Monday, September 14, 2009

August and September live music in Austin

I've been remiss. I have not been posting about the various music events that we've attended for quite a while, looks like August 3rd was the last time (for The Steps).

August 6 was Sarah Jarosz at Shady Grove, part of their summer series of free shows. Sarah’s debut CD on Sugar Hill records is so good it's like a grand slam home run. She was still in high school while she was recording it, and although it has a couple of covers, it’s mostly original material. She’s a wonderful singer/songwriter/player steeped in traditional music but definitely stretching out very creatively – and she has many of her mentors/inspirations playing on the record, people like Chris Thile, Tim O’Brien, and many more. We’ve been friends with Sarah and her parents for about 5 years. We got acquainted while waiting in line to see Nickel Creek (all of us being big Nickel Creek fans, plus I work for The Greencards who have always been big supporters and friends of Sarah). Now when Sarah plays a gig locally, you can bet that the audience will be packed with her friends, neighbors, relatives, half the people in Wimberley – all big supporters. She’s gone off to college in Boston now.

August 19 we went to a house concert with Bert Lams (California Guitar Trio) and Tom Griesgraber -- acoustic guitar wizardry. Tom actually plays the Chapman Stick, which is basically all neck and incorporates 6 strings each, guitar and bass all in one, and is played by tapping (a gross oversimplification... sorry). The way we met Bert (back in 2001) was a bit unusual. My friend showed up with him at a concert at Antone's. She had just picked him up at the airport, coming from Belgium (where he is from). She said that he was a guitar player, and we said "Great!" (a lot of the people we meet here are guitar players... it's a music town). Then we ran into them a bit later at Waterloo Records (CD release for Monte Montgomery), where they pointed out a flyer for his upcoming show as a member of the California Guitar Trio... so he was not just a guitar player, but quite an exceptionally talented one! (Check out CGT on Myspace)

August 29 was Eric Johnson at Tim's Porch at the Backyard. We have missed seeing EJ, he has been in the studio and touring out there in not-Austin. He was back playing with Alien Love Child, which is Bill Maddox on drums and Chris Maresh on bass. It's more of a blues jam outfit than some of his other combos. Eric is my favorite guitar player, whether it's acoustic or electric. Lots of folks I know both in person and online came from other states (Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado) and cities for the show. EJ is a world-class player, highly regarded in the world of guitar players. I got acquainted with EJ from having done some support work on his website awhile back (I also conducted an interview with him once), and not only is he brilliant as a musician, he's a super-nice person.

I wish that was a better picture. September 6th we took advantage to not having to get up on Monday morning, and went to Momo's for James Hyland and Warren Hood. Warren always puts on a great show, and it's different from time to time, depending on who's playing in the band. He had Emily Gimble on vocals and keyboards, she's a sweet jazz singer, and also happens to be the granddaughter of the legendary Johnny Gimble from Bob Wills' Playboys. New to me was the clarinet and saxophone of John Doyle. Wow. He added such a dimension to the sound. I can't wait to hear him again. I think the most impressive thing was Willie Pipkin on guitar. I've loved Willie's playing for years , but he was just exceptionally good that night (Willie, James, and Warren are all ex-South Austin Jug Band, another band I did some work for before they broke up). Then, of course, there's Warren (usually on fiddle/vocals). His music ranges from swing jazz to classical to bluegrass and more, always great. He plays fiddle for The Waybacks, but locally here, people just know him because he's Warren. This show was extra fun because Miss Toni Price was in the house (she has moved back from California - she's home again), looking fabulous, dancing and enjoying the show. She got up on stage for a bit. How could she not? Shows like this are just Pure Austin.

September 9 and 12 were Band of Heathens days. The 9th was a CD release in-store at Waterloo Records, and the 12th was full-on rockin' show at Antone's. We hadn't seen them since the Austin City Limits TV show taping (where I caught the tambourine and won't let anyone forget it - John, the band's drummer, left some comments on that post) and since those boys have been growing in popularity so much lately it's getting hard to see them. They'd been in Europe before that, and all over the country, a couple of quick breezes through Texas, and now back to Europe. No actual shows in Austin until December (at the Armadillo Bazaar) [edit: just realized that there is one at Whole Foods for HAAM Day on 9/22]. They are outgrowing us. It happens. No more being able to see them every week at Momo's or the Saxon Pub. They have sure got some great songs and a lot of soul too. A great live band, just like all the others in this post.

That pretty much rounds out the last month or so in our live music. This week there's Redd Volkaert and Heybale playing free at Sholz Garten on Wednesday, Hayes Carll playing free at Shady Grove on Thursday (those are tentative and will come with cat penalties) and Friday is MilkDrive and Marshall Ford Swing Band at the Cactus Cafe. Maybe Del Castillo the week after... another bash at Antone's. Then... possibly... the ACL Festival. We'll see. :-)

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AArdvarker said...

Great lineup. I really like seeing this!

The Greencards have a great folksy sound, love Sarah and I plan to be at the Shady Grove gig this Thursday!

In fact, I have been listening to Hayes Carll lately on his myspace site.

Blueberry said...

Hayes is great, isn't he? I've got a couple of his tunes on my sidebar player.

Ptelea said...

It was a pleasure to meet you at Tim's Porch. I knew right where to find you!

Blueberry said...

Nice to meet you too Pt. Yes, if I'm not in that spot, esp. for EJ, then something is wrong with me. Worry. ;-) Hope you can come back for another visit sometime.

AArdvarker said...

I have been listening to Hayes on his myspace too.
I checked out your music last time. We have a lot of the same artists, as I collect bluegrass, folk and other original things. I also like Calexico, The Greencards, Eliza Gilkyson, Andrew Calhoun, Chris Pureka, Iron and Wine, Rosi Golan, Meg Hutchinson, The Weepies, Jose Gonzales, to name a few.

Didja hear that Stubbs will be hosting:
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blueberry said...

Would love to see the Pogues! Not sure we can do that weeknight late show though. {sigh}