blues

The Peterson Brothers: “Family”

We here at KUTX have kept a pulse on the local scene long and close enough to realize that we’re essentially tracking the progression of individual talents in real time. And though we’re admittedly quick to stick up for twenty-somethings who’ve bottled lightning for their debut releases, frankly there are very few youngsters that genuinely make us think “oh, they’re only gonna get better and better from here on out” each time we see them play live.

Think about The Peterson Brothers, who initially entertained us almost a full decade back when they made their first Studio 1A appearance as mere teens. Just as they did back then, Glenn, Jr. and Alex both continue to slay it on vocals, but their deft instrumentation on guitar and bass, respectively, always steals the show. Which totally tracks, considering up until 2020’s The Intro, The Peterson Brothers were primarily a live staple. So just when we began to fear that their mature emulsifications of blues, funk, soul, and jazz might’ve hit a limit, The Peterson Brothers have bested themselves yet again with their full-length Experience, out April 12th.

And since The Peterson Brothers have already shared a stage with The Roots, who better to help translate their live energy to the studio than Grammy-nominated Roots/Lauryn Hill/Mark Ronson producer Ray Angry? Mixed for ATMOS and mastered at Abbey Road Studios, the resulting Experience is exactly what it claims to be, an eight-track sonic excursion best enjoyed in surround sound. So while mid-January’s “Too Soon” teased that hyper-polished production value with echoes of The Brothers Johnson, yesterday’s “Family” sounds more like The Whispers rejuvenated their signature synth sound with organic sonics and some playful brass. It’s an embrace of everyone who’s supported them along the way, blood relations be damned, and holy moly does it make us feel like Experience will be TPB’s alma mater…at least until the next one.

Wilson Marks: “Isolation Town”

When we last spoke of Wilson Marks, it was just before Mother’s Day, and in fact for his newly-released song “Mother’s Day”. And wouldn’t you know it, when Wilson Marks sparks our interests yet again…it’s the day after Valentine’s. So while we won’t beleaguer you with delusional theories on causation versus correlation concerning Wilson’s releases and U.S. holidays, we will give you the rundown on what Wilson’s been working on since we last caught up.Just as planned, Wilson Marks did share another release late last year, but it ended up being the stripped-down EP they previously alluded to, Won’t Fit In a Song, instead of the trio’s next full-length as anticipated. Rest assured though, Wilson et al are still working on that LP and are looking at a drop date some time this spring. In the meantime, Marks has been making the most of a Monday night four-band residency at Sagebrush, continuing on the 19th – 8PM to midnight with opener Aaron Huff alongside closers Alex Riegelman & Friends and Virginia Creeper.Marks is definitely gonna be in good company for the remainder of that in-city, four-performance residency, and yet today he painted a very different picture with the upcoming album’s second single, “Isolation Town”. Between its bluesy trot, (breezy drum brushes and all), a real horse gallop of a woodblock pattern, some cozy chorus effects on the guitar, warm bass, wistful whistling and an oddly daunting second-person lyrical perspective and vocal character that both remind us of Roger Waters, “Isolation Town” channels that brilliantly wonky kind of early Pink Floyd-era psychedelia that almost borders on exotica.

As Texas leads the nation in ‘family annihilation’ cases, what can be done?

Ken Paxton, the impeached attorney general, is headed for a Houston courtroom today on his 2015 securities fraud charges.

An update on wildfires across the state as firefighters brace for another tough day of heat and wind. We’ll hear where the fire threat is greatest and what to do to prepare.

Since 2020, Texas has emerged as the epicenter of “family annihilation” cases, in which someone kills at least two kinds of family members.

A new documentary traces the careers of two of Texas’ most famous musical siblings: Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

And commentator WF Strong on what “Lonesome Dove “got right and wrong.

Sidney Scott: “Maybe You Were Right”

Historically, a native Austinite status set you on an accessible, auspicious trajectory towards making music. But of course, as tech culture eclipses the “weird” Live Music Capital character that Austin’s clung on to since the ’70s, it just doesn’t happen as much any more. So while simply being born within the city limits isn’t enough to guarantee the songwriter’s lifestyle, having musical parents sure as heck helps. See: Sidney Scott. Raised by a professional singer and a professional woodwind player, Sidney’s childhood in the Scott household was always chock full of good tunes. So when Sidney started discovering her own pipes, her folks weren’t necessarily looking to maintain a family legacy in music…but they certainly weren’t hypocrites either; they encouraged Sidney to follow her own passion, and we’re awfully glad they did. In 2021 Sidney Scott shared a pair of standalone studio singles, showing off her proclivity for soul, jazz, folk, and blues, not to mention an incredible grasp on vocal performance. Today, as part of her patient plans to drop her debut EP tentatively in 2024, Sidney Scott gives us a sneak peek at her unique hybridizing process. What began as an iPhone voice memo attempting to capture the best of both Brandi Carlile and Lake Street Dive was fully fleshed out by seasoned Austin producer Ray Prim and a form-fitting four-piece backing band. This latest original is a sensuous piece of gospel-soul that from its first organ-vocal unison through its sparkling firecracker choruses, billowed arrangement nuances, and Shirley Bassey-meets-Amy Winehouse final falsetto vibrato, years from now, when looking back at those of us who recognized Scott’s promising potential, might just make you say “Maybe You Were Right”

Walker Lukens: “The One Who Loves You”

If you weren’t already well aware, we here at KUTX love Walker Lukens; we shined our Artist of the Month spotlight on this perfectionist performer back in January 2015, right when Walker Lukens and (his backing band) The Side Arms released their Jim Eno-produced single “Every Night”, a tune that now totes more than two million streams on Spotify. Since then Walker’s sort of mimicked the mysterious monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, touching down to intrigue the masses and revolutionize listener experiences, but only when the moment is just right.

That’s not to say that Walker hasn’t kept busy since 2019’s ADULT, his final pre-pandemic piece of output. On top of dropping two more full-lengths and an EP, Lukens has been helping to interpolate flirty little secrets as one of the two masterminds behind The Song Confessional podcast. Walker’s also been graciously offering up his production prowess and fine-tuned formulas as a noble service for his fellow Texas creatives.

But as seductive as Walker’s sonic sorcery is in-studio, if you’ve seen him play live, you know how whetting it is to witness the carefully-crafted studio magic replicated almost identically onstage, expertly-cut a capella loops and all. So imagine our excitement this morning when Lukens announced his fourth studio full-length Accessible Beauty for release in August alongside plans for a promotional tour.

That welcome news arrived alongside Accessible Beauty‘s lead single, “The One Who Loves You”, a re-introduction to Walker’s retro-pop tastes. Between invigorating reverse guitar, sexy synth squelches, and processed vocals that soar through a torrid chorus, “The One Who Loves You” boasts an enormous sense of space that easily towers over most of Tame Impala’s less-intense installations. Wish you could express your feelings as fiery as Walker does? Just forward this one to whomever you carry a torch for and get ready for romance.

Texas Standard: November 21, 2022

‘Tis the season for bill filing; a quick look at what filing season in the Texas legislature tells us about lawmaker priorities for the coming session. Other stories we’re watching: an earthquake recorded in west Texas last week, the third biggest ever recorded in the state, what it could mean for the oil and gas industry. And a nuclear reactor taking shape on the campus of Abilene Christian University, we’ll hear why. Also how military families are trying to deal with the search for suitable housing. These stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

The Watters: “Life As A Dream”

We’ve all experienced impostor syndrome in one way or another. For musicians, it typically comes in the form of filling a bill considered “out of their league” or trying their hand at a style that’s not as rehearsed as the rest of their repertoire. But you’ll never know unless you try, right? Because that’s exactly what happened with Austin Americana-blues-soul-rock outfit The Watters. Daniel and Jenna Watters live within walking distance of The Far Out Lounge, whose doors opened at the top of the pandemic. When Far Out put out an open call for a “Sunday Jazz Brunch”, it stirred something in The Watters; as unapologetic lovers of New Orleans Dixieland and stride jazz standards like “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, they certainly seemed in touch with those sought-after sensibilities. And since having a horn section is half the battle for most jazz bands, why the hell not? Needless to say, those Sunday Jazz Brunches went off without a hitch. As such, the Watters’ tides have turned towards the incorporation of jazz, a shift that heavily influenced their latest EP Mellow. With their idiosyncratic blues-soul still front and center, jazz masterfully interjects itself within these four rousing originals. But you’ll also hear flourishes from the swingin’ ’60s sound on Mellow‘s sophomore offering “Life As A Dream”. Either way, as is usual with The Watters, it’s best experienced live. So catch The Watters 10:30pm tomorrow night at The Continental Club along with Wrongbird for the Mellow EP release show and get lucid with the sensuous psychedelia of “Life As A Dream”.

Jac With No K: “Morocco”

It’s always satisfying to hear artists incorporate local flavors once they relocate to a new musical hub. For Pittsburgh-born, Philly-braised songwriter Jac Carson, a move to Austin meant patting down his cut of blues-alt-rock with spices of cosmic country and neo-soul into a style he’s dubbed “New Texas Groove”. Even in light of the setbacks that came with COVID, Carson and his backing band Jac With No K have enjoyed a bevy of shows in the Live Music Capital since they arrived in 2020, not to mention plenty of national performances on the road. Speaking of which, right now Jac With No K is on a Northwest/Eastern-Midwest tour in promotion of their 5th EP (and first written in Texas), Imaginary Lovers. Far from a mere figment, these four tracks pack a wallop compared to what you’d expect from a handful of “love songs”. Imaginary Lovers dropped last Friday and Jac With No K returns in a couple weeks with several free live shows. Thursday, July 21st at El Mercado South, Saturday, July 23rd at The Lucky Duck, Saturday, July 30th at The Drafting Room, and noon to 2pm every Monday and Thursday at Friends Bar. So celebrate the band’s latest set of travels in person or with a one-way ticket to the Mediterranean courtesy of Imaginary Lovers‘ penultimate crowd-pleaser, “Morocco”.

Texas Standard: April 5, 2022

Could what critics call Florida’s “don’t say gay” law be coming to Texas? The Texas Lt. Governor says it’s a top priority. Also, the end on an historic union lockout dubbed the “Battle of Beaumont”; what it says about organized labor in Texas. And, a collection of artifacts sheds new light on one of Texas’ most celebrated musicians. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

White Denim: “Crystal Bullets”

Along with Spoon and Shakey Graves, White Denim is arguably one of Austin’s most recognizable offspring. The locally-dyed four-piece has continued to spin their refreshingly unique cuts of rock since their 2008 debut Workout Holiday, taking the finest yarns of blues, jazz, prog, punk, and dub and weaving them into extremely catchy, non-traditional songs. We named White Denim our March 2016 Artist of the Month, right around the same time they released their seventh LP Stiff, and the subsequent use of their single “Ha Ha Ha Ha Yeah” in Nintendo Switch’s reveal trailer invited these Studio 1A veterans into the international zeitgeist.

Last year’s World as a Waiting Room marked album number ten in White Denim‘s discography, and yet, the group had never issued a 12-inch…until now. This Friday White Denim drops Crystal Bullets/King Tears, issued on limited edition red & blue vinyl, something that complements the delightful polarity of White Denim’s genre influences, best heard on the record’s psych-rock-meets-rhythm-and-blues A-side, “Crystal Bullets”!

Armadillo Bonus: Blues, Jazz, and Funk

Join KUTX as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Armadillo World Headquarters, the music venue that helped put Austin on the musical map. In this bonus episode, hear first-hand stories about the blues, jazz, and funk greats that made the Armadillo such a live music destination: the supernatural abilities of Freddie King and B.B. King, the Pointer Sisters in their funk heyday, and the raucous welcome given to jazz icon Count Basie.

 

This Song: Jackie Venson (Rerun)

In this rerun of an episode originally recorded last February, Jackie Venson explains how seeing  “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” from the movie “Evita,” changed the way she listened to music and the way she saw herself. Then she describes her journey from classical pianist to blues guitarist. It’s a tale of soul expanding love, self crushing doubt, and musical perseverance.

Listen to this episode of This Song

Venson will be co-hosting the Austin Music Awards on March 11th at ACLive at Moody Theater. Get your tickets here.

📸 Tristan Ipock

Listen to Songs from this episode of This Song

 

Texas Standard: October 7, 2019

Election day draws near, perhaps nearer than most Texans think. We’ll take a closer look at what Texas voters are being asked to decide this November. Also, it’s a Texas border more dangerous than the one that gets the lion’s share of attention. How a boom in the Permian has made for perilous times along the line with New Mexico. And missing notes rediscovered: a long forgotten manuscript recounting the story of how the blues came to Texas, revived after decades in limbo. Also the effort to clamp down on the dangerous storage of firearms. All that and then some today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: August 13, 2019

Bracing for a blue wave, Senator John Cornyn concedes reelection in 2020 will be tough. How much of a challenge do the challengers pose? We’ll have the latest on what’s expected to be the hottest electoral battle in Texas as more Democrats enter the race for U.S. senate. Plus, a massive raid at a Mississippi food plant. Will employers face charges? Not if recent past is prologue. We’ll explore why. And what’s being described as a comprehensive oral history of a Texas music legend. Why it’s taken so long to tell the full story of Stevie Ray Vaughan. That and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

This Song: Citizen Cope

Clarence Greenwood is Citizen Cope,  an American singer-songwriter who has been making entrancing blends of rock and soul music since the early 2000’s.

In this episode Citizen Cope details how his emotional connections to legends such as Randy Newman and Trouble Funk aided his understanding of the powerful energy that music can have. Cope then goes on to discusses how his experiences of the last seven years — which include reconciling with his estranged father and becoming a parent himself —  led him to the songs on his latest record “Heroin and Helicopters.”

Listen to this episode of This Song

Check out Citizen Cope’s Tour Dates

Check out Citizen Cope’s new record Heroin and Helicopters

Listen to Songs from this episode of This Song

T-Bone Walker (5.28.17)

T-Bone Walker was an American Blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who’s sound and technique influenced generations of blues artists and helped create the foundation for what would become rock and roll.

In this installment of Liner Notes Rabbi and jazz historian, Neil Blumofe talks about how the life and legacy of T-Bone Walker can teach us to value being grounded and dedicated to fully knowing ourselves instead of trying to catch up with the latest trends.

Professor Longhair (5.4.14)

Professor Longhair, born Henry Roeland Byrd in Louisianan in 1918 was a piano player who shaped the sound of New Orleans’ jazz in the early 20th Century. Much of how we imagine New Orleans, and especially Marti Gras, is flavored and textured by the rhythm created by Professor Longhair. In this edition of Liner Notes Rabbi Neil Blumofe explores what it means explore the New Orleans of today through the ghosts of it’s past.

V&B: Native American Music and the Blues

He also explained that musicologists observe that everywhere that people live close to the earth, their music is based on the universal pentatonic scale. Anishinaabe artist Keith Secola is fond of saying that “water will eventually seep into even the thickest rubber boots.” By this he’s going back to the Native principle that we are of the land, that the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth and the closer we are to her, her music will eventually seep into us. So in other words, much of what you hear in the blues (and its branches, jazz and rock) is the song of the land here in the U.S. — the Earthsong. And so it comes full-circle.