The Latest Shows We've Recorded

Monday, March 31, 2008

Have You Heard Of The Dedringers?

I ask this question because if not, you need to know these guys. Sean Faires and Jonny Burke are the front-men for the Dedringers (site, myspace) and both possess a certain musical gift that goes well beyond each of their 22 years. They share equal parts of the spirit of TVZ and the inspiration of Dylan coupled with an electric sound that puts them well beyond any band I've seen so early in their career (even though the two of them have been playing and performing together for several years).

Their first full length record should be out soon.
By soon, I mean that I don't know when it'll be out but hope it's soon.

Here are the recordings from
Jonny's and Sean's 21st birthdays, respectively both at the Triple Crown in San Marcos. Lots of special guests. Enjoy.

Jonny's 21st Birthday

Sean's 21st Birthday

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Gunhands' Country Strange

I love the idea of the first full record that a solo artist or band puts out. More than any other time in an artist's or band's career, the first record is the one that's been bottle up for the longest, brewing, waiting, being honed nightly onstage and in practice. The songs that make the record are the ones that are extra-special; the arrangements have lingering been in the back of someone's mind for a long time. The words have resonated for years in bars, clubs, garages and backyards before finding their way onto the tape and ultimately the cd in your player. Nothing is an afterthought.

In my all-time favorite records list (I know, I sound like John Cusack and High Fidelity), there are a staggering amount of 'first records': John Prine, Warren Zevon, Guy Clark, TVZ, Todd Snider, Steve Goodman, Mike McClure, Matt King, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle and on and on. The bar is indeed high but getting to the line and putting it all out there that first and giving everyone a listen is about as gutsy as it gets. These are the sorts of things I contemplated while I listened to the Gunhands' Country Strange (site, myspace).

Having heard most of these songs live at some point over the last two years, I find myself most enjoying the 'extras' that aren't normally part of the band: the piano on "Pinball", the fiddle on "Mama Loves Jesus" and "Fixer-Upper", the pedal steel on "Ashville", the banjo on "Overpass Cowboy". Beyond that, I just really like the core sound of the Gunhands...drums, bass, guitars and mandolin. Simple and effective.

As for the songs themselves, they have seen the scrutiny of other artists and the crowds and come out bearing an originality and unique voice born of experience, be it of a life hard-lived seeking redemption or of lost love.

The highlight of the record is the hidden track "She'Ole" written by Senor Benavidez. Have a look here for the full explanation of "She'Ole".

(pronounced "Sheh-ole")[1], in Hebrew שאול (Sh'ol), is the "abode of the dead", the "underworld", "the common grave of humankind" or "pit".[2] In the Hebrew Bible, it is a place where both the bad and the good, slave and king, pious and wicked must go at the point of death.[3] Sheol is the common destination of both the righteous and the unrighteous dead, as recounted in Ecclesiastes and Job.


Suffice to say it's a fantastic tune pulling in some great thematic elements and really hammering the point of the song home.

I don't like to pick apart song arrangements or track order too much, so I'll close this review by saying that there's not a track on this record thats in need of a fast-forward or next-track button. This is a great record and very enjoyable listen, even after a few times through. Buy this record. And if you get a chance, getcherself to a Gunhands show though. See what it's all about. You'll find a band that's a part of what you find on Country Strange, but you'll also find a whole helluva lot more.

The Gunhands are:
Richard Benavidez on vocals and acoustic guitar
Lew Card on mandolin, vocals and occasionally electric guitar
Matt Felton on bass
Dave Litrell on drums
Nathan Mayes on vocals, electric guitar, and acoustic slide

Rendering All Other Bands Obsolete: The Supersuckers

If you like good old rock and roll and you like some country thrown in for good measure, you probably like the Supersuckers (site, myspace) - the self-proclaimed greatest rock and roll band in the world. On special occasions, they'll throw together the Big Show which is a chunk of their rock set and a chunk of their country set. There are several excellent sounding recordings on One of my favorites is this show from October 1, 2004 in Denver at the Bluebird Theater. From country classics like Cash's "Mean Eyed Cat" and the Rev's "Liquor Beer & Wine" to Supersuckers favorites like "Pretty Fucked Up" and "Rock And Roll Records", the Supersuckers tear it up at the foot of the Rockies for 2+ hours on this fantastic show and equally excellent recording.

I particularly enjoy how they jump so seemlessly from one genre to the other without skipping a beat. Jordan Shapiro sits in on this set playing pedal steel. Jim Dalton and Tyson Murray from the Railbenders show up later in the set to accompany Eddie Spaghetti and crew on "Sweet Caroline" and "OD'd In Denver".

If you get the chance, check out the Supersuckers live. Rock and roll or country, They won't disappoint.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Recommended Listening...The Railbenders in Austin

If you're not familiar with the Denver country band the Railbenders (site, myspace, archive), you really should take a few minutes and have a listen. They're a really great group of musicians with a very unique sound fronted by Jim Dalton on vocals and led on electric guitar by Tony Nascar (fastest guitar in the West apparently), all propped up by Graham Haworth on drums and Tyson Murray on the upright bass.

This show, on this eve of Austin's South By Southwest music festival, finds the Railbenders electric flavor of country is joined by special guest Jordan Shapiro on pedal steel. The covers are sublime but the originals are really where the Railbenders are at their finest, especially on tunes like I70 Westbound, Leavin' Song, Country Song and Drivin' Back To Denver.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Quotes From The Show Part I

I've been toying with this idea for a while...documenting quotes from musicians during (or after the show). Here's the inaugural entry.

"I'm higher than gas prices."
-Reid Wilson,

"Reid Wilson says 'good night'!!"
-Reid Wilson, 2008.03.07

Reid Wilson & His So-Called Friends @ Jovita's

Reid Wilson & His So-Called Friends (myspace) threw down a rather enjoyable set Friday night March 7th at Jovita's in Austin. The So-Called Friends consist of Reid on acoustic guitar and vocals, Josh Vernier on drums, Jason Daly on lead acoustic guitar, Lew Card on mandolin and electric guitar and Kevin Fox on the upright bass.

Their music is country but not what you hear on the radio. Let's call it classic or insurgent country, especially on tracks like 'Country Music Revolution'. Reid's cover of Butch Hancock's 'West Texas Waltz' does great justice to a song and an artist who don't get their dues. Have a listen for yourself.

Note: the hum in the recording goes away right before they start 'West Texas Waltz'.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Scott Nolan & Joanna Miller @ Sam's Town Point

This is a fun show from Winnipeg's Scott Nolan (site, myspace) and Joanna Miller at one of the best dive's in Austin, Sam's Town Point (site, myspace). This show includes special guest Bart Willis (site) of Southside Tattoo (which isn't a band name).

A barometer a band is the ability to convert the casual listener to attentive fan. I can say with some certainty that Scott & Joanna did just that on this night. I got lots of questions from the folks at Sam's about who they were, where they were from, usually followed by 'damn, they're awesome.' And when are they coming back.

Bart is no slouch either. Enjoy this show. Support these guy by buying a record going to a show or getting a tattoo.

A Country SxSW

If you're going to be in Austin for SxSW and are looking for some Country, Roots Rock, Alt-Country, Americana, we've culled through the websites, myspace artist pages, blogs and paper press to come up with a lot of great mostly free options. You can see the complete list on the google calendar at the top of this page. Without further adieu, here are the highlights.

We'll update this with more stuff as we figure out some of the other stuff going on...

Tuesday 3/11:
Walt Wilkins & The Mystiqueros at the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo (5$)
The Railbenders at the Scoot Inn (free)

Wednesday 3/12:
The Railbenders & Eddie Eddie Spaghetti at The Mean Eyed Cat, 5p. (Tickets are 15$ and on sale Saturday 3/8 @ 10a @ the Mean Eyed Cat)
Palo Duro Records Showcase at Waterloo Records (free)
Comboplate Booking's South X Soup Fest at Guero's (free)
Guitartown/Conqueroo/Drew Glackin Memorial at Mother Egan's (free)
South X San Jose at Hotel San Jose (free) (Bare Jr, N. Mississippi All Stars, Felice Brothers)

Friday 3/14:
Twangfest at Jovita's (free)
Sin City Social Club at Maria's Taco Express (free)
Bloodshot Records Day Party at Yard Dog Art Gallery (free)
South X San Jose at Hotel San Jose (free) (Hayes Carll, Mason Jennings, David Garza, Billy Joe Shaver)

Saturday 3/15
Twangfest at Jovita's (free)
Mean Eyed Cat Bootleg BBQ with BSOJC (free)
GreenHouse Americana Showcase (20$)
South X San Jose at Hotel San Jose (free)

Sunday 3/16:
Dale Watson at Ginny's Little Longhorn (free)
The Oaks Non-SXSW Party at the Oaks in Manor (free)

45 Years Ago Today

[2008.03.07: I am reposting this entry with the audio from that evening].

Damon Bramblett should have been playing his music at the Dry Creek Cafe 45 years ago today. The Dry Creek itself wouldn't have looked much different...the old tables and chairs would still be there. Sarah would have been a spry lass of 49. Her green trailer still would have been parked out back. The contents of the 45s on the jukebox would be the same. And the bar itself would still have been, as I understand, only slightly less rickety. The only problem with this whole scenario is that Damon Bramblett wasn't born yet. I would put Damon somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 trips around the sun.

The first thing I noticed about Damon when I first heard him sing was that he sounds a lot like Johnny Cash. Well, an other-worldly version of Johnny Cash who never smoked a cigarette and never had a proclivity for popping pills. With the timelessness of Johnny Cash's music, Damon transported my wife and me back to 1962 there on Mt. Bonnell Road back when the Dry Creek had live music on a more regular basis. Warm, humid evening. Cold Lonestar. No A/C. A great little band with some great songs to play.

The band on this evening consisted of Damon on acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals, Tom Lewis on drums and Kevin Smith on upright bass. Tom and Kevin play with Heybale here in town. The guys did a bunch of Damon's tunes as well as covers of "I'm Gonna Sit On The Porch And Pick On My Old Guitar" and "Busted" (both Cash tunes) as well as Townes Van Zandt's "Loretta" and a cover of the classic "Sea of Heartbreak".

One thought I had while trying to wipe the huge grin off my face was "this must be what old Austin was like." I don't know that it's possible to miss something I never experienced first hand, but given my taste last night, I badly miss old Austin.

They created a fantastic semblance of the steady-like-a-train, sharp-like-a-razor sound that JC & Tennessee Two made famous. I closed my eyes several times and just basked in that "this is what 1962 felt like"-vibe. Moments like that are priceless but being that it came to me essentially free made it ever more sweet.

If you get the chance, go check out Damon live sometime. He's got a record floating around somewhere. Buy it if you can find it.

Damon's myspace:
This show on

ps....Damon's version of "Loretta" was fantastic. Completely not sad in the way that TVZ's interpretation can be.