country Artist in each of the last two years (2014, 2015). But perhaps the more significant mark of Mike's creative success is the respect and admiration he's earned from a large songwriting community. His songs have been released on albums by Dwight Yoakam, Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Gilkyson, Jesse Dayton, Brian Whelan, Folk Uke (featuring Willie Nelson), Austin Hanks and Larry Bagby.
Few, if any walk, away from a Mike Stinson show unaffected by his particular slant. His songs are the thrills, chills and spills of life, filled with razor sharp word play, charm, depth, poignance and musical muscle. “Mike Stinson is dangerous, the kind of songwriter who can upend the way you see the world with a single line, and whose lean, mean rock and roll machine of a band usually starts at a Chuck Berry gallop and goes from there. They can crank it so hard, in fact, it’s entirely possible to miss all the diamond-tipped rejoinders, double entendres, aphorisms and the occasional outright burn that litter Stinson’s songs, and make him one of the wickedest lyricists around today.” HOUSTON PRESS
Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes records. Travels around. Tries to be good.
Slaid Cleaves lives with his wife of 21 years, Karen Cleaves, in the Hill Country outside Austin, Texas. While Karen books the shows, the flights, the hotels, and the rental cars, designs, orders and sells the CDs and T-shirts, pays the band, updates the web site, answers fan questions, does the taxes and makes dinner, Slaid writes his little songs (and fixes things around the house).
They travel around the world together while Slaid plays for fans far and wide and gets all the glory. If it wasn’t for Karen, Slaid would be carrying all he owned in a shoe box, scrounging around for a happy hour gig.
Jason Eady’s inspired new album Daylight & Dark embraces multiple styles of die-hard country music to weave together 11 songs about the deep, messy details of love and life.
The disc is sequenced to follow the arc of one man’s journey through the complexities of the heart. But the semi-autobiographical Daylight & Dark is not a concept album. Instead, it’s a powerful study in honesty; a collection of real stories populated by real characters that coalesced around Eady’s title track.
“The moment I came up with the first verse and chorus of ‘Daylight & Dark’ was a breakthrough,” Eady relates. “I understood that what I wanted to convey in the album is that life is not simple. Most songs don’t do that. They’re either happy or sad. But life doesn’t work that way. Most of the time we live somewhere in between. And that place is between the daylight and the dark.”
It took roughly three months for Eady to write and begin recording these songs that he describes as “going beyond the surface and digging into the little cracks in our lives, our dreams and our desires — the things that keep us from connecting, that we all have to deal with, all the time.”
Eady’s sixth release is the follow-up to 2012’s AM Country Heaven, an artistic and commercial breakthrough that cracked the Top 40 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart, boasting an old-school honky-tonk sound and a complete lack of artifice.
“One of the things that Kevin Welch” — who produced both discs — “taught me is that believability is number one,” Eady declares. “The things I’m writing about have to seem true and the words being said need to sound like they’d really come out of my mouth.”
Daylight & Dark’s high-powered barroom ballads 'OK Whiskey' and 'We Might Just Miss Each Other' offer a direct connection to the honky-tonk spirit of AM Country Heaven. But tunes like 'Other Side of Abilene' have gentler, textured arrangements, crafted by carefully layered fiddle and electric, acoustic and pedal steel guitars that are more reflective of the album’s overall sound. Also, 'Late Night Diner' and the title cut echo the narrative style of great singers like Vern Gosdin and Don Williams, whose recordings, like Eady’s, blend a novelist’s eye for detail with the welcoming voice of a natural storyteller.
“Their approach and the roadhouse style of artists like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens are both part of my DNA,” Eady relates. “I hope that really comes across on Daylight & Dark and makes it a deeper country music album overall.”
The new disc is Eady’s third collaboration with Welch. Their first was 2009’s When the Money’s All Gone.
“Kevin is more on the same page with me than anybody else,” Eady says of his songwriting, performing and Americana Music Association award-winning Texas compatriot. “He is fantastic at getting the songs into the best shape before we record them and choosing the right band for the studio, so that by the time we start recording 90-percent of the important work is done.”
When Eady and Welch were making AM Country Heaven, it was initially intended as a side project that wouldn’t be released under Eady’s name. But the sterling results dictated otherwise, and made the album a game-changer. The disc’s swaggering palette and adult approach to timeless topics like love, loss and yearning helped Eady find a new, larger audience whose members now welcome him wherever he travels.
Daylight & Dark was cut just outside of Nashville at engineer George Bradfute’s Tone Chaparral studio with a superb team of players. They included Americana award winning multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin on pedal steel and fiddle, guitarist Richard Bennett (who’s worked with a diverse array of artists from Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris to Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond), drummer John Gardner (Jim Lauderdale, Don Williams, Dixie Chicks) and bassist Steve Mackey (Dolly Parton, Delbert McClinton).
Although country music was Eady’s first love, he was exposed to the musical stew of the lower Delta — blues, soul, R&B and primal swamp rock — while growing up in Jackson, Mississippi. Eady was performing in local bars by the time he was 14, singing and playing guitar. He began writing his own songs, but the live music culture in the Magnolia State was geared to hits and classics rather than original music.
Eady moved to Nashville to seek a record deal, but he became disillusioned and headed back to Mississippi, joining the Air Force on the way home. “Becoming a translator in the Air Force helped me be a better songwriter,” Eady says. “I got a much broader view of the world and of other cultures, which helped me see things from a better perspective.” After the military Eady got a job in a Fort Worth bank’s IT department, and he began attending open mic nights to blow off steam. Soon he developed a following.
“I was surprised to learn that Texas was exactly the opposite of Mississippi,” he says. “If you played too many cover songs the audience would get restless. They wanted original music.” That encouraged Eady to step up his songwriting and step away from his day job, never to return.
Eady says his first two albums, 2005’s From Underneath the Old and 2007’s Wild Eyed Serenade, “were about trying to zero in on what I wanted to do. They had singer-songwriter, country, southern rock and other kinds of songs. I had no idea about production or how to work in the studio. I was all over the map. Things really clicked when I started working with Kevin. He helped me focus on the music I heard growing up in Mississippi, but as a way of discovering more about who I was as an artist.
“With AM County Heaven and now Daylight & Dark, I’ve learned to stop second guessing,” Eady declares. “Now I understand that I’m a country artist. That’s the music I love, and that’s what I always want to be.”
Vanessa Peters is a wandering songwriting storyteller with an uncanny knack for melodies so catchy the listener might miss the subtleties in her poetry. But the stories she tells from her many years on the road are made unforgettable with her uniquely clever turns of phrase and unpretentious delivery. Her writing is that of a novelist - sometimes clear and direct, sometimes relying on a skillful turn of phrase to drive home a point - but always with multiple layers of both metaphor and substance.
As a performing musician, Vanessa has played well over 1000 shows in a dozen or so countries, earning her reputation as “a true poet and a brilliant singer/songwriter” and receiving accolades from abroad and in her hometown of Dallas (nominated “Best Folk Artist” – Dallas Observer). She continues to tour the US and in Europe, where she has a strong fan base thanks to the albums she made with her former Italian band (Ice Cream on Mondays) and the hundreds of shows she has played in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and elsewhere in Europe.
Vanessa’s latest album, “The Burden of Unshakeable Proof,” is still picking up rave reviews: “fully realized, written with elegance and imagination,” “a masterclass in probing matters of the heart,” “10 gorgeously sculpted tracks, a blissful shuffling of folk, pop and jazz bound together by Peters’s peerless voice.” The album finished the year on a number of “best of 2016” lists, including No Depression’s “Alt Country and Beyond,” and has received spins on over 100 stations across the USA and in Europe. Burden is the first album Vanessa has released on vinyl through a partnership with the indie label Palo Santo Records.
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.
Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, Loomis is the son of musician parents who listened to blues, rock and soul. Music ran in his veins and, with instruments readily available around the house, he picked up drums, piano, guitar and harmonica, honing his multi-instrumental talent in addition to performing regularly as part of his family’s doo-wop group.
“My parents had a fantastic record collection and, when I started writing, I gravitated towards what I’d been listening to all my life. I have a huge reverence for the blues and all it encompasses, but I’ve always been fond of R&B and funky music.”
A protégé of Bo Diddley, Loomis met the icon backstage at the age of 16 at Houston’s famed venue Rockefeller’s. Before the night was over, Loomis was onstage playing guitar with the legend. Diddley quickly became friend, mentor, collaborator and supporter, appearing on two of Loomis’ albums and presenting a cherished red guitar that he still plays.
In so many ways, we are a word weary culture, ever searching for ways to communicate in fewer and fewer words, letters, syllables...Our online, blogged out, you-tubed attention spans are truncated and fragmented like never before. Birds of Chicago, the collective centered around Allison Russell and JT Nero, reassert the simple notion - radical in these times - that beautiful words and music can still tap deep veins of emotion.
real midnight's gonna come/ real midnight's' gonna come real wolves at your door/ with blood on their tongues now what you gonna do/ with your days left in the sun ? ha da la ha
Stark, elemental imagery that feels like scripture, or a lost folk song recovered; the Birds draw heavily on the gospel tradition and the music feels like a new, secular gospel of sorts. For Birds of Chicago, every word counts. Every note counts. No gold-dusting, no filler. Music is the good news and Real Midnight, the band’s poignant new Joe Henry produced album, throbs with an urgency that feels quietly seismic.
Birds of Chicago was born in 2012 when Nero began writing for his vocal star-muse, Russell. Both were accomplished singer/songwriters with projects of their own, Nero with JT and the Clouds and Russell with the acclaimed Canadian roots outfit Po’ Girl, but together there was an unmistakable chemistry.
Nero had found the perfect voice for his rock and roll psalms. Russell moved from being a primary songwriter to an interpreter, and her simmering restraint is deeply refreshing to a landscape scorched by post Voice/American Idol vocal gymnastics and over-emoting.
On Real Midnight, Birds of Chicago alternate moody rock swagger with the ghostliest of soundscapes. Produced by Joe Henry, a man who’s expert blending of light and shadow is well known, the album is a melancholy - but never shoe gazing - suite, full of wayward, joyful, lonesome voices raised up against the night.
Music this raw and soul-rich demands to be experienced live, and Birds of Chicago have developed a fervent following, touring 200 nights a year since their formation in late 2012. For these Birds, singing for a room full of new people, hearts wide open, keeps off the cold and chases off the shadows. 2016 will find the band in constant motion - from sea to sea and beyond.
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.
“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.”
Rob Baird is a thinker, a seeker, a man who surveys the scene, decides what he aims to accomplish and sets it in motion. Sure, over the past five years the Memphis-born musician, who broke out with 2012’s critically-acclaimed I Swear It’s The Truth and built a dedicated fanbase as a result, steadily earned a reputation as a no-frills, earnest singer, songwriter and performer — one able to tear through the Texas live-music circuit with ease.
But Baird envisioned for himself a fuller artistic landscape. “I love Texas but I knew there was more out there,” the 28-year-old says. It’s why he temporarily stepped off the stage, decamped to Nashville and began to assemble Wrong Side of The River, the musician’s most eclectic and elegant, crisp and stunning collection of songs yet. “It was time for me to go out there and figure it out on my own; hit the reset button,” he says.
"Her whimsical, often autobiographical songs are masterful. Funny and enticing, she is up there with the likes of Paul Simon and Randy Newman." - New York Times
"Rigby's solo debut remains a classic." Chicago Tribune
When she was thirty-seven, the age most people decide it's about time to grow up and settle down, Amy Rigby did the opposite and released her first solo record Diary Of A Mod Housewife. Diary was a concept album inspired by years of juggling artistic dreams, day jobs and relationships with the added challenge of motherhood. It was an early midlife battle cry complete with manifesto that ended with the words "not..ready...to give in...yet."
Diary Of A Mod Housewife combined real life lyrics and transcendent melodies with a passionate music fan’s collection of pop, rock and country influences. It was a critical smash and commercial success; voted #8 album in the 1996 Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll and landed Rigby on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, noncommercial and college radio and in every major magazine and newspaper in the US. Twenty years after its original release, Diary Of A Mod Housewife is now available on vinyl for the first time, and Amy has been touring the US and UK to revisit the classics and play new songs from her upcoming solo album due out next year.
Amy grew up listening to AM and FM radio in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and moved to New York City in 1976 to attend Parsons School Of Design. She saw all the bands at CBGB and Max’s, followed the Pop Group and Raincoats to London, and helped start late 70s downtown nightspot Tier 3 with a group of friends. She formed no wave band Stare Kits with Angela Jaeger (Pigbag) and began writing songs, singing harmony and playing guitar in country band Last Roundup with her brother Michael McMahon, putting out one album on Rounder in 1987. Amy’s next band The Shams, post-modern girl group beloved by Richard Hell and Robert Quine, released one album (produced by Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye) on pioneering indie label Matador in 1991 and an EP in 1993. The Shams toured the US, opening for both the Indigo Girls and Urge Overkill (possibly the only group on earth who can make that claim). Amy began playing solo shows and sending out cassettes of an early version of Diary. She worked with producer/guitarist Elliot Easton of The Cars to complete what dean of rock writers Robert Christgau called 1996’s “concept album of the year”.
Since then, she’s appeared on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Mountain Stage, World Cafe, Whad’Ya Know, BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley Show and PBS’s Speaking Freely. Amy has been a panelist and performer at CMJ, South by Southwest, Bumbershoot, Lilith Fair, Rockrgrl, Folk Alliance and Southern Festival Of Books conferences, and had her portrait drawn for the New Yorker. She was a staff songwriter for Welk Music in Nashville and has had songs covered by They Might Be Giants’ John Flansburgh, Ronnie Spector, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Laura Cantrell.
Over the past two decades, she’s has toured North America, the UK and Europe and released several more solo albums. She’s also made three albums with her husband, British pop legend Wreckless Eric, who she met while performing his classic 1977 single “Whole Wide World” and reconnected with at a Yo La Tengo Hanukah show years later. Amy’s record "Dancing With Joey Ramone" is a staple of Little Steven’s Underground Garage show on Sirius XM and kitchen sink anthem "Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again?" is played in cafes and bars around the world by real life mod housewives and husbands.
You have not experienced true entertainment until you sit in the audience at one of Steve Poltz’s shows. The former singer from The Rugburns (Mercury Records) is best known for his hilarious storytelling and witty personality, defying all traditional definitions in the songwriting genre.
This is a rare artist who is as comfortable touring with such noted national acts like Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, Jewel, The Wallflowers, Bare Naked Ladies, Rusted Root and Lucinda Williams in arenas, as well as performing intimate living room shows in any city in America.
Successfully shattering the traditional troubadour mold, Poltz has most gloriously been compared to unique performers and songwriters like John Prine and Tom Waits.
As its name suggests, Wood & Wire is a young acoustic band with a love for pure music played well.
In 2011, the group exploded onto Austin’s bluegrass and old-time-music scene while quickly gaining a national fan base through appearances at notable festivals and venues like Old Settlers Music Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival, and the IBMA World of Bluegrass.
It was icing on the cake, then, when they also garnered a last-minute appearance onstage at The Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Having a sixth sense is something Pisces people take for granted. But March-born singer-songwriter Suzanna Choffel's latest album, "Hello Goodbye," contains one song that proved remarkably prescient even to her.
When Choffel wrote "Go Forth," an inspirational ballad whose lyrics seemingly impart advice from a loving parent, she thought the only thing she was trying to hatch was the album. A week later, she learned she was pregnant with her first child. Several of "Hello Goodbye's" songs could be associated with major events in Choffel's life.
She's had many in the last few years, from appearing on season three of The Voice and moving from her Austin hometown to New York for three years, to earning a major grant from Black Fret and performing before thousands of January 2017 Women's March participants at the Texas State Capitol.
But just as that song predated knowledge of her pregnancy, many tracks on this album - an earthy, lush folk-funk mélange of blues, jazz, soul, dreamy electro-pop and her unique vocal colorings - predated those experiences, along with such events as a scary brush with mortality after leaving her baby for the first time to perform in France. (Fortunately, only possessions were lost when the chateau where she was staying burst into flames.) Ironically, those post-recording experiences serve as detailed illustrations of the album's central theme: How to reconcile the push-pull of opposing desires?
For Choffel, that manifests as a struggle to balance the seemingly conflicting pursuits of family life and musical adventures. But swimming in opposite directions is what Pisceans do. Even the new album itself reflects that duality; its vinyl-oriented sequencing creates a distinct mood shift from side A to side B.
Brooklyn, Austin, Los Angeles, Terlingua; they've called each home in just the last few years alone. The Mastersons have kept up a supremely inexorable touring schedule, performing both as support for Steve Earle and as members of his band, The Dukes, in addition to playing their own relentless slate of headline shows and festivals. Written in a slew of different cities around the world, the band's new album, Transient Lullaby, is a late-night collection of subtle, evocative performances that showcase the itinerant couple at their absolute finest. It’s a wistful album about living on the road while keeping a band and a relationship together.
Perpetually in motion and always creating, The Mastersons live on the road, and movement is their muse. On tour, in the unpredictable adventures and characters they come across, in the endless blur of skylines and rest stops and dressing rooms and hotels, that's where they find their greatest inspiration, where they hone their art, and where they crafted Transient Lullaby.
Musically, the album is rich with intoxicating harmonies that float above Eleanor Whitmore's stirring string arrangements and Chris Masterson's adroit guitar work, but it's the deeply personal songwriting that always manages to steal the show. Full of characters facing down difficulty and darkness with all the grit and humility they can muster, Transient Lullaby is an unfiltered and timeless portrait of all the joy and pain love can bring, though it's not without its political moments, too.
The Mastersons found themselves on tour in Lexington, KY, during the height of Kim Davis' obstinate stand against the Supreme Court's same sex marriage decision, and so they penned the infectious "You Could Be Wrong" in a dressing room before taking the stage with "Love Wins" draped across their guitars.
Transient Lullaby follows the band's 2014 release, Good Luck Charm—which was premiered by the NY Times and praised by Mother Jones for its "big-hearted lyrics, tight song structures, and sweetly intertwined harmonies"—and their 2012 debut, Birds Fly South, which was awarded 9/10 stars by Uncut. Those albums earned The Mastersons slots onNPR's Mountain Stage and at festivals around the world, from San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Australia's Byron Bay Bluesfest.
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.
Hometown Houston CD Release show for Jordi Baizan and his debut solo record, Like the First Time.
with special guests The Renfrees
These songs are inspired by loving relationships, the triumph of the human spirit in the face of tragedy, the beauty of nature, how our decisions give us the power to shape our destiny, and the importance of family and where Jordi grew up. This project was recorded and produced in Nashville by the brilliant Ren Renfree, who, with his wife Andi, will be opening the show and later joining Jordi onstage.
Jordi Baizan was born into an international and musical family. With his distinctive voice and songwriting, he has the ability to connect with the mind and the heart of the listener. A life of reading, global travel, and multicultural experiences enhance Jordi Baizan’s songwriting along with musical influences as varied as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jeff Tweedy, Guy Clark, and the folk music of the USA, Mexico, Cuba, and Spain.
Both as a solo artist and as front man and songwriter for his band, QandA, Jordi has experienced growing recognition from audiences on the radio and in some of the best listening room venues in the country. QandA released its third record on January 12, 2016. The first Jordi Baizan solo record will be released on May 23, 2017 at the Mucky Duck in Houston.
Following will be a tour that will take Jordi to destinations domestic and international.
The Renfrees are a performing songwriter duo, now residing in the Nashville area, and founding members of two-time Texas vocal group of the year 2-Bit Palomino.
Dead Soldiers is an American Roots Rock Band from Memphis, Tennessee. Much like The Band and Tom Waits, they draw deeply from influences ranging from Rock, Soul, Outlaw Country, and Bluegrass to Blues to carve out their own dark perspective on what it means to live and die in the American South.
Songs about anxiety, poverty, politics, history and death, are lifted by three and four part vocal harmonies, and paired with detailed instrumentation to create a dynamic musical identity with an energy and irreverence that sets them apart from what the world has come to expect from today's crop of soft-handed "Americana Artists."
They are a group forged in a city that is synonymous with musical innovation. Profoundly affected by the legacy of studios like Sun and Stax, and the way Memphis had become a mixing pot for the wide ranging musical styles of the delta to collide and evolve, Dead Soldiers are more interested in building on this foundation than simply paying homage to it.
They're more interested in capturing the outlaw spirit of the collaborations that defied the social structures of the Jim Crow south and later the music establishment to make something new, rather than purely emulating the styles of the past.
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, Prairieography is the earnest travelogue of a wandering troubadour, and the realization that creativity is rarely a bolt of lightning.
Good songs are the result of hard work, calloused fingers and learned lessons from a life well lived.
One year after releasing Soul Searching, his tribute to the musical histories of Memphis and Nashville, GRAMMY ® winner Jim Lauderdale draws influence from Texas for his 28th album, This Changes Everything.
Lauderdale has been an ambassador for the Americana genre for years, not only releasing more than two dozen albums of award-winning American roots music, but also emceeing the acclaimed radio show Music City Roots. Along the way, he's collaborated with legends like Buddy Miller, Ralph Stanley, and Robert Hunter. The WagonMaster award recognizes an Americana pioneer whose career continues to roll ahead, leaving a large legacy in its wake.
"I was already a fan of George Strait when he began recording my songs," says Lauderdale, "and his support really opened up a lot of doors for me. It helped allow me to make the kind of music I want to make, and release it the way I want to release it. It allowed me to create. This award is one of the most important things to happen to me, in my life and my career."
Lauderdale's latest creation, This Changes Everything, presents the songwriter's own version of the traditional Texas dancehall sound, filled with shuffles, rave-ups, plenty of sharp songwriting and appearances by a handful of genuine Texas legends. For a wagon master who's nowhere near the end of his journey, This Changes Everything marks the latest stop in a longer trek.
"Flaming brilliant." - Mike Davies, Folk Radio UK
"The sound of a band at the absolute top of their game." - Jeremy Searle, Americana UK
"One track in and I'm sold, sucked in by the high wailing vocal harmonies straight out of the mountains and overlaid on a bed of solid rock." -No Depression
"From the moment the opening notes hit your ear, you know this band hit the golden “thing” – the un-defineable quality/timing/vibe that artists can never accurately describe – you only know that they offered a piece of themselves that will now be part of you onward." - Popdose
Trout Fishing in America returns to the Duck for their official CD release.
Their new project, The Strangest Times, is a return to the basic duo sound.
The album was recorded last year during some of the strangest times in recent memory. You can look forward to an evening of old favorites mixed in with new original songs (both serious and wryly funny).
Alongthe way, Phoebe found her voice and delivered her most inspired set of songs to date -- the soundtrack to her self-discovery. Shanti’s Shadow marks an arrival for Phoebe Hunt, whose artistic and personal journeys have deep story lines. These masterfully crafted songs are brought to life by the musicians Phoebe has gathered, each a virtuoso in their own right. The Gatherers are Roy Williams (guitar), Dominick Leslie (mandolin), Sam Reider (piano/accordion), Nick Falk (drums) and Jared Engel/Dave Speranza (upright bass).
The album, "Shanti’s Shadow" is garnished with additional guests who are dear to Phoebe’s heart: Stephanie Hunt and Jazz Mills - vocal harmonies, Alex Hargreaves and Nathaniel Smith - strings. Each of these musicians is a leader in their own right and have won awards and toured the world with some of the best musicians on the planet.
Described as “one of the sharpest, funniest storytellers in rock” by Rolling Stone and “an exceptional songwriter” by NPR’s Fresh Air, Snider uses his narrative chops to keep the world of ‘Eastside Bulldog’ poignant, acerbic and hilarious.
The album finds Snider exploring new sonic territory, too: proto-rock and roll, taking as many cues from Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis as Guy Clark and Billy Joe Shaver. Snider also plays every guitar part on ‘Eastside Bulldog,’ the first time he’s done so in his career.
Southern Indiana-bred singer-guitarist Reverend Peyton is the bigger-than-life frontman of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. He has earned a reputation as both a singularly compelling performer and a persuasive evangelist for the rootsy country blues styles that captured his imagination early in life and inspired him and his band to make pilgrimages to Clarksdale, Mississippi to study under such blues masters as T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour and David “Honeyboy” Edwards.
That passionate inspiration has made Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band America’s foremost country blues outfit and fuels the Rev’s new release, The Front Porch Sessions. Peyton’sdazzling guitar mastery is equaled here by his knack for vivid, emotionally impactful songwriting, and his originals are matched in their authenticity by the deeply felt vintage blues tunes that he covers. The album showcases the Rev’s irrepressible personality while echoing the enduring spirit of such acoustic blues icons as Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White and Furry Lewis, whose “When My Baby Left Me” receives a memorable reading.
The Front Porch Sessions will be released March 10, 2017 on Family Owned Records/Thirty Tigers.“The latest from Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band…. is, in short, a revelation. An amazingly well crafted, controlled explosion of talent, the range and depth of the music performed by the trio is remarkable.” – American Blues Scene
“… the reincarnated Mississippi moan of guys like Son House… a burly soul punishing the senses with a Deltapunk attack and a heavy helping of rural realism. You can’t ignore his Big Damn Band’s gospel.” — Elmore
“The tent revival, almost punk energy of the Big Damn Band is a refreshing splash of coldwater to the face. Between The Ditches doesn’t keep it in the road – it takes up both lanes as it barrels along.” — Living Blues
“The country blues is a gift of 20th century American music, and it’s awesome to see a band tap into its legacy with so much gusto and original vision.” – Music City Roots
“With his wife, Breezy, serving as a one-woman amen corner, and Max laying down the floppy-boot-stomp drums behind Peyton’s spiky, waspish National steel slide guitar on tracks like “Something for Nothing”, the result is a peculiarly infectious blues crusade, touching on themes of money, morality and social responsibility.” – The Independent (UK)
The Money, the final volume in Charlie Mars’ Texas trilogy (out Oct. 14 on Rockingham Records/Thirty Tigers), opens with a scene of cinematic vividness. “Looking out a rainy window/In a hotel in Caroline/Drinking free coffee, smoking that smoke/From an apple by the exit sign.”
He called the song “Hell Yeah,” a Rebel yell from this Oxford, Mississippi, resident not of celebration but of recognition. Maybe you, too, have found yourself far from home and feeling very alone, seeking relief in the substances at hand, exhaling out the open window as a practical measure.
In those four lines, jotted down in a Hampton Inn in Greenwood, South Carolina, moments later, we find Mars (or a protagonist who closely resembles him) resuming his zigzagging trek through the darkness in search of the light. It’s a theme as old as The Odyssey, laid out in crisp contemporary verse over a lowdown, hickory-smoked backbeat, in the tradition of fellow Southern minimalists Tony Joe White and J.J. Cale.
“The Queen of Modern Texas Country Soul” – No Depression
“The most formidable writer of the Robisons.” – Lone Star Music Magazine
“Now and then, a young artist arrives with such confidence that you wonder where he or she has been hiding. Ludwick sings, and she does seem inhabited by an old soul. Fortunately, she’s very much with us now.” – Texas Monthly
***Robyn will be featured in Indie Film, “Lost. Vegas. Hiway.” alongside Jack Ingram and Hal Ketchum.*** http://www.lostvegashiway.com/
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
“The best and scariest thing about Giulia Millanta is not just that she is truly a tightrope walker herself but that she continually pulls YOU out there with her… with melodies, singing, stories, imagery. No matter what language her lyrics may be in… and I’ve lost count of how many her lyrics use here… she’s always understandable because her music is, like any fine art, universally recognizable. I can’t wait for her next one!” - Dave Marsh
“Giulia’s words are refreshingly real, full of hip concepts and well turned phrases seated in interesting melodies. Listening to her songs for the first time is like finally finding that great book or being drawn into a movie where you can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.” - Kimmie Rhodes
"First of all I'm a fan of Giulia's! She appears as a rocker with the voice of a songbird and songs with the insight and edge of a truly gifted artist." - Michael Fracasso
"She is a deeply evocative singer with a dash of Piaf, a sprinkle of Lady Day, a pinch of Norah Jones and a teaspoon of Madeleine Peroux." - Michael Greenblatt The Aquarian Weekly
"these songs come from the heart and the mind, what takes place is seen through the singers eyes, what is felt is what she feels, and oh she is curious, feisty, humorous, yet introspective." - Next Best Thing Music
Singer-songwriter, Giulia (Julia) Millanta, is a native-born Italian from Florence who now calls Austin, Texas home. A creative and prolific artist, she has released four albums touring regionally, nationally throughout the USA and internationally. An accomplished guitarist, Giulia also plays ukulele and sings in four languages. She has been described by critics as being “deeply evocative with a dash of Piaf, a sprinkle of Lady Day, a pinch of Norah Jones and a teaspoon of Medeleine Peroux.” She has been called smart, pensive and cool and credited with psychedelic grooveability whilst “baring her clairvoyant soul” to “deliver musical mojo.”
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.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Sean Rowe will be releasing a new album entitled New Lore care of Anti- on April 7th. The first song to debut from the album is entitled “Gas Station Rose” a bittersweet road song built around a simple guitar, some well placed piano chords and Rowe’s soulful and convincing singing. The emotional build reaches a heartrending crescendo with some strings and backing vocals.
“I wrote the melody while in Las Vegas,” Rowe explains, “I knew there was something to the song because I loved to play it. Lyrically it's about overcoming obstacles and looking for a place to hang your hat. The characters in the story are in it together. It’s not easy but it's worth it. The line, “we are the elders of our minds” means that we control our own destiny, that it's what we believe about ourselves that determines where we go.”
New Lore’s simple yet powerful sound focuses on Rowe’s renowned baritone and evocative songwriting, delivering a collection of affecting stories of desperation and resilience. His voice is beautifully augmented throughout by tasteful arrangements including flourishes of piano and a string section. The album was recorded in the city of Memphis at the historic Sam Phillips Recording studio and produced by Matt Ross-Spang who began working at the legendary studio when he was 16 and recently won a Grammy for his work with Jason Isbell.
Darcy Malone & The Tangle began when the daughter of Dave Malone of The Radiators fame met skateboarder/guitar player Christopher Boye. The husband/wife duo wanted to create music that incorporated Darcy’s background of Soul and Pop with Chris’ love of Indie/Underground Rock n Roll. After adding band members Craig Toomey (vocals, bass), Jagon Eldridge (Saxophone, Keyboards), Billy Schell (Drums), and JP Carmody (Lead Guitar, Vocals), the two musicians got the exact fresh sound they were looking for. Incorporating a “Tangle” of genres, the band go from the Funky catchy grooves of their hit “Be A Man” to the Dynamic Rock n Roll hooks of songs like “Still Life”. Great songs combined with an intensely fun live performance make this band for everyone.
“Darcy Malone and the Tangle is the kind of band that not only makes you want to get up and dance, but they also do something even more important – they make you want to listen. Darcy’s unique vocals and interesting harmonies create a melodic tapestry over the rocking/driving/soulful drums, bass and guitars. This is one cool band.” -Vance DeGeneres-Actor, Musician, Film Producer, Screenwriter
“A powerful, soulful sound in the great New Orleans tradition of Lil Queenie, Darcy Malone is part of Crescent City music royalty, and her voice won’t ever let you forget it. A rising talent to watch, for sure.” -Peter Holsapple—Musician (The dB’s, Continental Drifters) and Songwriter
Seattle-based Teresa Kolo is a performing songwriter who embraces her art with wit and optimism. Her strong and percussive guitar style lays a foundation for her primary offering -- honest and intelligent songwriting. Kolo grew up in Houston and devoured all the music played in her home -- Jimmy Reed, Joan Armatrading, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Taj Mahal, Willie Nelson, Dana Cooper and Randy Newman. The list goes on.
What she culled from her exposure to these diverse artists was the ability to use lyrics to surprise and affect her growing audience. Performing live is where her talent shines most. She is emotive and comfortable on stage, delivering her songs in a way that can only be described as original and authentic.
“…I can't overemphasize how excited we are that Teresa has returned to performing. Her warm and fuzzie but in your face quirkiness is heart-tugging and jaw dropping. -- Tom Yeager, Songbird Sanctuary
“In a cookie cutter world of formulated music, Teresa Kolo is an inspiration and a standout. Her songs are tough, vulnerable, funny and poignant…sung in that voice truly unlike any I’ve heard before, young and old at once and haunting in its’ beauty”. -- Dana Cooper
Wheatfield's new album, "Big Texas Sky” is out of the same pocket of all your fave Texas troubadours that care more about the music than the trappings, this ain’t no sippy cup country or faux genre work.
This is a band that knows how to put what they want out front and have it reach you. More musical proof that Texas is a whole ‘nother country. Well done.” – Chris Spector, Midwest Record
A Memphis Music Revue with Amy Black
Join The Amy Black Band for a soulful evening of music originally recorded in Memphis by artists including Ann Peebles, Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Bobby Blue Bland, O.V. Wright, Al Green, Otis Clay and others.
Take a musical journey through time with songs recorded on the Hi Records, Stax Records and Sun Records labels, along with new original songs that capture the soul and grit of Memphis music.
Amy Black’s fourth solo release, “Memphis” (June 2017) was recorded in Memphis, TN with Scott Bomar, a grammy-nominated producer and leader of the band The Bo-Keys, at the helm. This powerful 10-song album includes seven originals and three classic covers, featuring three members of the Hi Rhythm section who played on Al Green's classics -- The Rev. Charles Hodges on the Hammond and piano, his brother Leroy “Flick” Hodges on bass, and Howard Grimes on drums, along with former Stax guitarist Bobby Manuel - all architects of the Memphis sound.
Devising and creating the “Memphis” album was an obvious next step for Black on the heels of her third release, “The Muscle Shoals Sessions" (June 20015), a project of mostly Muscle Shoals classics, featuring the legendary keyboardist and “Swamper” Spooner Oldham. The album was recorded at the historic FAME Studios in Black's family homeland of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
With the “Muscle Shoals Sessions,” Black established her “true potential as a bluesy, R&B heavy hitter” according to Elmore Magazine. Blues in Britain wrote, “Black Is blessed with a deeply soulful voice that melds elements of Dusty Springfield, Mavis Staples and Alberta Hunter.” And Relix Magazine described her sound as, "a blend of sultry desire and ardent passion...that’s both tough and tender.”
According to Black, “Recording in Muscle Shoals and doing 100+ shows where I sang some of the most soulful music that exists, brought something out in me I definitely didn't know was there. It developed me as an artist, helped me find my true sound and prepared me for the Memphis project. I've never been happier with the music I'm making and performing than I am right now.”
With the album, “Memphis,” Black has made a powerful connection with her musical passion, a passion she and her band joyfully share with audiences in her live performance of A Memphis Music Revue.
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!
There is no mistaking Bobby Whitlock co-founder of Derek & The Dominos who not only recorded “Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs”, but who has also appeared on Rock and Rolls greatest albums including George Harrison’s “All things Must Pass” and the Rolling Stones “Exile on Main Street” and who is now partnered with wife CoCo Carmel to make a formidable duo. Tops in the Austin scene Bobby and CoCo are featured in the newly released Documentary “The Road to Austin”. Bobbys “A Rock n Roll Autobiography” is sustaining high reviews.
The two have been travelling playing around the world and making records for the past fourteen years. CoCo engineers and produces all their records, the latest and greatest being “Carnival Live from Austin”complete with an all star line up.
Bobby and CoCo are setting up the new year with a solo record on Bobby to be produced by Rob Fraboni (The Stones, The Last Waltz, John Lennon, Bob Dylan).
Some understanding of each other that we sometimes can't understand.
There are moments when we swing from its tree trying to free ourselves from the branches, but we are forever woven into its seeds, roots and bark. you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. I, for one, am very fortunate to sprout from a family tree that is blooming with love, creativity and understanding.
They have encouraged and inspired me from the get go and i will be forever grateful.
On that note, i am collaborating with my family on my new album. 9 records later, we have finally gotten in the studio as a family unit and played some music together.
My father composed the arrangements, played cello, and my mother and sister played violins. I can't tell you how excited i am about this. A full family string section in full effect. I can't wait for you to put your ears on it!
As radio programmers and reviewers continue to pick up on Love You Strong, Terri Hendrix’s first new album in five years, she’s already preparing to unveil a second salvo: The Slaughterhouse Sessions, a harmonica-driven blues-gospel album recorded in a renovated slaughterhouse. Releasing July 8, it’s one of four albums — plus a book — the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will deliver this year in an unprecedented endeavor titled Project 5. Like every album she’s made in her 20-year career, these entries are on her own Wilory Records label through he own e-commerce store.
Although each Project 5 component is distinct, they’re thematically linked by their relationship to the concepts of love, hope and resilience. On Love You Strong, Hendrix puts love under a microscope, carefully examining issues of trust, loyalty, friendship and fortitude — both emotional and spiritual — with unflinching honesty.
“I left my comfort zone to tell the stories I wanted to tell,” she says of the Lloyd Maines-produced album, her long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s Cry Till You Laugh. That risk paid off; Love You Strong is earning Hendrix some rave reviews.
Radio stations nationwide have latched onto several tracks, including “Feel the Time,” “Northern Lights,” and “Love You Strong.”
The former surges with conviction over an urgent Celtic groove, though its inspirational “move with a mission” message is tempered with a bittersweet reminder of mortality. Life’s final chapter is also addressed in “Love You Strong.” Inspired by her father’s role as her mother’s caregiver, it honors his selfless devotion as a true testament to what upholding the vow, “in sickness and in health” really means. She visits the subject again in “Earth-Kind Rose,” but even so, Hendrix accurately notes the album’s overall tone is not one of sadness.
In “The Texas Star,” the San Marcos resident honors the defiant dignity shared by four “women united in justice and freedom/blazing across the lone star sky”: Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins and Liz Carpenter, all beacons of strength who stood in opposition to the status quo. She’s joined on harmonies by another lone star luminary: Eliza Gilkyson.
The glow igniting Hendrix’s bluesy “Northern Lights,” on the other hand, comes from within, as she ignites an exhilarating, seize-the-moment fire of self-determination.
Yet Hendrix also refuses to shy away from tougher topics, such as the brutally stark confession of self-doubt and raw nerves she makes in “Vulnerable,” an unfiltered portrait of a woman taking a long, hard look at herself, her relationships, and the world she lives in. Just like life itself, what she sees is not always pretty.
There’s also an element of tension underscoring the deceptively peppy “The Rant” that’s as palpable as the unfathomable loss haunting “Calle De Los Niños,” in which a family buries a child felled by violence.
But ultimately, Love You Strong is not about defeat; it’s about courage, adaptability and working through adversity — and the beauty of not only finding inner strength, but sharing it.
Gorgeously nuanced and at times sweetly delicate, Love You Strong is the most straightforward “folk” album that the famously eclectic Hendrix has ever made. Incorporating jazz, pop, country and blues, it’s also one of her most sonically beautiful efforts. In addition to vocals, Hendrix plays guitars, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, papoose and harmonica and Maines plays guitars, pedal steel, dobro, mandolin, banjo and papoose. They’re backed by Glenn Fukunaga on bass; Pat Manske and John Silva on drums and percussion; Riley Osbourn on keyboards; Dennis Ludiker on fiddle; Bukka Allen on accordion; and Drew Womack on harmonies.
Following Slaughterhouse Sessions, Hendrix will release Who Is Ann?, an electronica exploration. The final album, Talk to a Human, will connect the dots among all four while examining our own connections in a social media-driven world. The book, her second, will delve into her lifelong battle with epilepsy and the path she traveled to wellness.
Regarding why she took on a challenge of this magnitude, Hendrix explains, “As I became ever more conscious of just how many common threads there were, connecting songs to songs and songs to book chapters and vice-versa, the more I realized that everything I was working on was a piece of a single body of work. Seeing that ‘big picture’ these past five years allowed me the freedom to explore different aspects of my writing and music in more depth than I ever have before on a single record. I’ve always been a long-distance runner at heart, and like to think of Project 5 as a marathon; each leg is its own separate journey, but they all lead to the same destination.”
She may be a runner at heart, but she certainly doesn’t follow the beaten path. She’s never signed to a label, never had a distribution deal and never allowed interlopers to compromise her musical instincts. An early adopter of e-commerce, Hendrix has funded 16 albums completely through online pre-orders — a testament to the strong relationship she’s nurtured with her loyal fans over two decades (and multiple generations). Their support has not only allowed her to follow her heart artistically, but to pursue an even bigger dream: launching a nonprofit creative arts center serving San Marcos and beyond. It’s called OYOU, an acronym for “Own Your Own Universe” — words that embody not only the free-spirited Hendrix’s career, but her life.
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
Much about UL sets them apart.
Five songwriters combining forces is neither common nor easy, but what each individual loses in pride the band more than gains in power. The song itself matters more than who wrote it, more than the genre to which it belongs. “It’s not about trying to write a certain kind of song,” says Galloway, “it’s about harvesting whatever song comes.”
Shake is a favorite at the Duck and his shows sell quickly so get your tickets soon.
Come early for dinner and enjoy and beautifully poured pint and some of the best fish and chips in Houston.
From early days growing up in the southeast Los Angeles suburb of Downey, California under the tutelage of T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner to their emergence as central figures in the eclectic LA punk/rock scene of the early ‘80s to their current status as internationally-renowned influences in their own right, the Blasters have spent their lives exploring and expressing the deep and diverse musical legacy that is best described by the title of their first album: American Music.
A performance by today’s Blasters––vocalist-guitarist Phil Alvin, drummer Bill Bateman, bassist John Bazz, and guitarist Keith Wyatt––reflects influences that range from George Jones and Carl Perkins to Howlin’ Wolf, James Brown and Bo Diddley. The band’s 1980 debut album American Music (Rollin’ Rock) was a powerful collection of fresh, distinctive performances that shattered the artificial boundaries between blues, rockabilly, country, R&B and rock & roll. The next three albums for Slash/Warner Bros. (The Blasters, Non-Fiction, and Hard Line) increasingly featured the unique songwriting voice of original guitarist Dave Alvin as the band’s lineup expanded to include pianist Gene Taylor plus saxophonists Steve Berlin and New Orleans legend Lee Allen (“the man who put a saxophone in rock & roll”). As the Blasters’ fame grew, they began to draw accolades from artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton and Queen, and in turn the band encouraged and supported still up-and-coming LA musical peers such as Dwight Yoakum and Los Lobos
In 1986, Dave Alvin left the band to pursue a solo career, and over the next decade a series of renowned guitarists including Billy Zoom, Michael “Hollywood Fats” Mann, Greg “Smokey” Hormel, and James Intveld filled the position. Phil Alvin simultaneously expanded his own musical efforts with the release of two acclaimed solo albums, Unsung Stories (Slash/Warner) in 1986 and County Fair 2000 (Hightone) in 1994.
In 1996, current guitarist Keith Wyatt joined the lineup and the Blasters continued touring steadily in the US and Europe before returning to the studio in 2004 to record 4-11-44 (Rainman). After the departure of drummer Jerry Angel, the band reunited with original member Bill Bateman and subsequently released their 2012 CD Fun on Saturday Night (Rip Cat). Meanwhile, the Blasters’ catalog was renewed with reissues of American Music along with two Slash/Warner compilations (Testament and The Blasters Collection) and the live recordings Trouble Bound and Going Home Live (Shout Factory).
Blasters shows have been described as “a cross between Creedence and the Clash,” with a display of passion and energy only deepened by decades of experience. For all of the ways in which the world has changed in the past few decades, one thing is still guaranteed: the Blasters play American Music.
"These songs on The Tom Russell Anthology 2: Gunpowder Sunsets leaves me in anticipation of whatever might be coming next from the best songwriter of my generation." Mike Regenstreiff, Montreal Gazette, Sing Out (June 2016)
"Tom Russell is Johnny Cash, Jim Harrison and Charles Bukowski rolled into one. I feel a great affinity with Tom Russell's songs, for he is writing out of the wounded heart of America."Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Poet)
"Tom Russell is an original, a brilliant songwriter with a restless curiosity and an almost violent imagination. “Blood and Candle Smoke” is vintage Russell, and the Graham Greene connection is a ‘beaut." Annie Proulx (The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain)
"Tom Russell is the last great American voice." Ken Bruen (The Dramatist, The Cross)
"How great is Tom Russell? Isn't he the best? I'd like to quit my job and travel with him...if the money can be worked out..." David Letterman, Late Night with David Letterman
The greatest living folk-country songwriter is a man named Tom Russell...John Swenson, Rolling Stone
Tom Russell is the best songwriter of the generation following Bob Dylan...The Montreal Gazette
"The Rose of Roscrae" - Recent 2015/2016 Reviews:
The #1 Album of the Year, The Irish Post, Joe Giltrap, Dec 19. 2015.
Los Angeles Times Top Ten Albums, Dec. 2015 : Masterful songwriter Russell enlists the help of friends and peers such as Maura O'Connell and others over a staggering 52 tracks in an extraordinary piece of Americana with an expansive narrative and scope. Randy Lewis
UNCUT Magazine "Album of the Month" - June 2015: It is an epic tale, a blend of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Berthold Brecht, Cormac McCarthy and Louis L'Amour, thick with references to U.S. history, music and myth...the scope is majestic, the ambition outrageous and the music magnificent. A unique accomplishment. Peter Watts
A bravely original epic. The Guardian, UK. 4/5 stars, April 10, 2015
A game changer - it could just be the single most important Americana release of all time.Folk Radio, UK
A bold two-disc country-folk-rock opera about a young 19th-century Irish immigrant drawn to a new life as a cowboy in the west after a failed love affair. It's a sprawling beast of an album and a remarkable piece of creativity. ???? Best Country Music Albums of 2015: The Telegraph UK
“While Radney Foster is no stranger to the country charts, both on his own and with the duo Foster & Lloyd, there’s not much Music City/Nash Vegas gloss on Everything I Should Have Said.
Foster’s songs are essentially country, but are charged with crackling Louisiana flavors and wiry, rootsy-rock a la The Band. Foster’s voice has a plainspoken quality akin to that of the late Levon Helm.” –Icon Magazine
“Like the songs of [Townes] Van Zandt, Foster’s music doesn’t jump up and down, wear fancy clothes, or beat around the bush. And like Van Zandt, Foster’s always trying to find that little piece of truth.” –Charleston City Paper
John Fullbright got his start at the legendary Blue Door listening room in Oklahoma City. It was there that he recorded a live album and found his base, opening for many other writers including fellow Oklahomans Kevin Welch and Jimmy Webb.
His 2012 studio debut, From the Ground Up, received a Grammy nomination for Americana Album of the Year, and later that year he won ASCAP’s Harold Adamson Award for lyric writing.
In 2014, John released the critically acclaimed Songs, toured all over America and the UK, and appeared on Late Night with David Letterman.
“I have no doubt that in a short time, John Fullbright will be a household name in American music.” — Jimmy Webb
“‘Songs’ is a warm, winning and plainspoken Americana album that builds on the authority and charm of ‘From the Ground Up’ not by musicalmuscle flexing, but by its clarity and simmering intensity.” — Jim Fusilli, The Wall Street Journal
“A quiet collection of stately ballads and ruminative torch songs… a moving display of deeply personal songwriting…” — Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone
“Mr. Fullbright joins the lineage of terse Southwestern songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, sticking to a few folky chords and reaching for unassailable clarity.” — Jon Pareles, The New York Times
“Songs impressively and potently economical... poetically astute lyrics and heartrending musical feeling.” — Randy Lewis, The Los Angeles Times
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.
Igor Yuzov was born in Germany, raised in Ukraine and studied in Russia. He grew up in the former Soviet Union, where folk music was the norm and rock'n'roll was illegal. A rebellious streak, however, led him to seek out the forbidden music. As soon as it became possible, Igor left Russia for America with his “Folk'n'Roll" band Limpopo and was personally greeted by Ronald Reagan.
In 1993, Limpopo won Ed McMahon's Star Search and their popularity began to blossom. In 1995, Igor dreamed that Elvis Presley came to him and told him to start playing rock'n'roll. Igor and his Russian friends became Red Elvises and gave street performances on Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade. As their crowds grew larger, the City of Santa Monica ordered them to discontinue their street performances.
Evolving over the years, Igor’s music has been labeled "Siberian Surf Rock” which contains humorous lyrics and grooves that forces his audience to dance. Over the past 20 years, Red Elvises have constantly toured all over the world with occasional breaks to record new music and to participate in film and television projects.
They travel around the world together while Slaid plays for fans far and wide and gets all the glory. If it wasn’t for Karen, Slaid would be carrying all he owned in a shoe box, scrounging around for a happy hour gig.
Chamberfolk: Three classically trained musicians playing original music, as intricately arranged as a string quartet, lyrically rooted in the singer/songwriter tradition, and wrapped in three-part vocal harmonies reminiscent of both Appalachia and Medieval Europe.
Building from the tonal depth of the cello (or is it a bass?), layer in the shimmering sounds of a violin and the strikingly natural addition of banjo to create a sound at once familiar and impossibe to categorize. Unapologetic genre-benders, Harpeth Rising fuses Folk, Newgrass, Rock and Classical into something organically unique.
Their most recent album, SHIFTED, debuted at #1 on the Folk-DJ charts and was released to international acclaim.
Tim Carroll of Folkwords wrote “Choose words to define this latest album– progressive, creative, innovative, imaginative - they all describe what’s on offer… Alternatively,don’t attempt to categorise their ingenuity with words, take the shortest route, immerse yourself in Harpeth Rising and let the music carry you with its flow.”
Chris Spector at Midwest Record said “Taking Newgrass to the next dimension, taking back lyric writing as an art form, if you’ve cleaned your ears out recently, this set is going to blow your mind. One of a kind, in a class by itself and simply superlative throughout.”