Texas®

There’s really not much to say or add to what you see below. If you’re not famililar with the site Daytrotter.Com, then you’ve been missing out n some serious (and free) music by some of the biggest names (Death Cab for Cutie, Social D, Bon Iver) and brightest up and comers (Yuck, Portugal the Man, Dawes) that the musical universe has to offer. Big time. But, there’s good news: It doesn’t really matter if you havent clicked onto the site ever before, as there is gold beyond measure awaiting you from years of not visiting it before.

What’s even better is that many Texas-based acts have visited the Daytrotter studios in Rock Island, Ill and laid down tracks to be listened to and downloaded from the site. There’s always a great write-up and whimsical artwork to go along with the 4-5 songs as well.

Well, let’s get to it. Below are but a sampling of Texans that have Daytrotted before. You’d be crazy to not dig deeper, OK??

Matt the Electrician | Fresh Millions | Dale Watson | Dignan | Doug Burr | Old 97′s | Ben Kweller | Black Angels | Centro-matic | Jesse Dayton | Meat Puppets | Asleep at the Wheel | Monahans | Seryn | Robert Ellis

Man, oh man. There are certain afternoons where I am convinced that I couldnt be experiencing what I am at experiencing at that given moment in any other state. Sure, that’s a bit shallow, perhaps. There are many unique locales that boast myriad opportunities, unique to their perspective areas that we, as Texans, may not be privy to on a regular basis. Regardless, last Sunday afternoon (and many other previous Sunday afternoons, for that matter) was one such moment where I felt especially Texan.

For eight spring and summers running, I have made a point to attend at least a few Shiner Sundays at the Plano, TX location of Love & War in Texas. For a couple of dozen Sunday afternoons each year, the best and biggest names on the Texas Country scene share the stage with the most promising newcomers, while all of it is broadcast live on KHYI 95.3, The Range. Personal highlights from the past, for me, have been due to solid, and perhaps rare parings of talent. In 2004, Jesse Dayton and Dale Watson carried out a marathon set, with Dayton and his band playing for literally hours beyond the two hour broadcast portion of the show. Last year, Darryl Lee Rush and Jason Boland packed the Hill Country-style patio to its absolute capacity and turned the time into their own mini-Red Dirt festival.

As I prepare to head on over for this weeks boffo bill, featuring Charlie Robison and John David Kent as the opener, I cant help but wonder how tough it will be for today’s acts to top the show from last week, featuring a prodigal Texan, Zane Williams, fresh off of his return from writing hits in Nashville and one of the finest writers to ever come out of the heralded tradition on the Brazos, Hal Ketchum.

Looking more grizzled than suave with his glorious mane tamed by father time, Ketchum professionally worked through his catalog of solid, radio hits from the 1990′s. Truthfully, I had forgotten how many great tunes the man has in his considerable portfolio. Few need reminding that the simple-life classic “Small Town Saturday Night” is his, but I’ll be darned if “Sure Love”, “Hearts Are Gonna Roll” and “Stay Forever” werent every bit as enjoyable to hear again. Ketchum brought the reverent crowd to their feet, and to tears (literally, in many cases that I personally witnessed) with an acapella rendtion of “Yesterday’s Gone”, a song that he wrote in honor of and about his Grandfather. Simply beautiful.

It really was an amazingly Texan afternoon. For most Sunday’s, Love & War in Texas is all about the love

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob

It’s funny. There are still places in this country where Alejandro Escovedo isn’t a household name. Shocking, right? It’s true, though, and I haven’t a clue as to why this is. Perhaps it’s the fact that a few years ago, right as he was gaining momentum on a national scale, he fell terribly ill with Hepatitis C and was out of the spotlight for a while. Thankfully, he recovered and has been quite the productive member of the Austin music scene, ever since. Escovedo, along with other notable capital dweelers, Jon Dee Graham, James McMurtry, Rosie Flores, and Dale Watson, among others, make up the grand Austin vanguard, providing an example for all younger musicians to look up to.

Having just went on and on about how great the man is, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t one of the folks that went crazy over Alejandro Escovedo’s 2008 album, Real Animal. It seemed to be at, or very near, the top of a gajillionty best-of lists that year, but not mine. I didn’t get around to listening to the record until after I had read a bunch of reviews and posts praising the album, so perhaps I was a victim of expectations set unreasonably high? Who knows, really.

What I do know, however, is that I am really digging the new song that has been released from his upcoming record, Street Songs of Love (out on June 29). This tune, entitled “Anchor” is a straight forward rocker and it’s refreshing to see him continue in such a direction, as he is the quintessential Texas rock-star. This is a dude that has partied with President Obama and The Boss (he and Springsteen have even performed together on stage), but will always be back home in Austin, hosting his weekly shows at the Continental Club. And, making some pretty swell music.

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob