Live Entertainment in Houston, TX

Jul
26
Sat
July 26 Bri Bagwell and Scott Dean
Jul 26 @ 9:00 pm

Bri Bagwell

Bri Bagwell is real country music, and what country music should strive to be. She is an independent artist without a record deal, and without management. Her popularity is derived 100% by word of mouth and her raw talent. This grass roots effort is rare these days; it speaks to her infectious music and appeal.

She fell in love with music at an early age, and started playing in a band with her older brothers while just a teenager growing up in New Mexico. A couple of weeks after turning 18, she moved to Austin, TX to study at UT and begin her music career in the live music capital of the world. Late nights, rowdy Texas crowds, and being alone on stage with just a guitar shaped her onstage charismatic charm. She learned to gain a crowd’s attention with her beautiful voice, singing songs she wrote herself.

She earned a degree in Marketing from UT, but did not enter the corporate world. Instead, she pulled together some outstanding musicians, and now tours with a full band. Her first CD, “Banned from Santa Fe”, released June 2011, sold through the several printings, and is gaining traction very quickly among music fans. Bri Bagwell was the only female artist on the Texas Music Chart for a few weeks with her single, also titled “Banned from Santa Fe” and her song “Whiskey” became her 1st top 15 hit and has passed 30,000 youtube views on the single’s video.

In the internet age with music coming at you from every type of media, it is harder and harder for artists to get attention. Bri Bagwell is not only gaining attention, but she is also drumming up excitement; and, she does it all without a million-dollar budget.

scott dean

Scott Dean McCurry is a Dallas singer-songwriter who has been paving his own path on the Texas Music Scene for nearly a decade. Influenced by a vast range of styles; Scott has continually pushed the envelope with his personal spin on contemporary rock n’ roll. In 2013, Scott decided to transform his “fist-pumping sunshine rock” into a unique version of Texas Country, exchanging funky-rhythms and synthesizers for pedal-steel and fiddle. Although he has embarked on a new genre, two things still remain consistent; “his catchy upbeat melodies that get stuck in your head”, and his “raucous, energy-filled live performances”. In the process, he opted to drop “McCurry”, as to not be confused with a recent American Idol winner with a strikingly similar name.
Just recently, Scott put the finishing touches on his new EP, “Re-Shuffle”. Although it is his 5th studio album, it is his first Country release. The tunes are full of carefree energy that will make any youthful spirit want to crack open a cold-beer and start singing along. It was his intent to make each tune on the record uplifting and fun.
“Country tends to have the ability to make people either really happy or really sad, I wanted people to hear this music and wish they were out on a Saturday Night. Each song started as a rough idea written on a bar napkin with a couple of buddies, so I wanted that same essence to be captured in the studio…”
Although Scott has primarily spent the majority of his career in a different music realm, he constantly found himself playing within the Texas Country Scene. Gigging festivals and clubs with Texas Country legends like Robert Earl Keen and the Old 97s, and current acts like Kevin Fowler and Josh Abbott. Channeling his love for old school country, like The Flying Burrito Brothers and Jerry Jeff Walker, Scott decided to go all in this year, and re-shuffle his music career; hence the album name.
“Making this kind of music is something I’ve wanted to do for years. Living in Texas my entire life, I have always been exposed to it, and always had such an admiration for classic country and its ability to vividly bring stories to life.”

Jul
31
Thu
July 31 Tracie Lynn Dance Night
Jul 31 @ 8:00 pm

Tracie Lynn

http://www.tracielynn.com/music.html

The 65 Roses Story
In the past couple of years, my band and I have had the opportunity to help with a few benefits for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Last year while singing at one of their events, I couldn’t help but notice that every time we played at one of the functions, there were always a number of roses throughout the room. I asked my friend, and supporter of the foundation, Tom Wertz, what the roses represented. He explained that 65 Roses actually stood for “Cystic Fibrosis” and later sent me
the true story about the meaning of the roses.

This story moved me to begin writing a song about Cystic Fibrosis. So, while I was in Nashville, I shared Mary and Richard’s story with my friend, Troy Powers, who was also moved and wanted to help me finish the song. I was happy with what we wrote but I really couldn’t put my finger on why I had such a desire to record it. At the time, I wasn’t working on a new album, I really didn’t have the money to go in the studio and I had no plans for the song after it was recorded. But, I just let my heart lead me and ended up in San Antonio at the Cherry Ridge Studio. We recorded the song, and it turned out great. I am now hoping the song we wrote, Sixty Five Roses, can help raise a little money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Therefore, ALL money/donations made from the sale of the Sixty Five Roses MP3 located on my website will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I will track the amount of money raised and report it on this site. So please check back in and thank you in advance for your contribution.

Since 1965, the term “65 Roses” has been used by children of all ages to describe their disease. But, making it easier to say does not make CF any easier to live with. The “65 Roses” story has captured the hearts and emotions of all who have heard it. The rose, appropriately the ancient symbol of love, has become a symbol of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Aug
1
Fri
August 1 Adam Hood w/Special Guest: Rosehill
Aug 1 @ 9:00 pm

Adam Hood

Now a successful songwriter and an Alabaman with a devout Texas following, Adam says he never dreamed of being an artist. “I never realized it was possible because I’m from a small town,” he says. “But I’ve always been the kind of guy who puts the cart before the horse, and I spent most of my 20s forcing things to happen. Honestly, that’s why it’s taken me so long to get here. But timing’s everything.”

Rosehill

Rosehill – the charismatic duo comprised of lifelong friends Mitch McBain and Blake Myers – celebrates the launch of their anticipated sophomore album, Crooked Thoughts. Coming off the success of their last disc, White Lines And Stars, the pair has effectively won over the hearts of fans and critics alike. “We have really grown into our strengths over the past couple years,” says Myers. “Crooked Thoughts is a distinct reflection of our combined creative vision and we are very proud of this project.”

On Crooked Thoughts, tracks like “Playing For Pride,” “Shotgun Out Of Town,” and “When The Flame Goes Out” showcase their writing talents and airtight, pristine harmonies. The new album also reflects life’s experiences, which have helped make this a collection of songs they could not have released – until now. “My whole world has changed since the first album,” says McBain. “I’ve gotten married, and we just had our first baby. All of that plays into your emotions when you’re writing a song.”

That sense of ownership spills over into their overall career goals. “We are lucky to be from Texas, where there is such a passion and demand for music. That audience has really embraced us,” says Myers. “However, we feel that our brand of music transcends Texas and with the new album, we hope to achieve that type of success throughout the country.”

Working again with all-star producers Radney Foster and Jay Clementi, Rosehill feels that the recording process for Crooked Thoughts was one that allowed them to branch out sonically and artistically. This album goes hand in hand with who they are musically. “You’re not going to get a better example of us than when you hear the harmonies on this record, and the songs we wrote. This is the record we wanted to make.”

Rosehill has already garnered impressive accolades, including four Top 15 singles on the Texas Music Chart, including the #5 hit, ‘Dream It All Over Again’; extensive play on CMT Pure with a #10 spot on the CMT Pure 12-Pack Countdown; high praise from media outlets like the Dallas Morning News, CMT, E! News, Billboard.com, Lonestar Music Magazine, Best in Texas and the Austin Chronicle. Rosehill has also realized great success in touring over the past 12 months, including performing with acts like Bob Seger, Kevin Fowler, Stoney LaRue, Jarrod Nieman, Aaron Watson, Wade Bowen, Josh Abbott and Radney Foster. Venue highlights include Houston Livestock and Rodeo, Ziegenbock festival, BamaJam and the American Airlines Center (Dallas).

Aug
2
Sat
August 2 Mark McKinney and Special Guest: Drug Store Gypsies
Aug 2 @ 9:00 pm

MarkMcKinney

Mark McKinney likes to keep the people guessing.

Considered by Texas music fans to be a powerhouse of an entertainer, McKinney’s wide range of musical influences are clearly evident in his highly original songs- and range from emotion and lyric rich Americana songs, rowdy Country drinking anthems to delicately crafted love songs.

A west Texas native, he moved to Austin, Texas in the 90s and has since been quite comfortable living in the live music capitol of the world. In the summer of 2006, Mark released his first solo album, “Get It On” and began touring with Texas country hell-raiser Kevin Fowler.

Anyone who has ever been to a Mark McKinney show knows that he delivers a high-powered, energetic live performance centered around crowd favorites like “Bonfire” and “Drink Too Much” that can work a rowdy, honky-tonkin crowd. But his studio albums will surprise you. Ballads such as “Long Night Coming On,” and “Sleeping Alone Tonight,” from his “Middle America” album and “Warm With You” off of his latest studio album, “Home,” offer honest and personal lyrics, and show a deeper side to his songwriting. Mark snagged his first Number One spot on the Texas Music Chart and TRRR in early 2013 with “She Ain’t Leavin’,” the deubt single off of his latest album, “Standing My Ground.” Later that year, the second single from the album, “Stolen Cash,” made its way up to Number Three on the charts.

Touring constantly since 2006, Mark has delivered over 160 memorable performances every single year to his growing Texas and national fan base. To his credit, Mark has penned co-writes with Grammy-nominated songwriters John Mabe and James Slater, as well as renowned Texas songwriters Kevin Fowler, Larry Joe Taylor, and Kyle Park. Newcomer to the Texas music scene, Brian Burke, recently released his latest single “Close,” a light-hearted love song, co-written with McKinney that has spent 8 weeks on the Texas Music Chart since its radio debut in the spring of 2012. McKinney has also gained national recognition by having several songs licensed and used by ESPN and NASCAR.

Over the course of his career, McKinney has shared the stage with music legends like Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Charlie Daniels, Travis Tritt, Ted Nugent, Robert Earl Keen, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Billy Currington, Gary Allan, Randy Houser, Ryan Bingham, Randy Rogers, Eli Young Band, Kevin Fowler, Wade Bowen and Pat Green. In the summer of 2008 during a tour with Kevin Fowler in France, McKinney won the French Country Music Award for “Live Performance of the Year” for his concert at the Equiblues Festival in St. Agreve France. He is in great company- previous winners of this award include Brad Paisley, Jamey Johnson, and Dierks Bentley.

With four studio albums, a live album, eleven Top 10 hits on the Texas Country Charts, an ever-growing fan base and a favorite entertainer of Texas music scene, Mark McKinney is a force to be reckoned with, and has no plans of slowing down any time soon. “I just released my fourth studio album, “Standing My Ground.” I’ve never been more excited about a collection of songs than these. I feel like I’m really coming back to my roots, and my song writing is heading in a very inspiring and exciting direction, and I have had nothing but postive reactions from radio, fans and friends. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store.” We can’t wait either.

 

Drugstore Gypsies

Aug
8
Fri
August 8 Two Tons of Steel
Aug 8 @ 9:00 pm

Two Tons of Steel

Before there was Americana, before there was Texas Country, Two Tons of Steel front man Kevin Geil and his original band, “Dead Crickets,” rocked a sound that blended the best of musical worlds and pushed the envelope of “Texas” sound with a signature brand of high-energy country meets raw punk.

The San Antonio-based group packed the small bars and local hangouts and quickly became the Alamo City’s most-loved band, earning them a spot on the cover of Billboard Magazine in 1996. It was the beginning of a twenty year journey for Geil and the 4-piece ensemble.

Releasing “Two Tons Of Steel” in 1994 and “Crazy For My Baby” in 1995 on Blue Fire Records, a sponsorship deal with Lone Star Beer quickly followed. Dead Crickets, renamed Two Tons of Steel in 1996 began traveling outside of Texas, including stops at the Grand Ole’ Opry in Nashville, Tenn., the National Theater in Havana, Cuba, and European tours, to greet fans who had embraced their Texas-born sound. In 1996 they released “Oh No!” on their independent label, “Big Bellied Records.” They followed up the passion project with a live recording at the legendary Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas, taped during a Two Ton Tuesday Show 1998.

In 2013, the band marks 18 years of “Two Ton Tuesday Live from Gruene Hall.” The summer-long event drew 13,000 fans in 2012 and more than 150,000 fans since it began its annual run in 1995.

The popular concert series was captured in “Two Ton Tuesday Live,” a DVD-CD combo released on Palo Duro Records in 2006. Also that year, the band’s first national release, “Vegas,” produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Lloyd Maines on the Palo Duro label, took them to No. 7 on the Americana Music Charts and was one of the top 20 releases of 2006. Two Tons released “Not That Lucky” in 2009. The album peaked at No. 4 on the Americana Music Charts and has made Two Tons of Steel a band to watch in 2013.

Along the way, the band has collected a number of awards. To date, Two Tons has cleaned up at home, winning “Band of the Year” on 12 separate occasions and “Album of the Year” for its self-titled debut. Two Tons has also been named “Best Country Band” by the San Antonio Current ten times. Geil also has nabbed ‘Best Male Vocal’ honors four times.

Two Tons of Steel’s reach extends beyond their live gigs. In 2003, the band was filmed during a “Two Ton Tuesday” gig for the IMAX film, “Texas: The Big Picture,” which can be seen daily at the IMAX Theatre in the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin and has been seen as far away as Japan. The band also has been featured as supporting characters in award-winning author Karen Kendall’s romance novel, “First Date.”

Two Tons Of Steel, Kevin Geil, Jake “Sidecar” Marchese on Upright Bass, Brian Duarte on Lead Guitar and Paul Ward on Drums continues to push the line between country and punk with its next project “Unraveled” produced by Lloyd Maines, due out July 2, 2013.
Band Interests

Aug
9
Sat
August 9 Mark Allan Atwood & Brimstone w/Special Guests: Neil Austin Imber & The Powell Brothers
Aug 9 @ 9:00 pm

Mark Allan Atwood & Brimstone

mark allan atwood bw

Brimstone is the full band incarnation of Mark Allan Atwood and is made up of a talented group of like minded music maniacs who, for reasons the world may never fully understand, all have the same vision for the music as MAA does, plus they sorta like him.

Blending a foundation built on old school country, metal, jazz fusion and certainly blues, the members of Brimstone come from all over the musical map, but have all found themselves comfortably creating great new sounds in the land of the Maarmadillo.

Neil opening for Charlie by Josie Stein Drenner

Neil Austin Imber is one of the most thoughtful, prolific songwriters of his time. Never sacrificing himself and the stories he tells for the sake of a hit. Writing songs from the depths of his soul and showing exactly the man he is in his songs as he does in person. Providing a one on one conversation with Neil himself with every song – Sean M. Ogburn, Circle O Productions LLC

The Powell Brothers

Blake and Taylor Powell are two multi-instrumentalists from Houston, Texas. They first toured together in 2006 as a hired backing band, and continued to play as much as they could until finally escaping high school. After briefly attending music school, both have worked as songwriters, producers, band members, music directors and session players for more than 30 artists internationally. Their playing can be heard on numerous albums, TV shows, movies, and they continue to travel and perform across North America. In February of 2014 they were both on the verge of pursuing separate careers on opposite sides of the United States, but instead, decided to focus on making their own music. They are influenced by their predecessors and peers, as well as the many genres they have experienced as sidemen, drawing from pop and rock n roll to bluegrass and gypsy jazz. These ingredients, their seasoned musical experience, and a brotherly vibe make them a must see.

Aug
15
Fri
August 15 William Clark Green w/Special Guest: Cody Bryan Band
Aug 15 @ 9:00 pm

William Clark Green

With two critically esteemed album releases already under his belt, William Clark Green is back and this time it is getting personal. Give Green a pen and paper and he is a lyrical force to be reckoned with. On his critically acclaimed third release, Rose Queen, he is puts it all on the line and makes absolutely no apologies. “Songwriting is reality. People are scared to put reality on paper, but this is 10 times more reality than my past work,” he explains bluntly. The past few years have been consumed with Green touring heavily in the booming Texas scene and persistently writing a plethora of songs that are pulled from true to life experiences. Green has adamantly pushed his boundaries as a writer revealing, “Songwriting is exactly what is in your heart, in my opinion, it is not about writing a hit. It is about revealing your heart and your feelings on the paper.”

The music on Rose Queen ranges from the familiar Cajan flare he is known for on “Let’s Go” to the highly reflective and introspective “Welcome to the Family.” In the candidly honest lead single, “It’s About Time,” Will tackles the harsh reality that a significant relationship must end. He explains, “I think the new record will connect with a certain demographic of people who have been effected by something in their lives and therefore can identify with my stories.”

Not only has Green raised the bar with his seasoned writing and musicianship, he also enlisted a team of powerhouses to mold his full package of artistry. Music industry veteran Rachel Loy was recruited to undertake producing the new record. Green declares, “I was sold on her in just 30 minutes. She installs confidence and challenges me to be better.” Also, in the last year he signed with new management, 415 Entertainment, as well as landed a booking deal with Nashville’s Paradigm Agency. For the first time, Green embraced the nature of co-writing and included 4 tracks of co-writes on the new album.

William Clark Green is definitely no stranger to the music scene; he knew at the ripe age of 13 that he would embrace his passion and work vigorously in order to make a name for himself. As a 7th grader with substantial ambition, he began receiving guitar lessons and spending free time with his cousin writing music and bouncing ideas off of one another. Green draws inspiration from his personal musical hero Willis Allan Ramsey, as well as his father who Green has fond memories of with a guitar in hand.

While attending college at Texas Tech University, Green played for a live audience whenever he could and steadily gained notoriety on the Texas music scene. He credits the Blue Light in Lubbock as his unofficial home, where he spent many nights honing on his craft and gaining a loyal army of followers.

Rose Queen has already marked a number of milestones for the young storyteller. The debut single, “It’s About Time”, was welcomed at radio with open arms and earned William’s first Top Ten song on Texas Radio. The momentum did not stop there as his follow up single, “She Likes The Beatles,” recently scored the #1 position on both the Texas Music Chart (TMC) and the Texas Regional Radio Report (TRRR) in seemingly the blink of an eye. At this rate, the sky is the limit as everyone waits to see what William Clark Green has up his sleeve next. The full album released on April 30, 2013

CodyBryanHi-Res1 (1)
Texas native Cody Bryan has one of those rich, resonant voices that’s perfectly suited for country, whether he’s rocking a honky-tonk on Saturday night or soothing regret-filled hearts on Sunday morning. WRECK ME (May 14, 2013), the Cody Bryan Band’s debut album, showcases Bryan’s considerable vocal and songwriting skills on 10 strong tracks, most co-written during one marathon weekend in Nashville. Standouts include the first single, “If I’m Going Nowhere,” the love song, “When We Were Made,” and the title track “Wreck Me”. Helmed by producer and Blue October bassist Matt Noveskey, WRECK ME transcends geographic or stylistic boundaries while heralding the arrival of an important new talent. Cody is accompanied by Zach Lynch on lead guitar, Miles Barker on bass, Casey Conway on drums and Cole Gramling on keys to create the Cody Bryan Band! Look for these guys to make an impact on the Texas Country music scene in 2014!

Aug
16
Sat
August 16 Matt Stillwell w/Special Guest: Doc West
Aug 16 @ 9:00 pm

matt stillwell

Matt Stillwell was born in the mountains of North Carolina and has loved music all of his life…well music and sports. During college, athletics was Matt’s priority, not music. At Western Carolina University, he was an All Conference performer on the baseball team, playing both infield and outfield. Touted as a probable major league draft choice during his junior season at WCU, he chose music over baseball. He says, “I could have chased the dream and went and tried out and played independent ball,but I thought, ‘If I’m going to chase something,’ I’d rather it be music.”
In late 2008, he released his debut single, “Shine” debuted at #25 on iTunes country chart and the accompanying music video reaching #5 on CMT Pure and breaking into the Top 10 on GAC’s Top 20 Country Countdown. Stillwell has been touring in his custom wrapped bus called “The Mule” across the country headlining his own shows, as well as opening for country superstars such as Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Gloriana, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and performing at huge music festivals like Country Thunder. Matt has released his sophomore album Right On Time to much fan anticipation.

Stillwell explains, “This album means a lot to me on several levels. We’ve been playing a few of these songs live for a while now and people have been asking for the whole album, so it’ll be great to get it in their hands. For me this is also a collection of songs that I really believe in and that I’m proud of, so it’s a step in the right direction as an artist.”

To him the album is “pun intended: it’s right on time.”

Doc West & The Ramblin Kind

http://www.docwestmusic.com/media.php

“Passionate about my music – it allows me to express myself and to connect with other people through a song.”

Doc West, aka Jose Salazar, always knew it was what he wanted to do while growing up on a ranch in Flatonia, Texas. Influenced at an early age by George Strait, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Waylon and Willie and Hank Jr., — it wasn’t until college that all the “Pieces” started coming together.

Ever since he was a kid, active in 4-H and FFA, Doc West knew he wanted to be a veterinarian. But it was while attending Texas A&M University, living the college life, going to concerts and watching live music that he was inspired to pick up the guitar and sing. It was a Randy Rogers Band concert that pushed him over the edge to actually go out and buy his first guitar.

Little did he know – his interest in music and encouragement to sing would lead him to actually play the guitar and perform songs inspired by the likes of Wade Bowen, Pat Green, Cory Morrow and Roger Creager.

“It was seeing the interaction between those guys and the crowd that made me want to perform and have others feel emotion through my music.”

Doc West worked his craft as a break from the intense curriculum to achieve his lifelong ambition as a vet. The fall of 2006 he formed a band called Broke 60. Shortly after graduating in 2011, he began working on his first EP, which was released in June 2012. That album is available under “Jose Salazar” titled “Finding Me”.

With constant practice, performing, writing and recording, change was imminent. With the help and advice of several individuals a name change was decided upon so that there was no confusion on the genre of music he played when shipped across the state to numerous radio stations. Just released under Doc West and The Ramblin Kind, the second album, “Pieces” features the single, “Heart of Stone” new to the Texas Music Charts.

Doc West and The Ramblin Kind is integrated into the Texas Music Scene and open for the very artists that inspired them, including Brandon Rhyder, Casey Donohue, No Justice, Josh Abbott, Aaron Watson amongst others.

Doc West and his band can be seen through out the state of Texas as they continue to build their fan base while writing about real life experiences that listeners can relate to. If not playing a gig in traditional venues, Doc West and The Ramblin Kind frequently play benefits for cancer, veterans, animal shelters and other charities. “It’s my way of giving back through the talent the Good Lord gave me.”

Aug
21
Thu
August 21 Mike Stinson – Dance Night
Aug 21 @ 8:00 pm

mike stinson

From stone cold honky tonk to some of the stoutest rock you’ll ever hear, Mike Stinson writes ‘em and sings ‘em like music is a life-and-death matter. Dwight Yoakam covered Stinson’s “Late Great Golden State.” After 18 years in Los Angeles, Stinson moved to Houston, Texas four years back, and the move spurred an amazing streak of creativity, which he captured on his fourth album with legendary roots producer R.S. Field.

Aug
30
Sat
August 30 American Aquarium w/Special Guest: Sam Sliva and the Good
Aug 30 @ 9:00 pm

American Aquarium

In the business of music, many are called and many may try, but few cross the threshold of being able to say they are truly committed for the long haul. With the upcoming release of their latest studio album, Burn.Flicker.Die. American Aquarium is proving that they have graduated to that class of professional musicians that have made an undeniable commitment to their music and their fans.

American Aquarium’s six years as a band have been a fast-moving blur of rubber on road, touring coast to coast through the states and Europe. Most nights of the year are spent far from their Raleigh homes, squinting out from bright stages at a growing legion of passionate fans who’ve followed them through the release of six albums that reflect a whirlwind of too many whiskey soaked nights, nameless women in smoky bars and fast living while your youth is in full bloom. But what happens when it all stops feeling good?

Burn.Flicker.Die. is what has emerged from that scenario for this group of hard working players. After two years of writing, they journeyed to the legendary recording hub which gave birth to some of the greatest blues, country and rock records of all time: Muscle Shoals/Sheffield, AL. Recorded in eight days under the precise hand of friend/tour buddy Jason Isbell, the record is an aptly named milestone for the band, and their most painstaking effort to date. As a long-time Southern rock artisan, Isbell provided a weathered know-how in producing the record American Aquarium is proudest of. Described as a “consequence record” by vocalist BJ Barham, the band spent that week pushing out everything that’s been haunting them: working for six years, watching buzz bands peak and die, and pining for their own payoff.

“I wish my addictions didn’t mean so much/but we all can’t be born with that kind of luck,” Barham sings on the title track, capturing the fast lifestyle with images of subtle barroom horrors: Finding a high in a dingy bathroom stall, a pretty barfly from somewhere down south you won’t see again, free shots you can’t say no to. “Casualties” is a soaring, chorus-less ode to death by rock that confronts age and the band’s great fear of having made the wrong choice. They’ve watched artists ride the hype train right off the track. But that can’t be American Aquarium – they’ve been laying low too long, finding their way to the most poignant album of their careers through hard touring and waking up to realize that it’s not Saturday night anymore.

Some of the record hurts to hear, like the quiet, fine-spun “Harmless Sparks.” It sounds like the flicker of a solitary cigarette burning to its filter in the blue-black glow of a bar. Keys plink like shot glasses in the background, and you’re the last to go home. American Aquarium has been there before. But the record also looks to the end of a hard road, where there might be validation for good music, and even love. In “Jacksonville,” Barham promises someone a call if he “makes it out alive.” Taking a cue from Ryan Adams, he draws romance out of shame in “Northern Lights.” And in “Saturday Nights” and “Saint Mary’s,” he makes a subtle mockery of the dives they know too well – slick with spilled whiskey and crawling with restless women who all look the same.

Every grizzled image of Burn.Flicker.Die is real, which comes from the band’s profound understanding of small southern town debauchery and six years of pushing their careers off the bottom rung. Like many of their musical heroes that have paved the way before them, American Aquarium can wrap the ugliest feelings in the most spirited soundscape. Sonically uplifting instrumentation and vivid, wrenching lyrics illuminate the dark side of hanging out in rock ‘n’ roll limbo, but also how the band has clawed their way out of it. Through their struggle to sustain their career and resist the temptation of fire, American Aquarium’s demons have hung around. But so have they.

Sam Sliva & The Night People

Take one listen to Sam Sliva and you’ll remember why you fell in love with music to begin with. Now based in Austin, Sliva grew up in the Houston area listening to everything from Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin to George Strait and John Lee Hooker.

“I like to combine all of my influences and make one collective sound,” Sliva says, and he did just that on his most recent disc, “…And the People Say.”. Elements of reggae, country, rock, blues, R&B and folk all intertwine to create something indefinable but coherent. Although it may best fit into Adult Contemporary or Americana rock playlists, the music retains a distinct edge and bluesy swagger that marks it as characteristically Sliva.

As adept a guitarist as he is a lyricist and songwriter, Sliva admits that he’s self taught and says “It really shows through in my music.

Radio immediately took notice as introductory single from “…And the People Say,” “It Is What It Is,” initially charted at #51 on the AC charts and opened the door for Sliva to reveal more of himself and peel back the layers of his distinctive style and sound. Even before radio took hold, Sliva was already developing a following throughout Texas, Oklahoma and the Midwest and has built his fan base the old fashioned way: one show and one fan at a time.

With roughly 1200 live shows logged in over the past 6 years, Sliva thrives on the road. More recently, his touring schedule has seen him branch out from the Texas circuit to the midwest, southeast, westcoast and beyond while sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in the industry.

Sliva’s soulful vocals and ability to craft not only catchy hooks, but also vivid and memorable lyrics as well as his eclectic style and ability to meld genres puts him in good company, allowing him to sit easily in playlists next to everyone from Michael Franti to Eli Young Band to John Mayer to Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

“It’s been said before, but the only way I know how to be immortal is through music,” Sliva says. “I don’t care about making a million dollars or selling a million records. Basically, I just want to be liked and appreciated by people who know what good music is.”

Those two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive and as his last two album show, Sliva has the talent and ability to accomplish both. His reputation and following can only grow, spreading from the Midwest to both coasts, as he tours behind his next project and continues to break genre barriers for anyone who simply loves good music.

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