Monday, June 09, 2008

In the water, in the blood

Just catching up on reports for the last week (and a half) here in the music town. I already posted on the Wed. June 4th Quebe Sisters' show - featuring 3 fantastic sibling fiddler/singers from Texas. The following evening, on Thursday, was Paula Nelson at The Shady Grove. Paula also comes from a musical family, being the daughter of Willie, and having grown up around the extended "family" that included people like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and nearly anyone you could name in country music. Shady provides a nice, relaxed backyard groove. I got to meet Paula's mom and other family members, which was pretty cool, and really enjoyed the show too.
Following Paula was Micky and the Motorcars, a band that features 2 brothers who are the 2 brothers of the ones in Reckless Kelly: Micky, Gary, Willy and Cody Braun, respectively. The 2 bands have a similar feel, and you wonder why the Idaho natives didn't end up in the same band after landing in Austin, Texas many years ago... but maybe they had their fill of that in the 9 years they spent in a band with their dad as kids (they were good enough for The Tonight Show!)

Skipping backwards a week to May 29th at Shady Grove, there was Del Castillo. If you read this blog regularly, you know they are one of my favorite bands to see live, and this show did not disappoint. Like Reckless Kelly and Micky and the Motorcars, the band features 2 brothers... the enormously talented guitar playing Rick and Mark del Castillo, who are some of the finest guitarists I have seen anywhere. Add Alex "Lobo" Ruiz's passionate vocals, bass, 2 more on percussion, lots of energy and there you have it. I've never seen Shady Grove turned on its ear like that. The shows they have there are played to seated, relaxing folks or standing socializers in the back. Normally the music promotes that groove, but this one was quite a bit more intense. There was dancing!! (It's practically required at a D.C. show). All of the above-mentioned shows were free, by the way!

The last event was this past Sunday, June 8th at Antone's. It was a benefit for prostate cancer awareness, and for our friend and Austin music legend Van Wilks. Van is a survivor of this disease, having discovered his in the early stages and undergoing surgery this past February. As you may or may not know, Austin is home to some of the best guitar players in the world (some more famous than others, but fame is not always the best indicator of talent and skill). Quite a few were on hand to play this benefit. It started very early in the evening with a couple of young bands (Fireants and Joker). I dug up some video on the performers, so get ready for guitar, Texas style!!

Dave Sebree, rarely gigs with his own band, plays with Beto and the Fairlanes, owns and runs the Austin School of Music. This vid is a few years old. Also, super nice guy and no big ego. Great player!!!

Carolyn Wonderland (pictured above), been playing the clubs in Austin for years, has shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt who gave her some major kudos, just did a taping of Austin City Limits (the PBS show).

Van Wilks (pictured above), this is an older video (but the intro features the poster for Sunday's event)

Eric Johnson. EJ is extremely copyright-sensitive, so here's his video that was on MTV awhile back, a gorgeous instrumental he still plays, "Trademark":
The band in this video is the same one Eric played with on Sunday. He hasn't (to my knowledge) played with bassist Kyle Brock for many many years, not in public anyway. I had not seen Eric for over a year, and we didn't have time to hang around to say Hi because of MrB needing to get up at 5am the next day for work (I took a vacation/recovery day off -- after about 8 hours of standing with very sweaty hot temperatures and nothing to eat but 4 crackers -- Gaaaah! My dogs were barking!!). Eric Johnson is my favorite guitar player in the world, and one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Carson Brock is the son of the aforementioned Kyle Brock, and I believe he's one of Van's guitar students. Anyway, I don't even know if he's in high school yet, and he kicks ass on guitar!! Definitely in the vein of Eric Johnson in style. He will only get better and better.

David Grissom is another local guitar god. He's known for playing with Joe Ely, John Mellencamp, the Dixie Chicks, and Storyville. Here he is just being impressive all by himself:

It's great how this community pulls together to raise funds for causes and for each other, and all you men need to make sure to get yourself checked for prostate cancer. It's a hell of a lot more common than we realize, and if it's caught early there are good recovery statistics.


Ingrid said...

And that is one of the reasons we love living here in Austin. With two kids we do not always have a chance to go out but..what am i saying..I'm not always in the mood to go out due to the tiring thing of having kids! lol.. Shady grove is great and I'm hoping we'll catch some musicians there sometime. I did see Brave Combo last Thursday at Jovito on South First.. great live band..

Blueberry said...

Central Market (north Lamar) is a great place for kids and music. There is even a playground, and they take over the dance floor!

I haven't seen Brave Combo yet. Need to see them. How often do you get to see a Grammy-winning polka band from Texas?

Ellie said...

Wonderful reviews Blue. As always I'm appreciative as heck.

Blueberry said...

Ellie, Sunday really wore us out. Good show but really hot and really long. It's been way too long since I saw Eric play. He's in a whole 'nother league, but you know that.