The Latest Shows We've Recorded

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Corb Lund in Houston Pictures

Corb Lund Live In Our Living Room

We had the pleasure to host a house concert on Sunday September 23 with very special guest Corb Lund. The turnout was somewhat smaller that we would have liked but those who did come out where very enthusiastic and appreciative of Corb's wonderful performance.

Corb was in fine form playing several tunes that we had never heard him do live including Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and the traditional "The Strawberry Roan" along with a slew of tunes he doesn't normally do with the Hurtin' Albertans like "Heavy And Leaving" and "Apocalyptic Modified Blues". On top of the varied song selection, it was fantastic to hear Corb perform these songs unaccompanied. The new songs also sounded excellent acoustic.

Corb was very gracious and hung out with everyone before the show, swapping stories and beers, for a while, in between the sets and afterwards. It was a fantastic experience the whole way around.

As I mentioned in the post about the show at the Mucky Duck, the new tunes are great. I am extra excited for the new record to come out. November 13th in Canada. Mark your calendars.

Set 1:

Set 2:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shooter Jennings Covering "Walk Of Life"

Shooter's new video for his cover of Dire Straits' "Walk Of Life".

Corb Lund At McGonigel's Mucky Duck

My wife and I ventured to a McGonigel's Mucky Duck in Houston to check out Corb Lund and his band the Hurtin' Albertans on Friday evening. Having never been to the Mucky Duck before I was very excited to check out this room that I had heard a whole lot about.

The Duck is a little short on space so there wasn't a lot of moving around after getting our seats, a few drinks and some snacks as a substitute for dinner. That probably sounds worse than it really is though. The sound inside the venue was fantastic. The crowd was polite and really into the whole show.

Corb and the band did two sets that infused some of the material from their new record with their great old stuff. [The new record, Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier comes out on November 13th in Canada.] We got a taste of some of those new tunes at Hayes Carll's Stingaree Music Festival in April where he played a few of them during a songswap with Roger Marin and Romi Mayes. It was great to hear those songs modified slightly and arranged for the full band presentation.

I commented to my wife that of all the bands we've paid to see over the years, Corb and the Hurtin' Albertans are the only ones who've never had a change to their lineup. That familiarity, in my humble opinion, a strong work ethic and loads of musical talent leads these guys to be one of the best 4-piece bands around, music genre not withstanding.

The highlight of the show for me was "The Hockey Song" which I had never heard performed live.
There's a new last verse to the song that comes courtesy of Mike Plume that includes mention of the hockey strike from a few years ago. It goes like this here:

Hey Ron MacLean when you save the game don't leave us hanging here
Cause those overpaid pricks with hockey sticks they make too much a year
Holy fuck just drop the puck, boys, have you got no shame
Jesus Christ, get on the ice and play the goddamn game

If they come to your town, go check 'em out. They're coming to ATX tonight and that's exactly what I'm fixin' to do. They'll be in the states for a good chunk of the next few weeks. You can check out their schedule here.

Here's the show....enjoy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

For Your Consideration...Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses

Ryan Bingham is going places in the alt-country/americana music scene. His 2nd release, Dead Horses, immediately grabbed me and I was a believer. Bingham's sound is definitely country-roadhouse-honky tonk but the songwriting is western-mystic in the vein of Ray Wylie Hubbard or Terry Allen. His voice is a rough-gravel growl that is as unique as voices come.

The bio on his myspace gives the background a and tenor for his music lot better than I could so I will just say to read that. I second every word of it.

The live shows are also fantastic. I've been very lucky to see a pair of them so far. Earlier this year at the Continental Club in Austin and this past Sunday evening at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels. Despite the oppressive heat of Gruene Hall, Ryan, dummer Matthew Smith, lap steel/mandolin/electric guitar player Corby Schaub and bass player Jeb Stuart managed to excite the sweaty Texas with some great music.

Bingham and the Dead Horses will be out touring in support of their new release for Lost Highway, Mescalito, which is largely a re-hash (maybe re-recordings?) of the music on Dead Horses. They'll be touring with the Drive-By Truckers for most of October. Truckers fans...enjoy Bingham. Truckers'd be great to see some Bingham shows floating out there in the bittorrent-o-sphere.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Corb Lund House Concert - Austin, TX (southwest) - September 23, 2007

My favorite artist.
Our house.
Sunday September 23rd, 2007, 6p.
If yer close by, drop me a line at I'll send you the details.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Stillwater Pioneers Covering Dublin Blues

Guy Clark's "Dublin Blues" is one of the greatest songs ever written. There's no debating. This is a fact. Stillwater Pioneers tried their hand at it recently at the Hole In The Wall.

Check out #5.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

For Your Consideration...Who The F Are Rattlesnake Deer?

Truth be told, I haven't any idea about these guys. There's not much in the way of a bio on their myspace site so I guess they are truly letting the music speak for them. The music, in this case, they are giving away free to download from mediafire. I've listened to this record, 637 Texas Rattlesnake Rattles, a half dozen times since my initial download and have really enjoyed it each listen.

The first 15 seconds of the first song, "Try Try Try" set the tone of futility, misery and despair for the whole record. "You can't live forever on soup tequila codine but you can try, try try".

The arrangements, though in some spots sparse, are an interesting and nice change from a lot of the overproduced alt-country stuff out there. Somewhere in the neighborhood of the Drive-By Truckers (
without all the distortion and more acoustic), Chris Knight and Steve Earle, these guys are really kicking it with a very strong back-beat, some banjo, steel, dobro and a bit of mandolin. For never having heard of these guys or even having seen them playing around Austin, this came completely out of nowhere. I hope they get on their goat and get some gigs around Austin so I can check them out.

It does appear they are hitting the road soon. This is from the lone blog entry on their myspace site. Check 'em out if they comes your way.

10th - 11th Austin TX
12th San Antonio TX
13th Lafayette LA
14th Mobile
15th Montgomery
16th Birmingham
17th Memphis
18th Nashville
19th Asheville
21st Raleigh
22nd Richmond
23rd Philadelphia
24th 25th NYC
26th - 28th RI / Boston area
29th Pittsburgh
30th Columbus

1st Ann Arbor

2nd Chicago
3rd Iowa City
4th Omaha
5th 6th Lincoln
7th Lawrence
8th Oklahoma City
9th Dallas
10th Austin

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Recommended Listening...The Stillwater

One of the finest bands in Austin is the Stillwater Pioneers. Part jam-band, part outlaw country, part singer/songwriter-fare. Already a rag-tag lot with varied musical interests, they can now add to that list an absentee singer/songwriter in Johnny Dango who is moving to the coast...Corpus Christi to be exact to be a sports reporter. Hopefully, Dango can show off his reporting chops, advance and get back to the 512 in short order. They're still going to be playing around Austin but they'll most likely be expanding to include a few shows down in Corpus, Port A., and other points south.

Their new cd "Let's Go Pioneering" is easily the best cd to find its way into my collection so far this year.

This is a great little show from the Mean Eyed Cat from August 2007 where you can hear them do a bunch of great covers including Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Todd Snider, Hank Williams, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt and the Georgia Satellites in addition to a slew of the tracks from their record. There's also a great cover of the NWA classic "Automobile".

Recommended tracks: 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 22, 24, 25, 27.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mark Jungers...Work. Then Work Harder.

Remember when country music had rural content? Outside an occasional pink John Deere and a girl thinking someone's tractor is sexy, that bent on country music is gone. Gone with the days of ugly guys like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams being viable draws. That rural content has been picked up, absorbed and embraced by the Americana music scene which is wholly unknown to the music-listening public. One of the bastions of Americana music is Mark Jungers from Martindale, Texas.

I've been listening to Mark's music for two years now in various live configurations ranging from an acoustic duo with guitarist and producer Adrian Schoolar to a full-on live rock-n-roll experience with dual electric guitars, drums and stand-up bass. While the presentations vary, the musicianship and songwriting have both been first-rate, in
addition to a second-to-none level of class and a hearty respect for the audience - what little there is some nights - and a friendliness that is unparalleled.

--A Little Background--
Having roots in Minnesota, Mark's music is infused with the pervasive awareness of the growing season, and the changes and implications associated with weathering storms, floods and bad weather. Mark's music is also drenched in a blue-collar upbringing that makes you believe without a doubt the words wafting around him. Loss, remorse, sorrow, agriculture, toil, suffering, trains, trucks, tractors, dust, double-wides and a dash of irony are not at all strangers to Mark's songs.

I mention Mark's background and the basics surrounding his music not to create some sort of treatise on it but to give you some background. The other pieces of background you need to know are that Mark has a full-time gig that isn't music related and has put out four independent records since 2000.

--The Records--
His debut, 2000's Black Limousine, is a great record. Flat out. Produced by then-bass player Dave Ray, it holds well up to some great rural records like Fred Eaglesmith's Balin' or Butch Hancock's West Texas Waltzes & Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes and in certain respects eclipses them. I can't write enough good things about this record. Get it and have a listen for yourself.

2002 found Mark releasing Standing In Your Way. Some artists have trouble following up their first release with something equally as palatable but Mark seemed to avoid that trap on his sophomore release. The arrangements on Standing seem a bit less elaborate than those on Black Limousine. Standing has more a straight-forward Americana feel with drums, bass, harmonica, mandolin and acoustic guitars in slight contrast to the banjos, fiddles and steel guitars on Black Limousine. In those stripped-down arrangements Mark finds, or more accurately exhibits, the sound that will evolve into his live sound. There's no shortage of excitement in live-show staples "Conviction", "Remorse Waltz", "Unlucky" and "Sentimental Guy" and the lesser-played "Standing In Your Way" and "Be With You Tonight" tuned up for the studio. The record is punctuated by "The Critic Song" which seems to be a pretty clear diatribe on the state of popular music, and likely our culture in general.

In 2004, Mark released One For The Crow. "Just Can't Wait" starts out with a wonderful bit of fiddle that hints at a more diverse Americana feel on this record than Standing. The songwriting on Crow doesn't stray far from Mark's typical wheelhouse on tracks like "Guns And Dust", "Won't Be Long", "You Left The First Time", "We Talk", "Fences" and "Learned By Now". "Digg" really sticks out on this record as a potential theme song for that which is Mark Jungers. In addition to the Americana feel of Standing, this record has some other more experimental arrangements that include a bit of electric guitar, some fiddle, piano, organ and not quite as much acoustic guitar in certain spots in the final mix. These make for a very enjoyable listen and a pleasantly interesting change from the rootsy feel of the first two records. In the end, Crow is a very solid third record that any Americana artist would be proud to call his own. [I don't know much of the sound of this record is owed to producer Lars Goransson or to Mark and the band but the combination yields some great results.]

Mark's latest release is Silos And Smokestacks. Mark and producer Adrian Schoolar have done an excellent job making this record stand apart from the first three records. Electric guitars, banjo, steel guitar permeate this record in addition to Wes Green's mandolin and Josh Flowers' bass. The thematic elements of Silos are more exact and prescient than in previous records. The air struggle and hardship is unmistakable and Mark is presenting it as clearly, concisely and melodically as anyone. This record stands up to Chris Knight's own rural toil and struggle and pushes back on Scott Miller's Civil War and WWII strife with a gusto that I haven't heard before.

There's not a wrong place to start listening to Mark's studio music. The records all compliment each other in way that many artist's records do not without being the that similar that you might get them confused.

--The Live Shows--
You can tell a lot about somebody the first time you see them. Especially when you've never heard a solitary note of their music prior to that first listen. Well, I can anyway. My first encounter with Mark & his band was in Gruene Hall on November 17, 2005. I can't claim that was absolutely blown away by Mark and the Whistling Mules but their show did grab me. It grabbed me in a way that I could relate to down deep. I know the people who reside in those songs. I could draw that dotted line between those songs and their experiences and struggles. I liked that and I decided to come out to another show some day soon. I'm glad I did.

Here are some pictures from that show which was a co-bill with Roger Marin.

There's a lot to like about Mark's shows. There are the varying lineups that include on a given night, drums, mandolin, fiddle, slide guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, harmonica and bass. From night to night, Mark mixes up his setlist and doesn't get caught up in Snider-esque bits where he tells the same story every night or even plays the same 15-20 songs. He plays songs from each of his records - which are all 50+ minutes and 13+ tracks a piece - as well as several well chosen covers from the likes of Neil Young, Scott Miller, Fred Eaglesmith and Jason Ringenberg, among others.

The damnable misery of all of this and for all of his talent, Mark's following is limited. He's never had the big record contract where some company was putting a boatload of marketing money behind him. In a sense, the struggle of those people in his songs - whether directly or indirectly - is really his own. Mark is spreading the seeds of his music all over the growing fields of Texas' bars and dancehalls. Tilling the soil with show upon show all over the Hill Country. Watering it with a good-natured personality and some great music, letting word of mouth soak the soil. He's reaping the rewards of a loyal, if limited, fan following but has yet to reap any great modicum of financial success. Having a straight full-time gig outside of his music lends a certain level of credibility and believability to the tenor of Mark's music that no artist cannot beg, borrow, buy or steal other talents and desires not withstanding. That believability and cred need be earned. Through hard work. And then through some more hard work. In the end, playing music really isn't about getting paid. It's about easing your soul, maybe making a connection with a listener or two. It is because it has to be that way.

You can get all Mark's records at cdbaby - and I suggest you do so asap - or at one of his live shows which are really waaaaaay more fun than waiting at home for the mailman to stop by.

--Some Samples--
More than a dozen live recordings are available to download or stream free and clear from
Powderfinger from June 12, 2007...this is the electric version

Conviction from April 2, 2007

Lonesome LA Cowboy from April 2, 2007

--The CDs--