Texas®

In its second season, Texas Music Scene has established itself as a serious outlet for Texas Country talent. Hosted by a legend in his own right, Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, the show focuses on both the past and present of the state’s musical gifts. Enjoy!

Man, oh man. It must be Spring in Texas. Why so? The bluebonnets sprouting along the interstates? Sure, I guess. The arrival of another Texas Rangers or Houston Astros baseball season? OK, I guess.

Perhaps the most fun sign that Spring is upon us, at least here in North Texas, is the return of Shiner Sunday’s at Love & War in Texas in Plano. This past Sunday was the second week for the series that must be starting it’s 10th or 11th year at this point (we’ve been going for 9 of them, including this year). Each year, the roster of acts seems to be more and more packed with big stars from the world of Texas Country and Red Dirt. This week was absolutely no exception, as Austin’s Reckless Kelly took the patio stage (recently renovated to become a shrine of sorts to the late, great Rusty Wier) in front of what must’vebeen 400-500 rowdy fans, many of which had no problems jumping on-top of their wooden picnic tables and shaking their groove-thing, with little regard for personal safety. That’s what Reckless Kelly’s live show will do.

As the show was being broadcast, live on KHYI 95.3 The Range, Willy Braun and crew took a rather business-like approach to their rocking. Picking a few older cuts from their pre-Yep Roc catalog, such as “Back Around,” “Vancouver,” “Seven Nights In Erie,” “I Still Do,” “Motel Cowboy Show,” and the extremely sing-along worthy, “Wicked Twisted Road,” Reckless Kelly got the crowd, including many toddlers that seemed to be closer to the speakers than we can imagine is safe, going before busting out material from their last two albums, Bulletproof and Somewhere In Time.

While the haze of a late Sunday afternoon can bring-about moods of laid-back ease, such wasn’t the case for the wild throng on-hand. Slower songs – like “Vancouver” and “Wicked Twisted Road” – were amped up and quickened with a pulsing rhythm that was appropriate for each tune, as well as for the overall vibe of the show.

With shows from Jesse Dayton, Charlie Robison, Chris Knight, Darryl Lee Rush and even Swampadelic, on the way, there can be no mistaking that spring-time in Plano will be blooming with good times.

We’ve spent a good bit of time away from Texas country recently in this column, so, we thought it was time to go back draw from the well that we seem to hate as much as we love (more love than hate, though). Now, as anyone who has read this column for any length of time knows, we’re not about discussing just any old so-called “red dirt” hot name that just recently decided to make a name for himself in Texas, hoping to be the next Randy Rogers.

Given that, it was great to hear a new song from Lubbock’s Brandon Adams. He and his band, the Sad Bastards have been at it for a while now, and have made a point to try and draw crowds from outlying states, as well as the typically trodden paths of the Texas college towns that seem to make anyone with a guitar and ballcap feel like Pat Green.

The band’s self-titled record was just released and while they’re not exactly redefining the very way anyone will listen to country music from our state, they dont have to. “Radiate” features some electric guitar, effortlessly weaving with a bit of fiddle that will warmly remind astute listeners of Millican-era Reckless Kelly. There’s an edge to the overall sound that will thankfully keep them from getting confused with the hair gel-kings of the Eli Young Band, but that shouldn’t keep them from becoming solid draws on the Texas country scene for the time being.

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

Each year when the frosty bite of winter begins to soften, I start looking out for the festivals that I either try to get to annually, or pick a few that I have been hoping to hit, but haven’t quite made it just yet. Below are a few festivals, both old and new, that are coming soon and are worth you checking out…

Dallas International Guitar Festival - April 16-18: The Dallas Guitar Show has become an annual tradition for thousands of musicians, collectors and fans for over 30 years. With performances by Ted Nugent, Rick Derringer, Kings X and more, slingers from all over will have something to enjoy.

Old Settler’s Music Festival - April 15 - 18: Another venerable member of the Texas music festival circuit, this roots-oriented festival will take over the Salt Lick Pavilion near Austin again. Every year the line-up gets stronger, mixing beloved acts from our great state such as Band of Heathens and The Gourds with rootsy folks from other areas. As always, top talent from the world of bluegrass will be on display. Be sure to not miss The Infamous Stringdusters or even Alaska’s own, Bearfoot.

Ed Burleson playing the main stage at Larry Joe Taylor's Texas Music Festival, 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival - April 20-24: The 22nd annual edition boasts the same powerhouse line-up that has become a staple of this most Texas of shin-digs. Reckless Kelly, Joe Ely, Randy Rogers Band, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Chris Knight and Wade Bowen are a small but powerful sample of who will rock over 40,000 people near Stephenville.

So, there are a few picks for you to occupy your sunny weekends with. By the way, in case you didn’t notice, I didn’t even make it into May. Don’t worry. I’ll be get you caught up on festivals around the state for May and June soon enough.

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

Austin’s Reckless Kelly (Official Site / Myspace) has never been the type of band to sit still for long. For those who are unfamiliar with one of the top names in the ever-growing “Texas/Red Dirt” scene, Willy Braun (lead singer) and his brother Cody (fiddle, harmonica, mandolin) grew up traveling the globe as members of the family band, Muzzie Braun & The Boys. In the title track to their 2005 album, Wicked Twisted Road, Braun sings that he “hit the million mile mark at 17 years old.” It’s with this spirit that the Brothers Braun, along with Jay Nazz (drums), Chris Shiflett (bass) and David Abuyeta (lead guitar) take another trip outside the state’s borders to their home state of Idaho. This trip isn’t one they take on a physical freeway made of asphalt, mind you. The men of Reckless Kelly traverse a path of memories and reacquaint themselves with the music of the home they enjoyed before dreams and tour buses carried them away to the fertile and creative soil of the south.

With their new Yep Roc release, Somewhere In Time, Reckless Kelly pays tribute to the songs of Pinto Bennett & The Famous Motel Cowboys as they also crank their country-shuffling up higher than they have in years. This new collection of songs – covers of tunes originally performed and penned by Pinto Bennett – is the best kind of tribute album, as the need to simply rehash the material wasn’t the goal. Reckless Kelly effectively and lovingly adorns these tunes with their own swagger and avoids offering simple carbon copies that would render the songs pointless and trivial. It’s also important to note that the boot-stompin’, honky-tonk sonic of tunes like “I Hold the Bottle, You Hold the Wheel” and “Bird On a Wire” required the band to alter their recent musical  and creative direction rather drastically.

While the groups early releases from the late 1990′s Milican  and Reckless Kelly Acoustic - Live at Stubbs (which featured ”She Sang the Red River Valley,” another Bennett song) had prominent roots and country spirit flowing throughout them, their harder driving rock tendencies began to show in earnest, and to great effect, with their Sugar Hill release Under the Table and Above the Sun. With the release of 2008′s Bulletproof, Reckless Kelly had transformed into a lean, mean and defiant rock outfit that had no qualms with ruffling the feathers with their topical and biting lyrics mixed with pulsing beats and chugging guitars.

With all of these surrounding story lines aside, this is a great record, full of distinctive tales and an exemplary blend of roots, country, and rock vibes. For those who have wondered what a band having an insane amount of fun sounds like on record, here it is for all to experience. The band confidently interprets the source-material, and as a result, produces a record that might be their most honest and true work to date, regardless of where the collection originated.

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Click here for a preview of Reckless Kelly’s new album, Somewhere In Time (Available on February 9th from Yep Roc Records).

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Be sure to catch Reckless Kelly and a ton of other great artists when they take the stage at Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival near Stephenville, April 20-24.

 

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.