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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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.
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."