One of the best shows by a local band we’ve seen this year was the record-release party for “Hey Come Back,” the debut album from our Austin360 Artist of the Month for November, Croy & the Boys. Held Oct. 29 at Hotel Vegas, the set featured leader Corey Baum and his band charging through all but one of the songs on the Adrian Quesada-produced album, one of finest country records to come out of Austin in several years.
Another rising star on the local country scene, Carson McHone, sat in with the band on “Woke Up in Love.” And a nice capper to the night was a cover of “Every Day I Have to Cry,” by legendary soulful rock ‘n’ roll songwriter Arthur Alexander. It’s telling that Baum seeks out such high-quality material when he supplements his original songs. We talked about some of his inspirations in our interview for the Artist of the Month feature story we published earlier in November.
Read more: Croy & the Boys mix up country groove with Mexican twists on debut album
A big one for Baum was native Texan songwriter Guy Clark, who died earlier this year. Austin celebrated what would have been Clark’s 75th birthday on Nov. 6 with a tribute event at the Paramount Theatre. A couple of weeks earlier, Baum talked about discovering Clark’s music when he lived in Ohio, and seeking out Clark’s old haunts after moving to Austin.
“I had one other friend who was getting into this kind of music with me. He’d find a Steve Earle record and was like, who’s Steve Earle? And I’d listen to it and love it. And I’d find a Guy Clark record — who’s Guy Clark? All the stuff was just clicking, and I was moving further down that path. I definitely moved to Austin thinking I’d become a country musician.”
Baum says he realized quickly that Austin had a higher standard of appreciation for the music that had given him an identity back home. “I definitely had a healthy respect for the traditional country music,” he noted, “but in Ohio, just knowing Guy Clark’s name made me a country music aficionado.” Yet seemingly everyone knows about Guy Clark in Austin, which famously was name-checked in his song “Dublin Blues” and its opening line, “I wish I was in Austin, at the Chili Parlor Bar/Drinking mad dog margaritas and not caring where you are.”
“Actually I have a funny story about that,” Baum continued. “Not long after I moved down there, my friend came down and visited. And he was like, I’ve got two things I want to do while I’m down here. I want to eat a Texas steak and I want to eat Texas chili, at the Chili Parlor. So we go there and it says ‘mad dog margarita’ on the menu. And we were like, whoa.
“So the waitress comes over and I say, ‘We’ll take two mad dog margaritas.’ And I kind of explained to her, ‘Look, I’m sorry we’re really excited, but there is actually this song by this guy, Guy Clark,’ and I start telling her about the song. And she just rolls her eyes. She’s like, ‘I’ve been working here for 25 years. I think I know about the goddamn song.’ (Laughs) That was like one of those stupid early moments where I’m like, ‘Oh right.’”
Croy & the Boys’ next show is Dec. 3 at the Continental Club.