Monday, August 30, 2010


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TERRI HENDRIX at Saxon Pub 8-27-10

This was a live broadcast for the radio show Lone Star State of Mind.  Terri had Lloyd Maines on all things string, Glenn Fukunaga on bass and John Silva on drums.  These shows at the Saxon for Lone Star can be tricky.  The first hour is not broadcast.   I would say 99% of the bands, that first hour, sort of use it as a warm up so they're ready and firing on all cylinders once the broadcast to the world starts.  And that's understandable.  It just makes for a different concert going experience.  Once the broadcast starts, they all ratchet it up several notches.  But it is only for an hour, plus there are breaks for commercials, it really is very different than going to a normal show.
We didn't get to hear much from her latest "Cry Til You Laugh" which is what I was hoping to hear a lot of.  Only because the last time I saw her, the music from that record was unfamiliar to me.  Now, I know it backward and forward as I can't stop listening to it!  You know, it's always different when you're hearing something for the first time vs knowing it inside out.  At least for me, I hear it much differently.  Pick up on changes from the recorded version, listen for certain things, stuff like that.
It was still a fun show.  She's written many good songs over the years and we got to hear almost 2 hours worth on this night.
Think the cover was $15.  That included Colin Gilmore who was on after Terri.  His first hour would be the 2nd half of the Lone Star broadcast.  We left, darn it, and didn't hear him.  I like Colin and he has a brand new record out.  Lloyd Maines produced it, I believe.  It was kind of late for us, so we did call it a night after Terri.  Hopefully, we'll see Colin soon.
The Happy Hour show on Friday's at the Saxon is Earl Poole Ball and the Cosmic Americans.  Got there in time to hear about the last hour of their set.  Always a fun time.  Rollicking honky tonk.  Besides Earl, other serious all-star players are Glenn Fukunaga on bass, Casper Rawls on lead guitar and Dony Wynn on drums.  Only in Austin.


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AMY COOK at Shady Grove 8-26-10 Unplugged at the Grove

Another awfully good show from Amy.  This will be sorta brief as I recently wrote about her in what was a great, great show at the Cactus with Alejandro, David Garza and David Pulkingham.
Anyway, on this night, she had her regular band.  The only name I know is the lead guitarist, Jake Owen.  He's a favorite.  Just like the way he plays, whether he's with Amy or Sahara Smith.
Suffice to say, I love Amy's writing, like this line from "Moonrise," "Some people wait for a flash of light.  Some people wait for Jesus Christ. Well I guess I'm never satisfied.  I'm just waiting on the moonrise."  I love the way she can rock the heck out of ya with  "I Wanna Be Your Marianne" or throw an achingly gorgeous "Hotel Lights" at you.  Not to mention, a killer, kickass cover of Janes Addiction "Jane Says."  She really, really does this song like she owns it.  Need to get a video of it.  Spectacular.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


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LINTON MANCILLA at One World Theatre 8-20-10

This is a first for me.  Writing about a band after hearing only 1 song.  But...that's how good the song was.  Went to One World to see Paula Poundstone, the comedian.  They serve dinner at these shows, you pay extra for it and we've never done it.  They also have a bar set up.  Anyway, we had dinner at County Line on The Hill (had pork ribs, great!) and by the time we got over to One World, it was close to show time for Paula.  We walked into the lobby area and our friends were getting a drink at the bar.  This delayed us long enough for me to key in on the music.  They were just finishing one song and as soon as they started on the next one, it literally stopped me in my tracks.  It had the most beautiful melody I think I've ever heard.  The lyrics were so tender.  The singer had the nicest, warmest voice.  A love song - simply gorgeous.
The song is called "I Fall In Love" and the band is LintonMancilla.  I bought the cd with this song on it.  It's called "Into The Wind" and came out this year.  Haven't listened to the cd yet.  But I did listen to "I Fall In Love" twice today when I had a few minutes to spare.  I'm still in love with it.


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SUZANNA CHOFFEL at Unplugged at the Grove, Shady Grove 8-19-10

Haven't been to many of these shows this year but didn't want to miss this one.  Suzanna is a local talent we really like.  It is always fun to go to the Unplugged shows when someone up and coming, who we've been following and watching them work their way up, gets to play them.  It is a big deal here, playing the Unplugged series.  This is a free, summer concert series.
Since I'd seen her last with a full band, the group tonight (drums, lead guitar and bass) was entirely different and no Laura Scarborough on vibes/keyboards.  I did miss Laura's playing.
It was a good show.  We heard many new songs as she is currently working on a new record.  Not sure when the release date is.  They didn't take a break and played a good 90 minute set.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


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our view of RAUL MALO

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RAUL MALO at Blues on the Green, Zilker Park 8-18-10

This one I was really looking forward to and it didn't disappoint.
Opening for Raul was Nakia And The Blues Grifters.  I've only seen Nakia a couple of times, in small doses and really liked him.  A great soul voice.  He now has this new band and they are definitely a rocking blues band.  I love him with these guys.  Even though they only played a half hour, I feel like this band is doing him justice.  It was 30 minutes of straight ahead blues with some rock thrown in along with a ballad.  They really tore it up.  Nakia has the soul of the young Joe Cocker plus a great voice so that's a heckuva combination.  For his half hour, he had the entire crowd, and it was large, in the palm of his hand.  Everybody was into it.  His lead guitarist was smokin.'  I tell ya, if you haven't seen Nakia, check him out:  
I know he does a Happy Hour show sometimes on Fridays at the Lucky Lounge.  I plan on getting to one real soon.
Raul had a slimmed down lineup on this night.  Last time I saw him in a full show was at the Continental Club the last night of the ACL Festival.  He had a horn section, keyboard player and The Trishas that evening.  It was one of the best shows I saw all year.  For this concert, it was just Raul, drummer, bass and accordion.  Even though it was stripped down, it was still a great show.  That accordion took all the horn parts, solos, filled large spaces and filled them well.  They played an hour and came back out for a 4 song encore.  We got all the hits including:  "Dance The Night Away" "Moonlight Kiss" "Lucky One" "Every Little Thing About You" and a beautiful Spanish language song I don't know the name of.  Everyone was dancing to Raul.  His music just has that rhythm.  You gotta shake it.  Didn't matter that it had been 103 degrees that day and was still muggy as all get out.
Oh yeah, got a pretty good video of Raul on "Dance The Night Away" here:


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BUTCH HANCOCK at Cactus Cafe 8-14-10

This show was special.  The main reason for that being it would be the last night the Cactus would be operating under the management team that built this room into a national treasure with a world wide reputation.  To close out this era, they had Butch Hancock play 5 straight nights and he would not repeat a song.  You could buy a pass to the entire series titled "No Two More Alike" for $70 or pay at the door for single shows.
Hadn't made it to any of the shows until the final night and I really wanted to be there for it.  As did half the city, I think.  The doors were opening at 8pm for an 8:30 start.  We got in line at 5:30 and there were already 10 people ahead of us.  Turns out the earliest arrivals were there at 5PM!
All week the shows had been filled with special guests.  Night 3 I think it was, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely played the entire 2nd half with Butch.  In essence, a most intimate Flatlanders show.  I know Jimmie LaFave played on another night.
So...the final night was full of expectations on guests, excitement along with some sadness as we don't know what the future holds with the new management coming in (KUT, the local NPR station, is taking over the music operation).
The show was, of course, spectacular.  Butch played a handful of songs to open and then brought Jimmie Dale Gilmore to the stage.  Jimmie played a bunch of songs with Butch, probably 6 or so.  At one point, while Jimmie was on stage, he brought up BettySoo and they did Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty!"  Oh my God, it was so good.  BettySoo's soprano voice blending with Butch and Jimmie was an incredible treat for all of us.  I didn't video because I didn't have a good sight line but there is a good one here:
After the break, Butch brought Joe Ely up!  He did 2 songs.  The one I remember most was "She Never Spoke Spanish To Me."  It was gorgeous.
After that came a debut of "Split & Slide III" which must have lasted 20 minutes!
He closed the night with another Townes song "To Live's To Fly."  Couldn't get more perfect than that.
As far as concerts go, this was a night of nights and that is what I will try to remember.
There was a fiasco to start and it really put a dark cloud on the entire evening.  It didn't need to be that way and it's very sad the final night had to break down like it did.
As I mentioned at the start, lining up started at 5pm.  The Cactus has never had reserved seating and it's always been first in line, first in the door.  On the final night, management changed the rules but didn't even bother to come out and tell us.  It wasn't until they opened the door at about 8:10 and yelled out for all pass holders to form their own line and they'd be going in first.  Not to mention, they had reserved seating already for special guests which took up probably the first 4 rows.  So now, you're letting the 70 pass holders in on top of the already very limited seating.  That left a whole bunch of people who were standing in line for 3+ hours without a seat and some without getting in, period.
It's one thing to change the rules but to do it like they did, without notice, at the last minute, was such a complete lack of respect for their customers.  Had they, at a minimum, come out at 5PM, 5:30, 6:00, whatever and at least announced what they were doing and started forming the pass line, people could have known where they stood, chances of getting in, a seat, etc...To top it off, once they let the pass holders in, they still wouldn't let the rest of us in.  Just in case more pass holders showed up at the last minute, I guess.  Even though up to the final night, pass holders knew they had to be there in line, early, with the rest of us.  That was pretty much the breaking point.  People were pissed and I mean pissed.  Management made no attempt to explain things.  They just did what they did.  Like we didn't matter.  It won't be forgotten.  Older folks who can't stand (hence the 3 hours in line to guarantee a seat or so they thought) ended up walking out and that wasn't right.  Long time patrons deserve a better fate than what they received from the Cactus management on its final night.  Lastly, he was arrogant and smug about it.  I saw an older couple asking for help to find seats and were ignored and basically shown the door.  Me, I don't mind standing but the other 3 people I was with, left.  I went in and headed for the bar to belly up.  Someone I know came up and said they had an open seat so I did get a chair.
I couldn't help but think of the many of us who tried to save this management team's fate.  Money, meetings, rallys, letters to the UT powers.  And in the end, this was our thanks.  So wrong.  So unnecessary.
It does make the change coming quite a bit more palatable.  The new regime can't possibly be any more rude and disrespectful to their long time customers.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


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BUCK OWENS Birthday Bash at Continental Club 8-12-10

Had never been to this annual event and this was the 19th one.  It is a real zoo!  Place is packed and half the people are musicians.  They had 40 different artists and 80 songs were being played!  Started at 7:30 and cover was $15.  House band included Earl Poole Ball and Casper Rawls.
We made it to 10:30.  Left after Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison played.  They were, as always, great to listen to.  Other highlights were Monte Warden and Randy Weeks.  Both came out and lit the place up with up tempo rockabilly songs.  Heard probably 10-12 other musicians, too that we weren't familiar with.
I'm sure that night was going to last until at least 2am but while we were entertained, it wasn't going to keep us afloat all night so we bailed after our faves, Bruce and Kelly, were done.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


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ARMADILLO WORLD HEADQUARTERS 40th Birthday Party at Threadgill's 8-7-10 featuring PAUL RAY and The COBRAS

What a night!  Got to see a little Austin musical history come to life!
This was a tough Saturday night in Austin as far as deciding who to go out and hear.  We had Matt the Electrician at Wyldwood House Concerts and Steve Forbert at the Cactus Cafe.
Opted for what sounded like one heckuva party at Threadgill's.  First off, the owner of Threadgill's South opened the Armadillo, a club that survived for 10 years and brought the best, most diverse music in the world to Austin.  It's one of the places where a fella by the name of Stevie Ray Vaughan cut his teeth.  One of his first Austin bands was The Cobras.  So, their reunion for this gig was a Big Deal!
Admission was $20.  I have never seen Threadgill's more packed!  We got there around 8:15 for a 9pm show and got 2 of the last remaining chairs available.
There were 3 bands on the bill.  First up was Hank & Shaidri Alrich.  I don't know the history but Eddie Wilson, who opened the Armadillo and has Threadgill's, said during the introduction that without Hank there would've been no Armadillo, so there you have it.  Without the Armadillo, you don't have Austin, Live Music Capitol Of The World so you can bet I will be reading up on the history of Hank and his ties to the Armadillo.
Back to the show.  Hank, his daughter Shaidri and a cellist, played about a 1/2 hour, bluegrass, folk music.  
Really good.
After them came Larry Lange and the Lonely Knights.  Seriously got the joint jumping.  They had horns and brought up this singer from San Antonio by the name of Joanna Razmirez who has a voice that will make you stop dead in your tracks.  I pulled out my phone and wrote her name down.  Did not want to forget it as I would love to see her again!  What a voice!  Turns out she and the band played the night before about a 1/2 mile from where I live.  That news about killed me!  Anyway, she and Larry Lange and his band were so good and so much fun.  They are billed as a Chicano Soul Revue and that pretty much says it all.  They'll be playing in a couple of weeks in far South Austin at the Red Shed and we plan on being there!
Headlining was Paul Ray & The Cobras.  Larry Lange played bass in this band.  Turns out he was an original Cobra and along with Paul, played beside Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Really weird for me as I know Paul Ray as a dj only, from KUT here in Austin.  It's our local NPR station.  On lead guitar was Denny Freeman who, I'm not sure, but may have replaced Stevie Ray when he left The Cobras.  I really need to check this history out.  At any rate, he's a guitar slinger extroardinaire and played in Bob Dylan's band up until about a year ago.  Paul did probably 45 minutes with The Cobras.  Many blues standards, Bobby Blue Bland and such.
When Paul left the stage, the one and only Angela Strehli took over the vocals with The Cobras.  As one friend said, a timeless voice.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed listening to her belt it out for the rest of the evening.  If you own Stevie Ray's "Live at Carnagie Hall," you know Angela.  She sang often with Double Trouble.  A classic blues voice.
Pretty good video of Angela and The Cobras here:

Monday, August 9, 2010


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WILL SEXTON and BETTYSOO at Cactus Cafe 8-3-10

Turns out last Saturday night wasn't my last visit to the Cactus under its current management.  A spur of the moment added show brought me back.  And it takes a lot to drag me out on a Tuesday night.
When I saw the announcement for this concert, I figured I'd want to be at the last Cactus show BettySoo played but when I saw it was a co-bill with Will Sexton, I had to go!  I've seen that guy only as a sideman, lead guitarist for the best talent in Austin.  I have 2 of his cd's (they're great!) so couldn't wait to see him live, doing his music.
Will kicked off the first set, probably played a 1/2 dozen songs, many off the 2 cd's he released in 2009.  It was fantastic!  Just him and an acoustic.  He has the coolest voice, doesn't sound like anybody I can think of to compare him with.  Writes great songs.  This was a real pleasure for me.
Then BettySoo came up and he went back to his great lead guitar role!  They played another 1/2 hour or so, took a break, did another set, just like the first, Will up solo, then the 2 of them together.
BettySoo played 3 new songs so that was cool!  Whatever is coming next from her, album wise, sure sounds great so far.
Show started at 8:30 and ended around 10:30, I think.  $15 for this duo.
I left thinking how Will should be known to the masses.  His songs are so good.
I know he has 3cd's.  Here are the 2 I have:
"Move The Balance" and "Bus Stop Gossip, Other Lies & Respected Crimes"
2 big thumbs up from me
Kicking myself for not picking up the 3rd at this show.  Next time I see him, I'll get it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


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TERRI HENDRIX at Cactus Cafe 7-31-10

Kind of fitting we ended the month at the Cactus as we started July off with the annual Firecracker Fest there.  And, with the days winding down at the Cactus as we know it, each show becomes a little more important...and melancholy.
We hadn't seen a full Terri show in probably 2 years!  We've seen her at the Christmas Bazaar and more recently, opening for the Indigo Girls and that's about it.
She's out touring behind a brand new record, "Cry Till You Laugh."  On this night Terri was joined by Lloyd Maines, her great guitarist and the super cool Glen Fukunaga on bass.
She did 2 sets.  The 1st one lasted over an hour and the 2nd set lasted an hour.  Cover was $15 and the room was packed.  We got a heckuva show.
First off, she's always fun, tells good stories, holds you between songs.  The camaraderie she shares with Lloyd is unmistakable, neat to watch and listen to.  They could be a comedy tag team!
The music.  We heard a ton off the new album and is it ever terrific.  Although I hadn't heard the songs before the concert, everything she performed sounded great.  You know if you like songs the first time you hear them, you're on to something good.  You could tell the album must be pretty eclectic as we got blues, folk, straight ahead jazz and New Orleans jazz.  A real mix of styles.
We also got to hear some of her older work including songs she wrote that I'm familiar with from other artists.  She did "Hole In My Pocket" which Ruthie Foster does a great version of and "I Found The Lions" which Carolyn Wonderland kills on.
The cd is fantastic.  Once I started listening to it after the show, the songs really came to life. On the jazz stuff you have clarinets, horns, everything.  She scats, croons, it's all over the map.  There are a couple of songs that sound like she wrote while listening to George Harrison during his Ravi Shankar period.  You also get straight ahead blues, folky blues, Allen Toussaint's New Orleans sound, Dixieland swing, Americana with the pedal steel, fiddle and mandolin.  Music as it should be, anything and everything.
Not to mention what a great writer she is, whether she's talking about the world or her mom.
"Some things you don't get over, you just get through"
So, we took July out with a bang.  It may even be our last show at the Cactus under the current management.  If so, we couldn't have asked for anything more.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


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PETER CASE at Threadgill's 7-29-10

The great Peter Case was in town and I've never seen him so thought I should rectify that.  Wow!  Guy is cool!
I'd heard him, knew of him but not much of either.
A punkabilly, bluesfolker is what I'd call him.  Loved him and really glad I got to see Peter live.  Quite the showman, plays a mean guitar, doesn't sound like anybody else. Quintessential troubador.  Liked him best when he was punking it up.

AMY COOK and friends

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AMY COOK at Cactus Cafe 7-28-10

Writing about this show a week after it happened and as I look back at the calendar, I see it was the final part of a trifecta of performances that were off the charts.  The 1st was Ray Bonneville the week before at the Cactus, 2nd was Jess Klein that Saturday at Wyldwood and then this thing...!
This was a last minute show, no cover and I thought it would be cool to see her in such an intimate space.  
I wondered who would be in the band since I knew her regular lead guitarist, Jake Owen, was out on tour with Sahara Smith.  Never even gave it a thought as to what was about to happen.  The stage was definitely set up for a full band.  Looking back toward the bar, I saw David Pulkingham hanging out and thought, holy hell, he's gonna play with Amy tonight!  About 2 seconds later, looked back again and there is Alejandro Escovedo and David Garza!  At this point I thought I might pass out.  I knew this was going to be one for the ages.  You could feel the electricity in the room.
You gotta remember, the Cactus is tiny and Alejandro and David don't ever play tiny!  Man, what a show!!
Amy took the stage with David, a drummer and bass player.  Intense, she was!  Oh my God.  She and David really played off each other.  Truly fantastic.  Then David Garza comes up to play piano.  Good Lord!  At one point, I think it was on "Moonrise," there was no piano part so David started beating on the top part of the piano.  He just had to play.  It was a really cool moment.  Beating on that piano like it was a drum.
Amy brought Alejandro up for the last part of the show.  They played one of his songs, "Down in the Bowery."  She sounded great on it.  They closed the show with "Let the Light In."  To put his appearance in perspective, exactly one week before he had been on David Letterman, played a show that David Byrne, Jesse Malin and Ian Hunter all sat in on and only 5 days before, he'd played at the Stone Pony in New Jersey and Bruce Springsteen sat in on 3 songs!  Now, here we are in Austin at the intimate Cactus, a free show and look what happens!
Besides the hoopla with Alejandro, Amy was terrific.  We heard just about everything from "Let the Light In."  I probably should have mentioned, Alejandro produced this record.  And, as stated above, she was intense, passionate and prowling that stage like she owned it.  She also did one fantastic cover of the Janes Addiction song "Jane Says."
Alright, I've gone on too long but bottom line, this is a night all of us who were there (it was jammed!) will always treasure.


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