Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar, Antone's, Jan. 27, 2010

Ben Gibbard (Death Cab/Postal Service) and Jay Farrar (Son Volt) joined forces for a special tour, stopping in Austin at Antone's. The two originally got together in 2007 to work on a Jack Kerouac documentary, the project inspired an album and ultimately this tour. Their voices are really beautiful together and they're backed by a solid band. I would have liked a bit more interaction with the audience, maybe in explaining the project or the songs, though. And, Dear Death Cab fans: please don't have entire conversations during the concert. I came to hear them, not you.

1000 Words

Voodoo Candle

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Joseph Arthur, Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, Jan. 20, 2010

Funny how my 1st show of 2010 happened to be out of town. I spent a week in San Francisco for a training class, and got to check out Joseph Arthur at the Rickshaw Stop. I had seen him before, at Homeslice Pizza during SXSW and that was a magical performance. His show in SF was the same. It was a really hip venue and a good crowd, people who knew his music. He performed solo, accompanied only by his looping pedal, playing both acoustic and electric, and throwing a little art in the mix. He drew that picture while he was singing, and then sold it for Haiti relief. He's got a fantastic voice and beautiful songs. At the end of the set, he proceeded to grab an orange that had been on stage the whole time, started peeling, then eating it. All this while his tracks were still looping. Then he grabbed his guitar, fumbled with some harmonicas until he selected on, and proceeded to walk to the back of the venue to the merch table where he proceeded to play again, unplugged. Quite a finish. Oh, and then he finished the orange. He's coming to Austin next week to the Cactus, and I'm planning to see him again. Come join me!

Redemption's Son

Even Though

Birthday Card

Monday, January 04, 2010

Year in Music 2009

I had another great year of music - seeing lots of great bands in Austin, traveling and catching some acts and starting my interview show, Sessions at On That Note. Of course, you could spend hours on the site, going through all my pix and footage, but I thought I'd pull together some of the outstanding highlights of the year. It features lots of great stuff including Patty Griffin, Ben Kweller, Wilco, Okkervil River, Fastball, Old 97's and Rhett Miller, Travis, Barenaked Ladies, Better Than Ezra and much more.

Normally, Texas Music asks contributors to name their Top 5 TX albums of the year, but since this is the end of the decade as well as the 10th anniversary of the magazine, the lists were decade in review. But, giving 2009 it's due, here are my favorite TX albums of the year:

Rhett Miller
Little White Lies - Fastball
El Payaso - Johnny Goudie
Constellation - Salim Nourallah
Changing Horses - Ben Kweller

And some close runners up - Lovely Creatures - Bob Schneider; The Weather Here - Buttercup; The Everlasting War - Billy Harvey.

The interesting thing is the way that many of these projects interrelate. Rhett Miller's album was produced by Salim Nourallah. Salim also produced the last Old 97's album and is gearing up to produce the next. Billy Harvey produced Salim's album, and he played on Rhett Miller's and Bob Schneider's. And Salim also produced Buttercup. And, I found out in my interview with Salim that he played in a band with Bob Schneider when they were teenagers. It's been quite a lovely thing for me to get to know members of this talented collective.

Check out the January 2010 Texas Music for their decade in review coverage.

I look forward to seeing you at a show in 2010! Happy New Year!

An Evening with the Old 97's, Sons of Hermann Hall, Dallas, Dec. 30, 2009

I made it back from my Christmas travel just in time to get up to Dallas for the last of the 4-night stand Evening with the Old 97's. They were on the last night of playing a good chunk of their catalog, not repeating any songs (except for Timebomb) with Rhett and Murry each playing opening solo sets. I had seen a couple nights of the same when I was in New York this summer, at Maxwell's in Hoboken. So, I was delighted to get a chance to catch the excitement and energy of an Old 97's show one last time to end my year.

Looks like they'll be heading into the studio in early 2010 to start recording a new album, once under under the production helm of Salim Nourallah. I can't wait to hear the new material. Salim was on hand during the 4-night stand recording all the sets, so hopefully some of the live material will also be released.

Rhett's solo set included "Suzanne"

and "If It's Not Love"

Then the Old 97's kicked it with "Adelaide"


"The Villain"

"Wish the Worst"