Austin360 On The Record: Jimmie Vaughan, Midland, Balmorhea and more

OUT THIS WEEK

Jimmie Vaughan Trio featuring Mike Flanigin, “Live at C-Boy’s” (Proper). In a funny twist, this group that plays live shows with B-3 organ master Flanigin’s name billed first does a switcheroo on the disc that documents their frequent exploits at the cool South Congress bar. It makes sense: While they try to fly under-the-radar with blues-guitar legend Vaughan playing rooms much smaller than the clubs he plays on tour, they’re more likely to move units in the record racks with Vaughan’s name out front. And although he’s not billed up-front, a major bonus here is the appearance of masterful drummer Barry “Frosty” Smith, in one of his last recordings before his death last month. When the band plays Sept. 22-23 at C-Boy’s, they’ll be in good hands with longtime Austin blues veteran George Rains behind the drums. — Peter Blackstock

Here’s some fan video of a 2015 gig at C-Boy’s:

Midland, “On the Rocks” (Big Machine). The “What is authentic country music these days, anyway?” argument has been around for decades, probably since the Bristol Sessions of 1927 found its first detractors. Throwing a wrench into this argument is Midland, a Dripping Springs trio signed by Big Machine that consists of a former soap opera actor/Calvin Klein underwear model (lead singer Mark Wystrach), an award-winning Bruno Mars music video director (bassist Cameron Duddy) and a guitarist from Oregon (Jess Carson). That (and their tale of forming a band in Jackson Hole) doesn’t scream what some folks might call “authentic” country, but Midland’s music speaks for itself. “On the Rocks,” the trio’s first full LP, consists of 13 tracks, five of which came from their debut EP. Each song so far has been a revivalist’s dream, with real and steel guitars, echoes of Dwight Yoakam, Eagles-esque three-part harmonies and good old fashioned drinking songs. Speaking of, lead single “Drinkin’ Problem” has already been certified Gold. At this point, the stuff sounds so good that those wishing country music would sound more like it did in the 70s and 80s might be willing to overlook the band’s prepackaged Big Machine narrative. And if Big Machine spotted the trend turning toward traditional and ran with it, it couldn’t sound better than this. Playing Oct. 15 at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. — Jake Harris

Here’s the video for latest single “Make A Little”:

READ MORE: Meet Midland, a Dripping Springs trio that released one of 2016’s best EPs

Balmorhea, “Clear Language” (Western Vinyl). From 2007 to 2012, these Austin instrumentalists were prolific, releasing five full-length albums. “Clear Language” marks their return to recording after a five-year absence. Last documented as a sextet on 2012’s “Stranger,” the official lineup is now pared down to just founders Rob Lowe and Michael Muller. The music reflects some scaling-back as well; minimalist atmospherics are more prominent than the lush string sections that were out front on some of the band’s previous work. Balmorhea’s identity remains intact, though: Lowe and Muller continue to focus on mesmerizing soundscapes, creating music that’s sometimes radiant, sometimes haunting, but always worth hearing. Release shows Sept. 21-22 at Stateside at the Paramount, in-store Sept. 24 at Waterloo Records. — P.B.

Here’s the title track:

Midnight Stroll, “Western Static.” Following up a 2014 debut released under the name Aaron Behrens & the Midnight Stroll, the former Ghostland Observatory singer has removed his name from top billing, which emphasizes the increasingly collaborative nature of his partnership with multi-instrumentalist Jonas Wilson. Behrens’ distinctive wail soars over often dense arrangements that blend cutting guitar pyrotechnics with electronica-influenced soundscapes. Playing Nov. 12 at Sound on Sound Fest. — P.B.

Here’s the track “Good People”:

Walker Lukens, “Tell It to the Judge” (Modern Outsider). Though it’s a full-length release, not much is new here: Eight of these 11 tracks appeared on Lukens’ EPs “Never Understood” and “Ain’t Got a Reason,” released in October 2016 and April 2017, respectively. Of the three new tracks, “Love & Attention” is the most intriguing, a slow, soulful ballad juxtaposed against almost industrial percussion accents. In-store Sept. 22 at Waterloo Records. — P.B.

Here’s the video for the new track “Don’t Wanna Be Lonely (Don’t Wanna Leave You Alone)”:

Wild Bill Ogden, “Fighting for the Title.” Known for fronting rootsy outfit Wild Bill & the Lost Knobs, Ogden steps out with an ambitious solo effort that he calls a “short rock opera.” Produced with Kris Wade, it’s a shift of gears for Ogden, who digs into rock, funk and hip-hop styles on a wildly eclectic eight-song set of tunes based on the tale of a boxer’s comeback from being a “Beaten Man” to “Fighting for the Title.” Release show Sept. 22 at ABGB. — P.B.

Here’s the video for the title track, one of three videos in a trilogy series:

COMING SOON

  • SEPT. 29: Jackie Venson, “Transcends” EP, release show Nov. 5 at Antone’s.
  • OCT. 6: Bill Carter, self-titled, pre-release show Sept. 27 at Antone’s.
  • OCT. 6: Whitney Rose, “Rule 62” (Six Shooter).
  • OCT. 20: Willie, Lukas & Micah Nelson, “Willie and the Boys: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2” (Legacy). Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real play Oct. 7 and Oct. 14 at ACL Fest, and Oct. 11 at Antone’s.
  • OCT. 20: Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, “Don’t Go Baby, It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You” (Cornelius Chapel), release show Oct. 21 at Stay Gold.
  • OCT. 20: Tommy Howard, “Storybook” (Destiny), release show Oct. 22 at Elephant Room.
  • NOV. 1: Brian Pounds, “Southern Writer,” release show Nov. 16 at Cactus Cafe.
  • NOV. 17: Reveleros, self-titled, release show Nov. 17 at Good Shepherd on the Hill.

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