Austin360 On The Record: Belle Sounds, Ume, Cody Canada

Andre Moran and Noelle Hampton of the Belle Sounds. Contributed/Barbara FG Photography

OUT THIS WEEK

Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within.” Centered around singer-songwriter Noelle Hampton and guitarist Andre Moran, the Belle Sounds have become one of Austin’s best pop bands since forming five years ago. “The Sea Within” has been a long time coming: Their last release was a 2014 EP that followed 2013’s self-titled debut. Working with producer David Boyle at his Church House Studio in East Austin, the band recorded 11 original songs that reach back to the classic sounds of 1970s FM radio, an approach that stands out today precisely because they’re not trying to board the indie bandwagon. The album’s title comes from the mesmerizing track “Innsaei,” an Icelandic word that translates to “the sea within” but connotes a deeper, zen-like sense of intuition and empathy. This is a very well-constructed and sequenced record: Five tracks build up, and then down, from “Legend of the Silver Moon,” a masterful eight-minute centerpiece that luxuriates in Moran’s brilliant atmospheric guitar soundscapes. Throughout, contributions from keyboardists Boyle and Emily Shirley, bassists John Michael Schoepf and Kris Nelson, drummer Evan Hutchings and cellist Brian Standefer make “The Sea Within” sound very much like a band record, not simply a duo project. Release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s the video for the track “Like a Villain”:

Ume, “Other Nature” (Modern Outsider). Back on Modern Outsider after one record with the Dangerbird label, the magnetic trio featuring singer-guitarist Lauren Larson, bassist Eric Larson and drummer Aaron Perez sounds revitalized on these 10 cuts, their first new music since 2014. With studio ace Stuart Sikes (A Giant Dog, Black Joe Lewis) producing and Don Cento adding synth accents, the band mixes thunderous rockers with more contemplative material perhaps brought on by the Larsons recently becoming parents. Release show July 21 at Mohawk outdoor. Here’s the video for the leadoff track, “Crushed”:

RECENTLY RELEASED

Cody Canada & the Departed, “3” (Underground Sound). Groove-heavy country rock from the transplanted Oklahoma red-dirt wrangler, whose band is pared down here to a trio with Jeremy Plato and Eric Hansen. A nice surprise is the inclusion of “Betty Was Black (And Willie Was White),” a hidden gem from early-’90s Nashville band the Bis-quits that was previously revived by Todd Snider. Playing July 22 at Antone’s. Here’s the track “Unglued”:

COMING SOON

  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • JULY 27: Cody Jinks, “Lifers.”
  • JULY 28: Batty Jr., “Wormhole,” release show July 28 at Threadgill’s South.
  • JULY 28: Ego Deaf, “I’ll Let You Know When It Gets Weird” EP, release show July 28 at Stay Gold.
  • JULY 29: Madi Meeks, “For You” EP, release show July 28 at Carousel Lounge.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile), playing July 20 at Cactus Cafe, release show Aug. 3 at Continental Club.
  • AUG. 9: Ben Ballinger, “Live at the Cactus Cafe” EP, release show Aug. 9 at Cactus Cafe.
  • AUG. 10: William Clark Green, “Hebert Island,” playing Aug. 11 at River Road Ice House (New Braunfels).
  • AUG. 17: Joe Ely, “The Lubbock Tapes: Full Circle” (Rack ’Em).
  • AUG. 17: Nakia, “Blues Grifter,” in-store Aug. 17 at Waterloo Records, release show Aug. 18 at Saxon Pub.
  • AUG. 17: Jeremy Nail, “Live Oak.”
  • AUG. 23: Mike Schoenfeld, “Little Feet” EP, release show Aug. 23 at Kitty Cohen.
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • AUG. 24: Teddy Glass, “Nights and Weekends.”
  • AUGUST: Saents, self-titled EP.
  • SEPT. 5: Buhu, “Tenets.”
  • SEPT. 7: Ghostland Observatory, “See You Later Simulator,” playing Bat Fest Aug. 18.
  • SEPT. 14: Asleep at the Wheel, “New Routes.”
  • SEPT. 14: Band of Heathens, “A Message From the People Revisited.)
  • SEPT. 14: Gina Chavez, “Lightbeam” EP, release show Sept. 15 at Antone’s.
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Will Courtney, “Crazy Love” (Super Secret).
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”
  • SEPT. 28: Jerry David DeCicca, “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret).

Austin360 On The Record: Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, more

Jimmy LaFave. Matt Rourke/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2005

Jimmy LaFave
“Peace Town”
(Music Road)

For about a year before his death from cancer in May 2017, Austin troubadour Jimmy LaFave was earnestly working in the studio on a final batch of songs that would succeed him. He’d hoped to record 100 tracks; in the end, there was time for 20. “Peace Town,” the resulting two-disc set, is out this week, marking what would have been his 63rd birthday.

With a voice that could soar to hit the high notes even as a touch of raspy growl seeped through to reveal his passion, LaFave was perhaps known even more as an interpretive singer than as a songwriter. That’s the primary focus here: Most of “Peace Town” finds LaFave putting his own spin on tunes both well-known and obscure as he turns to some familiar sources along with a few brilliant surprises.

Foremost among the latter is the opening track, Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door.” A top-10 hit from Townshend’s 1980 solo debut, it’s not a song that would have seemed a natural fit for LaFave. But the lyrics clearly spoke to him, and the radically recast arrangement is a thing of beauty: It’s less rhythmic but more melodic, LaFave’s voice radiating amid an exquisite swirl of guitar and piano runs.

Another immediate standout is “When the Thought of You Catches Up to Me,” a top-10 country hit for former Uncle Walt’s Band bassist David Ball on his 1994 solo debut “Thinkin’ Problem.” A tender number that demands a great singer, this one was more in LaFave’s natural wheelhouse. He gets all of it, coming close to the beautiful balladry of “Never Is a Moment,” LaFave’s best-known original composition.

The title “Peace Town” comes from a song LaFave created by putting his own music to archived lyrics of Woody Guthrie, a now-common collaborative exercise LaFave kickstarted more than two decades ago when he helped fellow Austin folkie Slaid Cleaves get “This Morning I Am Born Again” published with Guthrie’s estate. The meditative title track is the best of three Guthrie/LaFave tunes here, along with the steady-grooving “Salvation Train” and “Sideline Woman,” an acoustic blues number.

LaFave was renowned for his illuminating covers of Bob Dylan songs, and the three he serves up on “Peace Town” rank with the best he’s ever done. He hits Dylan in the ’60s (“My Back Pages”), ’70s (“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome”) and ’80s (“What Good Am I”), connecting deeply on each one and slowing “My Back Pages” to a reflective seven-minute stretch that mines a very different vein than the Byrds’ well-known radio-hit version.

Also near the seven-minute mark is the Band’s “It Makes No Difference,” sung with such soulful resonance by Rick Danko on the original that it’s unwise for most artists to attempt it. In LaFave’s case, though, this is a song we needed to hear him sing; he does it justice, with help from backing vocalists Jaimee Harris and Jane Ellen Bryant, who appear on six other tracks here.

The backing crew includes LaFave’s core band — guitarist John Inmon, keyboardist Stefano Intelisano, bassist Glenn Schuetz and drummer Bobby Kallus — but many other top local musicians took part as well, including Warren Hood, Kym Warner, Andrew Pressman, Katie Marie, Larry Wilson, Will Taylor and Brian Standefer.

Though “Peace Town” includes no new LaFave originals, he did revisit two of his own songs from older albums: “Ramblin’ Sky” from 1997’s “Road Novel” and “Minstrel Boy Howlin’ at the Moon,” which appeared on the 1988 cassette release that largely introduced him to Austin audiences shortly after he moved here from his native Oklahoma. “Minstrel Boy” strikes to the heart of LaFave’s artistic essence: “You know that you’ve got to always sing your song/ Someday it may take you where you really need to be/ Where roman candle people explode across the night so beautifully.”

Sometimes “Peace Town” can be difficult to listen to. It’s admirable that LaFave tackled Butch Hancock’s epic “Already Gone,” but you can sense the deterioration of Jimmy’s health in the recording. Hancock’s songs depend so heavily on his lyrics that the track loses some of its impact when LaFave’s energy wanes and his voice trails off at the end of several lines.

And yet, one of the most triumphant moments on “Peace Town” features no vocals at all. Listed simply as “Untitled,” it’s the next-to-last track on the album. We hear LaFave count it off with a steady “one-two-three-four” before the band launches into a gloriously upbeat instrumental number, the guitars of Jimmy’s nephew Jesse LaFave (who plays on all 20 tracks) and South Austin Moonlighters mainstay Phil Hurley leading the way. Is this track untitled and instrumental because Jimmy never had a chance to put words to it? If so, it shows what we will forever more be missing: his voice.

The final number, Tim Easton’s “Goodbye Amsterdam,” serves as a sort of denouement, an ode to a town that also works as a bittersweet farewell to everything that has come before. “I never want to let you go,” LaFave sings wistfully, “but I hope you’ll understand, I won’t be gone too long.”

READ MORE: Jimmy LaFave transcends cancer through the magic of music

ALSO OUT THIS WEEK

Eliza Gilkyson, “Secularia” (Red House). Now nearly a dozen records into a fruitful tenure with renowned folk label Red House, Gilkyson is producing the best music of her career. Her 2014 album “The Nocturne Diaries” got nominated for a Grammy, and “Secularia” might be even stronger. As the title hints, spirituality is a central theme here, but it’s a relationship that transcends the bounds of organized religion. Indeed, on “In the Name of the Lord,” Gilkyson laments the state of the world as it relates to professed but not practiced faith. “We watch the empire’s epic fail, on shiny hand-held screens,” she sings, concluding in the chorus, “and it’s all in the name of the lord.” Darkness turns to light often on “Secularia,” though: In “Lifelines” she begins with the realization that “the center cannot hold,” but then looks forward: “Out of the nighttime, like minds turn toward the dawn.” Musically, “Secularia” travels further down a path Gilkyson has long followed, grounded in folk music but embroidered with rich atmospheric accents. Her son Cisco Ryder Gilliland returns as producer, deftly blending the contributions of Austin aces including Mike Hardwick, Warren Hood, Kym Warner, Chris Maresh and the Tosca String Quartet: Prominent vocal cameos come from gospel singer Sam Butler on “Sanctuary,” Shawn Colvin on “Conservation” (one of two songs featuring lyrics adapted from Gilkyson’s parents), and the late Jimmy LaFave on the traditional folk classic “Down By the Riverside.” Release show July 27 at Stateside at the Paramount. Here’s the opening track, “Solitary Singer”:

Nichole Wagner, “And the Sky Caught Fire.” The follow-up to last year’s EP “Plotting the Constellations,” Wagner’s first full-length record establishes her as one of Austin’s most promising young singer-songwriters. At times Wagner turns up the electric energy, as on the bluesy “Dynamite” and the more pop-oriented “This Kind of Love.” Elsewhere, she goes for a quieter vibe centered on acoustic guitar and piano, notably on “Yellow Butterfly” and “Fires of Pompeii,” the latter a duet with Nashville troubadour Rod Picott. Producer Justin Douglas gives the record a sonic consistency and professionalism with help from musicians including Will Sexton on guitar. Wagner wrote or co-wrote (with Terry Klein and Kristin Kirkpatrick) nine of the disc’s 10 songs, the lone exception being an exquisite cover of Warren Zevon’s “Reconsider Me.” Release show July 14 at Townsend. Here’s a lyric video for the track “This Kind of Love”:

COMING SOON

  • JULY 20: Ume, “Other Nature,” in-store July 17 at Waterloo Records.
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • JULY 27: Cody Jinks, “Lifers.”
  • JULY 29: Madi Meeks, “For You” EP, release show July 28 at Carousel Lounge.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile), release show Aug. 3 at Continental Club.
  • AUG. 9: Ben Ballinger, “Live at the Cactus Cafe” EP, release show Aug. 9 at Cactus Cafe.
  • AUG. 17: Joe Ely, “The Lubbock Tapes: Full Circle” (Rack ’Em).
  • AUG. 17: Jeremy Nail, “Live Oak.”
  • AUG. 23: Mike Schoenfeld, “Little Feet” EP, release show Aug. 23 at Kitty Cohen.
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • AUG. 24: Teddy Glass, “Nights and Weekends.”
  • AUGUST: Saents, self-titled EP.
  • SEPT. 7: Ghostland Observatory, “See You Later Simulator,” playing Bat Fest Aug. 18.
  • SEPT. 14: Asleep at the Wheel, “New Routes.”
  • SEPT. 14: Gina Chavez, “Lightbeam” EP, release show Sept. 15 at Antone’s.
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”
  • SEPT. 28: Jerry David DeCicca, “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret).
  • SEPTEMBER: Band of Heathens, “A Message From the People Revisited.”

Austin360 On The Record: Dawn & Hawkes, Justin Stewart, more

Dawn & Hawkes play a release show for their new album “The Other Side” on Friday, July 6, at Cactus Cafe. Contributed/Hello Darlin Photography

OUT THIS WEEK

Dawn & Hawkes, “The Other Side.” Since their 2015 full-length debut “Yours and Mine,” Austin duo Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes have had quite a few adventures, including a year spent on the road in a converted van and a trip to Australia as part of the Austin-based House of Songs project. That’s quite a turn from their first steps as a duo, which included an appearance on NBC’s “The Voice” after their 2012 debut EP. “The Other Side” offers 10 new tracks of sweet folk-rock based on acoustic instruments and rich vocal harmonies. If instantly appealing tunes such as “Highway” and “Horizon Line” feel rooted in the singer-songwriter heyday of the early 1970s, they also fit well into the modern-day indie-folk revival. The bluesy “Early in the Morning” is an intriguing foray into bluesy territory, name-checking fellow local troubadours Hayes Carll and Ray Wylie Hubbard as its tale unfolds of a songwriter who lost his way. Release show July 6 at Cactus Cafe. Here’s a homemade video for “Promised Land,” the album’s final track:

Justin Stewart, “Renaissance.” The supporting cast on Stewart’s third release in five years is enough of an Austin A-list to warrant notice: Bukka Allen, Geoff Queen, John Michael Schoepf, Chris Searles, Billy Cassis, Ben Saffer. Produced by Stephen Belans (Stewart’s first two were produced by Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell and the late George Reiff, who co-produced one song here), “Renaissance” bristles with pop smarts and kinetic energy, especially on the uplifting “Saint Paul.” He slows things down on the album’s lone cover, a gently swinging version of the zen-like Don Williams country chart-topper “I Believe in You.” The closing “Redfish” is a fascinating spoken-word rumination anchored by a gentle piano melody amid a swirling atmospheric soundscape. Release shows July 6 and July 19 at Townsend; also playing July 8 at Tavern on Main in Buda. Here’s the opening track, “Texas Fatmucket”:

Kinky Friedman, “Circus of Life” (Echo Hill). Latest from the Chicago-born longtime Texan perhaps better known as a humorist, novelist and onetime candidate for Texas governor.

COMING SOON

  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town” (Music Road).
  • JULY 13: Eliza Gilkyson, “Secularia” (Red House), release show July 27 at Stateside at the Paramount.
  • JULY 13: Nichole Wagner, “And the Sky Caught Fire,” release show July 14 at Townsend.
  • JULY 20: Ume, “Other Nature,” in-store July 17 at Waterloo Records.
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile), release show Aug. 3 at Continental Club.
  • AUG. 17: Joe Ely, “The Lubbock Tapes: Full Circle” (Rack ’Em).
  • AUG. 17: Jeremy Nail, “Live Oak.”
  • AUG. 23: Mike Schoenfeld, “Little Feet” EP, release show Aug. 23 at Kitty Cohen.
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • AUGUST: Saents, self-titled EP.
  • SEPT. 7: Ghostland Observatory, “See You Later Simulator,” playing Bat Fest Aug. 18.
  • SEPT. 14: Gina Chavez, “Lightbeam” EP, release show Sept. 15 at Antone’s.
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”
  • SEPT. 28: Jerry David DeCicca, “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret).
  • SEPTEMBER: Band of Heathens, “A Message From the People Revisited.”

Austin360 On The Record: Jerry Jeff Walker, Giulia Millanta, more

Jerry Jeff Walker’s “It’s About Time” is his first album in nine years. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

RECENTLY RELEASED

Jerry Jeff Walker, “It’s About Time” (Tried & True). Walker’s first album in nine years features five new original songs, five tunes by other songwriters, and one track revived from his past (the lovely “But for the Time”). On the new material, Walker sounds reflective. The opening triptych of “That’s Why I Play,” “California Song” and “Because of You” are straightforward reckonings of his own life: Walker celebrates his love for music, wonders what might have happened decades ago if he’d not stopped off in Texas en route west, and reaffirms his devotion to his wife Susan (who’s pictured with him on the cover). The best of his new tunes is tucked away toward the end of the disc: On “Rain Song,” he looks back on his upstate New York childhood, philosophizes about giving up booze, and builds up to an insightful observation: “The hardest thing a man can do/ Is look inside and see the truth about himself.” His cover choices are sentimental favorites. Walker’s son Django co-wrote “Somethin’ Bout a Boat,” an easy-drifting rambler that Jimmy Buffett recorded a few years back. Jerry Jeff ad-libs in Red Foley’s chestnut “Old Shep” about one of his own long-gone beloved dogs. “South Coast,” long a staple of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s repertoire, is one of the great troubadour story-songs and suits Walker well. And it’s fitting that he tackles “My Favorite Picture of You,” one of the last great songs the late Guy Clark wrote, given that Walker helped put Clark on the map with his 1970s recordings of “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” Walker has no local shows on the horizon, but the historical exhibit “Viva Jerry Jeff: The Origins and Wild Times of a Texas Icon” is on display at the Wittliff Collections in San Marcos through July 8. Here’s the track “California Song”:

OUT THIS WEEK

Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat). On her third album since moving to Austin from Italy in 2012, Millanta worked with renowned producer and musician Gabriel Rhodes, who plays guitar, piano, saw, bajo sexto and “glasses,” per the credits. That range of instrumentation signals the musical adventurousness of Millanta’s material. At its root, this is folk music, but the folk of what country or culture is more elusive. Millanta incorporates influences of her native country, but there are Latin and Middle Eastern twinges here too, as well as touches of jazz, blues and other American forms. Ace-in-the-hole accompanists including guitarists Marc Ribot and David Pulkingham, accordionist Joel Guzman, horn player John Mills, steel guitarist Tommy Spurlock and backing singer Kimmy Rhodes add color behind the fluid rhythms of bassist Glenn Fukunaga and drummer Dony Wynn. It all adds up to a worldly, sometimes otherworldly sound that makes Millanta unique among Austin singer-songwriters. Release show June 23 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s the video for the track “Blinded By the Sun”:

Tim Rutili & Craig Ross, “10 Seconds to Collapse” (Jealous Butcher). If you know Austin musician/producer Craig Ross primarily for his long association with singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, this collaboration with Red Red Meat/Califone frontman Tim Rutili might seem way-out-there. But Ross has long pursued musical avenues veering well beyond folk-rock, dating back to his 1980s days with the ingeniously inventive band Stick People. Ross and Rutili teamed up two years ago for a self-described “long-form drone” record titled “Guitars Tuned to Air Conditioners,” and apparently they found the collaboration fulfilling enough to reconvene. There’s plenty of noise on “10 Seconds to Collapse” as well, but the sonic effects work in and around solid melodic structures, resulting in music that’s both challenging and enchanting. Playing July 21 at Beerland. Here’s the video for the track “The Day Before the Peaches Rot”:

Eric Hisaw Band, “Street Lamp.” Known for his guitar work with roots-oriented artists including Zoe Muth, Ron Flynt and Rich Hopkins, Hisaw teams here with Shawn Sahm (who recorded the album at his Boerne studio), Texmaniacs accordionist Josh Baca and others on seven original tunes plus a cover of “Revolutionary Road” by Shawn’s father, Doug Sahm. This is Texas-road-tested rock ’n’ roll: The arrangements aren’t flashy but the songs are consistently tuneful, and Hisaw sings them with earnest, rough-hewn emotion. Playing June 23 at Opal Divine’s Austin Grill; in-store June 24 at Antone’s Record Shop. Here’s the opening track, “Hurry It Up”:

Young Mothers, “Morose” (Self Sabotage). Hip-hop, jazz and more combine in the music of this adventurous group that features Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, trumpeter/rapper Jawwaad Taylor, saxophonist Jason Jackson, drummer Frank Rosaly, percussionist/singer Stefan Gonzalez and guitarist Jonathan Horne. Here’s the opening track, “Attica Black”:

Night Glitter, “Hangin’ on a Dream” EP. Centered on singer/keyboardist LouLou Ghelichkahani, who’s part of Thievery Corporation’s touring ensemble, and in-demand bassist/guitarist John Michael Schoepf, Night Glitter casts mesmerizing moods with music that transcends the indie realm. Release show June 26 at Mohawk. Here’s the track “Le Passage”:

Altamesa, “From the Idol Frontier, Vol. 2: Shadow on Your Heart/The Dawn” EP (Frontera Del Sueno). We can’t quite keep up with the sequence of these EPs that began with Vol. 1 in February. The group’s Bandcamp page shows Vol. 4 being issued in March, then Vol. 3 last week; and now they’re celebrating the release of Vol. 2 on June 22 at the Mohawk. Whatever the order (or lack thereof), these are intriguing slices of melodic, mystical indie-country rock, supplemented with demos and tracks recorded live at the White Horse. Here’s “Crooked Path” from Vol. 4:

COMING SOON

  • JUNE 29: Cody Canada & the Departed, “3” (Underground Sound).
  • JULY 3: Kinky Friedman, “Circus of Life.”
  • JULY 6: Dawn & Hawkes, “The Other Side,” release show July 6 at Cactus Cafe.
  • JULY 6: Justin Stewart, “Renaissance,” release shows July 6 and July 19 at Townsend.
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town” (Music Road).
  • JULY 13: Eliza Gilkyson, “Secularia” (Red House), release show July 27 at Stateside at the Paramount.
  • JULY 13: Nichole Wagner, “And the Sky Caught Fire,” release show July 14 at Townsend.
  • JULY 20: Ume, “Other Nature,” in-store July 17 at Waterloo Records.
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile), release show Aug. 3 at Continental Club.
  • AUG. 17: Joe Ely, “The Lubbock Tapes: Full Circle” (Rack ’Em).
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • AUGUST: Saents, self-titled EP.
  • SEPT. 14: Gina Chavez, “Lightbeam” EP, release show Sept. 15 at Antone’s.
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”
  • SEPTEMBER: Band of Heathens, “A Message From the People Revisited.”

 

Austin360 On The Record: Outlaws & Armadillos, Tish Hinojosa, more

The entrance to the new Outlaws & Armadillos exhibit, which opens May 25 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville and will run through early 2021. At left is a portrait of a young Willie Nelson painted by Austin artist Kerry Awn. A new 2-CD retrospective has been released in conjunction with the exhibit. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

RECENTLY RELEASED

“Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s,” 2-CD set (Legacy). When the exhibit of the same name opened at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville a couple of weeks ago, this collection aired in the background seemingly everywhere: the museum lobby, adjacent hotel shops and restaurants, between sets at an all-star concert. Gradually it became apparent just how carefully these 36 songs were selected.

RELATED: Our report from the opening weekend of “Outlaws & Armadillos” exhibit

Like the exhibit itself, the compilation balances about equally the influences of Austin and Nashville on this golden era for artists who sought out their own ways of making country music. Thus, classic tracks from 1970s Austin mainstays such as Jerry Jeff Walker, Doug Sahm, Joe Ely, Marcia Ball, Michael Murphey, Asleep at the Wheel, Gary P. Nunn, Lou Ann Barton and Willis Alan Ramsey ride alongside standouts from the likes of Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Bare, Rodney Crowell, Marshall Chapman, Johnny Paycheck and Cowboy Jack Clement.

Crucial to the mix are a handful of artists who had strong ties to both Texas and Tennessee, most notably Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings (the only artists with two tracks on the album) but also close compadres Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Mickey Newbury. Nelson and Jennings are, fittingly, the only artists with two tracks on the record, but several songwriters get dual representation, appearing on their own and via their songs performed by other artists: Van Zandt, Newbury, Billy Joe Shaver, Rodney Crowell. The era’s key turning points are memorable and plentiful: Nelson’s “Red Headed Stranger,” Murphey’s “Cosmic Cowboy,” Nunn’s “London Homesick Blues” (the live version from Walker’s landmark “Viva Terlingua!” album), the Flatlanders’ “Dallas,” Waylon’s “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.

Possibly more rewarding are a handful of surprises. Ball’s rendition of Crowell’s “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,” the first song on her first solo album in 1978, reminds how strong a country singer she was before blues and boogie-woogie became her trademark. “No Expectations” might at first seem an odd choice from Cash’s deep catalog, but the Man in Black singing a Rolling Stones song underscores the breaking-boundaries spirit of these times. And it was a brilliant call to include the Double Trouble blues rave-up “You Can Have My Husband” teaming spitfire singer Lou Ann Barton with rising guitar star Stevie Ray Vaughan, recorded by Austin producer Joe Gracey in partnership with Bobby Earl Smith at Cowboy Jack Clement’s Nashville studio.

Informative liner notes from Peter Cooper fill out the 32-page CD booklet, which also includes classic and new artwork from Armadillo World Headquarters artists Jim Franklin, Micael Priest (whose name is unfortunately misspelled), Danny Garrett, Guy Juke and Sam Yeates. Downsides? Great as John Hartford is, he feels like like a square-peg fit for the parameters here. And one major Austin artist of the times who’s conspicuously absent from both the discs and the Nashville exhibit is B.W. Stevenson.

Those are minor quibbles for a set so thoughtfully assembled and presented. Indeed, its great value is how cohesively it holds together and rewards NOT skipping around from track to track, a rare quality for a compilation. You can just let this thing play, and it’s just about perfect.

A vinyl edition, 13 tracks dubbed Volume 1 with presumably further LPs to follow, is due out July 13. An “Armadillos and Outlaws Artist Talk” at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Threadgill’s South will feature discussion about the Nashville exhibit with Armadillo World Headquarters fixtures Eddie Wilson, Jim Franklin, Kerry Awn, Freddie Krc and others.

Here’s a video of Rodney Crowell touring the “Outlaws & Armadillos” exhibit:

OUT THIS WEEK

Tish Hinojosa, “West.” The latest from the singer-songwriter who recently returned to Austin after many years overseas “marks something of a rebirth for the noted artist who has more than a dozen albums in her discography spanning about three decades,” writes the American-Statesman’s Nancy Flores. “Along with her new original music, she pays homage to Austin singer-songwriters with songs such as Tim Henderson’s ‘Maria Consuelo Arroyo,’ which tells the story of an immigrant woman raising her family. Hinojosa also includes her late friend Jimmy LaFave’s ‘Only One Angel,’ which she performed at a tribute concert for him at the Paramount Theatre. The album’s title track, “West,” came to her in an epiphany. While still going through a dark period in 2014, she took a solo road trip to California to visit friends. As she drove through Tucson past an afternoon thunderstorm, she saw a beautiful sunset ahead. She embraced the moment as a sign of better things to come.” In-store June 13 at Waterloo Records.

RELATED: Our American-Statesman interview/feature with Tish Hinojosa

Watters, self-titled. The second album from the husband-wife duo Jenna and Daniel Watters expands upon the tuneful, broad-umbrella Americana of their 2016 debut “The Great Unknown.” Key contributing musicians include Anthony Farrell of the Greyhounds and Trevor Nealon from Band of Heathens, while the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns (best known for their work with Shinyribs) add boisterous brass accents throughout. Release show June 15 at Antone’s. Here’s a recent live version of the opening track, “I Neede You”:

Half Man, “Room to Grow.” The second release in two years from singer-songwriter Chase Spruiell features eight acoustic-based folk rock tunes recorded at San Marcos’ Fire Station Studios. Playing June 19 and June 26 at Hole in the Wall. Here’s the leadoff track, “New Year Headlock”:

Daisy O’Connor, “Mixtape” EP (Tremolo). On the heels of her 2017 full-length debut “Lightchasers” comes O’Connor’s second EP this year, following February’s “Analog Sessions.” These five tracks are decidedly lo-fi, made on a four-track recorder, but they’re not necessarily bare-bones arrangements: “Cult of Two” is full-on garage-rock, while “Little” flirts with both electropop and jazz. Release show June 14 at Cactus Cafe. Here’s the lead track, “Same Page”:

Troll Smashers, EP. Debut release from self-described “folksmash” featuring Emma Dean and fiddler Eddie Dickerson. Release show June 14 at Townsend. Here’s the tune “Graham Crackers”:

COMING SOON

  • JUNE 22: Night Glitter, EP, release show June 26 at Mohawk.
  • JUNE 22: Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat).
  • JUNE 22: Young Mothers, “Morose” (Self Sabotage).
  • JUNE 29: Cody Canada & the Departed, “3” (Underground Sound).
  • JULY 3: Kinky Friedman, “Circus of Life.”
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town” (Music Road).
  • JULY 13: Eliza Gilkyson, “Secularia” (Red House), release show July 27 at Stateside at the Paramount.
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile).
  • AUG. 17: Joe Ely, “The Lubbock Tapes: Full Circle” (Rack ’Em).
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”

Austin360 On The Record: Jesse Dayton, Sarah Sharp, Golden Dawn Arkestra

Jesse Dayton’s “The Outsider” is his 10th album. Contributed

OUT THIS WEEK

Jesse Dayton, “The Outsider” (Blue Elan). Originally from Beaumont, Dayton subsequently lived in Houston and Los Angeles before relocating to Austin, where he’s gradually become one of the city’s most accomplished Americana musicians. “The Outsider” is his 10th album, but that’s just part of the career story for this firebrand guitar slinger who’s filled in for Billy Zoom in the legendary punk band X and done sessions with every member of country supergroup the Highwaymen (Waylon, Willie, Kristofferson, Cash). It’s natural, then, that on his own records, Dayton takes cues from both the outlaws and the punks, mixing raw energy with hard twang in equal parts. He’s drawn to wordplay, whether on covers such as Mike Stinson’s “May Have to Do It (Don’t Have to Like It)” or his own “Tried to Quit (But I Just Quit Trying),” a co-write with Lew Temple that rattles off rapid-fire one-liners such as “Your wife and your girlfriend can’t get along.” Dayton slows it down for a bittersweet duet with co-writer Brennen Leigh on “We Lost It,” then wears his leftist-workingman politics on his sleeve in “Charlottesville” and “Belly of the Beast.” Taken as a whole, “The Outsider” is an impressive tour de force of Dayton’s art and character: He’s brash and uncompromising, holding nothing back. Playing July 27 at the Broken Spoke. Here’s the video for the leadoff track, “May Have to Do It” (Don’t Have to Like It)”:

Sarah Sharp, “Dream” EP. The second in a series of four EPs Sharp is releasing this year, “Dream” follows the late-winter release of “Wake,” from which we premiered a video for the minimalist track “Just Go.” The five tracks on “Dream” bear out the record’s title; this is subtly hypnotic jazz, with Sharp’s voice floating gracefully above tasteful but uncluttered arrangements of guitar, bass, drums, piano and Wurlitzer. Playing every Tuesday in June at Elephant Room. Here’s a live version of the track “For Your Love”:

RECENTLY RELEASED

Golden Dawn Arkestra, “Children of the Sun” (Nine Mile). Austin’s hardest-to-categorize ensemble worked again with producer Erik Wofford on this 11-song collection that spins and swirls all across the cosmos musically. Ranging from the minute-long spacey noise-instrumental passage “Ra-Horakhty” to the epic, heavy-psych eight-minute closer “Promised Land,” the Arkestra’s latest conforms to no rules or styles whatsoever. They draw upon musical influences from cultures all over the globe (and perhaps beyond?), creating unique sounds that seem both historically rooted and futuristic at once. The band is touring Europe through the summer, but will play both weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Here’s the video for the title track:

COMING SOON

  • JUNE 15: Tish Hinojosa, “West,” release show June 8 at One World Theatre, in-store June 13 at Waterloo Records.
  • JUNE 15: Watters, self-titled, release show June 15 at Antone’s.
  • JUNE 15: Half Man, “Room to Grow.”
  • JUNE 22: Night Glitter, EP, release show June 26 at Mohawk.
  • JUNE 22: Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat).
  • JUNE 22: Young Mothers, “Morose” (Self Sabotage).
  • JUNE 29: Cody Canada & the Departed, “3” (Underground Sound).
  • JULY 3: Kinky Friedman, “Circus of Life.”
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town” (Music Road).
  • JULY 13: Eliza Gilkyson, “Secularia” (Red House).
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile).
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”

Austin360 On The Record: Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, more

Jimmie Dale Gilmore, left, and Dave Alvin celebrate the release of their new album “Downey to Lubbock” on Saturday at Antone’s. AMANDA VOISARD / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

OUT THIS WEEK

Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “Downey to Lubbock.” Gilmore, from Austin, and Alvin, from California, combined their considerable cred on this duo project that finds them drawing upon their broad command of Americana styles for an album consisting mostly of interpretive material. Bluesy gems from Lloyd Price and Lightnin’ Hopkins sound at home alongside classic 1960s folk tunes from John Stewart and the Youngbloods. Gilmore’s voice stands out on a rendition of Steve Young’s “Silverlake,” while Alvin brings forth a strong new original song, the western-folk ballad “Billy the Kid and Geronimo.” Check out our full Statesman feature story on Alvin and Gilmore. Release show June 2 at Antone’s. Here’s the video for the title track:

Hooka Hey, “War Cry.” Frenchman Hugo de Saint-Quentin started this rock band a decade ago in Paris before relocating to Austin, where they released the EP “Untamed” three years ago. The full-length “War Cry” extends their catalog of original tunes that are often hard and heavy, sometimes far-out and adventurous (the carnivalesque “Coney Island”). Release show May 31 at the Parish. Scenes from downtown Austin are scene in the video for the track “Herlock”:

Sam Pace & the Gilded Grit, “Judgment Eve.” As the band name suggests, this is gritty blues-rock, with perhaps a nod toward classic Northwest grunge, Pace’s first album in four years was produced by Chris “Frenchie” Smith at the Bubble studio in Austin. Release show June 2 at Swan Dive. Here’s the video for the track “Undertow”:

Zack Varner, “Blues in the Nude.” An instructor at Eastside Music School, Varner plays alto and tenor sax on this 11-song set of instrumentals that features noted musicians from the local jazz scene including bassist Daniel Durham and trumpeter Adrian Ruiz. Here’s the title track:

COMING SOON

  • JUNE 8: Jesse Dayton, “The Outsider” (Blue Elan).
  • JUNE 8: Sarah Sharp, “Dream” EP.
  • JUNE 15: Tish Hinojosa, “West,” playing June 8 at One World Theatre.
  • JUNE 15: Half Man, “Room to Grow.”
  • JUNE 22: Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat).
  • JUNE 22: Young Mothers, “Morose” (Self Sabotage).
  • JUNE 29: Cody Canada & the Departed, “3” (Underground Sound).
  • JULY 3: Kinky Friedman, “Circus of Life.”
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town.”
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile).
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”

 

Austin360 On The Record: Patricia Vonne, Brownout, more

Patricia Vonne celebrates the release of her new album on Saturday at the Continental Club. Contributed/Mark Guerra

OUT THIS WEEK

Patricia Vonne, “Top of the Mountain” (Bandolera). The seventh album from the Austin-based native of San Antonio draws upon the full range of her artistic ambitions and musical inclinations. A strong singer with a flair for the dramatic, Vonne consistently delivers memorable vocal performances here, on material that ranges from hard-driving rock ’n’ roll (“City Is Alive”) to midtempo melodicism (the title track) to the more folk-oriented Spanish-language excursions “Madre de Perla” and “Cancion de la Boda.” Vonne wrote or co-wrote all dozen tracks, working with an impressive cast of collaborators such as Alejandro Escovedo, Joe King Carrasco and her longtime guitarist Robert LaRoche. Ace local producers Rick Del Castillo and Michael Ramos helped assemble an A-list supporting cast including guitarists LaRoche and David Grissom, bajo sexto master Max Baca, violinist David Perales, bassists Scott Garber and Greg Gonzales, and drummers Hector Munoz and Dony Wynn. Release show May 26 at Continental Club. Here’s the video for “Tidal Wave”:

Brownout, “Fear of a Brown Planet” (Fat Beats). The American-Statesman’s Deborah Sengupta Stith writes: “Roughly a year after the 10-piece funk powerhouse hung up their Brown Sabbath-era devil horns and declared themselves “Over the Covers” with an EP of original material, they’re back to reimagining the classics. This time, they take on your favorite Public Enemy jams, including “Fight the Power,” “911 Is a Joke” and “Don’t Believe the Hype,” with muscular, horn-heavy interpretations that throw down the psychedelic funk vibe you never knew these tracks were missing.” Release show June 2 at Mohawk outdoor. Here’s “Fight the Power”:

Christina Cavazos, “Mile Marker” EP. Still a high school student when she released two previous EPs in 2016 and 2017, Cavazos is now 18 and heading to college in New York this fall. “Mile Marker,” recorded locally with producer Charlie Magnone, further attests to her potential as a singer-songwriter, and she branches out beyond the acoustic base of her previous work with a couple of more electric, rock-influenced arrangements. Still, it’s the quieter, string-enhanced title track that’s the most enchanting of these six songs. Release show May 23 at Sahara Lounge. Here’s the track “Fire”:

Carry Illinois, “Work in Progress” EP. On their second EP in as many years following 2015’s full-length “Alabaster,” singer-songwriter Lizzy Lehman’s indie-rock/pop outfit strikes mood-heavy tones on a short set of songs dealing in part with the 2016 suicide of the band’s original bassist, John Winsor. She tackles her feelings head-on in “Runaway,” the album’s most instantly arresting track, singing “I know it’s no good to run away.” Guitarist Darwin Smith, drummer Rudy Villarreal, bassist Andrew Pressman and keyboardist Benjamin Rowe Violet provide inventive and empathetic support throughout. Release show May 25 at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Here’s the track “Runaway”:

Christeene, “Basura.” Second album from the avant garde artist known for envelope-pushing and often controversial videos. In-store May 24 at Waterloo Records.

COMING SOON

  • JUNE 1: Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “Downey to Lubbock,” release show June 2 at Antone’s.
  • JUNE 1: Sam Pace & the Gilded Grit, “Judgment Eve,” release show June 2 at Swan Dive.
  • JUNE 1: Hooka Hey, “War Cry,” release show May 31 at Sidewinder.
  • JUNE 1: Zack Varner, “Blues in the Nude.”
  • JUNE 8: Jesse Dayton, “The Outsider” (Blue Elan).
  • JUNE 8: Sarah Sharp, “Dream” EP, playing May 23 at Guero’s.
  • JUNE 15: Tish Hinojosa, “West,” playing June 8 at One World Theatre.
  • JUNE 15: Half Man, “Room to Grow.”
  • JUNE 22: Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat).
  • JUNE 22: Young Mothers, “Morose” (Self Sabotage).
  • JUNE 29: Cody Canada & the Departed, “3” (Underground Sound).
  • JULY 3: Kinky Friedman, “Circus of Life.”
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town.”
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted.”
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile).
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”

READ MORE: Check out all our recent Austin360 On The Record roundups

Austin360 On The Record: Kelly Willis, Jason Boland, more

Kelly Willis is at Waterloo Records at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 17, to celebrate the release of “Back Being Blue.” LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

OUT THIS WEEK

Kelly Willis, “Back Being Blue” (Thirty Tigers). Hard to fathom that it’s been more than a decade since the last solo release from Willis, in part because she’s done plenty since then, including two duet projects with husband Bruce Robison and a reunion of her early band Radio Ranch to mark the silver anniversary of her debut album. “Back Being Blue” follows Willis’s long history of making great records that apply her instantly engaging voice to a blend of her own songs and well-chosen covers. The originals here are mostly up-front, and the title track may be the best, a heartbreak tale set to a soulful slow-burn groove. “Only You” and “Modern World” kick up the pace with country licks well-suited to a barroom dance floor, while “Freewheeling” floats along sweetly with graceful harmonies and fiddle runs from Eleanor Whitmore, a key contributor throughout. What would be side two on a vinyl release focuses on Willis’s interpretive side, including Austin ace Randy Weeks’ “Don’t Step Away,” the 1969 Skeeter Davis hit “I’m A Lover (Not a Fighter)” and “Afternoon’s Gone Blind,” a gem plucked from a little-known 2014 Erice Brace/Karl Straub record that Willis sang on. The clear standout among the covers is “We’ll Do It for Love Next Time,” a Rodney Crowell tune that exquisitely balances joy and regret and sounds just perfect in Willis’s hands. Robison produced “Back Being Blue” at his Bunker studio in Lockhart with a first-class supporting cast including multi-instrumentalists Whitmore and Geoff Queen, guitarist Mark Spencer, bassists John Michael Schoepf and John Ludwick, keyboardist Trevor Nealon and drummer Joshua Blue. This one’s a delightfully homemade affair, right down to daughter Abby taking the cover photograph. In-store May 17 at Waterloo Records, release show June 2 at Stateside at the Paramount. Here’s the title track:

Jason Boland & the Stragglers, “Hard Times Are Relative” (Thirty Tigers). The American-Statesman’s Jake Harris observes: “The album ebbs and flows, with the wilting notes of a steel guitar and the rousing piercings of a fiddle soundtracking songs about love, loss, and all the hard times in between. But while the stories some of these songs tell might end in sadness, the music never sounds morose. Boland’s signature baritone, always authoritative but accessible, never lets the proceedings get that dour. On ‘Going Going Gone,’ Boland’s wry enough to turn a baseball phrase into a leaving song. ‘Dee dee Od’d’ is a rollicking, hard-charging ode to the Ramones, complete with the rapid-fire structure of a punk song. ‘Tattoo of a Bruise’ is a meditation on how to learn from past mistakes.” Read the full interview with Boland about the new record here. Playing May 19 at Dripping Springs Ranch Park. Here’s the track “Right Where I Began”:

Chris Sensat, “Rye.” A mostly instrumental record from a drummer might seem like a hard sell on the surface, but in fact “Rye” is a refreshingly easy listen. Playing keyboards as well as drums, Sensat gets help from guitarist Mike Molnar (who produced) and upright bassist Nick Clark on 10 tracks that are musically adventurous yet focused enough to sound like songs rather than jams. A veteran of Austin bands including the Bellfuries and PigGie, Sensat proves to be a dynamic, versatile and creative musician on this first step into the spotlight. Here’s “Boom,” which features a guest spot from organ master Red Young:

Paper Moon Shiners, “Illusions of Composure.” Guitarist Frank Meyer wrote most of the dozen tracks on this release that features Elena Antinelli as primary vocalist (with Meyer taking the lead on a few cuts). They reach for dark, baroque, otherworldly moods, which makes Lucinda Williams’ “Something Wicked” a good fit amid their own tunes. The instrumentation is acoustic, with notable contributions from multi-instrumentalists Danny Levin and Oliver Steck, cellist John Hagen, fiddler Richard Bowden and others. Release show May 20 at Saxon Pub. Here’s the opening track, “King Midas”:

COMING SOON

  • MAY 23: Christina Cavazos, “Mile Marker” EP, release show May 23 at Sahara Lounge.
  • MAY 25: Brownout, “Fear of a Brown Planet” (Fat Beats), release show June 2 at Mohawk outdoor.
  • MAY 25: Patricia Vonne, “Top of the Mountain” (Bandolera), release show May 26 at Continental Club.
  • JUNE 1: Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “Downey to Lubbock,” release show June 2 at Antone’s.
  • JUNE 1: Hooka Hey, “War Cry,” release show May 31 at Sidewinder.
  • JUNE 1: Zack Varner, “Blues in the Nude.”
  • JUNE 8: Jesse Dayton, “The Outsider” (Blue Elan).
  • JUNE 15: Tish Hinojosa, “West,” playing June 8 at One World Theatre.
  • JUNE 15: Half Man, “Room to Grow.”
  • JUNE 22: Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat).
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town.”
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted.”
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile).
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”

READ MORE: Check out all our recent Austin360 On The Record roundups

Austin360 On The Record: Kat Edmonson, Vince Bell, more

Kat Edmonson plays songs from her new album “Old Fashioned Gal” at Waterloo Records on May 17 and at ACL Live on May 19. Contributed/Glynis Carpenter

Generally our Austin360 On The Record roundup features local artists, but we occasionally include new work from artists who once called Austin home and thus still have connection to the city’s music community. This week we spotlight two such recent releases.

Kat Edmonson, “Old Fashioned Gal” (Spinnerette). “If I had a voice, I would sing, and be satisfied,” Edmonson wishes longingly on “A Voice,” the most immediately arresting track on her fourth album. It’s pure irony, of course: Above all else as a musician, Edmonson has a voice, an exquisite instrument that’s also rich in personality. Her singing is just quirky enough that it may be an acquired taste, but those who love it likely will fall hard for “Old Fashioned Gal,” which features 11 new original songs written with (true to the title) old-fashioned flair. Edmonson first rose to prominence while living in Austin from 2002 to 2011, recording her 2009 debut “Take to the Sky” here. Her style is a throwback to the mid-20th-century heyday of classic jazz vocalists, and she clearly knows this realm intimately, as both composer and lyricist. The territory accommodates both sprightly whimsy and heartfelt balladry, but it also depends heavily on getting the arrangements and production just right. That’s where Edmonson and associate producer Aaron Thurston excel, dressing the songs immaculately with strings, piano and soft symphonic instrumentation to support but never surpass her voice. Edmonson sings, and we’re satisfied. Playing May 17 at Waterloo Records and May 19 at ACL Live. Here’s the video for the title track:

Vince Bell, “Ojo.” A rising-star songwriter in 1970s Austin, Bell nearly lost his life in a 1982 car crash that required a decade of recovery. His 1994 debut album “Phoenix” was one of the finest singer-songwriter albums of the ’90s; two more studio records and a live collection followed, but “Ojo” is his first release in 11 years. It reunites him with musical visionary Bob Neuwirth, who produced “Phoenix,” but they’re after something entirely different here: “Ojo” is mostly a spoken-word affair, set against a mood-enhancing soundscape that underscores the mystical flights and hard truths of Bell’s poetry. Also returning from “Phoenix” is masterful multi-instrumentalist David Mansfield, adding banjo, dobro, lap steel and violin to a mix that includes flute, bass and various percussive accents. Sweet-voiced singer Laura Cantrell contributes perfect harmony vocals to the gorgeous tune “If You Walk Away,” one of two departures from the spoken-word format. Like the journey back from the abyss that Bell navigated a lifetime ago, “Ojo” travels through plenty of dark territory, but there’s always light lurking on the horizon. “Music changes the world,” he concludes on the album’s final track. “I’d like to change it a little bit my way.” He’s done that, indeed. Here’s “If You Walk Away”:

OUT THIS WEEK

Marmalakes, “Please Don’t Stop” (Austin Town Hall). We gave the indie duo’s first full-length release, and first of any kind in five years, its streaming premiere on Austin360 last week. Here’s a live version of the track “Not Gonna Control You”:

Johnny Fury, “II.” The follow-up to this guitarist and singer’s 2014 self-titled debut features traditional blues with jazz overtones, recorded at Wimberley’s Yellow Dog Studios and Austin’s 512 Studios with a cast including Glenn Fukunaga, Omar Vallejo and Bukka Allen. Supplementing seven original tunes are a cover of Magic Sam’s “All Your Love” and an updated take on Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (the Ecology).” Release show May 11 at Bat Bar. Here’s the video for the track “Chronic Blues”:

COMING SOON

  • MAY 18: Kelly Willis, “Back Being Blue” (Thirty Tigers), release show June 2 at Stateside at the Paramount.
  • MAY 18: Jason Boland & the Stragglers, “Hard Times Are Relative” (Thirty Tigers), playing May 19 at Dripping Springs Ranch Park.
  • MAY 18: Chris Sensat, “Rye.”
  • MAY 20: Paper Moon Shiners, “Illusions of Composure” (Shiner), release show May 20 at One-2-One Bar.
  • MAY 23: Christina Cavazos, “Mile Marker” EP, release show May 23 at Sahara Lounge.
  • MAY 25: Brownout, “Fear of a Brown Planet” (Fat Beats), release show June 2 at Mohawk outdoor.
  • MAY 25: Patricia Vonne, “Top of the Mountain” (Bandolera), release show May 26 at Continental Club.
  • JUNE 1: Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “Downey to Lubbock,” release show June 2 at Antone’s.
  • JUNE 1: Hooka Hey, “War Cry,” release show May 31 at Sidewinder.
  • JUNE 1: Zack Varner, “Blues in the Nude.”
  • JUNE 8: Jesse Dayton, “The Outsider” (Blue Elan).
  • JUNE 15: Tish Hinojosa, “West,” playing June 8 at One World Theatre.
  • JUNE 15: Half Man, “Room to Grow.”
  • JUNE 22: Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat).
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town.”
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted.”
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile).
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”

READ MORE: Check out all our recent Austin360 On The Record roundups