OUT THIS WEEK
Jack Ingram, “Midnight Motel” (Rounder). After two albums with commercially ambitious major label Big Machine Records, country singer-songwriter Ingram took a long break from the studio, focusing instead on live shows and projects such as his annual “Mack, Jack & McConaughey” fundraiser in Austin. “Midnight Motel,” his first record in seven years, finds him shifting to the more artist-friendly Rounder label. He certainly pushes the boundaries in terms of structure, supplementing a few tracks with rambling intros (“Blaine’s Ferris Wheel”) and background chatter (“Old Motel”) to pull the listener inside an intimate recording experience. Ingram isn’t entirely avoiding commonplace country content: Check the lead single “I’m Drinking Through It” and “I Feel Like Drinking Tonight.” But overall this is a more personalized record, whether Ingram is signing poignant originals as “What’s a Boy to Do” (written with Mando Saenz) and “All Over Again” or comfortably inhabiting well-chosen tunes such as Blu Sanders’ “Old Motel” and Will Kimbrough’s “Champion of the World.”
Recorded at Austin’s Arlyn Studios with producer Jon Randall and a cast that included local fixtures such as Bukka Allen, Charlie Sexton and Bruce Robison, “Midnight Motel” is a welcome step back into the Texas troubadour realm that probably always has come most naturally to Ingram. In-store Friday, Aug. 26, at Waterloo Records; release show Friday, Sept. 2, at Gruene Hall. Here’s the official video for “I’m Drinking Through It”:
Bill Kirchen & Austin de Lone, “Transatlanticana” (Red House). Austin lives in the Bay Area and Bill lives in Austin, but this guitar-and-piano pair made this album partly in the U.K., which accounts for its title. Kirchen, a regular at El Mercado’s “Mystery Monday” gig, has been one of Austin’s top roots-rock guitarists since moving here more than a decade ago. The idea here was essentially to merge the rootsy paths both players have explored since their 1970s heydays with Eggs Over Easy (de Lone) and Commander Cody (Kirchen). Butch Hancock makes a guest apperance on his tune “Oxblood,” and the rollicking 12-song set gets a fitting capstone with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a Changin’.” That’s as true today as it was in the ’60s, but the continued relevance of these two masters’ musicianship also attests that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Playing Oct. 28 at El Mercado Backstage. Here’s a live video of “Oxblood”:
Beaver Nelson, “Positive” (Freedom). From teen sensation to weathered survivor, Nelson has stayed in the Austin roots-rock singer-songwriter scene for the long haul. Most of that journey, he’s had ace guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb by his side, and Newcomb is again in the producer’s role here. He coaxes out raw, rough-and-tumble sounds from 10 original songs, plus a long-overdue cover of Little Steven’s “Men Without Women” that has often sparked Nelson’s live shows since the early ’90s. Recorded in Marfa and Austin, the album includes backing from local mainstays Mark Patterson, Stephen Belans, Matt Eskey, Seela, Rich Brotherton and George Reiff. Release show Sept. 16 at Strange Brew.
Wildfires, “Aguas Frescas (Part II)” EP. On their Facebook page, this four-piece matter-of-factly describes its sound as “more shoegaze than Americana, nowadays,” and that’s a fair assessment of a band that travels mostly in moods even as a few of their roots touches still show. As the title indicates, this is a follow-up to last year’s five-song first volume. Release show Sept. 2 at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Here’s the video for the track “Undead Fun”:
Nori, “World Anew.” Some of the players in this adventurous five-piece have gotten more notice lately from other projects — singer Akina Adderley with Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, trumpeter Erik Telford with Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few — but Nori fully warrants attention in its own right. The nine songs here travel gracefully across technically sophisticated yet emotionally alluring jazz terrain. Release show Aug. 27 at Stay Gold. Here’s the leadoff track, “A New Sun”:
SEPT. 2: Johnny Nicholas, “Fresh Air,” release show Sept. 10 at Saxon Pub, in-store Sept. 13 at Waterloo Records.
SEPT. 9: Adam Torres, “Pearls to Swine” (Fat Possum), release show Sept. 10 at Cactus Cafe.
SEPT. 9: Giulia Millanta, “Moonbeam Parade.”
SEPT. 12: Flyin’ A’s, “You Drive Me Crazy,” release show Sept. 18 at Strange Brew.
SEPT. 16: Willie Nelson, “For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price” (Legacy), playing Oct. 9 at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
SEPT. 16: Meat Loaf, “Braver Than We Are” (429).
SEPT. 16: Jesse Dayton, “The Revealer” (Blue Elan), playing Nov. 4 at Antone’s.
SEPT. 16: East Cameron Folkcore, “Better Off,” release show Sept. 24 at Empire.
SEPT. 16: Elijah Ford & the Bloom, “As You Were” (Nine Mile).
SEPT. 16: Golden Bear, “Dimensional Place” (C-Side).
SEPT. 17: Henry & the Invisibles, title TBA, release show Sept. 17 at Empire.
SEPT. 23: Katie Shore, “Fall Away,” release show Sept. 22 at Continental Club.
SEPT. 23: Reckless Kelly, “Sunset Motel” (Thirty Tigers).
SEPT. 23: Ruby & the Reckless, “In My Head.”
SEPT. 23: Tele Novella, “House of Souls” (Yellow Year).
SEPT. 23: Tameca Jones, self-titled EP.
SEPT. 23: Gary Clark Jr., “Take Me Back” single, from soundtrack to “Deepwater Horizon” film.
SEPT. 30: Survive, “RR7349” (Relapse).
OCT. 7: Eric Johnson, “EJ” (Provogue).
OCT. 7: Thor & Friends, self-titled (LM Duplication), playing Sept. 10 at Cactus Cafe.
OCT. 21: “Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll” (Eight 30), with Hayes Carll, James McMurtry, Slaid Cleaves, Band of Heathens, Jamie Wilson and more.
FALL: Terri Hendrix, “The Slaughterhouse Sessions” (Wilory).
FALL: Jamestown Revival, “The Education of a Wandering Man” (Republic), playing Nov. 4 at Emo’s.
FALL: Jon Dee Graham, “Knoxville Skyline.”