We're sure glad you've found the Austin Music Journal's new site. Just like the old hard copy editions, AMJ will strive to bring you lots of great pictures and stories about Austin music, past and present. Please bear with us as we continue to build the site, and feel free to let us know what you'd like to see and read about.
You can drop me a line at email@example.com.
Our motto is 'No politics, no prejudices, just pure music!'
Deborah Orazi - Editor/Publisher
Tim Bryan of the band Starlings, TN must hear it all the time.
“What kind of instrument is that??”
Even if you recognized the dulcimer, you might be confused by the unorthodox way he is playing it – with a violin bow. He believes he may be the only musician currently playing it that way.
“David Schnaufer, a Texan and a master of the dulcimer, taught me to play,” Tim said. “He was the one who made me play with a bow.”
Schnaufer passed away in 2006, but not before extracting a promise from his student.
“I promised him on his death bed that I wouldn't let the dulcimer die,” Tim said.
And Starlings, TN is doing its part to keep that vow, with not one, but two dulcimer players. His bandmate, Steven Stubblefield, also plays the dulcimer, but not with a bow.
That's Schnaufer's dulcimer Tim's pictured playing.
You can see more pictures of Starlings, TN playing at The Driskill 7/11/14 in the Photo Gallery.
Austin Music Journal TV makes its debut this Sunday, June 22 at 8 p.m.CT with a look at Texas honky tonk music.
Join three of Austin's finest honky tonk ensembles, the Clay Harrell Band, Roy Heinrich and the Pick-ups, and Glen Collins and the Alibis for some genuine, undiluted roadhouse music. Episode host Clay Harrell will also be in the studio chatting with Roy Heinrich and dancer Celeste Villarreal about the past, present and future of this uniquely American type of music. You might think you know what a pressure cooker is, but Roy sets you straight!
Central Texans can watch the hour-long show on Time Warner cable channel 16, while AT&T U-verse subscribers can tune in on channel 99. Everyone else can watch the live stream on the internet at www.channelaustin.org. Click on 'watch' and then the channel 16 stream.
Future episodes of AMJ-TV will focus on Texas songwriters, Texas rockabilly, Texas dancehalls, and Billy Joe Shaver. Do you see a pattern here? We hope so because we love Texas music (and more specifically Austin music) and want to share it with the rest of the world, so stay tuned.
In all honesty, we at the Austin Music Journal can't claim to be devoted readers of the magazine Oxford American, but the one issue we never miss is its annual music special. And we have a collection of the CDs that have come with that issue over the years to prove it.
Which is why when the magazine invited us to a press conference Monday (6/16) to announce that its next music issue will focus on Texas, we jumped on it!
It had nothing to do with the presence of Dale Watson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jason Roberts, and noted percussionist (and Academy Award winner) Matthew McConaughey at the press conference to help make the announcement. Nope.
The magazine's editors claimed the special issue (due in December) would feature more than just the obvious names in Texas music.
We are going to hold them to it and see if they can get past the Willie and Waylon and Stevie Ray triumvirate (all of whom we love, and all of whom are already well-documented) and go deeper into the Texas talent pool.
They might want to start at the White Horse or the Little Longhorn Saloon, two of Austin's most consistent talent incubators.
Go to our Photo Gallery to see more pics from the press conference.
What Presley fan could resist the promise of entertainment by a Swedish Elvis impersonator at IKEA's Round Rock store this past Friday? Not us! This is Ehrling Lundberg's first visit to the States as Elvis, though he has been here before with other bands. He holds the distinction of being the only Elvis performer we've seen who plays an accordion while he croons. He sure made a believer of 2-year-old John Angel, who made the trip up from Del Valle with his grandfather Domitilo Ponce, Sr., a big Elvis fan.
Floyd Domino and Redd Volkaert joined musical forces to make this past Memorial Day weekend a particularly memorable one at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Check out our Photo Gallery for lots more pics of their show.
The best party at SXSW 2014? That's an easy one. Year after year, Rachael Ray's shindigs offer some of the best music and food, and the friendliest atmosphere. And it's all free to the public! Past headliners include reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, and Rockabilly Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson (backed-up by Austin's own Danny B. Harvey). This year Blondie topped the talent roster at Stubb's on Saturday. Thanks for another great year Rachael!
See more pics of Rachael and her husband John Cusimano's band, The Cringe, in our Photo Gallery.
There are a bunch of good reasons Them Duqaines were voted among the top 5 country bands in the recent Austin Chronicle's Music Poll.
One of them is they're not afraid to sweat. You've got to work hard to keep the dancers on the floor and the listeners happy.
That's one of the many reasons we rate Them Duqaines number one among any type band in Texas. Throw in some great songwriting and five genial personalities, and you've got more than enough reasons to stay up late (12 a.m. to be exact) Thursday nights at the White Horse.
Lisa Marie Presley did her daddy proud Friday evening (3/14/14), rocking hard in her first visit to SXSW. Go to our Photo Gallery for more pics of the show.
Billy Joe Shaver at the White Horse 2/15/14.
It's hard to tell who had the better time, Billy Joe or his jam-packed, incredibly diverse audience at the White Horse. Everything from dreadlocks to Bettie-wannabes to grandparents.
See the rest of the pics in the Photo Gallery.
Mandy Barnett at the Continental Club. A timeless voice that transcends any one genre of music. And she's not even a Texan! See more pics from the Continental in our Photo Gallery.
Every once in a while AMJ crosses the Austin city limits line in search of different music venues and new faces. We hit the jackpot Friday night (1/10/14) at the Cele Store on the outskirts of Manor. We found great music, friendly folks, and delicious barbecue in a historic country setting.
AMJ favorite Glen Collins and the Alibis, with special guests Howard Kalish on fiddle and Allen Kentfield on steel, were the featured band. Songstress Suzanne Smith and super bassist Skinny Don Keeling were surprise guests.
We have lots more pics from Cele in our Photo Gallery.
Will Indian RIP
Jenny and the Corn Ponies at the White Horse 1/4/14.
The word 'legend' is tossed around a little too freely for my taste these days.
But if there is one country artist who deserves the label, it is Ray Price.
On the occasion of his 80th birthday, Price taped a phone interview with the Austin Music Journal from his home in northeast Texas.
He was straight forward, naturally pleasant, candid, and balked at answering no question. Nothing phony there I could detect.
He was, in essence, a dream to interview.
A real person, who had a surreal career.
As a fan, I had met Price years earlier in Sarasota, Florida and found him to be the same way. I treasure my signed copy of his early hits.
You'll read all the details of that amazing career over and over elsewhere in days to come - from his days as Hank Williams' roommate and successor fronting the Drifting Cowboys, to the various struggles to have his music accepted on his own terms.
I just wanted you to know I found Ray Price to be a decent guy who was nice to people when he didn't have to be. Even when no one was documenting it. And regardless of all the hits and awards and fame, that's ultimately the measure of a man.
The Austin Music Journal will go anywhere to hear good music, whether it be a pit or a palace. We certainly picked the right place on Friday, with Clay Harrell and band delivering an outstanding performance at the Little Longhorn Saloon. See all the pics in our Photo Gallery.
A real treat last Tuesday at the Driskill's bar: Amanda Pearcy and her mix of thoughtful originals and intelligent covers.
Her name is Jai Malano, but if you close your eyes when she sings you might guess Laverne Baker or maybe Ruth Brown. She's the vocalist for the Royal Rhythmaires, a Fort Worth-based, jump blues band. Malano lives in Austin now, so let's hope we hear more from her in clubs around town like The Continental, where the RR's played last night to a packed house. You can see the rest of last night's pics in the Photo Gallery.
Those hands could only belong to one man. Despite the missing fingers they've done their share of brawling, caressing, praying, and penning some of the greatest tunes in the Texas lexicon of song. When he pulled out one of his old gems from the 1980's at Antones Thursday night, 'I Want Some More', the crowd fell silent, visibly moved by this 73-year-old "outlaw" and his sensual delivery of the lyrics. Billy Joe, of all people, proving romance has no age.
The Court Yard Hounds have released their second album, 'Amelita', and it's a good one. In case you didn't know it, CYH is Dixie Chick sisters Martie Maguire's and Emily Robison's band. After a marvelous short set at Waterloo Records this past Tuesday, the sisters surprised the crowd by bringing on their young daughters to do a song on their own. They were not only adorable, but you could hear some budding talent in their voices. See the rest of the pics in our Photo Gallery.
Kids and dancers rule when White Ghost Shivers play Central Market. And the family friendly atmosphere certainly brought out the best in the band Saturday evening. They'll be back at Central Market on Oct. 26 for a special Halloween show for kids, so get those costumes ready!
That's Westen Borghesi on kazoo and Cella Blue on penny whistle in the picture below. You can see the rest of the photos in our Photo Gallery.
This is Charlie Pierce of Choctaw Wildfire. He's kinda like Dr. John, Leon Russell, Jellyroll, and, well, Charlie Pierce, all rolled up in one. Austin really needs guys like him.
You can see the rest of the pics of Choctaw Wildfire at the White Horse on 9/3/13 in our Photo Gallery.
When thieves spotted something shiny in musician Mason Hankamer's car last week, they thought they had hit pay-dirt.
After shattering the glass and breaking into the car, one can only imagine the perplexed look on the perpetrators' faces when they uncovered a 50-pound sousaphone. They ran, leaving the elephantine instrument behind!
“I can only guess it would have been too obvious if they were spotted running down the street carrying a sousaphone,” Hankamer surmised from the stage of the White Horse last Sunday as he prepped his instrument for the first time since the incident. “I was lucky.”
Lucky for all of us, too!
The Urban Achievers Brass Band was at full force last Sunday, with Hankamer and his sousaphone laying down the equivalent of a bass line in the 9-piece brass and percussion ensemble.
But there was one more surprise left in-store for Hankamer. When it came time to tune-up, he blew into the mouthpiece and there was no sound. He removed the big, brass bell from the sousaphone and found the thieves had stuffed rags down it!
See the rest of the night's pics in our Photo Gallery.
It's sweaty. It's loud. It's body packed against body on the dance floor. It's the smell of that full beer bottle she dropped when he held her a little too tightly. Is that your blood you feel pulsing through your veins, or the bass line? It's Them Duqaines doing what they do best at The White Horse. Real country music played with abandon. And, thank God, we get to do it all again next Thursday at midnight. See the rest of the pics in our Photo Gallery.
Whether it be playing with Hot Club of Cowtown, touring with Bob Dylan, serving as an official musical ambassador overseas, or fronting her own exceptional band, Elana James is never less than extraordinary. Austin Music Journal caught up with her again this past Tuesday at the White Horse with Hot Club bandmate Jake Erwin on bass, Dave Biller on lead guitar, and Damien Llanes on drums. You can catch them again at the White Horse next Tuesday, August 13 at 10 p.m. See the rest of the pics from last Tuesday in our Photo Gallery.
In a town brimming with excellent bands, if Austin Music Journal had to pick just one to bring a visitor of any age to see that best encapsulates the town's sounds and spirit, it would be Rick Broussard's Two Hoots and a Holler. With elements of country, Cajun, blues, rock and roll, and punk in its roots, the band keeps it listenable, as well as danceable. And you can count on Broussard to bring it every time. Looks great, sounds great.
See the rest of Tuesday night's pics at Antone's in our Photo Gallery.
There was lots of good music at the Folk of July Fest at The Scoot Inn on July 6. Plus Skeeball!! We caught Mrs. Glass (below), Robert Ellis, and Ghosts Along the Brazos after the sun went down. We missed lots of other fine bands earlier, but it was just so hot. Sorry. The Photo Gallery has the pics.
The food was really good at the Travaasa BBQ Bash, but the music was even better thanks to the Marshall Ford Swing Band. That's Katie Holmes, below, on fiddle. See the rest of the pics in the Photo Gallery.
Austin Music Journal went to see this incredible bass guitar juggler at the Frank Erwin Center on May 22! He also sings and writes songs on the side. You can see lots more pics of the show in our Photo Gallery.
Robert Allan Caldwell and his band of rotating friends play their brand of country/bluegrass with such joyfulness and honesty you'll think you're sitting on a porch somewhere in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains (where, not surprisingly, Caldwell is from). You can catch Caldwell and Friends at the White Horse on Wednesdays from 8:45 p.m. until 9:45 p.m. Then on Wednesday, May 22 stick around to see one of Caldwell's former South Carolina bandmates, Jeremy Slemenda, with Them Duqaines at 10 p.m.
You never know who will show up at a Them Duqaines gig at the White Horse. Here, cowbell specialist El Borracho joins the band for a 'beefed-up' version of Bobby Womack's 'It's All Over Now.'
A honky-tonk summit meeting at the White Horse with Roger Wallace, Debra Mueller Hurd, Roy Heinrich, and Frank E Martin. Actually, they were all there for Them Duqaines during the band's twice monthly residency on Wednesdays.
If their unofficial SXSW showcase on March 17 was any indication, three Swedish sisters collectively known as Baskery, have what it takes to fill the Dixie Chicks void. John Conquest of 3rd Coast Music got it right when he told the crowd at the G & S Lounge we were lucky to have been in the audience. The sisters are nearly done with their debut CD, and are actually talking about moving to Austin. See more pics from the show in our Photo Gallery.
If you were at the Baker St. Pub on March 15 for the Austin Music Journal's NSXSW 2013 Show, then you know how terrific the Devil's Daughter's were (Mysti Moon in black tank, Lisa Mortensen in white T) with guitar slinger/producer Danny B. Harvey behind them. Click on our Photo Gallery to see more pics of the incredible evening, featuring sets from Them Duqaines, Clay Harrell, Roy Heinrich and the Pick-Ups,The Mad Cowboys, and a surprise visit by cowbell specialist El Borracho.
The Austin Music Journal's annual NSXSW Showcase is coming up fast (March 15), and if you've been around town, or on the internet, you've probably seen our poster for the event.
If you haven't, here are the details.
First of all, we're back at one of the friendliest music venues in town, the Baker St. Pub and Grill on S. Lamar. It was our first choice of venue again because of the good food, warm atmosphere, and let's not forget the big, free parking lot encircling it.
Here's the schedule for Friday night, give or take a few minutes:
8 p.m.: Mad Cowboys
All times are Central.
You've seen almost all these artists in the Austin Music Journal, some several times, and one, admittedly, several dozen times. But more on Them later.
Led by guitarist/vocalist Michael Murray, the Mad Cowboys can rock as hard as any band, and out-twang many country groups, but what really sets them apart are Murray's original songs. He has a talent for turning seemingly mundane occurrences – a few words of graffiti on a wall, a line uttered by an angry friend - into three-minute melodies complete with catchy choruses.
Murray actually lives in Abilene, but makes the trip to Austin the first Friday of every month to play at the Carousel Lounge. We are honored that he is making the long drive a second time this month just to play for us.
You may remember seeing the photos we ran of Danny B. Harvey on lead guitar backing rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson during SXSW 2011. Well, Harvey, widely regarded as one of the best rockabilly guitarists around, is now mentoring a promising duo from Arizona, Mysti Moon and Lisa Mortensen, better known as The Devil's Daughters. Check out their Youtube videos and you'll understand why Harvey is producing their new CD and why AMJ is excited to be hosting them on Friday.
By the way, I'm pretty sure Danny B. Harvey is the only musician on the bill to have appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand!
Them Duqaines came in seventh in the Austin Chronicle's 2012-2013 Austin Music Awards Country/Bluegrass category – right behind Dale Watson, The Derailers, and Bob Schneider's Texas Bluegrass Massacre.
That's reason enough to immediately book them into any concert venue in Texas.
Just don't book them for this Friday at 10 p.m.
Roy Heinrich is one of Texas's treasures. If Johnny Cash had spent most of his life in honky tonks, he would sound like Heinrich.
By his side is the multi-talented Debra Mueller Hurd on accordion and keyboards. She's got quite a story of her own to tell. An accomplished painter, color and sound go hand in hand in her world. Look for an AMJ profile of her soon. In the meantime, take a look at some of Hurd's vibrant paintings of musicians in our Photo Gallery.
You can't get any more real country than Clay Harrell. Even Springsteen songs must succumb to Harrell's roadhouse makeovers. Don't worry, there will be plenty of room for two-stepping at Baker St. on Friday.
If you can't get to the show, the next best thing will be watching and listening to it live online. Go to our links page, click on the AMJ's NSXSW 2013 Show, and it will take you directly to the viewing site.
Every once in a while you need a dose of real rockabilly to remind you that great music is as much about feel as it is technique.
Lucky for us, Austin has the Modern Don Juans perfectly blending both to keep the music alive and fresh.
Lead guitarist Tjarko Jeen honed his skills touring with the late Ronnie Dawson, and Todd Wulfmeyer manned the bass for Marti Brom, among many others. We first saw Bobby Trimble playing behind Big Sandy years ago. Vocalist Tony Estrada is a formidable frontman.
AMJ got a much-needed rockabilly fix listening to them at Ginny's Little Longhorn last Saturday night (2/9/13), with Lisa Pankratz subbing on drums for Trimble. See the rest of the pics in our Photo Gallery.
There's Nashville country music, and then there's Sarah Gayle Meech's brand of Nashville country music.
Austin embraced the latter this past week with Meech's big sultry voice drawing crowds in her debut at Ginny's Little Longhorn Sunday evening and the Continental the previous Thursday night. You can still catch her Monday night (1/28) at the Continental in her final area gig before she heads north.
The rest of Sunday's pics are in the Photo Gallery.
These are The Whiskey Sisters, Barbara Nesbitt and Teal Collins. If you haven't heard about them yet, you will. Everywhere. Soon. You can read about them right now in our News section, and see more pictures of them in action in our Photo Gallery.
The highlight of Austin Music Journal's week? Unquestionably when Them Duqaines joined forces with singer/songwriter Michael Murray of the Mad Cowboys for a few songs Saturday night at Ginny's Little Longhorn.
Them Duqaines and the Mad Cowboys are both set to play the AMJ's big free show March 15 at the Baker St. Pub. We'll have more details and more bands to announce soon. In the meantime, check out the rest of the pics from Ginny's in the Photo Gallery.
We don't usually have coverage of big deal rock stars on AMJ, but we definitely will make an exception for Steve Winwood, who packed the Moody Theater last night (11/25/12). Arguably one of the most genuinely talented musicians to come out of England in the past 50 years, his soulful voice hasn't aged a bit since he topped the charts as a teenaged prodigy with the Spencer Davis Group in the mid-1960's. He did two of those hits, 'I'm a Man' and 'Give Me Some Lovin' ', last night, as well as Traffic favorites 'Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys', 'Dear Mr. Fantasy' and 'Empty Pages.' The evening's highlight, a sublime version of Blind Faith's 'Can't Find My Way Home', earned him a two-minute standing ovation.
And did I mention the guy appears to be completely unpretentious?
There was plenty to love about this past weekend's Formula 1 Festival downtown. The perfect weather combined with dozens of Austin bands had thousands of locals and out-of-towners alike dancing in the streets. I think there was also a car race somewhere.
Go to the Photo Gallery for more pics of fest favorite Shakey Graves (pictured below), as well as Whiskey Shivers and Mike and the Moonpies.
One of our favorite veterans, Billy Joe Shaver, has a patriotic moment during his recent (Nov. 2) show at Antone's.
We salute all our citizens who have served in the military. Happy Veteran's Day!
Check out our Photo Gallery for more pics from Shaver's show, as well as John Doe at Blackheart, and Jimmy LaFave at Uncle Billy's BBQ.
Tim Petersen (above) and Them Duqaines sure did cheer-up this sad Jersey Girl last night (11/1/12) at the Mean Eyed Cat.
Please, everybody send out good thoughts to our people in New Jersey and New York - and anyone else affected by this storm.
Love, peace, music.
The Austin City Limits Festival was in full swing last Friday, but I passed on it so I could go to the best show in town that night.
You see Scott H. Biram was playing across town.
Up in the patio overlooking the outdoor stage at Mohawk, I watched as a guy in the audience below repeatedly hit himself in the head with a beer can as Biram performed.
The headbanger grinned, deliriously happy.
I was awfully happy, too (minus the beer can), listening to one-man-band Biram growl profanity-laced songs about cheating women and graveyard shifts one minute, then yodeling as sweetly as Don Walser the next.
Later, some guys in the crowd lifted a man in a wheelchair onto the stage so he could see better.
“Well, come on,” Biram told him in the middle of a song, without missing a beat.
Try that at ACL.
Check out the rest of the pics in our Photo Gallery.
South Austin Moonlighter Lonnie Trevino, Jr. shared vocals with guitarists Josh Zee and Phil Hurley Friday night (10/5) at the Baker St. Pub. The band is set to release a new CD - Live at the Saxon Pub - next month.
Earlier in the evening, songwriter Bracken Hale and band were busy making new fans at Ginny's Little Longhorn.
See photos from both of Friday's shows in our Photo Gallery.
Here's another opportunity for Austin's music community:
OPEN CASTING CALL FOR MAJOR HOLLYWOOD FILM
Sarah Dowling Casting and Vicky Boone Casting are conducting a search for people from the Austin music industry of all ages and styles – especially hipster types, rockers, punks, americana artists and those with a distinctive visual style - who are interested in speaking and non-speaking roles in
After an evening at 'FupDuck', you'll never think of puppetry the same way again.
Presented by Glass Half Full Theatre, it's billed as a 'Puppet show for grown-ups and children who already know the f-word.' Potty-mouthed, booze brewing Grand daddy Jake and his traumatized grandson Tiny are hardly the puppets of your childhood.
But what really sets the show apart from other puppet productions, is the added musical brilliance of White Ghost Shivers playing a live soundtrack behind the action on stage.
And kudos to narrator/voices Chris Gibson for an extraordinary performance.
The remaining shows are Aug. 18, 19, 23, 24, 25 at the Salvage Vanguard Theater on E. Manor Road.
It's no secret we love Billy Joe Shaver here at the Austin Music Journal.
Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson have written about him. Elvis sang his words, as did Johnny Cash.
It's easy to understand why listening to the new song 'The Git Go' on the just released CD/DVD 'Billy Joe Shaver Live At Billy Bob's Texas.'
So simple, so beautiful, so relevant.
Happy Birthday Billy.
Go to our Photo Gallery for more pics of Billy, Them Duqaines, and Mike Stinson Aug. 5 at Antone's.
John Beauchamp of Them Duqaines has plenty to smile about this summer. The AMJ favorites will be helping Austinites celebrate Independence Day on Wednesday at The White Horse, followed by gigs at The Rattle Inn on July 5, and The Continental on July 6. Next week you can catch them at the Evangeline Cafe and Ginny's Little Longhorn, July 13 and 14, respectively. On August 4 it's the dream bill again of Them Duqaines opening for Billy Joe Shaver.
See some other smiling faces - onstage and off - at the Mean Eyed Cat last night (6/30/12) in our Photo Gallery.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Should we go see Mike and the Moonpies or Wayne Hancock? Why not both! After all this is Austin.
See why Mike Harmeier is so happy in the Photo Gallery.
Let's just say this right up front: Joe Ely sounds as good and rocks as hard as he did 20 years ago.
The proof is in our Photo Gallery.
It's been a busy, but musically satisfying, past week in Austin with music from Them Duqaines at the ND, Dahebegeebees at Baker St. Pub, and Reckless Kelly's 4th Annual Celebrity Softball Jam at the Dell Diamond. And it's shaping up to be even busier this week!
Let's start with Them Duqaines.
Quite simply, this band plays country music with muscle. No whining or crying in their beer songs here - the testosterone level on stage is way too high for that. Sure, their CD of original tunes has plenty of tales of lost love and screwing up, but these guys recuperate real fast and jump right back on their horses to chase after another adventure at breakneck speed.
That's their red hot bass player Frank E. Martin in the pic feeling the music.
If you haven't seen them live yet, you'll have three good chances this week. On Wednesday (April 25) they will be at the White Horse at midnight. On Friday (27th) they are scheduled for Ginny's Little Longhorn at 9 p.m., and the next night at the Mean Eyed Cat.
Check out www.duqaines.com for more details.
Dahebegeebees took me completely by surprise on Saturday. I didn't even have my camera on me because I only stopped in Baker St. for something to eat. Soulful three-part harmonies, a two-piece horn section, and a lead singer who knows how to move, pretty much sums it up. Keep an eye out for them at Baker St.
I didn't let unpleasant security guards or a sketchy sound system spoil my fun at Reckless Kelly's annual fundraising game and concert. You can find some of the show's highlights in our Photo Gallery.
The Austin Music Journal must be the luckiest little magazine on the planet.
Over the course of two nights, March 15-16, we played host to nine of Austin's finest bands, plus one honorary Austinite from New York. Ten hours of superb music, from traditional country to western swing to flat out rock and roll.
The scope and depth of talent here in Austin cannot be beat anywhere in the world - and it's here year round, not just during SXSW.
Our most heartfelt thanks go out to Hot Club of Cowtown, Them Duqaines, Glen Collins and His Honky Tonk Buddies, The Daliens, Lauren Ellis, Raven and the Blackbirds, the Derral Gleason Trio, The Sideshow Five, Treachery of Others, and singer/songwriter Jimmy Lloyd (host of NBC's 'The Jimmy Lloyd Songwriter Showcase').
And let us not forget our MC's Kathleen Prescott (on March 15) and John Griffin (on March 16), as well as our computer wiz, Bill Woodland, who set-up the live streaming on the internet.
Our venue, the Baker St. Pub and Grill on S. Lamar, was perfect. The folks there - Nathan, Sean, Lisa, Danny, the waitstaff, and bartenders - could not have treated us better.
A great time was had by all. The proof is in our Photo Gallery for your viewing pleasure. You will also find pics there from two parties AMJ attended, Billy Gibbons' shindig at Lambert's (featuring entertainment by Jimmie Vaughan, among others) on March 16, and Rachael Ray's parties at Stubb's and at a house on E. Cesar Chavez on March 17. Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff topped Ray's bill.
The Austin Music Journal is so happy to invite all of its friends and readers to two nights of music by some of Austin's finest artists.
The shows take place on Thursday, March 15 and Friday, March 16 at the Baker St. Pub and Grill (3003 S. Lamar) from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m.
Both nights are free and open to the public.
We couldn't ask for a better venue than the Baker St. Pub and Grill. First of all, the stage is inside, so weather is not an issue. And it's air conditioned (remember the heat last year?). The parking is free and plentiful, the staff is friendly, and the food and drinks are top notch and reasonably priced. I eat there at least once a week. There are tables, comfortable chairs and booths, so come early to claim one. The kitchen is open late, until 1:45 a.m., for all of us night owls.
If you can't make it to Austin for the shows, don't worry. We will be streaming them live on the internet thanks to our good buddy, computer wiz Bill Woodland. Here's what to type or copy into your address bar: http://ustre.am/IyOd
Or go to our Links page and click on austinmusicjournal.
The bands appearing are as follows:
Thursday, March 15
8 p.m. - The Daliens
9 p.m. - Glen Collins
10 p.m. - Hot Club of Cowtown
11 p.m. - Lauren Ellis
12 a.m. - The Derral Gleason Trio
Friday, March 16
8 p.m. - Jimmy Lloyd
8:45 p.m. - The Sideshow Five
10 p.m. - Raven and the Blackbirds
11 p.m. - Them Duqaines
12 a.m. - Treachery of Others
All times are in the Central Time zone.
You've seen most of these artists in the Austin Music Journal (look in our Photo Gallery for them), and now's your chance to hear them live, all in one great place.
See you there!
Sorry to have to report that James Hand's
'management' canceled his SXSW week
gigs today (2/4/12). Get well soon James!
Several months ago, while chatting with Billy Joe Shaver before his show at Antone's, I mentioned I was going to leave and grab something to eat before he went on.
"Well, you should stay and see this band that's opening," he insisted. "They are really good."
Figuring Shaver knew a thing or two about good music, I stuck around to hear the Duqaines. And, of course, he was right.
"He was very nice to us," lead singer John Beauchamp (pictured below) said of the 72-year-old songwriter.
The band first got together in 1997, but took a seven-year break in 2002 before getting back together in 2009.
The Duqaines, Shinyribs, Treachery of Others, Vendetta Big Band, The Drakes, and the Jitterbug Vipers are just several of the cool bands that have played around town in the past two weeks.
You can check out all of the above bands in our Photo Gallery.
After a long lay-off, it sure was good to see James Hand back on stage again where he belongs. Now if we can only get him back into an Austin studio with his band (Will Indian, Speedy Sparks, John McGlothlin). See last night's photos in our Photo Gallery.
Billy Joe Shaver is working on a new album, and judging by the song (‘Git Go’) he did from it at Antone’s Thursday night (11/3/11), it should be a good one. The Photo Gallery has more pics from the show.
Yes, it's really him. That's Johnny Depp backing up C.C. Adcock of Bill Carter and The Blame at the Continental Club Saturday night. And then Billy Gibbons showed up to jam! Depp was humble and polite and clearly enjoying himself. He's also a pretty good guitar player, but no match for Gibbons or the great Denny Freeman, who graciously let Depp and Gibbons take the spotlight.
Check out our Photo Gallery for more pics.
If you haven't been keeping an eye on our Photo Gallery lately, you've missed some fun gigs with Alvin Crow, David Ball, The Von Ehrics, Nakia, Hector Ward and The Big Time, and The Rhythm Rats Reunion. Go Look!
We'll always miss you Gene. RIP
Drought,deadly wildfires, months of temperatures topping 100...okay, so Austin isn't perfect.
But when it comes to outstanding live music, it's about as close to heaven as you'll find on this planet.
Thursday night (9/8/11) began with a free concert by former Mavericks lead singer Raul Malo at Shady Grove, and ended at The Highball with a nice surprise in the form of Horse Opera, a local honky-tonk quartet I had not heard before. In between, Dale Watson proved once again why bus loads of European
tourists and local country music aficionados alike turn out at his weekly residencies around town.
Sorry, but it was too crowded and too hot to take any pictures at Shady Grove. To tell you the truth, I was getting a little cranky with 'security' shooing us (meaning we unfortunates without seats) away every place we stood. And then when I finally did find a standing place to security's liking, a drunken
old woman kept flinging her grubby long hair in my face.
However, all was soon forgotten when Malo opened his mouth. Accompanied by just an accordion player, a trumpeter, and his own acoustic guitar, Malo highlighted his show with a sublime
version of 'Blue Bayou'. No one covers Roy Orbison as beautifully as Malo does.
A mile south on Lamar Ave., Watson, looking debonaire in a tux, filled the dance floor as usual at his weekly Thursday Swang Thang gig, 8 p.m.to 11 p.m. at The Highball. Backed by drummer Mike Bernal, upright bassist Chris Crepps, keyboardist Danny Levin, and the Honky Tonk Horn Section consisting of Mike Sailors, Michael Rey, Javier Stuppard, and Thomas 'Tab' Barker, the band played a mixture of country, swing, and standards designed to keep the dancers on the floor.
After the final set, Watson got a surprise visit from Raul Malo, who popped in to say hello after his Shady Grove show down the road.
Watson's new CD with the Texas Two (Crepps and Bernal) is due out Oct. 11 on Red House Records, a label based in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"It's called 'The Sun Sessions' and we recorded it at the Sun Studio in Memphis," he said. "We did it in the spirit of people like Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash."
The first video from the CD, 'My Baby Makes Me Gravy' is a hoot and can be accessed from Watson's web site: www.dalewatson.com .
Go to our Photo Gallery for pics of Dale and Horse Opera at The Highball.
David 'Honeyboy' Edwards
You must have figured out by now that I go to lots of musical events around Austin and the surrounding area, and aside from listening to the music, one of my favorite things to do at these shows is people watch.
Having said that, I think I can say with some authority that nobody draws a more diverse, more interesting crowd of regulars than The Nortons at their Saxon Pub Happy Hour residency on Wednesdays.
Let's see, there's Crystal, who does her exotic dancing solo, directly in front of the band. And sitting on a stool at the end of the bar is Bill, who is never without either a book or his Kindle. He is currently up to 'M' in the Sue Grafton mystery series.
Then there are the great names, like Trip, who I always confuse with Schroeder, and Winker, who always has a camera and a smile on his face.
And it wouldn't be a Norton's gig without the guy from England who does Beatle tunes with the band, or the lady who sings torrid ballads in Spanish.
I don't know their last names, or what they do for a living, but if one of them skips a week, I miss them.
"We have a pretty loyal following," said Will Indian, who splits The Norton's lead guitar duties with John X Reed. "We have some people who have been following us for 15 years. It's an old Austin art crowd. People who used to go to places like the Soap Creek (Saloon)."
The band has been together about 15 years, much of it with the same line-up: Indian and Reed, bassist Speedy Sparks, and drummer Rusty Trapps. Trapps handles most of the vocals, but all take turns at the mike.
"We have guests sitting in all the time," Indian said. "Over the years we've had Andrew Teekell and Joanna Ramirez sing with us, and Lisa Hattersly, Joe 'King' Carrasco, Denny Freeman, and Alvin Crow sit in."
The tradition of inviting guests on stage continued last Wednesday with vocalist John Ward, and sax players Ed Vizard and Jack Paine (of the Sideshow Five), joining the band for several numbers. Speedy Sparks was on
vacation, so Larry Lange took over bass duties for the evening, while one of his Lonely Knights, Michael Christian, relieved Trapps on drums for a few songs.
If you weren't there, you can get a taste of what you missed in our Photo Gallery.
The Hoyle Brothers aren't really brothers, and although they have a sound that feels right at home in venues like the Continental and Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon, they aren't really from Texas.
The HB's call that country music mecca to the north, Chicago, home.
"We play a place in Chicago called The Empty Bottle that's just like a Texas bar: people two-step and drink beer," said steel player Brian Wilkie.
Their other link to the Lone Star State is lead vocalist Trevor McSpadden. He moved to Chicago from San Marcos six years ago, and joined the Hoyle Brothers three years ago after the band's original singer moved...to Texas.
The band has one CD out, 'Don't Leave Yet', with another soon to follow.
"We came here (last) Sunday to do some recording in Buda," McSpadden said during a break at Ginny's Saturday night.
Also taking a turn at the mike Saturday was another Chicago expatriate, Scott Angle, followed by Caroline Casey (who, as far as I know, has no ties to the Windy City).
Our Photo Gallery has all the pics, so go take a look.
It seems like I always end up at Ginny's Little Longhorn, no matter where else I start the night off in Austin.
That's because I'm rarely disappointed in the bands booked there. And even if, on occasion, they are not to my liking, well, there's never a cover, Diet Cokes are $1, and the regulars are friendly.
In the past week the music has been particularly entertaining.
On Saturday (7/30/11), the Mitch Jacobs Band reminded me again that not all good music in Texas emanates from Austin.
Jacobs and his band are from Houston, though they have a strong Austin connection having recorded their latest CD ('Gulf Coast Jamboree') here with Freddie Krc.
The dancers at Ginny's particularly loved the band's high octane rock 'n' roll.
"We've been wanting to get into Ginny's for a while," said Jacobs, who added,"We're going back into the studio again next month in Austin."
Now, you can't blame me for sometimes feeling like Austin is the center of the musical universe, especially after seeing the Conclusion Jumpers at Ginny's this past Tuesday (8/2/11). Not only was the tiny stage packed with wonderful artists (guest vocalist Glen Collins, lead guitarist Kenny Grimes, drummer Herb Belofsky, and bassist Ed Friedland) but so was the audience. Many got up and shared the stage with the C.J.'s. The operative word here being 'shared', thanks to a genuine, palpable camaraderie amongst the musicians present. I'm not being a Pollyanna by saying that. It really is true. Just some of the talented musicians in the audience sitting in were Clay Harrell, Evan Christian, Bracken Hale, Beau Johnson, and Frank Cavitt.
The only one missing was super bassist Gene Kurtz. Hurry back, Gene!
Go to our Photo Gallery for all the pics.
The sign outside the Broken Spoke might have said James Hand last night (7/29/11), but it was another Texan, one from Beaumont, who stole the show.
Kindergartner Chance Oscar Adams, age 6, did a duet with Hand on 'Folsom Prison Blues' in which he not only remembered the words, but unlike some who climb on stage with Hand to sing, he was in tune.
The blond-haired, blue-eyed cherub plays guitar, mandolin, and ukulele at home, and has brought them to school to serenade his classmates with 'Folsom Prison Blues'.
"Instead of video games, he asks to watch You Tube so he can find videos of
Johnny Cash, Elvis, and George Jones," said his proud father, Judd Adams."He can name every Beatle album. Don't ever call him Ringo. He'll tell you, 'I'm Paul or John!'"
The elder Adams isn't musical, but says Chance gets his talent from his wife Joanna's side of the family.
"My mother-in-law plays organ, and my father-in-law plays guitar," he said.
The couple had considered going to San Antonio or Dallas this weekend, but Chance insisted on Austin.
"He said he wanted to come to Austin because Johnny Cash wrote a song about it called 'Austin Prison'," Judd Adams said. "I thought he meant "Folsom Prison', so I looked it up, and sure enough, it's on his 'Murder' album."
It may have been Chance Adams' first time on stage at the Spoke, but I doubt if it will be his last.
Oh yeah, and James Hand was really good last night, too.
Every time I get a little worried about the future of traditional country music, I think of Austin's Weldon Henson.
He's got the voice, the guitar licks, and the songwriting skills to guarantee the music's future at least another 30 years.
His third CD will be released this Saturday, and he says his musical growth is evident on it.
"This new one is a step up for me," Henson said. "It's leaps and bounds above my other ones. We recorded it at Cherry Ridge Studio near San Antonio. It was produced by Tommy Detamore, who is pretty well-known."
As on the two previous ones, Henson wrote all the songs on the CD. The newlywed even included a few songs he penned about his new bride, Brooklyn.
"She's been real influential and supportive," Henson said. "I wouldn't be able to do this without her."
A release party is scheduled for this Saturday (7/30/11) from 8:30 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the Albert Dancehall, near Luckenbach. You can also catch Henson the 4th Wednesday of each month at Ginny's Little Longhorn, and the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at the Broken Spoke.
He has one of the best promo videos I've seen lately on the home page of his web site, www.weldonhenson.com.
Check it out and then take a look at the new pics of him from Ginny's last night (7/27/11) in our Photo Gallery.
Not a bad Friday night for honky-tonk music in Central Texas.
From 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. we watch James Hand bring down the house at the Saxon Pub with his heart-searing songs.
Then we make a mad dash down I-35 to New Braunfels' White Water Music Amphitheater to hear Dwight Yoakam's distinctive brand of twang from 10:30 p.m. until midnight.
Backed by one of the best dressed bands in the business, Yoakam, in his mid-50's, still made the girls scream as he covered just about all of his hits, from 'Guitars, Cadillacs' to 'Streets of Bakersfield.'
Photos from each of the shows are in our Photo Gallery.
Ginny's Little Longhorn recently started a Blues Night on the first and third Wednesdays of the month featuring Texas guitar virtuoso Alan Haynes.
I arrived too late to see Dale Watson trade licks with Haynes this past Wednesday, but I can guarantee you I'll be on time next time. Haynes transcends his blues guitarist tag with unexpected humor and an extra long guitar cord.
"We've been having a lot of fun," he said. "You get a good, diversified crowd here. There's no place in the world like Ginny's."
See for yourself in the Photo Gallery.
The artsy, laid-back berg of Wimberley got down and dirty this past Saturday night when Austin's Sideshow Five hit town. The Cypress Creek Cafe's Buzzard Bar stage was bathed in a lurid red light that suited the band's mix of hip-shaking blues and gritty rock and roll. See the results in our Photo Gallery.
Our latest installment of James Hand at the Saxon Pub is now available for your viewing pleasure in the Photo Gallery. Poster designed by Jerome Becker
The fireworks were all on stage July 4 at Uncle Billy's on Lake Travis, where the combination of Roy Head plus Larry Lange and His Lonely Knights was simply....explosive.
After a tremendous opening set by Lange and Co., featuring some sultry vocals from Joanna Ramirez and inspired guitar work by Grady Pinkerton, Roy Head bounded on stage.
For the next hour and a half, Head shook and shimmied and rocked (literally, on his stomach, on the stage floor at one point) in a display of showmanship that would have worn out a man half his age in this heat. Head, by the way, claims to be 70.
His timeless hit, 'Treat Her Right' sounds just as good today as it did in 1965. The classic was co-authored by Austin's own Gene Kurtz, who also does a killer live version of it around town. Head's raspy, soulful delivery also did justice to Wilson Pickett's 'Mustang Sally', and his rendition of 'Rainy Night in Georgia' proved him to be a skilled balladeer, as well.
My favorite line of the night was when Head (who began his career in San Marcos, but now calls the Houston area home) caught sight of the tip jar being passed around.
"I don't want money," he declared. "I want Cialis!"
The evidence is in our Photo Gallery.
Oh, we Austinites are a spoiled, jaded bunch when it comes to live music.
The first Saturday of each month at Artz Rib House, in between bites of brisket and potato salad, I sing along at my table to the classic country standards played by Jerry Lightsey and the Pick-Up Band.
There's plenty of toe-tapping and appreciative applause from the crowded room, but I can't help but wonder if the audience is fully aware of all the musical history on display in front of them.
Joining Lightsey on stage are Jody Meredith on guitar, Lonnie Atkinson on guitar, Brent Wilson on upright bass, and pedal steel guitarist Herb Steiner.
As a member of the band Grassfire, Lightsey performed at numerous bluegrass festivals around the country, backing artists such as fiddler Chubby Wise and Mac Wiseman.
Atkinson has played with Texas spitfire Tanya Tucker and Rick Trevino.
Wilson was and is lead guitarist for the highly influential country/roots rock band The Wagoneers, alongside Monte Warden, Tom Lewis and Craig Pettigrew. The band recently re-formed after a 21-year break to play at its induction into the Austin Music Hall of Fame this past March. Catch them at the Continental Club on July 30. I certainly plan on being there.
Steiner began playing steel guitar with Linda Ronstadt in 1968! Since then he has played with everyone from Michael Martin Murphey to Johnny Bush to James Hand. You can read more
about his illustrious career at www.herbsteiner.com.
In terms of musical history, Jody Meredith may have them all beat. He fronted the house band, The Round-Up Boys, at the old Skyline Club, which was located near the intersection of N. Lamar and Braker in North Austin.
Ironically, the Skyline Club is where both Hank Williams and Johnny Horton made their final public appearances. When Williams fell ill during his last show there, Meredith and
his band were called upon to fill in for him.
Look for an in-depth feature on Meredith in the Austin Music Journal soon.
In the meantime, some pics from Artz Rib House on 7/2/11 are in our Photo Gallery.
James Hand successfully kicked off his month-long, Friday residency at the Saxon Pub last night with Will Indian on lead guitar, Speedy Sparks on bass, and John McGlothlin on drums. The pics are in our Photo Gallery.
It was an all-Shaver, all-the-time weekend for the Austin Music Journal.
After his remarkable performance at Riley's Tavern on Saturday night, we had to go see Billy Joe again on Sunday - this time at Poodie's Hilltop in Spicewood as part of Poodiepalooza, a tribute to the late Poodie Locke. In case you didn't know, Locke was Willie Nelson's long-time stage manager and a native of Waco.
Shaver was in good company Sunday. Among the other artists appearing were Gary P. Nunn and Thom Shepherd. Truthfully, they were the only 3 artists I had time to see out of about 10 performing.
Nunn, of course,is best known for his song 'London Homesick Blues (Home With the Armadillo)'. Shepherd co-wrote, along with Wood Newton, David Ball's big hit of 2002 'Riding With Private Malone', off the splendid 'Amigo' CD.
As a special treat, Shaver penned (on the back of an old poster) a musical tribute to his late pal. You can sneak a look at the lyrics to 'Ode to Poodie Locke' and other pics from the event in the Photo Gallery.
NEVER, ever, count Billy Joe Shaver out.
The 71-year-old dean of Texas songwriters is looking (and sounding) fully recuperated after a series of surgeries,courtroom dramas, marriages and divorces in the past five years that would have killed a lesser man.
His show last night (6/25/11) at a packed Riley's Tavern in Hunter (just south of San Marcos) was, well, a revelation.
Joined on stage by Jeremy Woodall on lead guitar, Matt Dour on bass, and drummer Jason Mackenzie (who also gigs with the band Atash around Austin), Shaver danced, sang, joked, and regaled the crowd with stories for two and a half hours. He had just two brief breaks: one during a drum solo, and the other when he turned the mike over to Woodall for one song. Oh yeah, did I mention Shaver's age? Yes, I know the older Willie Nelson is still out there touring
in his luxury bus (Shaver pulled up in a white van), but Willie conserves all his energy by barely moving on stage. Come on! You know it's true!
And if his new song, 'Git Go', is any indication, Shaver hasn't lost anything in the songwriting department, either. It's on a new CD he said should be out in a couple of months.
If you've never seen Shaver live, you need to remedy that immediately. He's scheduled to make an appearance at around 6 p.m. today (6/26/11) at 'Poodiepalooza', a tribute to the late Poodie Locke being held at Poodies Hilltop in Spicewood.
Check out his web site, www.billyjoeshaver.com for other upcoming shows. Until you can get to a show, the pics in our Photo Gallery will have to do.
Yes, it was hot in the audience, but it was even steamier on stage when Patricia Vonne got up to jam with Del Castillo last night (6/18/11) at Threadgill's. The queen of castanets joined lead singer Alex Ruiz in a flamenco square dance to the delight of the crowd as well as band members Albert Besteiro, Rick Del Castillo, Mark Del Castillo, Mike Zeoli, and Jason Murdy. More pics can be found in our Photo Gallery.
Big fun in Austin last night. Glen Collins and His Honky Tonkin' Buddies led the way at Ginny's Lil Longhorn with some potent traditional country and western swing. Collins certainly has the right pedigree for it. His uncle is Son Geezinslaw, and his grandfather was Cotton Collins, who hit it big in the 1940's with the 'Westphalia Waltz.' The younger Collins conjured up his granddad at Ginny's with the help of fiddlers Paul Schlesinger and guest Ed Thornton, who also joined forces for 'Faded Love'. Throw in some excellent steel guitar work from Roy Carroll, backed by the rhythm section of Skinny Don Keeling on bass and Jim Bowles on drums, and you have a piece of honky tonk heaven. Catch them at one of their upcoming gigs listed at www.myspace.com/glencollinstx. See the pics from Ginny's in our Photo Gallery. While you're there, check out our monthly dose of James Hand, this time at the Saxon Pub.
Count on guitarist Bill Kirchen to surround himself with some of Austin's best musicians whenever he comes to town. Last night (6/4/11) at the Evangeline Cafe was no different. Joining him on stage under the moniker 'Too Much Gumbo' were Cindy Cashdollar on steel, Ron Erwin on drums, bassist Sarah Brown, and guitarist George Bedard. More of Austin's musical elite were among the standing-room-only audience.
Kirchen and Co. proved once again, you can never have 'too much fun' in Austin. The pictures are posted in our Photo Gallery.
You couldn't ask for better weather or better music this past Saturday (5/14/11) at Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas.
Four of Austin's finest musicians - Grammy award winner Cindy Cashdollar, Will Indian, Speedy Sparks, and John McGlothlin - traveled north to the venerable hall (which is celebrating its 100th year) to join forces on stage with James Hand. The results had the audience on its feet from song one. Baltimore's Arty Hill and the Pearl Dusters (featuring two more Austinites) kicked the evening off.
Kudos to Gold Teeth Music for putting together such a great bill.
The pictures are posted in the AMJ's Photo Gallery.
If you missed Chuck Mead and the Grassy Knoll Boys at the Continental last night (5/12/11), you can still catch them tonight in their final area appearance at Gruene Hall. Go and hear Chuck and the boys do such instant classics as 'She Got the Ring, I Got the Finger'.
You'll probably remember Mead from the much-missed band BR5-49. He's still a great showman, but he's also added producer and Broadway music arranger to his resume since his days in BR5-49. He is the music arranger/supervisor for the Tony Award-winning 'Million Dollar Quartet', which recently debuted in London's West End.
Pics from the Continental are now in the Photo Gallery. Then check out more pics of Chuck over the years (in particular the great shot of the late Sam Phillips meeting BR5-49 in Memphis, taken by yours truly) at www.chuckmead.com.
We had a great time at Reckless Kelly's Celebrity Softball Jam on May 1st at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, and the photos are now posted to prove it. Take a look in the Photo Gallery.
Among those joining the Braun boys (Muzzie, Cody, Willie, and Gary) on the field and the stage were Dale Watson, Hayes Carll, John Evans, Charlie Robison, Cody Canada & the Departed, Randy Rogers, Bo Bice, Ray Benson, Pauline Reese, Mary Cutrufello, Josh Abbott, Wade Bowen, Roger Creager, George Devore, Django Walker, Heidi Newfield, and Micky and the Motorcars.
Pro athletes Greg Swindell and Kelly Gruber rounded out the team rosters.
Proceeds from the annual event will benefit local Little League Baseball and the Miracle League.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget our honky-tonk heroes are all too human.
We shake our heads in disappointment when their foibles and frailties get in the way of their gifts, as is so often the case with great talent.
George Jones, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, and more recently, Billy Joe Shaver come to mind.
I found something extraordinary and very human on the internet the other night about my favorite artist and it brought home that observation again.
I remember Texas singer/songwriter James Hand telling me once about his beloved grandmother, a woman who loved him so much she bought a color movie camera to document his childhood – an expensive purchase for a modest Texas family in 1952.
Well, 17 of these touching home movies are now online as part of the Texas Moving Image Archive Program Collection and I implore everyone to take a look at them before the computer-challenged Hand realizes they are available for public consumption and has them pulled.
This is the link to type into your address bar: http://www.texasarchive.org/library/index.php?title=Category:James_Hand
The three-minute-plus color films not only document Hand’s childhood, but are also a marvelous glimpse into the life of a rural Texas family in the 1950’s and early 60’s: the cars, the fashions, the social gatherings.
Born in Waco and raised in the small town of West in Central Texas, James Edward Hand, the eldest of three boys, had what appears to have been an idyllic childhood.
In the home movies we see his handsome father, James Hand Sr., proudly jiggling his weeks old firstborn. There’s also baby James’s first birthday, first steps, first Christmas, first day at school, and even his first deer kill several years later.
In one particularly prescient early film, we see future Country Music Hall of Famer Lefty Frizzell leaving the Hand home after a visit. A seven-month-old James is being carried not far behind Frizzell, a native of the Corsicana area. Today, Hand includes faithful versions of Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil” and “I Love You A Thousand Ways” in his stage show. In fact, he was scheduled to play a Lefty Frizzell tribute show in Corsicana on April 29.
The home movies are especially bittersweet for those familiar with the subsequent songs Hand’s written of lost love, lost time, lost self respect. They fill the five CDs he’s released over the years and form a body of work even Hank Williams would be proud to claim.
I’m one of Hand’s biggest fans, but even I can’t fathom his behavior sometimes.
But the next time Hand carries his demons on stage, or makes the latest in what feels like an endless stream of bad career and management choices, I will remember the film of that curly-headed toddler stumbling repeatedly across the lawn under the gaze of those who love him.
And after seeing the films, I hope you’ll remember, too.
The final Saturday night in April proved a busy one in Austin. First, James Hand at the Saxon Pub, and then Billy Dee, Brennen Leigh, and Beth Chrisman of The Carper Family at Ginny's Little Longhorn. Go to our Photo Gallery for pics from both venues.
The Sideshow Five is quickly becoming one of our favorite local bands. Lead by the powerful vocals of Andrew Teekell, the band manhandles the blues, classic rock and roll and everything in between. Don't miss them May 12 at the Saxon Pub. In the meantime, go to our Photo Gallery and take a look at the photos shot at Poodies Hilltop 4/16/11.
My Name is Jimmy Lloyd (Would You Like To Be On My TV Show?)
Yes, this guy has his own NBC-TV show. Read how singer/songwriter Jimmy Lloyd got his own TV show and how you can be on it. Go to our News link to read the story and weep.
Photo by Laurie Reeves
Wanda Jackson, The Queen of Rockabilly.
Jackson was the headliner at Rachael Ray's 2011 SXSW party at Stubbs. See the Photo Gallery for more images from the show.
Pinetop Perkins R.I.P.
See News for more about Pinetop, and the Photo Gallery for pictures.
Chris Cornell in Austin 3/12/11
You never know who's going to show up at SXSW. Case in point, Soundgarden and Audioslave front man, Chris Cornell. Arguably one of the greatest voices in rock, Cornell gave lucky, private party-goers at The Belmont a preview of the sold-out, all-acoustic show he's bringing to the Paramount next month. By the way, he accompanied himself admirably on guitar
There are some more pics of the show in our Photo Gallery.
Heybale! at the Continental Club, 3/13/11
'Sold Out' said the sign posted on the Continental's front door Sunday night. Inside, dancers were jockeying for space on the packed dance floor as Austin's very own supergroup, Heybale! - Redd Volkaert (Merle Haggard), Earl Poole Ball (Johnny Cash), Dallas Wayne (Sirius Satellite Radio DJ), Tom Lewis (Wagoneers), and Kevin Smith (Dwight Yoakum, High Noon) - kept the country classics coming.
The band has become a Sunday night tradition for Austin music lovers, and a must-see for SXSW visitors.
Visit the Photo Gallery for more photos from the show.
Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame
Inductees Lee Roy Parnell and Delbert McClinton celebrate their entry into the Hall of Fame during the 'after concert' at the Moody Theater. Others inducted Sunday night were the late, great Cindy Walker, Bruce Channel, and Gary Nicholson.You can find more pictures of the event in our Photo Gallery.
James Hand at the Hangin' Tree 3/5/11
There are more pics from the show in our Photo Gallery.
Suzanne Smith and Will Indian at NXNW
See the Photo Gallery for more pics from the show.
Rodney Hayden, Martha Merriell Chang, and Scott Angle with the Conclusion Jumpers at Ginny's 2/22/11
Visit our Photo Gallery for more pics of the show.
Ted Roddy and the Hit Kickers at Ginny's Little Longhorn 2/19/11.
Whether it be country, blues, rock and roll, or rockabilly, there's not much Ted Roddy hasn't done in his long, varied career, and done well. Perhaps best known for his Elvis tribute show (his 25th Annual Presley celebration is scheduled for Aug. 13, 2011), Roddy doesn't hesitate when asked which performer he wished he'd seen in concert.
"Howlin' Wolf," he answered after his show Feb. 19 at Ginny's. Not so surprising when you consider his blues-tinged harmonica playing earlier in the evening.
You can catch Roddy and the Hit Kickers (Jay Hudson on steel, Todd Wolfmeyer on bass, drummer Jon Hahn, and lead guitarist Joe Dickens) at their monthly Sunday afternoon Tea Dance at the Carousel Lounge on E. 52nd St. in Austin. Check out his website for more details.
Go to the Photo Gallery for more pics from the show.
Jim's Country Jam
It may or may not be Austin's longest running jam session, but it's definitely hard to imagine a more entertaining one on a Sunday night.
Jim's Country Jam attracts a steady flow of young hopefuls, as well as more established musicians with a little spare time on their hands. And it all takes place under the watchful eye of MC Jim Stringer.
"We started in 1995 as the 'Roots Hoot' at Harold's Roadhouse Cafe, which is now defunct," said Stringer, who fronts his own AM Band when he's not directing stage traffic at the jams. "Since then we've been in a number of locations."
The latest incarnation of the jam takes place at 7 p.m. on the first and third Sundays of every month at the 38th St. location of the Waterloo Ice House.
Among the musicians making their way up to the stage during the 3 hour show on Feb. 20 were John McGlothlin, Al King, Fred Walser, Jerry Horn, Walt Lewis, Evan Christian, Debra Hurd, Ed Friedland, Roy Heinrich, Lynn Davis, Sebastian Savage, Beth Chrisman, Sean Tracey, T. Jarrod Bonta, Devin Preitauer, Charlie Prichard, and many others.
"I'd say we had about 30 musicians here tonight - that's pretty significant," Stringer said. "There were probably five bass players, six guitar players, and ten to twelve vocalists."
Also joining Jim were his regular AM Band members James Shelton on steel guitar, Ralph Power on drums, and Carl Keesee on bass.
You can see more pics from the Jam in our photo gallery.
Get more info on Jim Stringer & the AM Band at www.jimstringer.us