Austin360 On The Record: Rachel Reese, Black Heart Saints


Rachel Reese, “Siren” EP (LaFave Artist Alliance). Arriving in Austin from Nashville via Oklahoma, Reese shares some common geographical ties with Jesse LaFave, her partner and primary accompanist on this auspicious collection of pop-leaning singer-songwriter material. Reese’s immediately appealing voice has a versatility of character that serves her songs well: She’s resolutely determined on “About You,” steadfast yet soaring on the high notes of “Heaven and Earth,” warm and tender on the more acoustic “I Don’t Fall.” Bookending the disc are two Reese/LaFave co-writes, and they’re both highlights: “Settled Up” sets a hard-charging pace right out of the gate, while the closing “Same Side” glides gloriously on their harmonies and the reassurance that “We’re on the same side/ We won the war.” The disc also contains a new version of “Dark Horse,” a minor-key rocker that was the title track of Reese’s 2015 EP. There’s a connection to the late Jimmy LaFave here: Jesse is his nephew, and “Siren” was recorded at Jimmy’s home base of Cedar Creek Studio with engineer John Ross Silva, often a presence on LaFave projects. Ultimately those ties are more tangential than primary, though: Reese forges her own identity here, and although she left Nashville for Austin, it’s not hard to imagine her making inroads in mainstream country with material that’s both well-written and smartly produced. Release show July 25 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s a sampler of snippets from all of the EP’s tracks:

Black Heart Saints, “Alive.” The first full-length from the local hard-rock four-piece, a follow up a debut EP and last fall’s “Gasoline” single, features 10 tracks produced by AJ Vallejo. The band heads north to play the iconic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally next month. Release show July 28 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s a sampler of several cuts from the album:


  • AUG. 4: Milligan Vaughan Project, “MVP,” playing Aug. 9 on Texas Radio Live at Guero’s, in-store Aug. 10 at Waterloo Records.
  • AUG. 18: Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Tell the Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can” (Bordello).
  • AUG. 18: Savage Poor, “The Grown Ups,” release show July 26 at One-2-One Bar.
  • AUG. 23: Jean Caffeine, “Sadie Saturday Night,” release show Sept. 1 at Hole in the Wall, in-store Sept. 3 at Antone’s Record Shop.
  • AUG. 25: Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light, “Nothing to Escape.”
  • SEPT. 1: Johnny Dango, “Recluse in Plain Sight.”
  • SEPT. 15: Ray Prim, “To Whom It May Concern,” release show Sept. 15 at North Door.
  • OCT. 6: Whitney Rose, “Rule 62” (Six Shooter).
  • NOV. 3: Jackie Venson, “Transcends” EP.


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