Ian 'Mac' McLagan
In memory of my dear pal Mac:
Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan was a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool rock’n’roller. In fact, his smiling visage — he was, after all, a member of the Small Faces and the Faces — would serve as an ideal illustration in the proverbial Dictionary of What Is Truly Cool.
The man known to his many mates and even more fans and admirers as 'Mac' is the sort who shruged off such puffery. He carried on creating splendid and genuine rock’n’roll with his Bump Band as well as musically aid and abet a marquee line-up of truly blue ribbon talent that he toured and recorded with: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Taj Mahal, John Hiatt, David Lindley, Paul Westerberg, Billy Bragg and Patty Griffin, to name some but hardly all of the notables that McLagan had worked with over his four-plus decade career.
Hammond B3 organ master Mike Flanigin brings his jazz trio to C-Boy’s Heart and Soul, featuring George Rains on drums and Jimmie Vaughan playing guitar as only he can. The Trio recently celebrated their new release, Jimmie Vaughan Trio featuring Mike Flanigin Live at C-Boy’s on Proper Records.
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Femme de Champagne
The Chicago based trio, Femme de Champagne are a seasoned assortment of musicians who explore pop songs with French sensibilities while weaving together rock, jazz, and folk styles to bring you a refreshing aperitif of entertainment. Babette Novak is the front woman and ultimate ring-leader of Femme de Champagne. She has traveled across the globe gathering knowledge and musical influences to form the eclectic mix of music that Femme de Champagne radiate. Their sound includes cabaret pop and liberal doses of power pop tossed around. The trio consists of Babette Novak (vocals, keyboards, guitars), Mike Collins (drums), and Fran Kondorf (bass). Femme de Champagne will be releasing their album, Impulsive Sky nationally on Friday, December 7, 2018.
Austin based singer-songwriter, Steve Power is an established, and versatile musical presence. With nimble hands he performs as a solo acoustic artist and with a six piece band which consists of some of the most respected players in Austin including, Pete "The Beat" Langhans (Drums), David Carroll (Upright Bass), Kris Brown (Guitar/Dobro), Haydn Vitera (Violin), Ron D'Argenio (Keyboards) and Joanna Ramirez (Backing vocals). Steve has had decades of continuous musical success playing live shows, releasing three albums, as well as two EPs. Steve is releasing his new album Power Lines on Friday, November 16, 2018 and performing on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at the Saxon Pub.
Austin, TX based “power soul” group The Reputations recently recorded at Ardent Studios, the monumental Memphis recording space that has housed the creation of classic albums from Isaac Hayes, R.E.M., The Raconteurs, Albert Collins, ZZ Top, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Big Star among countless others. After becoming a fan of The Reputations most recent and first LP Begging for More, Jody Stephens, original drummer of Big Star and manager of Ardent Studios, produced their upcoming album, marking his first endeavor under the title of producer.
Austin-based alternative Americana-roots singer and songwriter, Bruce Smith is “rockin’ ‘til the wheels fall off, come hell or high water.” Bruce believes that “if you have someone or something you love, you do whatever it takes,” so he writes about life, love, redemption and salvation. “‘59 Stratocaster” is a song from his fifth studio album, ‘Til The Wheels Fall Off, on Blackwall Records that has taken on a life of its own. The song recalls a visit Smith took with his wife to the Buddy Holly Museum where he saw the last guitar the deceased rock & roll legend ever played. “It’s about the guitar being on the bus, and going to the next gig when her master won’t be there,” reflects Smith. The single is a loving tribute to Buddy Holly, penned in the same spirit and under the same Texas sunshine where Buddy wrote many of his hits. Within a few months of Bruce Smith playing it in some of Austin’s hippest venues, Hollywood took notice and chose it to be featured in two major productions, a documentary and a romantic comedy inspired by Buddy.
Belcurve is a four to eight piece band from Austin originating from different parts of the US, bringing individual hometown influences to create their sound, which they call Psych-Americana. They fit in well and thrive in Austin because of their eclectic backgrounds, genre-range and lyrical themes.The band consists of Sarah Castro the mastermind behind it all (lead vocals, guitar), Matt Parmenter (bass, keyboards, producer), Jeff Black (guitar, bass, keys), Andrew Solin (guitar), Charlie Anderson (bass, violin) and Matt Booth (drums). Listeners can hear the influence of contemporary song-focused rock bands in their recordings and on stage. They like to get creative with synths and spacey/acid guitar sounds and vocal harmonies that stretch them into Pink Floyd territory.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Kev Bev (formerly Kev Bev and the Woodland Creatures) are a 9-piece, eclectic group of musicians. The nonuplet led by Kevin Collins (bass/vocals) hails from all areas of the United States, as well as Bosnia and Mexico. The group includes Candy Collins (vocals, percussion, and synth), Beth Walker-Fowler (keys and vocals), Adrian Oviedo (drums), Phil Plata (drums), Kevin Clark (percussion), Neri Osmanovic (guitar), Whitney Doyle (trombone and bass), and Joshua Thomson (saxophone), as well as several dancers. They all met in Austin, and are proud to call the city their home and their muse. Kev Bev’s music spans many styles, and belongs to many different genres. They write what you might describe as indie R&B songs that are heavily influenced by funk, soul, afrobeat, and hip hop. Kev Bev’s material is a melting pot of upbeat songs about real life, love, friendship, and occasionally celebrating your sexuality. The songs are all fun and super easy to dance to.
Phoenix Jordan is a singer songwriter hailing from Henderson in East Texas, and was raised in a small town in the greater Houston area. He currently resides in Buda just south of Austin. With an eclectic sound stemming from influences such as American crooners, to Texas Country and Gospel-Soul, his music leans more toward the country spectrum yet it is edged with soul. His influences include: Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Dan Fogelberg, Glen Campbell, and the artists of Motown. Phoenix is releasing his first secular record, Love Is Heaven, Love Is Hell on August 18. The music tells the story of the women in his life: his mother, grandmother, daughter, two wives, and a few lovers sprinkled into the mix. Whether these women lifted him up or tore him down, the relationships helped to shape and inspire these songs. As the album title suggests, the songs are about love in all its wondrous variety,that can lift us to heaven or plunge us into hell.
Brittany Shane, is a singer songwriter from the small town of Baraboo, Wisconsin. She discovered her love for performing dance at the tender age of two and a half and started making music while attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her music is a blend of pop, rock and alt-country. Her songs are about love, loss and finding the strength to move on in the form of poetry. She is heavily influenced by Ryan Adams and Kathleen Edwards. Brittany is easily inspired by listening to music, it feeds her creativity and usually sparks a new, original song. Brittany will be releasing her sixth album, a self-titled, CD on August 12, 2018 at Central Market Westgate.
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J Burn, the shortened moniker for Jay Burn is a singer, songwriter residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. He grew up in the gruff and tumble of New Jersey where his roots sprouted out east, later in Colorado and before landing in California. J Burn was established back in 1996 writing songs and playing music in a high altitude town up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Jay’s songwriting styles parallel his adolescent influences spanning multiple genres such as, Rock, Americana, Country, Folk, Punk and Psychedelia. Jay will be releasing Sunk Right Back nationally, on Friday, August 10, 2018. Sunk Right Back is a line from the chorus of his song, “Nothing,” which is on the new CD. “Listening deeper into the song and its message brings a sense of personal purpose to rise up and above and to not give in, or accept defeat.”
The Plott Hounds
The Plott Hounds are rock and rollers who love traditional country music, and songs coupled with real stories, combining both aspects to forge their sound. Their home base is a small town, north of Minneapolis in Anoka, Minnesota. An old blue collar river town, rich in history and music, located on the shores of both the Rum and Mississippi Rivers. Anoka, is a unique town that nurtures the local music scene and invests in music and arts programs within a sustainable economy for artists to perform in. “We play, write, live, eat, drink and sleep on the banks of the Mississippi River. Just about every piece of traditional American music has touched this river. The River holds everything, we’re just adding a few of our songs to the water to see where they will go.”
Kathy and the Kilowatts
Kathy Murray’s foundation and evolution of music and songwriting, is deeply based in the blues, and also encompasses the influences of Texas regional roots musical styles, including, swamp pop, rock, zydeco, soul, rockabilly and conjunto. Murray, lead singer and songwriter, of Kathy and the Kilowatts has been making Texas roots based blues music for almost four decades and has helped to keep the spotlight on the Texas blues scene. One critic described Murray’s soulful, emphatic vocals as “the love child of Jimmy Reed and Wanda Jackson.” Another noted that her music “oozes Texas’ low-down smooth and sexy blues.” The band will be celebrating the release of Premonition of Love, on Nola Blue Records, this Saturday, April 21st at Antone’s Nightclub and Sunday, April 22nd at Antone’s Records.
Stephen Clair and the Pushbacks
Stephen Clair was raised in the upstate-New York shadow of Woodstock, but his musical heart first quickened, at age 4, to the sound of Johnny Cash. Once a guitar landed in his 11-year-old hands, he knew his destiny. Soon, that heart of his would beat for offbeat troubadours Tom Waits and John Prine, and fall for Tom Petty and Richard Thompson. Music became as important as breathing; writing came just as naturally.
Half Man was created as the solo acoustic project of Free Kittens and Bread frontman Chase Spruiell. Fostered from the Americana and folk music that encompasses the Texas region of which he was raised, Half Man brings a refined perspective to his craft as a songwriter. For years, Chase Spruiell has toured ceaselessly in his musical endeavors to cultivate a sense of perspective in his work that pays homage to his influences and establish his own in his artistry. Half Man previously released a solo LP, The Great Blind Ambition, and recently released a new album, Room To Grow.
Growing up, Zack Varner was a middle school saxophone player with an insatiable curiosity for music. Living north of Atlanta, GA, a thriving southern metropolis, he was able to experience a broad and diverse range of musical styles. “I was able to experience the Atlanta Symphony, a lot of traditional blues and roots music, southern rock, bluegrass, sacred music, choral music, chamber music, jam bands, hip hop, you name it.” Some of his music and non-music influences are Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Hunter S. Thompson, Fleet Foxes, Carl Jung, The Silver Seas and more. In his current hometown of Austin, Texas, he has performed with artists Maria Schneider, Joshua Redman and Jennifer Holliday. He performs at venues throughout the city with his own group, and numerous other jazz, funk, rock, pop, Latin groups and musical theater productions. Zack recently released his first studio album Blues in the Nude.
Texas writer Heather Bishop is a vocalist, songwriter, and multi–instrumentalist. Her current work is best described as roots music, with songs that linger in the crossroads of soul, folk, rock and country. As a guest artist, she has contributed vocals, strings, and percussion in genres ranging from Rock to Reggae, Bluegrass to Metal, Folk, Americana, and everything in between.
Of her first album Talkin' Fishbowl Blues, Amplifier says: "Not really a blues album, yet aptly tagged as "Black Americana", Manhattan-via-Austin super-side-woman Queen Esther melds roots, pop and R & B in a way Lucinda Williams, Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow never could on their best days," while AllMusic says, "You’ll have to set your preconceptions aside for this one. Queen Esther is active in the theater and performance art worlds, sings the blues, sings jazz with the JC Hopkins Biggish Band, and now has offered up a great rock & roll album. Is there anything this woman can't do?" Produced by Queen Esther, The Other Side is her latest release – a sprawling sonic wonderland that walks with a soulful twang, full of feeling and longing and regret, while deeply abiding in the blues. Ultimately, this is an aural testimony to the music that raised Queen Esther and continues to inform her deeply held conviction that music shouldn’t be divisive.
The Mystery Achievement
The Mystery Achievement, is a 4-piece rock band based in Austin, Texas, founded by Sheridan Roalson (lead vocals, guitar) and Mallory Whitenton (lead vocals, bass). The band members also include Ram Zimmerman (drums) and Tommy Roalson (guitar), Sheridan’s son. Their new self-titled offering The Mystery Achievement is characterized by strong harmonies, pop hooks and music that is both edgy and accessible. They created something magical, influenced by all the music they collectively love: Rock n’ Roll to Pop Rock, to Traditional Country to Alternative/Indie, and everything in between.
David Halley arrives with a new album of poignant investigations into the human experience. The songwriting prowess that garnered him accolades from media critics and his musical peers has grown since his last album, 1994's Stray Dog Talk. Country, Folk and Rock coalesce as David captivates the heart, taking us into a foreign yet familiar place where a tangled mess of heartbreak meets beauty with his latest album A Month of Somedays.
"My earliest memories are of music," says Rick Eakens. "The first time I was exposed to rock 'n' roll as a kid, I was profoundly knocked out, and it's been the sound I've heard in my head ever since."
The veteran singer-guitarist-songwriter has led The Footnotes, on and off, for most of his life, crafting the sound in his head into rootsy, high-energy rock 'n' roll that embodies the unpretentious attitude, catchy songcraft and high-energy abandon of the vintage classics that originally inspired him to make music. The Footnotes' feisty, uplifting live gigs have won the Houston-based trio a longstanding status as an under-the-radar regional legend.
Frank C. Westcott, musically known as F.C. Westcott is a Colorado native, who describes his music as heartfelt Americana Country. He spends his time traveling between Colorado and Austin, TX. He is the youngest of four brothers and grew up in rural Western Colorado in the 70's and 80's. His early musical influences were drawn from the old time country and traditional music that his dad and aunts would play at family get-togethers, and also the 70's Rock records that his brothers would bring home and play through the family's wooden console stereo. He began playing guitar at the age of 15 following the death of his oldest brother Bill in 1984. His hunger to pursue a musical career was sparked by Steve Earle, Westcott says he "is who made me want to write songs...his album Guitar Town helped me find my calling as a songwriter."
On Light Shines Through composer-drummer Don Harvey merges diverse musical styles resulting in stunning genre-defying new music. Stefano Intelisano, Ruthie Foster, Ephraim Owens, David Grissom, David Broza, Glenn Fukunaga and Kevin McKinney shine brightly on this swirling mix of rock, world, jazz, ambient, soul & classical elements.
Photo by T Dimenno
September 2013, five Austin bands and more than a thousand friends and fans gathered at the Moody Theatre, home of the Austin City Limits television series, to pay tribute to Brent Grulke, the creative director of South By Southwest, who unexpectedly passed away at the age of 52.
Closing out Grulkefest were The True Believers, the band that Grulke had mixed sound for in their earliest days in 1984. The band fittingly gave their old friend a powerful sendoff by delivering a scorching set of three-guitar firepower that left the audience screaming for more, and the band feeling like they had some unfinished business to tend to.
The first songs of Shoulders co-founders Michael Slattery and Todd Kassens were conceived over bottles of generic gin in run-down Los Angeles apartments and New York walk-ups, and were taped on a True Tone cassette recorder, with additional percussion provided by the irritated pounding on the floor above or the ceiling below, and with sound effects provided by the blowing horns and screeching brakes on the streets outside their open windows.
Friends of SIMS
Sims Ellison was an Austin musician who was highly regarded and beloved in his hometown. In 1995 he took his own life after an intense battle with severe depression arising from a series of personal disappointments and the dissolution of his band. The tragic suicide of Sims Ellison innervated the people of the city of Austin to band together in rousing support of its cherished musical community in the name of one of its own. A non-profit mental-health outreach and support program was formed in Sims’ honor and The SIMS Foundation was born. The foundation was named in Sims Ellison’s honor but it is also recognized locally as "Services Invested in Musician Support."