Wednesday, October 28, 2009


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ROSIE FLORES at Waterloo Records 10-27-09

A free, as always, cd release show at Waterloo. Don't forget, they supply free beer, also. Bless this town.
Rosie's new cd is called "Girl Of The Century." Produced and recorded with Jon Langford in Chicago along with the Pine Valley Cosmonauts. All the reviews I had read were glowing: stellar, landmark record, etc...
These sets at Waterloo are usually pretty short, anywhere from 3 to 6 songs, usually. Rosie probably played a good 45 minutes, 7 or 8 songs, I bet. She was accompanied by the Rivetors. Don't know their names but the Rivetors consists of a bass player and drummer.
The new stuff sounds great. Vintage Rosie: honky tonk twang, rockabilly, blues, soulful ballads, great covers like Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm." She is just fun to watch play, period. She has a blast, bouncing all around, dancing and playing the heck out of her electric guitar. And we can't forget, she still has a great, great voice. I believe she is pushing 60. She sure seems to be taking good care of herself.
I can't wait to see her in a real show when she comes back from Europe. She heads over there for November and will not be back playing in Austin before sometime in December. Looking forward to it!


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NATALIA ZUKERMAN and TRINA HAMLIN at a House Concert 10-25-09

This was kind of a spur of the moment deal. Didn't know about it until the night before and didn't have any details (where/when) until the afternoon of the show. Turned out it was at a house in North Austin at 5pm. That worked for us so off we went.
A friend sent me Natalia's "Brand New Frame" a few months ago and I fell in complete love with it. It's one of those rare (seems to me, anyway) cds that is great all the way through.
While I didn't have any music by Trina, the same friend had been insisting that I check her out. She was always raving to me about her, as well as Natalia.
Needless to say, when this house concert fell into my lap, I was excited! And it did not disappoint. We had a great time!
First off, this house had a cool yard space for an outdoor concert. Nice big shade trees and just a really warm feel to the place.
They did a song swap, 2 sets. Often, when Natalia was playing a song, Trina would chime in on harmonica. She has a feel for that thing, that's for sure. When Trina would do a song, Natalia might play along on guitar (a serious player, not a strummer) and/or harmonize. Natalia, I was already a fan of, and with Trina, I became one pretty quickly.
Trina has a big voice, writes a lot of love songs and plays a killer harmonica. Her music styling is kind of folk rock with much blues thrown in, too. She doesn't sound like anyone else that I can think of. I bought one of her cds afterward.
Natalia, who I was all hepped up about to begin with, didn't let me down at all. In fact, I sat there thinking gee, is she ever going to play a song I don't flat out love? I'm not kidding. Maybe it's her style, I don't know. She's got this kind of smokey voice but her phrasing is different, like a jazz singer. I love the way she wraps around her lyrics. And...she is a heckuva writer, period.
They also called up Jess Klein from the audience and she did a couple of songs. That was a treat for all who were there.
The atmosphere at this house concert was very laid back, casual. Natalia & Trina hung out, chatted with any of us who approached during the break and after the show.
Another neat thing happened at the end of the set. The sound system went kaplooy so they walked out to the audience, Natalia sat down on the grass and played the guitar while Trina belted out one of her songs. It was no amplification, just a strong voice and guitar to end the night. Loved it.
$15 for this show. The hosts had wine, beer and food. Wasn't expecting that. It was very nice of them. Above and beyond, really.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


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JIMMY LAFAVE and JESS KLEIN at Threadgill's 10-24-09

A cool double bill on a Saturday night in Austin.
Jess opened the show and played for about 45 minutes. She grabbed the crowd the minute she opened her mouth and had them for the entire set. Granted, Jimmy's crowd is a listening group but still...I would guess well over half hadn't heard her before and she reeled them in straight away. Not surprising. We all appreciate well written songs and someone who plays and sings them with passion. Got to hear much of the latest cd which is called "Bound to Love" but also got a couple of older ones including a favorite of mine called "Shonalee." This was a solo performance and I think it's much harder to hold a crowd who is unfamiliar with you by yourself than with a band. She did it. Easily.
Got a pretty decent video of her doing "Travelin' Woman." See it here:

Next up was Jimmy LaFave. He is such a treasure. Hadn't seen him since March during SXSW. He was supposed to play Unplugged at the Grove this summer but that was the infamous night it got shut down during the opening act due to noise. So, we were overdue.
What can you say? He's got that red dirt voice that is so distinct and lends itself perfectly for the songs he sings. His sets flow in and out of the singer/songwriter stuff to the swamp blues boogies to the Dylan or Springsteen covers he does so well. The 1 & 1/2 hours he played flew by. The Springsteen cover he did, "Secret Garden," was a highlight for me. He had his full band including the great John Inman on lead guitar. That guy is so much fun to watch and listen to.
It's my understanding Jimmy has a new cd coming out probably in the spring. Heard he is in the studio now.
Cover for this show was $15. Another Austin bargain.

Friday, October 23, 2009


the View from City Hall

DALE WATSON And His LONE STARS outside City Hall 10-23-09

Today was my first venture downtown for a free concert series put on by the city in the spring and fall. It's held outside the city hall building from noon-1pm. They have a food vendor set up and people come over for their lunch hour to listen to live music. And dance, of course. This is Austin.
Dale Watson and his band were on the docket today. I've heard of Dale, but had never seen him. I know he plays the Broken Spoke a lot.
Boy, was this ever fun! It was a beautiful day, blue sky, temp in the high 60's. You're sitting outside overlooking the river and traffic passing by.
Dale Watson is classic honky tonk. Songs about alcohol, more alcohol, women, guns and highways. Two steps, shuffles, waltzes, boogie woogies. It was great! Plus, he has this deep, rich baritone that is perfect for the songs. Besides Dale on lead guitar, you had bass, drums, fiddle and pedal steel.
The other thing I loved was the crowd. People on their lunch hour, dressed in business casual mostly, out on the sidewalk dancing like there's no tomorrow! It was great fun to watch. There's something to be said for spending your lunch hour steppin' away the time!
Got a good video of his opening song "South Of Round Rock, Texas," a song about Austin. Perfect.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

the Stage at Jovita's

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GRANT PEEPLES (no photo from show)


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This was one of those deals where, upon reading of the event, you just can't believe it and think, boy, am I lucky to be living in Austin. Better late than never. Four singer/songwriters at a TexMex restaurant a few miles from the house and a $5 cover charge. Crazy, I know.
First up was Troy Campbell. This is my first time seeing him solo. The guy reinvents himself on a daily basis, I think. Creativity. It always intrigues me because I have none of it, I guess. Musically, he's all over the map. What a great thing. On this night, solo, it was the introspective, mood songs. I enjoyed it and look forward to becoming more familiar with his music.
Up next was BettySoo. We all know she is a favorite of mine. What was really cool about tonight was Gurf Morlix playing the entire set with her! He produced her great record of this year, "Heat Sin Water Skin" and played lead guitar on it. Hearing him tonight on his acoustic guitar with her, well, it was killer. Made me think, who needs an electric guitar, anyway? What a rich, full sound this guy has.
Next up was a fellow named Grant Peeples. Honestly, I didn't have a clue who he was. Had never heard the name before. He was great. Writes lyrics about the dark side of America. Needless to say, he has much to draw from. But he also injects some humor into these songs. He reminded me of Bruce Springsteen on "Nebraska" but with some funny lines thrown in. I'd guess that's pretty hard to do and make it work but he sure does. Now that I think about it, similar to Todd Snider.
Lastly, Gurf Morlix closed it out with probably an 1 1/2 set. Dang, he is good. Just sits on stage with his 2 acoustics and blows you away. There is something about his stage presence. It's mesmerizing and I think for me, it's about watching him play guitar and his lyrics, which really make you sit up and listen. He told some funny and warm Austin stories, talked about Blaze Foley and played one of his songs, also.
I have a couple of pretty good videos of Gurf:


Wednesday, October 21, 2009



JESS KLEIN at Cactus Café 10-15-09

This was a cd release show for her great new record called “Bound to Love.” She had the whole band and I’ve never seen her with a band before. Always solo or with Scrappy Jud only.
Opening the show was Anne Heaton. We really enjoyed her. I’d seen her years ago at a coffee house in the Midwest. She plays piano and her songs are sort of folk/pop, good to listen to. What I didn’t recall from years back is her banter between songs. She’s very funny and tells great stories. Ended up buying her latest cd after the show. It’s called “Blazing Red.” Haven’t had a chance to listen yet but looking forward to it. It’s always fun when you get a terrific opening show and we did. I loved having a pianist to listen to. She has a really nice voice also.
Jess came on with the band about 9:30pm. Played much of the new material, which was great to hear live and with the full band. Midway through the set the band left the stage and Jess performed a couple of songs solo. Then the band came back and finished off the show. It lasted about 11/2 hours. $7 cover
One of the songs she did by herself is called “Rosalie.” I tell you, this song, every time I hear it, gives me goose bumps. There aren’t that many singers who sing with such emotion in their voice. Lots of people with soul, you know, but that sound that, when they open their mouth, you feel it right then. Lucinda Williams, Patti Smith are like that. That’s how it is with Jess. It’s one thing to hear it but to watch it live, well, nothing better than that.
She also had Ben Mallott join her on stage to sing the Slaid Cleaves part in “Fool.” This is another song off the new record. It, like the rest of the album, is terrific.
If you get a chance to catch her live, you need to do it. Great songs and that emotion…powerful stuff.
I didn’t take any photos or video. It seemed too intimate so I decided to lay off that for a night.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


no photos or video from the Cactus as I forgot to put the battery in the camera : )

MATT THE ELECTRICIAN at Cactus Cafe 10-9-09

This was a cd release show for Matt's wonderful new album called "Animal Boy." I read a review that referred to it as a "sweet" record. Couldn't agree more. Sweet as in tender, not sweet as in everyone's use of that word these days.
The place was packed & Matt came on with the band, played the entire record from end to beginning! It was pretty cool, something different. They took a break after that, returned and played another hour doing some of his older stuff while ending with a great Led Zep cover!
The band includes Scrappy Jud Newcomb on lead guitar who is my favorite in Austin and I think this is the last time I'm gonna say it. Every time I mention him I throw that in there. Enough is enough. Also in the band doing backup vocal is Seela. She is great and sounds so good with Matt.
This was an $8 cover show. Opening act was a Danish band called Leaving Small Town. They were terrific!
"Animal Boy" is great from beginning to end or end to beginning! You should buy it straight away and do it from his website so he can get the most bang from your buck:

There is a nice little video of Matt & Scrappy Jud performing "Osaka In The Rain" (my favorite on the new cd) the morning of the show on KGSR, Radio Austin:

Also, go listen to Leaving Small Town. I really enjoyed them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


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BETTYSOO at Saxon Pub 10-7-09

After Shelley King's last show at ArtZ I hoped on over to the Saxon since it was just up the street and the start time was right after Shelley.
This was a full band show which I always enjoy. Tonight the sound guy was off in lala land and about all you could hear was the bass and drums. It was thump thump thump all night so that was frustrating.
The cool thing was she brought John Fullbright up on stage with her. He played some accordion, did some singing and they also performed one of his songs which was great! It's called "Blameless." I have heard BettySoo do it previously but hearing them together was pretty special. He is a 21 year old kid from Oklahoma. He has that Okie sound which I find mesmerizing. I believe BettySoo said he is in Austin recording an album.
Check him out:

Also noted in the audience was Jimmy LaFave.
$5 cover