country

The Lonesome Heroes: “Placebo Sun”

It’s nifty how different sorts of sporty recreation mingle with specific subgenres of music; think surf, skate punk, or yacht rock. But since you can also just longboard down the access road, sippin’ Ocean Spray to some classic Fleetwood Mac without a care in the world, the rules clearly aren’t hard and fast. What’s most important is the meditation in motion, a flow state inspired by the movement of the music itself.

So even though roller skating may be most closely associated to disco (at least historically speaking), there’s an Austin outfit putting those trucks on a whole new set of wheels. That’s The Lonesome Heroes, who’ve endured the rinks of the local live scene (and far beyond) for nearly twenty years now, weaving between the best parts of indie, country, and Americana. Most recently, this veteran quintet scored another milestone with their sixth LP Seasons Change, which has already racked up some impressive streaming numbers in the short time since its November release.

And in line with frontman Rich Russell’s decision to open up the record’s writing process to a few Austin friends, these hometown heroes are lookin’ a little less lonesome in the album opener “Placebo Sun”‘s new music video…as a matter of fact they rounded up a whole roller posse to kick off their boots and strap on some skates! To fully soak up the authentic cosmic Americana radiance of “Placebo Sun”, you’ll have to keep The Lonesome Heroes company 10PM tonight at Hotel Vegas ahead of Alien Eyelid at 10:45, Shinglers at 11:30, and Automatic Weekend half past midnight, no paddling, skiing or interstellar travel required…maybe just a show-stealing, shot-bombing pooch.

Creekbed Carter Hogan: “If I Was”

In the past half decade, we’ve witnessed some surprisingly progressive turns in the historically conservative field of folk and country music; be it Orville Peck eclipsing his contemporaries in the mainstream, a Tracy Chapman cover dominating charts, Kacey Musgraves’ ongoing expansion of the genre’s inclusiveness, or Lil Nas X making people debate what even constitutes a country tune. It’s beyond refreshing to watch these tides shift, and thankfully for us Austinites, it’s not just a national trend.

So while we can certainly point to Pelvis Wrestley’s Benjamin Violet as a force for the androgynous queer cowboy visual aesthetic, when it comes to clear-cut alt-country and folk music, we gotta give kudos to Creekbed Carter Hogan. See, in the short time since Hogan shared their debut 2021 Good St Riddance, we’ve seen huge leaps not just in terms of musical maturity, but indeed through major milestones like legally changing their name, having their uterus removed, and publishing their first book. And through this transition, CCH has created a powerful advantage that makes him stand out in the crowded world of Americana-country-folk, and that’s his unique vocal register, much higher than the majority of men but not necessarily feminine in character.

Well, following up last Spring’s Split EP, Creekbed Carter Hogan is taking things to the next level with their eponymous sophomore full-length Creekbed Carter, out March 22nd. Style-wise it maintains the same blunt, clever, and intrinsically queer twist on roots music we’ve come to adore. But strictly speaking to audio quality, it’s a huge step up from the CCH’s relatively lo-fi discography thus far, with glistening sonics that’ll fill a stereo just as well as it could the Grande Ole Opry. Based on what we’ve heard so far, we’re even willing to wager that Creekbed Carter could challenge Golden Hour when it comes to the finest mixes in acoustic music. So as these Texas temps slowly creep up, crawl into the Creekbed with Hogan for a single release show 8PM this Saturday at Radio/East alongside Large Brush Collection, Kind Keith, and Leila Sunier. Until then, show Hogan some love in the streambed by giving a spin to the record’s first offering, “If I Was”. Because at five-and-a-half minutes, bordered by the prettiest instrumental string arrangement we’ve heard all year (which includes Pelvis Wrestley’s Zach Wiggs on pedal steel and Little Mazarn’s Lindsey Verrill on bass), and joined by Large Brush Collection’s Nora Predey and Grabiela Torres in its climax, “If I Was” marks a melancholy beginning for trans folk’s next generation.

Texas Extra: 50 years after ‘Viva Terlingua’

The album was recorded in a rundown dancehall 50 years ago. Today it’s like hearing a time capsule. Some consider “Viva Terlingua” the quintessential Texas record. But why?

Texas Standard’s David Brown had a conversation about this on our program last week. But for on-air we had to cut out a lot of interesting details and detours. We saved the best ones and put it all together for you as a podcast extra. Check it out — it’s beautifully produced by Texas Standard director Leah Scarpelli.

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.

Texas Extra: An extended conversation with musician Jess Williamson about her new album

We’re experimenting with bonus episodes here at the Texas Standard and we’d love to know what you think. You can let us know here: https://www.texasstandard.org/contact-us/

This is a director’s cut version of our interview with musician and North Texas native Jess Williamson. There was so much we loved in this conversation that we couldn’t fit on tomorrow’s show — so you’re actually getting both a preview and an extended listen, beautifully produced by director Leah Scarpelli.

Here’s our 2020 conversation with Williamson: https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/jess-williamsons-album-sorceress-is-her-most-texas-record-yet/

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.

A look back at the stories that shaped Texas in 2022

New laws that took effect, decisions from the courts that made history, the fight for social justice and more; it’s 2022 in review. With the Texas Legislature set to reconvene in just days, it’s worth looking back at how much Texas changed over the past 12 months, and what those changes may tell us about what’s to come in the new year. We’ll turn a spotlight on politics and a campaign season that didn’t turn out as expected, the economy, technology and much more as we reconsider the year that was across miles and miles of the Texas, today on the Texas Standard:

Texas’ top musical moments of the year

From the highlights to the blue notes, what happened in the world of Texas music in 2022. A Texas country music legend says goodbye to the road that goes on forever; our conversation with Robert Earl Keene. Also a renaissance for one of the best know Texas artists of all time: the impact of Beyonce’s 7th album, an homage to house and disco music. And Adrian Quesada turns up the volume on a rediscovered musical genre with his Boleros Psicodélicos. A lonestar-studded review of the year, today on the Texas Standard:

Logan Mize and Jill Martin: “Wrapped”

In the small riverside town of Clearwater, Kansas, claims to fame are few and far between. Now that’s not a slight on Clearwater; I’m well aware that we can’t all reside someplace with a prestigious nickname like “The Live Music Capital of the World”. But aside from adjacency to the historic Chisholm Trail and producing a couple title-winning supermodels (plus a radiation roboticist), chances are you’d only know Clearwater through rising country star Logan Mize.

Since sharing his eponymous debut in 2009, Mize has spent the past dozen-plus years rounding out an incredibly-accessible style with a rich, ever-growing discography. That also means Mize has stepped up his live game quite a bit as well; he’s not only toured alongside industry heavyweights like Eric Church, Leeann Rimes, and Blake Shelton, but just made his second stage appearance at the iconic Grand Ole Opry two weeks back as well.

But the holidays are all about hugging your loved ones around the hearth, right? Well, hot off the success of their 2021 concept collaboration Welcome to PrairievilleJill Martin joined her husband in-studio once again for Merry Christmas from Logan Mize‘s centerpiece. Like a big box from Santa that everyone wants to tear open, “Wrapped” and its accompanying music video are far from the white elephant of Merry Christmas. Instead “Wrapped” is the perfect excuse to fill your glass with something warm, unwind, and make the most of mistletoe with your respective Mr. or Mrs. Claus.

Largest teacher prep program in Texas at risk of losing accreditation

A long awaited report on Maternal Mortality in Texas is now two months delayed and may not be available for the next legislative session. We’ll have the latest. Other stories we’re tracking: amid a statewide teacher shortage, the biggest teacher accreditation program in Texas now facing the possible loss of accreditation. We’ll hear more. And after several local ordinances to decriminalize marijuana pass on the November ballot, a pushback from many local officials. Also a singer from El Paso who’s new release, Frontera, is turning a spotlight on latino voices in country music. Our conversation with Valerie Ponzio, the week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune and much more today on the Texas Standard:

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.

The Western Express: “Honky Tonk Saints”

When you think of Texas music, you think of Willie, you think country. But despite being the one-time home of Armadillo World Headquarters and current harbor to dance halls like Broken Spoke, White Horse, and Little Longhorn Saloon, there’s just not a ton of straight-up country coming out of Austin nowadays. As a matter of fact, the two core players behind today’s feature originally came from Houston. Multi-instrumentalist Phillip Brush and singer-guitarist Stephen Castillo first met through Craigslist in 2018 and quickly hit it off over a mutual love of ’80s/’90s country radio. After cutting their teeth with a few other musicians, Castillo and Brush cut back and capitalized on their interpersonal chemistry by forming The Western Express the following June.

Despite practically zero connections in Austin, The Western Express chugged along with up to twenty gigs a month. Ultimately the duo caught the attention of producer-engineer JT Holt, songwriter David Ramirez, and eventually rockabilly legend John Evans. Recently Evans linked up with The Western Express to produce their debut album Lunatics, Lovers & Poets, a non-stop nine-song direct route to authentic cross-country twang. Its title derives from Willie Nelson’s mid-century radio program, and although the songs were penned solely by Castillo during a 2018 solo trip, the strands to Evans, Brush, and the backing band make for a rounded out group experience. Lunatics, Lovers & Poets drops August 5th, with the lead single’s music video already on the tracks and steadily rolling out. Today we got the first half of that special delivery from The Western Express – the album opener off LL&P that tips its hat to the pioneers of southern style, “Honky Tonk Saints”!

Texas Standard: March 01, 2022

We’re tracking primary day in Texas as voters head to the polls on this first day of March. Also, the effects of a new policy by Governor Abbott to classify gender affirming medical treatment for transgender kids as child abuse. And, what the Russian invasion of Ukraine could mean for continued cooperation in space. Plus, a conversation with country music’s Carson McHone. These stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Harry & Emmy: “Starseeds”

Bassist-guitarist-vocalist Harrison Anderson was a fairly common sight around town in the mid-2010s, performing with Austin groups SMiiLE and Dreamboat, and has since grown into a confident and charismatic solo act. As for singer-guitarist Emily Whetstone, she’s also enjoyed some stripped-down sets outside of her fronting/chief-songwriting role in Van Mary, whose track “Hug” has been a KUTX rotation favorite since it dropped. Well, after one fateful night of karaoke duets, these two star-crossed collaborators discovered an undeniable chemistry between them, and their eponymous duoHarry & Emmy was born.

Harry & Emmy ditch theBud Light pop-countrycommercialism in favor of some old-fashionedwell-whiskey twang. It’s as if the prime-era voices ofKitty Wells and George Strait stitched themselves together across the decades and harmonized without even trying. Their natural gravitation towards midcentury-style classic country has made for a rowdy residency at Hole in the Wall over the past weeks, but that’s all been a warm-up to Harry & Emmy’sfree indoor show 8PM tonight at Radio Coffee & Beer along with Batty Jr.. So don’t be cruel to Harry & Emmy as they mark the occasion with their first-ever studio single release, “Starseeds”.

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”!

The Tender Things: “You’ll Be Gone”

The forecast calls for sunny, clear skies so it’ll be a perfect weekend to appreciate The Tender Things. Frontman Jesse Ebaugh’s experiences with bluegrass and blues rock groups in Northern Kentucky laid the groundwork for this “hippie country” outfit, which was formed here in Austin only a few years ago after Ebaugh resigned from Heartless Bastards.

The Tender Things’ gritty, retro-Appalachian style first appeared on their 2017 eponymous debut and took an even darker turn with last year’s How You Make a Fool. So if you’re the type to enjoy ACL’s early afternoons, be sure to enjoy The Tender Things 1PM this Saturday at the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage and if you won’t be there…well, “You’ll Be Gone”.

The Texas Olympics

The Olympics — as we were all just reminded — are a fantastic display of athleticism of all sorts. For many of us, watching the games is a reminder of just how we could never do that thing that we’re watching other people do.

But watching got commentator W-F Strong thinking there’s quite a lot Texans seem to be pretty good at. And he thinks maybe there should be a competition that would be open to all while taking advantage of our state’s unique geography.

Travis Linville: “I Saw You”

Known mainly to many as the guitarist for Hayes Carll‘s touring band but having rounded out his resume through countless studio collaborations, live shows, and with his budding solo discography, Travis Linville‘s covered a ton of territory in his career. This frequently sought-after session guitarist released the Sun or Moon EP nearly a full decade back, and continued to spread his country-rock wings with 2014’s Out On the Wire, his 2017 full-length Up Ahead, and most recently on the 2020 record Sounds of the Street.

On Friday Travis Linville imprints his masterful presence once again with the LP I’m Still Here, cooked up with a dream team of contributors and produced by fellow Broken Arrow artist and longtime fan JD McPherson for nine intoxicating originals (and a Willie Nelson cover featuring Hayes Carll) that toe the line between indie, country, rock, and beyond, including the piano-driven Tulsa-sound-evoking “I Saw You”!

Melissa Carper: “Makin’ Memories”

Although she’s right here in Austin, upright bassist/singer-songwriter Melissa Carper has maintained a wealth of wanderlust across her career. It’s brought Carper some big opportunities, like founding her eponymous trio The Carper Family and subsequently landing a spot on Prairie Home Companion, all the while allowing her to brush up on her own tastes and soak up everything she can from jazz legends to mid-century folk and beyond.

On “Daddy” Carper’s latest endeavor, the boldly-titled Daddy’s Country Gold, Melissa sheds the pressure of bass performance to focus solely on vocals and production, allowing this auteur to blur her already-bucolic pallet of Western Swing and Country from contemporary to classic. The result is a twelve-song, vintage-capturing masterpiece of rustic styles, and you can dive right into the nostalgic sentimentality with the album opener for Daddy’s Country Gold, “Makin’ Memories”!