On The Record: Wood & Wire, Gurf Morlix

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Wood&WireAlbumCoverWood & Wire, “The Coast.” Bluegrass traditionally is mountain music, which may be why it generally hasn’t flourished in Austin. A welcome recent anomaly has been Wood & Wire, who on their second record also break form by planting their bluegrass on the seashore. The title track, “Galveston” (an original, not the Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell hit) and “The Sea Wall” provide a loose geographical theme, though musically this remains traditional high-lonesome fare. The harmonies of guitarist Tony Kamel and Dominic Fisher shine throughout, especially on the radiant opener “Anne Marie.” Graceful picking highlights the lower-key instrumental “Elucidation,” while other tracks benefit from cameos by prominent fiddlers Jason Carter (Del McCoury Band) and Andy Leftwich (Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder). Check out a live video of the album track “Greener Grass” above. In-store Feb. 6 at Waterloo Records, release show Feb. 13 at the Parish.

GurfMorlixAlbumCoverGurf Morlix, “Eatin’ at Me” (Rootball). In a “mission statement” about his new album, accomplished Austin guitarist and producer Gurf Morlix attempted to explain his attention to detail: “I once spent an entire afternoon at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, staring at the 5 or so paintings I thought were the ones that transcended time and space, thinking about how the mixes of my songs, and the sound of the albums I produce, could somehow represent the depth I found in those works of art. I’m not sure I have approached this level of art, but I’m trying as hard as I can. This is how much I think about all of this.” You can hear that care in these 10 original songs and in the musical performances, mostly by Morlix with help from Patterson Barrett on B3, Rick Richards on Drums, Gene Elders on fiddle and Ray Bonneville on harmonica. The one I keep returning to is “50 Years,” a haunting look back at lifelong regrets from a narrator who “used to love the sound that time made, rushing past my ears.”

John Neilson, “Tomorrow Comes the Spring” (Lounge Side). A recent transplant from Los Angeles, Neilson plays radio-ready pop, sometimes full of energy (the opener “Fall”) and sometimes more subdued (“Starlight Eyes”). The production of Jim Wirt (Incubus, Hoobastank) keeps the recording quality at a high level. Release show Feb. 6 at Strange Brew.

Obscured By Echoes, “Avidonia Part 1: The Escape.” The local psych-rockers follow 2013’s “Black Matter Manifesto” with an ambitious concept album. Release show Feb. 6 at Spider House Ballroom.

MCG, “Compatible Creature” (Red Panda) and The Cover Letter, self-titled EP. Two polished modern-pop bands team up for a dual release show Feb. 7 at North Door. MCG’s eight-song disc highlights the vocals of Mariclaire Gamble. The Cover Letter gravitates a little more toward folk-rock, using dual vocals on the standout track “Paris (Texas).”

Foot Patrol, “KTOES.” Good humor is a key ingredient of this ensemble that claims to “put the fun back in funk” with tunes such as “Foot Patroleum Jelly” and “Foot Model Undercover.” Release show Feb. 7 at Hops & Grain.

Schisms, “Morendo” EP (Stray Wavs). Song titles such as “Vampires and Vultures” and “Dead White Moon” give a clue about this trio’s dark, arty avant-rock. Release show Feb. 6 at Red 7.


FEB. 10: Robert Earl Keen, “Happy Prisoner” (Dualtone).

FEB: 10: Knifight, “V,” release show Feb. 6 at Cheer Up Charlie’s.

FEB. 10: John Arthur Martinez, “If Stars Could Sing” (JAM), release show Feb. 15 at El Sol y La Luna.

FEB. 10: Hooka Hey, “Untamed” EP, release show Feb. 13 at Cheer Up Charlie’s.

FEB. 10: GOBI, “Gold on Black Ice,” release show Feb. 7 at Holy Mountain.

FEB. 24: James McMurtry, “Complicated Game” (Complicated Game Records).

FEB. 24: Quiet Company, “Trangressor” (Modern Outsider), release show Feb. 21 at Empire Control Room, in-store Feb. 24 at Waterloo Records.

FEB. 24: Mayeux & Broussard, “High Times and Good Rhymes,” release party Feb. 21 at Stubb’s.

FEB. 24: Parker McCollum, “The Limestone Kid” (Indie Extreme).

MARCH 3: Asleep at the Wheel, “Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys” (Bismeaux), with many special guests. Playing Feb. 14 at Luckenbach Dancehall.

MARCH 3: Cherubs, “2 Ynfynyty” (Black Panda).

MARCH 10: Bright Light Social Hour, “Space Is Still the Place” (Frenchkiss), release show March 27 at Stubb’s.

MARCH 10: Joe Pug, “Windfall” (Lightning Rod).

MARCH 10: Chubby Knuckle Choir, “Reveille.”

APRIL 7: East Cameron Folkcore, “Kingdom of Fear,” release shows April 1-4 at Salvage Vanguard Theater.

MAY 12: Joe Ely, Title TBA.

SPRING: Dale Watson, “Call Me Insane” (Red House/Ameripolitan).

Are you an Austin-area act with a new record coming out? Let us know at musicsource@statesman.com.

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