Here’s a few photos from today in Kyle, Texas Wade Bowen, Jack Ingram, David Lee, Jamie Lin Wilson, Keith Gattis, John Baumann, etc
Most of these would be qualified as “Americana,” I guess. I’d seen a few of these acts before, such as Chris Fullerton and Emily Herring, so I enjoyed saying “hi’ to them. Chris has a new album some time this year, and Emily released an album a few months ago. The Dimpker Brothers are from Sweden, and this was their first visit to Texas. Several acts have new albums on the way, including Jenny Van West on April 20th. I saw Brennen Leigh win an Ameripolitan award in Memphis, but this was my first time to see her and the McKay brothers perform. Mando Saenz is a prolific country songwriter, with a very recent credit on the Oak Ridge Boys’ album.
One of my ancestors on my mother’s side was in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, so here’s a channel I listen to sometimes : Country n Irish
Texas is the home of western swing. It’s the official state music, and the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame Collection is on display at the Texas State University library in San Marcos.
As SXSW last year, I was impressed by a young western swing group from San Marcos at a free showcase at Threadgill’s called The Railhouse Band, who later garnered an Ameripolitan Awards nomination. From following them, I then learned that the sister of one of the band members, Georgia Parker, is also a talented young western swing artist. I saw her at Kent Black’s BBQ in San Marcos last year. Fast forward to present, and Georgia Parker now has a western swing band called Big Cedar Fever with Ian Lee and Nick Lochman (who is also in the Railhouse Band). The group formed in January of this year. I saw them tonight at Kent Black’s for a nice three-hour concert up close. They have a brand new EP out, which I happily purchased. This was the first gig they’ve played where the CD is available. Each of the three band members wrote an original, and there are three covers. They play a lot of Bob Wills and other classics from that era, and their first song tonight was a Gene Autry cover. Their originals fit right in, though. One can tell when talking to them that they’re sharp folks with an appreciation for the history of this music.
I decided to take a break from SXSW today. We’ll probably try to brave the traffic again tomorrow, though.
We did listen to the great Americana station KNBT- New Braunfels today: artists like Lee Ann Womack, Dwight Yoakam, Courtney Patton, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Dalton Domino, Charley Crockett, Holly Williams, and Wade Bowen. KNBT Last 20 Played
Wade Bowen recently posted a partial lineup for the 20th Annual Bowenfest charity fundraiser in Waco: REO Speedwagon, Midland, Joe Nichols, Aaron Watson, and Josh Abbott. Joe Nichols recently posted the first of a series of classic country covers, Don Williams’ Good Ole Boys Like Me .
The primary reason for today’s post, though, is that Wade posted on FB yesterday that he opened Papa Jack’s Bar in Kyle, Texas , with the grand opening this Sunday. The little place apparently has been open for over a month already, but I’d not heard about it and didn’t know who owned it.
Wade frequently collaborates with Randy Rogers, who owns Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos (which is about 10 miles from Kyle). Nash Country Daily interview with Randy Rogers
My plan today was to see the “Bloody Mary Morning” showcase, with artists like Wade Bowen and Joshua Hedley. When I finally found a parking place, though, after wandering for what seemed like an eternity, Google Maps estimated the walking time at 45 minutes, so I looked for another option. I thought leaving San Marcos by 8 would be sufficient to make an Austin event at 10, since it’s just thirty miles, but nope…
Threadgill’s hosted an all-day folk showcase (mostly solo acoustic, at least when I was there) from Handshake Management. I saw a number of artists I wasn’t familiar with (Tom Loud,David Wiseman,Dana McBride,Matt Harlan,Terry Klein,Will Huneke and Jordi Baizan) . Since I attended an all-day folk showcase the day before already, I was ready for some full-band country action. Fortunately, Jason James had an afternoon show at the Saxon Pub, and he definitely fits the “classic country” mold. In addition to Jason himself, there was a drummer, an electric bass player, the guitar player from Two Tons of Steel, and a pedal steel player. Jason said he did the Ernest Tubb cover Let’s Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello for a Shiner Beer commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, but this was his first time to perform the song with his band as part of one of his sets.
We had many options today, but Threadgill’s is a venue that we knew would work well for us. There’s good food, plenty of history, available parking, and about nine hours of free music inside (and there was another free showcase running the same length outside with a different set of artists). Walt Wilkins was the only of the indoor artists we’d seen before.
The Kerrville Folk Festival has a long and storied history, and sponsored the indoor showcase. We saw Matt the Electrician, Brian Pounds, Johnny Nicholas (who was once a member of Asleep at the Wheel, and is now toward the blues end – even mentioned working with Johnny Shines, who lived in Tuscaloosa), Bob Livingston (who was in the Last Gonzo Band with Jerry Jeff Walker, Gary P Nunn, etc), Nobody’s Girl (a new group of Rebecca Loebe, Grace Pettis, and Betty Soo who were playing their first official gig as a group, and plan to release an album this year), South Austin Moonlighters (played a song or two from their next album), Jaimee Harris (plans to release an album this year), The Flyin’ A’s (husband-and-wife country duo, also plan to release an album this year – The Rosellys from the UK made a guest appearance on a song, too), Tish Hinojosa (interesting assortment of Mexican-inspired folk music, and American western, and she said her new album is due in May), Billy Crockett (Billy Crockett bio ), Walt Wilkins (his set drew some of the strongest applause of the day When It Was Country ) , Pike and Sutton (album on the way this year) , Nathan Hamilton (featured a cellist), Emily Scott Robinson (nice country voice, new music on the way), Andrew Delaney (quirky sense of humor), and closing the day with The Accidentals (22-23 years old, have been together since high school band, talented folk-rock act with orchestral music background – very fun set to close out the evening).
I had considered going to the Budweiser Country shindig, but I figured the parking and crowds and all would be a bit much for us. It is interesting to note that their big free event had Elle King, along with Old Crow Medicine Show, Kane Brown, etc. I knew Elle King did that one guest spot on a Dierks Bentley song, but it’s interesting to see her on a dedicated country slot here.
Jimmie Davis lived from 1899 to 2000, served two terms as Louisiana governor, and a member of numerous halls of fame, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Gospel Hall of Fame. Some of his early material was pretty “choice,” and worth a good laugh: Tom Cat etc Red Nightgown Blues Organ Grinder Blues
I had planned to attend the KOKE FM free showcase at SXSW yesterday (probably the largest “country” showcase of the week). Unfortunately, it was a rooftop event with no elevator, and my brother is in a wheelchair, so our drive to Austin was a waste of time and effort. KOKE posted that the doors would open at noon, with music starting at 2. We got there about noon, but doors didn’t open until about 1:25, so we wasted close to an hour and a half , only to find that we couldn’t go to the event. This is his spring break week that he’s giving up to spend time with me for my birthday week. On top of that, my main computer has pretty much died, so until I get that sorted out, I’ll have trouble listening to much new music.
Here’s a site for the classic country fans: When the Cowboy Sings . Based in Spain, the site maintains a YouTube channel with thousands of videos.
My original posts might be abbreviated this week, because I’m busy with SXSW. Yesterday, I started off at the Snickers House for free BBQ, stopped by Viceland for a free Red Bull, and later stopped by C-Boy’s for a crawfish boil sponsored by Lafayette, Louisiana. Unfortunately, after staying there for well over an hour, we gave up without getting any crawfish. They did have a zydeco band playing, though.
Here’s a lengthy article about country music’s varied origins: Bluegrass Messengers: Roots of Bluegrass Music: Early Country Music
The New York Journal in 1900: “A Hill-Billie is a free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires off his revolver as the fancy takes him.”
Last year, an obscure album was released that is worth checking out: “The Rough Guide to Hillbilly Blues” by London-based World Music Network . Here’s the Pop Matters review . Another title along the same line is the 1993 album, “White Country Blues 1926-1938: A Lighter Shade of Blue.”
The Bristol Sessions of 1927-28 did a lot to popularize country music, but not just country songs were recorded then. Many of the recordings at the sessions were gospel songs. Improvements in technology allowed higher-quality recordings: Library of Congress Article “Peer and his engineers in Bristol utilized state-of-the-art equipment, including the recently introduced Western Electric double-button carbon microphone, which ensured a heightened level of sonic clarity on the recordings from Bristol.” There were also blues songs at “country music’s big bang.” Birthplace of Country Music Museum Article . Here’s a 1976 interview with one of these men: Tarter and Gay Revisited Also in the area was Lesley Riddle , a huge influence on the Carter Family: Lesley Riddle: Country Music’s Long-Lost Forefather
From Jimmie Rodgers through Hank Williams, blues influences were essential to country music in its formative years, so one can argue that blues-rooted country has as much right to be called “real country music” as anything else.