Uncle Lucius: “All the Angelenos”

If you missed out on some quality family time during Thanksgiving, we’ve got some musical kin for you who’ll help clean out any leftovers. We’re talking about our dear Uncle Lucius, an Americana rock endeavor spearheaded by Kevin Galloway. A beloved Austin institution since their 2006 debut Something They Ain’t, the fellas actually considered putting Uncle L to bed back in 2018. But with millions of streams still showing support, especially 2012’s “Keep the Wolves Away” (which racked up hundreds of such, eventually reaching Gold status), Galloway and the gang realized this unofficial family affair still had plenty of fuel to stoke the flames.

So, almost a decade after their previous LP The Light, this Friday Uncle Lucius returns with Like It’s The Last One Left. True to its title, LITLOL packages ten new tracks that find Uncle Lucius in tip-top form, and would hypothetically make for a mighty fine farewell if the circumstances arose. But since we’re not banking on the boys calling it quits anytime soon, we don’t see this as a Hail Mary. Instead its a mighty fine amalgamation of seventeen-plus years of tour-proven excellence, with some reorganized roles and restructuring as a sextet.

Like It’s The Last One Left also went the inclusive route, inviting in collaborators like Reckless Kelly fiddler Cody Braun, who graces the album’s final lead single “All the Angelenos”. Speaking of other towns, Uncle Lucius heads over to Houston this weekend before performances in Dallas and Goliad later this month, which’ll bookend a gig at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater 7PM on Saturday, December 30th. So put a positive spin on Austin’s ever-increasing population growth with “All the Angelenos”, because you really can’t get enough new folks to stop by and meet their new Uncle Lucius.

Restos: “Time”

If you remember Western Youth, then you’re familiar with Graham Weber. And if you know Graham Weber, you know he lays down great work wherever he may wander. A decade and a half into his solo discography, Weber launched Western Youth right here in Austin in the late twenty-teens and spearheaded their solo eponymous full-length. However, on the other side of the pandemic, that iteration of the Central Texas sextet’s since ridden off into the sunset. But save for one straggler, the cavalcade continues with their spiritual successor Restos in 2023. With Weber overseeing but not monopolizing this well-seasoned five-piece’s style, Restos retain much of the Americana-rock aura that defined their predecessor, albeit with a bit more of a modern kick. This Friday Restos drop their debut LP Ain’t Dead Yet and celebrate with a release show 11PM that same evening at Continental Club alongside opener Jaimee Harris at 10PM and closers The Irons half past midnight. As you’ll soon find out from the live performance, the tunes on Ain’t Dead Yet defy any potential decline in quality from Weber and his posse. Instead Restos channel the energy of an armadillo, bear, bison, gator, rooster all kickin’ in the barn together, pushing their primitive musical instincts to the limit and leaving the rest behind. So before Restos rear into their Thursday night residency at C-Boy’s each week from 6:30-8:30PM, take a little “Time” to appreciate Graham and the boys’ incredible progress over a handful of years in just under five minutes with one of the record’s latest early looks.

Miles Miller: “In A Daze”

It’s a fairly standard practice for future superstars to start off jockeying stools in dimly lit dives with the mere support of liquid courage and maybe a couple clapping barflies. Modern Americana icons like Tyler Childers and Sturgill Simpson sure wouldn’t be where they are today without those musty salad days. So now that they’ve struck it big and perform with larger ensembles, it’s unsurprising that their backing players abide by similar standards. A mutual member of both Simpson’s and Childers’ outfits? Drummer Miles Miller. Born in Kentucky and now based in Austin, Miller doesn’t just thrive in the world of percussion; guitar and vocals enticed Miller’s talents far before his recruitment in Simpson’s band at the turns of the 2010s. Now, playing with Sturgill is the gig of a lifetime, but once COVID hit, after decade behind the kit, Miller stopped millin’ around, picked up the six-string and pen, and went to work. Miller began fleshing out his inaugural entry as a solo singer-songwriter last January and finally emerges anew this weekend with Solid Gold. Smelting together some of the finest ores of Americana, country, and folk, the twelve well-tempered tunes on Solid Gold drop on Friday, with a release show 8:30PM that same evening at Sam’s Town Point with opener Tony Kamel and closers The Swindlers. So before you let the Bud Lights and brats flow tomorrow on what’s set to be a sunny day, take a trip across the pond to Dublin, drizzling in both rain and dry stout, and ditch those pesky calendar updates with “In A Daze”.

Lucinda Williams: “Stolen Moments”

If you’re a longtime lover of KUTX, then you know we couldn’t have made the trip of our first ten years without Lucinda Williams riding shotgun. Like car wheels on a gravel road, this Americana-country-folk-rock darling’s given our airwaves some extra Texas texture and, beginning with her 11th LP Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, has grown alongside us considerably over the past decade.

Yet along that proverbial gravel path that is life, Lucinda did recently run into a bit of a bump in the road. Shortly after squeezing out Good Souls Better Angels mere weeks into the global COVID-19 shutdown, Williams suffered a stroke. This would’ve been a reasonable career-ender for most approaching their seventies, but for Lucinda’s still got plenty of loose ends to tie up.

This Friday the triple Grammy-winner returns with her fifteenth full-length, Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart, an awesome encapsulation of Williams’ perseverant spirit and seasoned wisdom surrounding her craft. Lucinda Williams celebrates with an in-store performance 5PM next Monday at Waterloo Records hosted by KUTX’s Jody Denberg, where stories like “Stolen Moments” will enrich rather than rob our precious time.

Good Field: “Full Pool”

Back in 2018, we started the year off strong with our January Artist of the Month Good Field. The Austin quartet, their enthralling third full-length Surface Tension, and their easy-going brand of slacker indie-Americana perfectly embodied the worry-free character of the “before times”. But since the start of COVID, Good Field’s been noticeably quiet. Maybe that’s because Good Field’s been in the weeds of their fourth LP, Coyote. This seven-song collection follows up their seemingly-standalone October 2020 studio single “Coyote (Living Free)”, which now serves as the album closer and title track. Toting tunes like “Passengers”, “Airliner”, and “Lost in Morelos”, Coyote comes across as less of a yipping menace and more of a slinky, crepuscular traveler, fitting for a four-piece originally from rural West Texas. Coyote crests the horizon on November 3rd and Good Field takes the stage 10PM tomorrow night at C-Boy’s Heart & Soul, followed by Star Parks at 11:15PM and The Point just after midnight. And today Good Field’s graciously given us an early glimpse at Coyote from afar. Although its title instantly reminds us of Surface Tension, “Full Pool”‘s character doesn’t exactly reflect that last record’s shimmering indie rock liquidity. Instead, in a wooded trot or a sandy gallop, “Full Pool” takes its time and stalks listeners with cosmic Americana, like an infectious vector between Deer Tick and 2009-era Grizzly Bear.

Kris Gruen & Kendall Jane Meade: “Heaven On A Car Ride”

While nepotism in Hollywood continues to give the questionably talented mainstream opportunities, it really doesn’t exist like that within the music industry. Like, if a performer’s truly not up to snuff, a familial claim to fame ultimately won’t get them all that far. Case in point, son of iconic rock ‘n’ roll photographer Bob Gruen, Kris Gruen, whose childhood exposure to turn-of-the-’80s NYC counterculture legends actually sent him on an impressive path of self-worth, one that eventually found him rubbing elbows with some of those same greats. Beginning with his 2007 debut Lullaby School, Kris Gruen has been bolstering his delicate brand of Americana and indie folk. Gruen’s momentum really took off between 2018’s Coast & Refuge and 2021’s Welcome Farewell; he’s since had the pleasure of touring internationally alongside KUTX favorites Chuck Prophet and Alejandro Escovedo. Now, Gruen is ushering in June with his sixth full-length In Bloom. Sure the LP features a cover of The Clash classic “Bankrobber” – a tasteful tie-in with Gruen’s star-charmed childhood, but the record also blossoms with some of his finest songwriting work to date. And ahead of In Bloom‘s release next Friday, Kris Gruen’s given us one more early look at what to expect; harvesting what started as a basic sketch penned by Mascott/Juicy frontwoman Kendall Jane Meade one idyllic LA afternoon, Heaven On A Car Ride just pulled up. Along with its music video, “Heaven On A Car Ride” is an indie folk embrace like a sonic seatbelt, a soothing hug of harmony and soft acoustic strumming. Either way, shotgun seat’s all yours.

Paige Hill: “Sticks and Stones”

As much as us at KUTX sing the praises of native Austinites, we’d never dream of detracting from their adjoining contemporaries who are essentially a stone’s throw outside our city limits. Take for example Austin born-and-raised singer Paige Hill, who’s currently headquartered in Dallas. As part of her steady ascent to statewide stardom, Paige partakes in a regular routine of entertaining her fellow Dallasites, characterized by all kinds of Central Texas ridges – Americana, country, blues, and soul.

Weekends off are largely a thing of the past for Paige; when Hill’s not crushing it with her outfit The Kitchen Section, she’s supporting Evan Boyer & The Remedy or contributing her pipes for more pious purposes at her neighborhood church. In keeping up with her fervently feminine counterparts, Paige Hill’s lyrical prominence lies in relating personal experiences of heartache, infatuation, brood pride, and comeback character arcs. And thankfully, alongside her willingness to offer up services as a vocal accompanist or co-writer for hire, Hill’s original works inspire listeners to dance through the damage, laugh through the tears, or cry out frustration when stuck in a rut.

That gendered sense of strength surrounds Paige Hill’s upcoming debut EP Good Woman, a five-song summit that embodies some of the most resilient female characteristics. This handful of tracks tackles ’70s-style country and classic soul on top of contemporary rock and blues for an Americana-anchored odyssey of well-intentioned, bricks-bouncing-off-bones toughness. So before Good Woman arrives, take a page out of Hill’s book by overlooking life’s more paltry remarks with the the one tune on the record not entirely penned by Paige herself. A collaboration between co-writer Guillermo Murillo and horn arranger Preston Lewis, the optimistic soul of “Sticks and Stones” (complete with sax and trumpet stabs, adroit organ and keyboard work, plus Paige’s powerhouse vocals atop it all) soars far above expectations for a newcomer like Paige within a succinct three-minute runtime.

Modern Fools: “Wasting”

For as many people (especially bombastic media personalities) who’ve made a monkey of themselves in the COVID climate, we’d like to think that just as many, if not more, have done a lot of growing up instead. In the past three years we’ve seen a ton of such success stories, and today we’re commending the hurdle-topping turnaround of Josh Blair.

Even before the start of the pandemic, this New Hampshire singer-guitarist had already lost a friend to substance abuse and endured strains in his romantic relationship. When Blair began traveling the nation in a short bus at the height of lockdown conditions, he had plenty of time to reflect on his musical path leading up to this period of dejection; he’d been a punk drummer as a juvenile before graduating into bassist and guitarist for a hip-hop/psych/rockabilly outfit. But in this newfound, fragile mindset, Blair didn’t quite resonate with the overtly downtrodden discourse of many punk lyrics nor the slapdash style-over-substance approach of his subsequent cross-genre project. Instead Josh Blair turned to the matured wisdom of blue buckaroos like Townes Van Zandt and Hank Williams, and in doing so laid the groundwork for Modern Fools.

Rather than split the difference by going straight to cowpunk or psychobilly, Modern Fools embraces the timelessness of classic crybaby country as Blair’s first foray into bandleading and songwriting. Blair recruited longtime buds Justin Gregory and Jon Braught to record Modern Fools’ 2020 debut Seer – albeit completely separate due to COVID restrictions – and tomorrow, with the addition of Ian Galipeau, Modern Fools unfurls their formalization as a four-piece.

The quartet tracked their magnificent sophomore album Strange Offering together in Blair’s home studio, and that sense of unity really ratchets up the caliber of these forlorn originals. These ten gloomy cosmic country tunes arrive bright and early tomorrow, so be sure to set some time aside this weekend to appreciate Strange Offering in full. And if you want to open up the contemporary-tinged, vintage-inspired waterworks early, “Wasting” is where you wanna be. Like admiring the slow slip of sunlight into a distant horizon, “Wasting”‘s languid trot, softly-howled harmonies, stoic lyrics, sanguine song structure, and abrupt heartbreak of a final chord – all at just over five minutes – is by no means a misuse of your time.

Dan Peters: “Jenny Lake”

As a native Austinite that rarely spends a week out of eyeshot of our ever-elevating skyline, I’m hardwired to be somewhat of a city slicker. So I’m always kind of surprised when a folk performer decides to settle down in our noisy, crowded, metropolitan hub. But hey, more folk music for us, right?

Among those we’ve welcomed with wide open arms is pianist-guitarist-vocalist Dan Peters, whose current urban digs are a stark contrast from his coastal Massachusetts upbringing. Dan moved down here at the turn of the decade not only to pursue a career as an environmental scientist but also to reap the benefits of residing in the Live Music Capital. As a result, when he’s not off the grid collecting empirical data, he’s playing keys with local bossa nova/tropicalia outfit Nossas Novas. But of course, with his love of North American landscapes in mind, Peters naturally gravitates towards folk in the vein of Wilco and John Prine as a solo songwriter.

Rooted in such (and in line with the wilderness-inspired titles of his existing standalone tracks “Bottom of the Sea” and “The Birds Are Louder in Texas”), Dan Peters drops his Ramble Creek-recorded debut EP Ocean and the Wind this June. Based on Ocean and the Wind‘s fiddle-infused lead single “Jenny Lake”, which takes us on a cross-country trek from toasty Texas to the snow-capped peaks and tranquil pools of Wyoming, we’re expecting a wholesome Americana-folk sonic safari in store for us this summer.

Sol Chase: “Moonwalker”

It’s fascinating how many wholesome qualities folk and bluegrass fulfill: the importance of a tight-knit family, a primal connection to nature, and earning keep strictly through musical means. And to be completely honest, if those genres weren’t so overwhelmingly positive, they’d almost seem more like an antiquated cult. But instead of indoctrination and manipulative reprogramming of the meek-minded, some of the best bluegrass and folk hedonists were simply bred right into that bucolic lifestyle.

Just look at the upbringing behind mandolinist Sol Chase, who was raised by a hippie tribe that practiced their craft in European forests and festivals alike. Trips to civilization were often reserved for street side busking, a habit Chase continued after retreating to the campfires and cordillera of rural Colorado. Sol Chase essentially only appeared “on the grid” once he relocated down to Austin close to a decade back. In that time Chase recorded with Third Eye Blind, opened for the likes of Shinyribs, and basically immersed himself in Texas’ sprawling jamgrass scene as a must-hear master mandolinist.

Now, Sol Chase did decide to split town last year in favor of more wanderlust with his sweetheart Evergreen, but not before recording his solo debut with some of Austin’s finest players. The Eclectic Life of an Only Child was engineered by Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Sublime contributor Charles Godfrey, who helped instill a heightened sense of clarity for this four-song collection of personal memories, semi-fabricated fables, and emotionally-piercing parables. The Eclectic Life of an Only Child drops this Friday ahead of a 7:30PM release show at The Cactus Cafe and a late night set 1AM next Thursday at Old Settler’s Music Festival.

But Sol Chase isn’t exactly constrained by time and place, so why should you be? Like a bark-built acoustic rocket sparking up, clearing a tree line, and ascending into orbit, the Eclectic Life‘s latest single, “Moonwalker” builds up from a droning long tone into a zero-gravity instrumental gallop. “Moonwalker” wows with moody motifs, Appalachian-inspired intervals, and extensive solo sections that feature fiddle, flute, and of course, mandolin. So if you’re not ready to soak up the summer rays shining today, let Sol Chase help you flip the celestial switch into a lively lunar stroll.

Rodney Crowell: “Everything At Once” (feat. Jeff Tweedy)

The Cactus Cafe has remained an important cultural crossroad for countless Americana, folk, and country acts. So when a thread is formed between two longtime Cactus veterans (with recognition in their own right) who go on to collaborate outside of Austin’s best listening room, expectations are high.

Take for instance two of the most decorated Cactus acts, Houston-born Americana country-rocker Rodney Crowell and Uncle Tupelo/Wilco co-founder Jeff Tweedy. Both have created unforgettable acoustic performances, both have two Grammy Awards to their name, and both their genre fortes roughly overlap into the sphere of alternative-country. These talented two have undoubtedly crossed paths plenty of times in the past, but it wasn’t until recently that Tweedy was recruited to produce a full Rodney Crowell record.

Despite a relatively unremarkable title, The Chicago Sessions are anything but; the pairing of Tweedy’s keen ear with Crowell’s tried-and-true country storytelling presents this Texas troubadour in a pristine, rejuvenated package, even compared with 2021’s Triage. And intentional or not, the ten tracks on The Chicago Sessions drop on May 5th, or Cinco De Mayo for folks with upbringings near the southern border like Rodney Crowell. Remember what we said about high expectations? The Chicago Sessions‘ lead single “Everything At Once” not only channels some of Tweedy’s best production work, but also moves him away from the mixing board momentarily for his sole in-person feature on the album. Which makes us wonder, what would a WilCrowell tour sound like? We can only dream for now.

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore: “Borderland” (feat. The Guilty Ones)

The Big Lebowski turned twenty-five yesterday, marking a quarter century since Jimmie Dale Gilmore stole a scene as the line-stepping pacifistic bowler Smokey. But if Smokey’s your only reference point, here’s a quick recap. Born in Amarillo, raised in Lubbock, and based in Austin, Jimmie Dale Gilmore is a tried and true Texas music treasure of more than fifty years. Outside of his infectious Nelson-esque tenor, JDG’s longevity also lies within his collaborative spirit, most notably as co-founder of country supergroup The Flatlanders.

Then there’s Gilmore’s California colleague Dave Alvin, who cut his teeth as chief songwriter and lead guitarist for The Blasters before short stays with X, The Knitters, and The Flesh Eaters. Despite a ten-year age difference and complementary genre experiences, Dave and Jimmie both launched their solo careers in the mid-late ’80s. And although they crossed paths and fostered friendship for more than three decades, it wasn’t until 2018 that Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore formally teamed up on Downey to Lubbock. Even after two tough years of battling cancer, Alvin leveled out the less-loquacious Gilmore as both emcee and segue storyteller when they toured together as a duo last summer.

On top of that, Alvin and Gilmore actually just wrapped up a thirteen-date Southwestern U.S. tour last Saturday alongside their backing ensemble The Guilty Ones. Even more impressively, Alvin and Gilmore also released a new studio single about halfway through that recent time on the road. Inspired by Big Bend’s immense nation-dividing river canyons and the unique emotive energy they emit, “Borderland” is a beautifully-rugged Americana testament to unbridled love. And with a cast of archetypes that include an exhorting sheriff, a hitchhiking judge, a slick businessman, and stubborn guards, this rustic tale of romance begs to be heard for generations to come.

Pendulum Hearts: “Waiting”

Back in summer 2021, Dripping Springs trio Midland centered their sophomore EP The Last Resort with a pretty straightforward declaration: “It Takes Two to Two Step“. Now that may sound pretty redundant in the world of group choreography, but it’s also true in terms of a performers’ ability to inspire spontaneous dance. Without the help of loop pedals, a stripped down drum kit, or other one-man-band mechanics, solo troubadours are rarely capable of keeping a crowd in motion all on their own. On the other hand, when the interplay of at least two musicians bounces off each other and onto the dance floor, that‘s how you get the energy going. And even after a half decade of gigging together, the core duo behind The Pendulum Hearts has kept the chemistry alive and pumped their passion into plenty of venues. Guitarist Chase Risinger and violinist Tony Perez flip the script on the leader-and-follower structure at the tip of a brim, a dynamic that’s allowed The Pendulum Hearts to pierce ears and move boots over Americana, Honky-Tonk, Western-Swing, and more. Today, on the heels of their latest single and on the verge of a show at Love Supreme Pizza tomorrow evening, The Pendulum Hearts have released the visual counterpart to their relaxed waltz, “Waiting”. It may be a bit slower than what you’d expect based on how we’ve been describing them, but after watching the music video on your own, we guarantee you’ll want to partner up, grab hip, and live out that intimate moment you’ve been “Waiting” for.

Slaid Cleaves: “Second Hand” [PREMIERE]

While we here at KUTX celebrate our 10th birthday, it’s worth revisiting the folks who were KUT 90.5 heavyweights well before 98.9 FM’s call letters were even born. Among that roster of Central Texas mainstays is a real character of the airwaves, singer-guitarist Slaid Cleaves. It’s crazy to think that his breakout fifth LP No Angel Knows came out all the way back in 1997, especially considering that Slaid’s continued to cut through the competition like a certain kitchen utensil. Which, to maintain a presence in the Live Music Capital for more than a quarter century, is easier said than done…even with a pretty consistent three-to-four-year release rate such as Slaid’s.

On that note, diehard Slaid-heads (including horror legend Stephen King) might’ve become bereaved by Cleaves’ lack of post-pandemic output. Good news! On March 3rd Slaid slides back in with Together Through the Dark, his first studio offering since 2017’s Ghost on the Car Radio, and celebrates with an album release show later that month at The 04 Center. As you can imagine from the title, Together Through the Dark champions empathy in uncertain times, mainly anchored by Cleaves’ idiosyncratic storytelling but also applicable to the sans-power solidarity we’ve had the past couple weeks in Central Texas.

However it hits you, TTtD contains some of Slaid’s most mature folk-Americana compositions to date and a beautifully flawed sense of human confidence we could all appreciate right about now. So if you want to be the first of your friends to get your mitts on the new Slaid, set the needle down on the record’s third single “Second Hand”. Like a vintage Plymouth carrying you across your routine stops, “Second Hand” steers straight with easily-navigable chord changes, gentle harmonies, and as with all things Cleaves, a relatable narrative. After all, who thinks being a thrifty family man is unfashionable?

Mary Elizabeth Remington: “Wooden Roads”

After an excruciating week of weather-related rancor and cabin fever here in Austin, the prospect of seeking refuge in nature versus spending additional time indoors may seem less a transcendentalist fantasy and more the extension of a Kafka-esque sentence. But of course, bitter winter feelings aside, the physical walls of a house do little to confine fires of creativity.

Take for instance Mary Elizabeth Remington, whose bucolic childhood was spent in and around a log cabin near Hardwick, Massachusetts. And while Remington’s Walden-reminiscent upbringing gave her an intrinsic appreciation for nature (a must-have for folk songwriters), those talents didn’t sprout up into public consciousness until she made her first live performance at the 2013 Kerrville Folk Festival. Ten years later, Remington’s ready to reveal a life’s-worth of Americana-folk reflections with her debut full-length, In Embudo.

True to its title, In Embudo finds Remington shacked up across the nation from her Moose Brook origins, in cozy quarters near the Rio Grande in New Mexico. While Sarah W. only had ghosts as company in Winchester House, the Remington’s Embudo HQ was full of life over this LP’s recording session; Remington recruited Adrianne Lenker and James Krivchenia of Big Thief alongside Twain’s Matt Davidson for these eleven originals. In classic folk fashion, In Embudo brushes away the allure of digital and instead embraces the nuanced imperfections of 4-track tape, an aesthetic that (along with plenty of elemental song titles) totally sells us on Remington’s biophilic presence. In Embudo drops this Friday, but if you’re not willing to brave the unbridled, even in song form, at least heed a small piece of civilization. Like Nick Drake and Vashti Bunyan had a lovechild set to CSN’s “Wooden Ships”, In Embudo‘s album closer “Wooden Roads” will lilt you with balmy bongo taps, sanguine guitar, and Mary Elizabeth Remington’s soon-to-be renowned vocals.

The Western Civilization: “If You’re Lucky”

It’s been a tough week across Central Texas. Hundreds of thousands are still without power. Agitations over limited amenities reveal just how much we depend on electricity and WiFi to fully participate in our “advanced society”. The worst of this severe winter weather already seems behind us, so might as well return to routine and re-engage with Austin’s cultural capital. In today’s case, The Western Civilization. The fabric of The Western Civilization was sewn in Houston back at the turn of the millennium between Rachel Hasbro and Reggie O’Farrell. Now, two decades later, they split their time as a quartet between H-Town and ATX. If you haven’t checked out The Western Civilization yet, we definitely recommend starting with their 2007 debut LP Letters of Resignation. Once you’re done you might be disappointed by the lack of a sophomore follow up fifteen years down the line. If that’s the case, don’t turn tail quite yet, ’cause you’re in luck. Today, following last October’s “Bible Verses for Kids”, The Western Civilization shared the second single from their upcoming full-length Fractions of a Whole, due this fall. If you’re able to wait a whole week to unleash your cabin fever, you can let it all out 8PM next Friday for a free single release performance at ABGB. If you’re unfortunate enough to still not have power and just here to grasp some modicum of modernity, The Western Civilization’s latest original is available below. “If You’re Lucky”, you’ll appreciate a tune that sounds like Broken Social Scene was tempered by Arcade Fire in a forge of much-needed, off-kilter indie rock warmth.

Alex Williams: “Old Before My Time”

Here in the U.S., we’ve enjoyed nearly a century of transcontinental and interstate routes, thanks to our highway system. Because of its introduction amidst advents in recording technology and decades-long development alongside advances in songwriting, tunes about cruising have taken American artists pretty far. And everyone’s got their favorite so no need to list ’em all out here. That said, the point of a good road playlist is to pack too many tracks in so you don’t have repeats, right? With that in mind, today we introduce you to a must-have piece of musical migration, courtesy of Indianapolis singer-guitarist Alex Williams.

With the release of his 2017 Nashville-produced debut Better Than Myself, Williams seemed like a shoe-in successor to the Outlaw Country throne. But the following five years of touring and temptation eventually influenced Williams to shy away from a bandana-bound sense of recklessness and write a new batch of horizon-affixed, road-weary personal reflections. The result, Waging Peace, is set for release on October 21st in the thick of a national tour. This dozen-track trek evokes everyone from Jerry Reed, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Allman Brothers all the way to Texas treasures like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, boldly opening up a throttle of cross-genre twang. So buckle up for Waging Peace‘s release Friday after next, and rev up for a practice run right now with the LP’s latest Haggard-esque trailblazer, “Old Before My Time”!

Luke Daniel: “Lost in the Gap”

Tom Petty. Bob Seger. Lynyrd Skynyrd. They’re all awesome on their own accord but can you imagine a comprehensive, country-fied, combo of all three? It’s not just the stuff of dreams. Let us introduce you to Lone Star singer-guitarist Luke Daniel. Daniel grew up in podunk Missouri listening to his dad’s record collection; blues-soul stars Isaac Hayes, B.B. King, and Otis Redding were often paired with classic rock royalty like Janice, Jimi, Jethro, and Zeppelin. And although they may not present themselves on an apparent level in Daniel’s music, those retro tendrils are inseparable from LD’s style of songwriting.

When it comes to claiming his own genres, Luke Daniel makes it pretty easy, considering his debut full-length Rock ‘n’ Roll Americana came out this morning. True to its title, RnRA is a nine-track trek through Texas-style country-folk-rock, whose Derek Hames-produced sound merits a listen far beyond our state’s borders. Luke Daniel commemorates the release of Rock ‘n’ Roll Americana with a Central Texas tour and a residency at The Railhouse Bar in Kyle, kicking off 9PM tonight at Armadillo Den. It’ll be your last chance to catch Luke Daniel live in town until Monday, November 7th at Saxon Pub, so come on out and scoot some boots to barn-burners like “Lost in the Gap”.

Freedy Johnston: “The Power of Love”

Connoisseurs of Americana (or “Americonnoisseurs” as I like to call them) can probably recognize the music of Freedy Johnston within a few notes. Back in the early ’90s Johnston became somewhat of a legend thanks to an unfettered dedication to his craft and a consistent, high quality output of tunes. As a matter of fact, Rolling Stone named Johnston “Songwriter of the Year” in 1994 and within the next couple years he was a staple of film soundtracks (both major and indie). Right around SXSW 2009 Freedy Johnston linked up with KUTX favorite Jon Dee Graham and Susan Cowsill to record At Least We Have Each Other as The Hobart Brothers and Lil’ Sis Hobart. But although he’s found a footing here in Austin, Freedy Johnston’s been noticeably absent since his last solo release, 2015’s self-produced Neon Repairman.

This morning, after seven long years in the shadows, Freedy Johnston is finally back with his latest LP, Back on the Road to You. Cowsill returns as a collaborator on BotRtY along with The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, Aimee Mann, and one of the tightest backing bands you can imagine. It paves a path parallel to folk greats like Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and The Byrds all while keeping course on the great Americana highway. Needless to say, after three decades of doing his thing, Freedy Johnston’s still got it, as heard on the road trip-ready folk-country-rocker “The Power of Love”.

Daniel Tashian: “Night After Night”

In 2019 I got a big kick out of Kacey Musgraves’ “Album Of The Year” Grammy acceptance speech for Golden Hour; it was so heartwarming to see a future country superstar acknowledge her trustworthy team, whose efforts took a record with little hype or radio recognition all the way to the top. And if you watch that video you can see one of Golden Hour‘s finest contributors, co-writer/co-producer Daniel Tashian tuxedoed front and center. Although you might not have detected Tashian’s behind-the-curtain talents until that televised moment, he’s also written for legends like Lee Ann Womack and Emmylou Harris, sung alongside Patty Griffin and Rita Wilson, and even co-composed a full album with Burt Bacharach.

In terms of strictly solo output, Daniel Tashian started off strong in his late teens with his T-Bone Burnett-produced 1996 debut, Sweetie. And yet, in the subsequent two-and-a-half decades of top-tier collaborations, Tashian’s never taken a complete co-composer approach to his own material…until now. Back when Tashian’s father Barry was a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band, he probably never imagined that his son would eventually team up with fellow former bandmate Paul Kennerly, but 2022’s proven that nothing is truly off the table. As such, today Daniel Tashian announced his next full-length Night After Night, written entirely with his childhood hero Paul Kennerly, and set for release on September 23rd. The album cover makes it seem like Daniel knocked out Night After Night moments after the 2019 Grammys, but rest assured, a ton a patience and planning went into this Americana-country LP. And with a little over a month until release day, it’s easy to nestle right into Night After Night‘s head-noddin’ lead single and title track.