For years now, Centro-matic, a band that began in Denton well over a decade ago, has been known as a prolific group that has risen to a rather lofty status in the world of American Indie-rock. Led by Will Johnson, now an Austinite, the band hasn’t yet put out a record that one would consider anything less than stellar.

The band members themselves are highly sought after when it comes to contributing their individual talents to other’s projects, even. Johnson was the touring drummer for the massive Monsters of Folk project, and he also played guitar on Patterson Hood’s (Drive by Truckers) last solo album. Of course, that’s aside from his many producing projects. Drummer and sound engineer extraordinaire Matt Pence has toured with Jason Isbell while multi-instrumentalist Scott Danbom has played with Slobberbone and Sarah Jaffe. See? In-demand!

Their new album, Candidate Waltz, has reawakened many to the greatness of this band and has already began earning more than its fair share of rave reviews and predictions of the album finding its way onto a solid amount of year-end-best-of lists (Hint: There’s no way it’ll avoid landing on this blog’s list of 2011′s Best Texas Albums. Not a chance).

Enough of me blabbing. Since it’s always nice to see fellow Lone Star dwellers win praise from outside of our own borders, I’ll just let you see for yourself, OK?





So, there. Centro-matic might be a band from our state, but it’s clear that their appeal lies beyond the Red River. Still not sure? Check out the tour schedule for the guys. There aren’t many corners of the great 48 they wont be hitting soon, if not later…


It’s become cliche to say that we all should remember that Memorial Day is about more than picnics at the lake and getting the day off from work. Well, it’s true, regardless. Here’s a couple of Tex-centric videos that cover both sides of the American holiday. Above, James McMurtry recalls stories from his youth and the America of the past. Below, Jason Isbell performs at Stubb’s in Austin and provides a wonderful rendition of his song “Dress Blues,” which is, to me, the greatest war-related song written since the days of the Vietnam conflict. Sorry, I know this is the land of the free and we all have the right to our own opinions, but watch the video below. If you arent moved to at least goose-bumps, if not tears, then something’s not right.

A month ago, or so, I pointed you fine folks into the direction of some quality musical happenings that were coming soon. Well, those have come and gone, and now we’re looking straight ahead to some more festivals that will host music that’s as hot as the sun it’ll be taking place under.

The Randy Rogers “Sake of the Song” Festival - New Braunfels. (June 10 – 12).

It’s doubtful that there is a better setting for a weekend of music than the Guadalupe river. With that quintessentially Texan back-drop, Randy Rogers Band, Band of Heathens, Billy Joe Shaver will be playing along with a few non-Texan acts. Sons of Bill and Jason Isbell lead the pack of friendly carpetbaggers.

Free Press Summerfest - Houston. June 5-6.

Almost like a mini-ACL Fest, this relatively new festival has a solid line-up, indeed. Flaming Lips, Ra Ra Riot and Girl Talk will provide the buzz while acts such as Lucero, Medeski, Martin & Wood and Slim Thug only add to the substance that is packed into the two day shin-dig.

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic - Austin. July 4.

I hate to say stuff like this, BUT, you may not be able to officially call yourself a Texan if you haven’t been to one of Nelson’s (almost) annual parties. Legendary for their brazen and debauchery filled early days, the festival has evolved into a well-run and star-studded affair. This year, Willie will  hosts acts that helped him get wild and crazy in the early days (Kris Kristofferson, Asleep at the Wheel, Leon Russell, among others) and bands that grew up wanting to be a part of the craziness (Jack Ingram, Randy Rogers, and Jamey Johnson, just to name a few). 

Stockyards Stampede - Ft. Worth. July 3.

Another Randy Rogers Band headlined event. Brought to us by the folks that bring us the CCR Red Dirt Roundup, also held in the backyard of Billy Bob’s. Thankfully, this isn’t just another red dirt, rock-intensive line-up that seems to be dominating the calendar. Sure, there is Randy Rogers and Radney Foster, but aside from those red dirt stalwarts, we’ll get MC Hammer, Everclear, Mark Chestnutt and academy award winner, Ryan Bingham. Now that’s a varied line-up, even if it’s a big-time head scratcher, also.

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