Nov 28 Charlie Robison w/Special Guest: The O’s

Charlie Robison by Josie Stein Drenner

There is no mystery to Charlie Robison. What you see is what you get. He is an avid outdoorsman, a full time dad, a road warrior and a veteran artist. If you ask him a question – about anything – you better be ready for the plainspoken truth of an answer.

Throughout his career and eight albums later, Charlie Robison has forged his own path within the country music world as well as the Lone Star music scene. Robison’s touring schedule keeps him on the road with his band more than 150 dates a year.

Growing up in the Texas Hill country where his family has ranched the land for eight generations, music was a staple both in and out of the home. It’s no wonder that Charlie, his brother Bruce and sister Robyn Ludwick all enjoy respected and critically acclaimed music careers.

The O's

We started our group in the summer of 2008, and after having known each other through all of our other groups (Polyphonic Spree, Young Heart Attack, Slick 57, Rose County Fair, Hi-Fi Drowning, etc), it was an easy upstart and took no time jumping in head first. We both had songs that we felt needed to be played but no band to use as an outlet. Three months later, we entered the recording studio and recorded an EP which ended up being half of our first album “We Are The O’s” (2009 Idol Records).

We have since toured relentlessly all across the US, UK, Europe, and even jaunted to Hawaii, hi-fiving friends and fans alike; just trying to keep ourselves out on the road and creating new music for good people. In 2011, we recorded our second album with the Grammy award winning Stuart Sikes. Entitled “Between The Two,” we decided to play every instrument on the album and had Stuart man the helm. It was liberating and exciting and brought us further than we had been before.

We hit the road again jumping back and forth across the great ponds, made music videos, bought and broke vans, bought and broke gear, ate poorly, ate well, had fun and not so much fun, met amazing people, learned a lot about life, forgot a lot of things, slept a little, bought and wore out hundreds of pairs of pants and shirts, resoled our cowboy boots countless times, played with incredible artists, performed on TV shows, talk shows, radio shows, festivals, clubs, bars, restaurants, several different countries and continents, swam in clear water, dredged through the gulf, and other countless, endless adventures to name.
We did this all as we have always, to make good music for good people.

And into the future we go with “Thunderdog”, our third studio album released in 2013. We decided to record the majority of the new album, at the recommendation of our great producer, Chris “Frenchie” Smith, in Tornillo, TX at the legendary Sonic Ranch Studio. It’s a state of the art, top notch studio where we could stay on site, eat on site, and record without distractions (other than the delicious Sonic Ranch “Salsa de Roja” that lead to many debates on whether or not anything would taste good without it afterwords…) We finished up the album at The Bubble in Austin, TX and look forward to getting it into everyone’s hands!

See you folks on the other side and we look forward to the ride.

Nov 26 Jackson Taylor & the Sinners w/Special Guest: Cody Jinks

JacksonTaylor

Jackson Taylor is a story teller, plain and simple.

Jackson Taylor tells stories about what he knows — life. Jackson’s lyrics paint tales of lives filled with passion and joy as much as of a life tainted by sorrow and disappointment – his life. Jackson sings of heaven and hell, beauty and grit – Jackson sings of real life.

Born one of eleven siblings to parents of migrant workers, his life began in Moody, Texas, a small town just north of Austin. It was a nomadic existence stripped of the comforts and security that most take for granted. Jackson’s roots instead became deep seeded in his love for music, a passion passed on to Jackson at an early age by his father who would steal away whenever possible to see and hear country greats like Waylon, Willie, and Billy Joe Shaver perform, often with Jackson in tow.

Jackson’s adolescence was spent bouncing from one migrant labor town to another, finally settling in a small farming town in Washington State. After graduating high school, he moved back to Texas for a while but soon left to try and make his mark in Nashville. There, Jackson found work as a songwriter, but life for Jackson was still a steep uphill climb, and after a couple of tough and frustrating years, Jackson had to face the hard truth that Nashville was not the “home” for which he had spent his whole life searching.

From New York City to Los Angeles, Jackson has finally found his rightful home, ironically right back where his life began — in Texas.

Combining his real life experiences with old school country elements, and throwing in the flavors of punk and southern rock to create a style all his own, Jackson Taylor continues to break the rules of traditional country music with his straightforward lyrics, “take it or leave it” approach, intense live performances, and the drive and determination of a freight train. The end result can not be pigeon holed into any style and can only be rightfully defined as what it is: “Jackson Taylor Music”.

Billy Joe Shaver summed up it up best when he said, “Jackson’s songs are so real and honest, you know straight off he’s been there and done that. He writes and sings like he lives, great songs that I believe will live forever.”

Cody Jinks

Nov 22 Chris Knight w/Special Guest: Jonny Burke

Chris Knight

Chris Knight doesn’t like to say much. Won’t chat about his worldview or engage in conversations on his creative approach. For 15 years, 7 acclaimed albums and a hard-nosed career that’s been hailed as “where Cormac McCarthy meets Copperhead Road”, Knight has always let his music do most of the talking. And on record – as well everywhere across America, from roadhouse taverns to major-city concert halls – his songs have had plenty to say. But with his new album Little Victories, Chris Knight has taken the discussion to a whole new level.

His first album of new material in 4 years, Little Victories is a record of blunt honesty, elegiac truths and the raw rural poetry of an artist who’s come into his own and intends to stay. And for a performer who’s been compared over the years to Cash, Prine, Earle and Nebraska-era Springsteen, Knight now stands alone as a singer/songwriter that has carved his own idiosyncratic sound and sensibility out of the dirt road American dream. Little Victories not only sounds like a Chris Knight album, but the best Chris Knight album yet.

“I don’t ever get in a big rush about things,” Knight says. “I can tour pretty good on what I got. I took my time, like I always do. Write a song every now and then. I don’t like to talk about politics, but I do write what I’m thinking about.” And if many of the songs on Little Victories seem to take a hard-eyed look at the current socio-economic climate, Knight – the former strip-mine inspector who still lives in the backcountry coal town of Slaughters, Kentucky (population 200) where he was raised – is upfront about their origins. “About 2 years ago, we had a big ice storm here in Slaughters that just devastated the whole area,” he says. “We were out of power for close to a month, cooking in the fireplace and living by candlelight to survive. Things slowed down to nothing. When we were finally able to head into town, we saw lines of cars for miles outside the gas station. There were hundreds of people outside the hardware store who had nothing even before the storm hit. They weren’t prepared for the situation or for each other. I watched their behavior and reactions, and that’s when I started writing a bunch of songs I knew would be a part of this record.”

Little Victories also marks a reunion with producer Ray Kennedy, who’d engineered and mastered Knight’s seminal Enough Rope and two Trailer Tapes albums and is well known for his work with Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, John Mellencamp and Lucinda Williams. “Chris wanted to make this record with his road band,” explains Kennedy. “And as we were tracking in the studio, the sounds I was sending back through the headphones were pretty tough and edgy. It made everybody crank their amps up higher and dig a little deeper. The sound of any record is about attitude and how it goes down, and much of this record went down like a rock record. Other than a few overdubs, it’s pretty much recorded 100% live.” This organic approach gives the album an acoustic/electric texture that is both urgently gritty and fiercely expressive, with Knight’s twang-rich vocals to match. “Chris digs deepest of all on this record,” Kennedy says. “It’s the content of his voice as well as the character of the songs. And when you listen to this record a few times, you realize there’s a really unique social commentary woven in. I think he’s one of our greatest songwriters, period.”

The album’s 11 songs purely rank among Knight’s finest. There’s busted luck in “Lowdown Ramblin’ Blues”, hardcore tenacity in “Nothing On Me” and badtempered love in “You Lie When You Call My Name” (co-written with two-time Grammy winner Lee Ann Womack). Buddy Miller provides guest vocals on the ominous commentary of “In The Mean Time” and the ornery regret of “Missing You”. “Jack Loved Jesse” is a raging tale of criminal destiny co-written and featuring blistering electric guitar and vocals by former Georgia Satellite and frequent Knight producer Dan Baird. “You Can’t Trust No One” emerges as an unsettling paean to small-town American cynicism and anger, and “The Lonesome Way” is a gut-punch of slide-guitar, violin (courtesy Tammy Rogers of The Steeldrivers, who appears throughout the album) and bullheaded regret. The humble acoustic remorse of “Out Of This Hole” is Knight at his most plaintive, and the crushed dreams of “Hard Edges” carry a banjo-tinged melancholy. And if the title track not only finds Knight at his most cheerily optimistic (for Chris, at least), it also features vocals from his lifelong musical hero John Prine. “When I was 16, I got a John Prine songbook and learned about 40 of his songs,” Knight explains. “Used to play them for the kids in study hall at school every day. About 20 years later, I finally got to meet him when I opened a few shows for him. He asked me to come out and sing “Paradise” as part of his encore, and I got to play the blonde Martin guitar that was on the cover of his first album. I sent him “Little Victories” and he liked the song enough to be on it.” Chris treasures the moment when the two first listened to the playback of their distinctive twangs rasping joyfully together on the chorus. “‘Prine turned to me and said, ‘We sound pretty good together. Just like Phil and Don Everly.’”

So after 15 years, 8 albums and a still uncompromised reputation as one of the best singer/songwriters in America, what has Chris Knight learned from it all? “I’ve learned that I’m pretty lucky to do what I do and make a living at it,” he says. “I’m really proud of this record, and it’ll be fun to play these songs live. For people who like my music and maybe even for someone hearing me for the first time, I think they’ll find songs on here that mean something to them and they can hang on to. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but I think people are gonna be surprised.” And for Chris Knight, that’s victory enough.

jonny burke

Jonny Burke is a man continually on the move, musically and literally. His debut solo album – “Distance and Fortune” – was quickly followed up with his 2012 release, “Cup Runneth Over.” As producer of the bulk of the project – released independently on his own Dreamcar Records — Burke made an album that is as raw and honest as it gets.

Burke admits that he has enjoyed being on stage and performing from an early age. He was born and raised in New Braunfels, a small town in Texas. His dad taught him his first chords and played him Chuck Berry’s ‘Jonny B. Goode’ when he was a little boy. Burke would listen to albums like Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” and Townes Van Zandt’s “Flyin Shoes” over and over again. By the time Burke was 15, he was already performing in bars. He formed his first band, the Dedringers, and it became a popular regional band while he was still in his teens. “I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to come home after playing a bar and making a little cash,” he recalls. “Nobody in high school could compete with that!”

Since the release of “Cup Runneth Over” Burke has continued to tour the country opening for greats like James McMutry. After a few years residing in Southern California, Burke found himself spending more time in his home state of Texas playing shows and co-writing with friends for what will inevitably become his next project.

December 31 Midnight River Choir w/special guest: Court Nance

midnight river choir

Texas Groove Music

Come ring in the New Year with us!

The story of Midnight River Choir is proof that sometimes great bands just happen. One night, four strangers ended up on a late night float trip down the Guadalupe River. As they made their way down the river singing songs, the beautiful harmonies floated into the heads of sleeping campers. The next morning, the boys overheard a man telling a friend that he was “awakened by a midnight river choir.” That was all it took. Eric Middleton (lead singer and guitarist), Justin Nelson (lead guitarist), Jeromy Yager (former bassist), and Mitchell Pyeatt (drummer), realized the magic of their combined talents and began writing and performing together under that River-God given name.
The formation of Midnight River Choir was nothing short of a force of nature that now translates seamlessly during their live shows. This band needs no labels or comparisons. Their music speaks volumes about who and what they are. Their lives have been woven together by a strong thread of energy both on and off stage. That energy is raw and natural and soaked up from the earth through their bare feet. They believe that what you get is what you give and they give everything they have to their crowds. When that kind of energy lands back at the feet of the boys it is something of supreme intensity. And no one ever forgets it.