#Americana

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.

Bruce Smith: “Campbellton”

Without too much hard data to support this claim, songwriters who’ve divided their time between several metropolises and musical hubs tend to have some of the most fascinating insights. Just look at Bruce Smith, who was reared near Detroit and based in Atlanta during his late teens and early twenties. The early portion of Smith’s post-college career was spent in D.C.’s vast political sector but it wasn’t until Bruce settled down here in Austin that his musical momentum began to pick up. The first iteration of the Bruce Smith Band was recruited at an open-mic all the way back in 2004, and after a decade and a half of gigging, their roots-y chemistry couldn’t be stronger. In that time Bruce Smith’s become a heavy hitter in the Live Music Capital of the World, and with the widespread acclaim of 2018’s ‘Til the Wheels Fall Off, the band’s profile is now at an all-time high.

That theme of getting the most out of every journey, of turning the “gas tank in bone dry”, is core to his latest LP, 1000 Horses, which dropped this morning. Co-produced with his Grammy-winning keyboardist Randy Caballero, 1000 Horses cross-breeds Smith’s diverse herd of influences into a coherent ten-track class of Americana colts. The record release show is 6pm tomorrow night at Saxon Pub and you can grab 1000 Horses by the mane with one of the album’s most rambunctious country gallops, “Campbellton”!

David Beck: “Miner’s Song”

Renowned Austin country outfit Sons of Fathers split up almost a full decade back, but since then singer-guitarist David Beck‘s carved out a Tex-Mex niche for himself with David Beck’s Tejano Weekend in tandem with a promising eponymous solo career.

Today the San Marcos-raised songwriter announced his next album, Bloom & Fade. Bloom & Fade falters away from the lo-fi temperament of Good Nature and Tascam, Vol. 1 & 2, and instead embraces a “what if” creative technique that pairs seemingly-incongruent songwriters and soundscapes, like if Robert Earl Keen wrote lyrics over Coldplay’s sonics. Bloom & Fade drops September 30th, and if you’re in need of weekend plans, David Beck cranks decibels 8PM this Saturday alongside Ryan Quiet (and a DJ set from our May 2020 Artist of the Month Jonathan Terrell) at Devil’s Backbone Tavern in Fischer, TX about an hour’s drive from Austin down in Comal County. And if you’re feeling the weight of burdens coming out of the workweek, let Bloom & Fade‘s perseverant lead single “Miner’s Song” be your indie-Americana headlamp into the weekend.

Nick Pagliari: “Flame”

When it comes to performing for pay, there are typically just two types of players; those who merely moonlight with their music and those who quit their day job long ago. But there are also those who’ve done both. People like Nick Pagliari, who spent more than a decade as a full-time musician in Nashville before moving to Austin to become a nurse-anesthetist. The good news? When Pagliari’s not treating patients, he somehow finds time to treat listeners to great tunes.

He’s been playing solo 8PM every Wednesday at Geraldine’s as part of a July residency, which includes a full band performance tomorrow and a wrap-up alongside Brian Patterson next week. The occasion? Pagliari’s fourth EP, Hard Lessons, which drops on Friday. Its title refers to everything Pagliari’s learned since 2020’s Midway, mainly stemming from his first-hand overtime experience that unfolded in hospitals over the course of the pandemic. Themes aside, Hard Lessons also packs the warm folksy vocals, classical-adjacent arrangements, and genre-inclusive Americana that we’ve come to love from Pagliari. Lyrically, the discourse on Hard Lessons lands with impressive exigence, especially when you pair Pagliari’s cautionary tale “Flame” with the ongoing January 6th hearings.

Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters: “I Suppose”

Major sonic shifts from artists with a well-established sound can be pretty polarizing. But think about all the albums that’ve become iconic simply due to how different they were from their predecessors. Among many others, there’s Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, Trans by Neil Young, Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color and A Sailor’s Guide to Earth from Sturgill Simpson. And though they haven’t quite reached the status of those legends as of yet, Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters are already dead set against typecasting their own style.

So far this Southern Indiana trio has found success with a consistent alt-country/roots-rock sound, especially on 2018’s All Damn Day and 2019’s Companion. Once COVID came around, though, Dittmeier & the Sawdusters confronted the draconian rigidness of country formulas and challenged themselves to innovate those stylistic preferences for modern, mature audiences. After sweeping the floor of their first phase shavings, Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters added synths, loopers, and drum machines to their workbench and started cutting their third full-length, Heavy Denim. The title refers to the unofficial “uniform” of Americana, and by doing so, the hard left turn of Heavy Denim is executed with self-aware grace. Heavy Denim drops next Friday and the band’s on a national tour lasting through September. So while there’s a lot of commotion about being patriotic on the Fourth of July in a post-Roe America, the Sawdusters can at least celebrate independence from the genre constraints that’ve pigeonholed so many more Americans. That said, Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters have treated us to one extra piece of fireworks from Heavy Denim, the previously-unseen music video for “I Suppose“!

Jonathan Terrell: “I Know”

Sporting a leather jacket with frills, hats with brims (not bills), and a voice that both thrills and chills, Jonathan Terrell is still Austin’s arbiter of “cosmic country”. Formerly the frontman of Austin rock outfit Not In The Face, we named Terrell our May 2020 Artist of the Month, right around the same time he shared his third full-length Westward. Westward catapulted Terrell and his whistlin’ charm into national awareness but he’s managed to hold onto his humility and stay grounded in what matters most – storytelling through music. Since treating KUTX to an at-home session early on in the pandemic, Jonathan Terrell’s shared a few new singles, all of which have retained the top-tier introspective songwriting we’ve come to expect from this rugged stargazer. The most recent one came out last Friday alongside a lyric video, and thanks to driving drums, grin-inducing guitar work, and some seriously scenic lyricism, “I Know” may quickly find its way into heavy rotation on your driving playlist. Bonus points for “I Know” based on its inspiration – a gorgeous silhouette of a woman bolting down the stairs with a big beer in each hand…at a Paul Simon concert.

Carla Olson & Brian Ray: “Whiskey Train”

In a city as dense as Austin, we’ve got our fair share of transportation problems. Each year we hear exponentially grander solutions to herding a mass of people from Point A to Point B, including the hyperloop design of Elon Musk’s Boring Project. Those bold, sometimes impractical ideas can lead us to reflect on the milestones of mass transportation that’ve largely occurred in the past century. And when you add cultural capital into the equation, there’s nothing quite like the “iron horse”. That just about brings us to Americana Railroad, a tribute to our nation’s treasured railways. The compilation was conceived by Austinite Carla Olson (who co-founded The Textones with future Go-Gos frontwoman Kathy Valentine in the late ’70s) and puts nineteen iconic covers on a whole new set of tracks. With a roster of high-caliber collaborators, these locomotive etudes pass by like a series of uniquely-graffitied railcars, each with their own spin on otherwise-familiar freight. So before Americana Railroad pulls into the station this Friday, hop onboard a rolling rendition of Procol Harum’s “Whiskey Train” performed by Olson and longtime Paul McCartney Band contributor Brian Ray.

Matt Koziol: “Loving You Loving Me”

When a player becomes a hot commodity within their musical community, there’s an unsaid understanding that they could probably demolish a solo set all on their own. A perfect example is singer-guitarist Matt Koziol, who’s collaborated with country legends like John Paul White, Abby Anderson, and Jimmie Allen and enjoyed a creative partnership with Bre Kennedy as Koziol Kennedy. But as with many others, it was moving to the country music Mecca of Nashville that sealed the deal in terms of pursuing a solo career. It’s been a little over two years since Matt Koziol and Jars of Clay member/producer Matthew Odmark began taming the ten tracks on Koziol’s debut LP Wildhorse. And considering how crisp and thought-out it sounds, we’re glad they took their time with Wildhorse rather than grab it by the mane and ride it on barefoot hooves. The record dropped this morning, finally harnessing Matt Koziol’s towering talent and making it available for the masses. With summer temperatures on the rise, Wildhorse is a damn good album for a mid-May weekend. So when it’s time to clock out, saddle up with a slapback delayed country rocker that gets rowdy without kickin’ shit, “Loving You Loving Me”!

Barton Stanley David: “How We Live In Love”

“You can take the boy out of Texas but you can’t take Texas out of the boy”; it’s an old adage consistently weighted in truth. Fifth generation Texan Barton Stanley David is a prime piece of evidence, considering he moved back to Dallas in 2019 following a decade in New York City. After that, it didn’t take long for David to cross paths with producer Jeff Saenz, who’d already worked with Leon Bridges and Paul Cauthen and established a reputation through Modern Electric Sound Recorders. They got cracking on David’s new record Crest in 2021, but hit a huge valley six months in with Saenz lost both arms to a downed power line outside his family’s home. With the help of Grammy Winner Dave Schiffman (who’s lent his talents to Audioslave, Tom Petty, Adele, and The Killers), The Eagles’ violinist-engineer Scarlett Deering, Jeff Buckley/Nirvana mastering engineer Howie Weinberg and others, Crest was finally completed. The result is a ’90s-style seven-song alt-rock-meets-chamber-pop masterpiece of Americana, tethered together by David’s one-of-a-kind voice. Crest is out tomorrow, and we’ve been given an extra push over the edge today courtesy of the record’s final single that features White Denim drummer Matt Young and was inspired by pandemic-era domestic violence and the role technology plays in connecting communities, “How We Live In Love”.

Sophie & The Broken Things: “Fire And Ice”

Nashville can get pretty chilly this time of year, but that doesn’t hinder the never-ending flow of musicians fanning their creative embers, be it performing on Broadway, recording in renowned spaces, or just staying at home and songwriting. Singer Sophie Gault’s taken part in that ecosystem since moving from rural Maryland in 2014 and has continued to bring the heat following her Americana outfitSophie & The Broken Things‘ eponymous debut in 2020. Sophie & The Broken Things caught the ear of critics and new listeners alike, as well as Grammy-winner Ray Kennedy, who lent his talents to SBT’s upcoming full-length, Delusions of Grandeur – out this Friday.

Delusions of Grandeur features ten intriguing tracks packed with timeless folk instrumentation, relatable lyrics, and of course, Gault’s enthralling vocals. And while the world waits for George R.R. Martin to finish up Winds of Winter, Sophie & The Broken Things have taken a few cues from ASOIAF for the latest, cinematic single off Delusions of Grandeur, “Fire And Ice”!

The Grahams: “Searching The Milky Way” (Luck Mansion Sessions)

You may have gotten wind of Luck Reunion’s 10th Anniversary lineup that was just announced yesterday, which’ll feature several KUTX favorites and take place a month from now out in Spicewood, just a stone’s throw away from Austin. But don’t get confused between that Texas treasure and another “Luck” legacy in the country music world – Tennessee’s Luck Mansion. This East Nashville parlor room’s been home to the likes of Sarah Jarosz, Rodney Crowell, Margo Price, Shovels & Rope, Allison Russell, and many more – including Alyssa and Doug Graham – over the past half decade. Raised in the Northeast and based in Nashville, The Grahams have been polishing their unique Americana style since 2013. Now, after four full-lengths, The Grahams and their affectionate laissez-faire aura are at the top of their game, as heard on the Live At Luck Mansion EP – out today. The Grahams embark on a two-week-long UK tour in late April and paid a passionate tribute to producer Richard Swift with the Luck Mansion rendition of “Searching The Milky Way”.

Jac with No K: “Caroline”

Pittsburgh-born poet Jac Carson was inspired early on by ’90s alt-rock soundtracks (Van Wilder and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater to name a couple) before getting his chops up onstage in Philadelphia and eventually moving down to Austin. And it’s here that Carson’s project Jac with No K has really flourished – blurring the lines between alternative blues and Americana into a style that the three-piece has deemed “New Texas Groove”. If you want to check out Jac with No K live, you’ve got a couple good opportunities this weekend; this Saturday Carson plays solo 3-6pm at Lone Star Court and the full band performs that same evening 9pm to midnight that same evening at The Drafting Room. Either way, let Carson’s crystalline vocals help you crest over the rest of the work week with his charmingly-calm composition “Caroline”!

Sara Jean Kelley: “Bleeding Stone”

Like many Americana artists, Nashville native Sara Jean Kelley grew up with an adoration for nature and has since continued to explore how us humans interact with the world that’s grown around us, be it for better or worse. Kelley first put those thoughts on record with her 2013 debut The Waiting Place, revealing the singer-guitarist’s bleak-but-humorous honesty within her lyrics while showcasing her infectiously twangy guitar and vocals reminiscent of Lucinda Williams or Patti Griffin. On the heels of her 2019 EP The Wild, Sara Jean Kelley’s set to share yet another rock-leaning meditation on the human condition and the laws of nature with Black Snake, out this Friday. Though Black Snake was tracked in just two days, you can hear how much care was put into these six rustic originals that’ll slither right into your heart without making you hiss, heard most recently with “Bleeding Stone”.

Calder Allen: “Bend of the River” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

As the grandson of Lubbock-raised creative polymath Terry Allen, singer-guitarist Calder Allen has been raised with a set of songwriting sensibilities that few have been privy to. But despite that huge leg-up heritage-wise, Allen only made his live band debut just a couple weeks ago with Charlie Sexton during the first Sunday of ACL Fest.

Calder unleashed a batch of previously-unheard Americana originals, leaving the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage thirsty for much more from this poet extraordinaire beyond ACL. So while we all eagerly await to hear Calder Allen again, appreciate the fact that this up-and-comer doesn’t need a backing band to give a great performance, as evidenced by a stripped-down rendition of his earliest compositions, “Bend of the River”!

David Ramirez: “Friends Forever” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

Since the salad days of KUTX, Austin songwriter David Ramirez has been a major staple of our airwaves. And David’s growth alongside ours over the years makes us feel like we’ve got a special bond between us. So imagine our elation when this six-time Studio 1A veteran visited us backstage at ACL Fest and treated us to a preview of an unreleased track all about his preference for platonic pals, “Friends Forever”!

Tony Kamel: “Slow On The Gulf”

For those with their ear near to Austin’s alt-country/Americana scene, the name Tony Kamel shouldn’t sound too unfamiliar. For years Kamel’s provided the circuitry for the Grammy-nominated string group (and KUTX favorites) Wood & Wire, and alongside his newfound fatherhood, has recently issued his debut solo LP, Back Down Home.

This Kamel-Back packs all the coastal accoutrements you’d expect from a nature-loving Texan, at-times spiced with Cajun and Appalachian flavors for an authentically American listening experience. Back Down Home dropped a couple weeks ago and Tony Kamel celebrates with back-to-back release shows this weekend (right after he returns from Utopia Fest), Friday and Saturday at Continental Club, and you can enjoy a breezy preview with “Slow On The Gulf”.

Suzanne Santo: “Mercy”

If you know L.A. roots duo HoneyHoney or have watched shows like Medium and Without a Trace then you’re already acquainted with the talent bestowed in singer Suzanne Santo. But even the pre-existing fans might’ve missed the fact that Santo recently moved here to Austin to double down on her Americana-meets-Gothic-soul solo project.

The follow-up to Santo’s 2017 debut Ruby Red is Yard Sale, a record that welcomes the transplant into Austin’s atmosphere and exudes the energy of the Live Music Capital with contributions from Gary Clark Jr. and Shakey Graves. Yard Sale (and its idiosyncratic gems, like steady rocker “Mercy”) is out tomorrow, but you can get your hands on the goods early at 8PM tonight when Suzanne Santo plays at Antone’s!

Rett Smith: “Pick Up The Pieces”

West Texas native Rett Smith may have spent some time in Nashville and New York, but its only after settling down in our lovely southern metropolis that he’s returned to his full Americana potential. Smith shared his grizzled and grim southern-folk-rock sound last year with the nine-track debut record Giving Up On Quitting, and has recently announced his upcoming sophomore LP, What The Walls Cannot See.

Produced by Jason Burt (who’s worked with Paul Cauthen, Leon Bridges, and Khruangbin) and mixed by Erykah Badu engineer Tom Soares, What The Walls Cannot See is set to be Smith’s most refined offering yet. What The Walls Cannot See drops October 15th and today Rett Smith has shared its latest single and music video (shot in a single take at Arlyn Studios), both of which’ll captivate you right off the bat with its brooding, sweet-but-sinister style, “Pick Up The Pieces”!

Brown Bones: “I Become Light”

Raised in the Live Music Capital and now based out of Beantown, producer Andrew Moon Bain’s rap sheet of recording credits includes industry giants like Diplo and Snoop Dogg. Which is plenty impressive, but it’s only been within the past couple years that Bain’s unfurled his new solo project, Brown Bones.

Bain’s first pair of singles dropped in the Fall of 2019 and a live EP came out just last summer, yet Brown Bones’ self-titled, self-produced debut full-length has been in the works for a full decade. The emotional weight of Brown Bones will cut all the way down to your core, and its roster of session players is nothing short of remarkable. Hear the full thing this Friday and treat yourself to a folk-rock freebie with its powerful lead single (and music video), “I Become Light”!

Mike Fuller: “Ms. Wrong”

Aside from the unique influences you’d only get from having a church organist and a cover band’s lead singer as parents, Mike Fuller‘s been finalizing his own folk-rock style more-or-less all on his own. Fuller only dropped his debut EP The Human Condition last September, but he’s spent the past decade perfecting what’s become his sophomore record, The Missed Connection.

The Missed Connection‘s three originals were born all the way back in 2010 and after undergoing a few different iterations and a ton of tender loving care, they were tracked in Brooklyn at the top of 2021 and are finally ready to be shared with the world. The Missed Connection is out this fall and its driving lead single “Ms. Wrong”, which came out last week, is just right for someone who needs an extra bit of kick to keep ’em rolling through the rest of the work week.