Thursday, January 3, 2019

A NEW Year, Welcoming New Music in 2019 !!

Hey Folks!

I'm always excited for the new beginnings of a new year and all the possibilities it will bring. We kick off this year with a new artist to Gruene Hall. San Antonio-born Mike Ryan is set to enter the next phase of his career with the release of “New Hometown,” the lead single from his forthcoming album. Ryan set the bar quite high with the release of his last album Bad Reputation, in 2014, which featured a trio of number one singles on the Texas Music Charts. Ryan says he is more than excited to give his fans new music.
“New Hometown” tells the story of a guy who is struggling to get over a break up, and it seems like everywhere he looks is a memory that he had with his ex-girlfriend. He’d spent his whole life in this hometown, but now he can’t even walk down the street without seeing a place they had spent time together.
“I think it’s a song that most folks can probably relate to in some way,” says Ryan. “I love the melody of the song, and I think it tells a good story.”
Ryan’s musical story began in the Lone Star state, his first exposure to music was from his grandfather, who directed the Texas National Guard Band for over 30 years. He became one of Ryan’s biggest musical influences, first learning the clarinet from him – among other instruments.
“I found out after one short lesson with my grandfather that there was way more to this music thing than I had ever realized before. My grandfather was able to make people fall in love with music in a way that no one else could. I was very grateful for that growing up.”
From there, Ryan taught himself how to play the guitar – though he admits he had to learn the art of patience. “I didn’t have lessons or anything. I just had some extra time on my hands when I finished high school football, so I picked up a guitar and hit the ground running.” Needless to say, he was hooked.
“The way I learned was mostly by listening to the radio to figure out chords. I would lock myself in a room and play for hours. I would play my G, C, D, and if it didn’t sound right, I would just move the capo up, until I figured out the right chord. I taught myself how to play the way that it worked for me. Maybe learning from other people could’ve made certain things easier, but I think learning it my way might’ve helped make it stick. I think sometimes if you learn things on your own, you learn them better.”

Besides the hit records, Ryan’s resume also includes winning New Male Vocalist of the Year at the Texas Regional Radio Awards in 2015. The list of sold-out venues he’s played around the country continues to grow. He’s also headlined several times at Billy Bob’s Texas an iconic nightclub in Fort Worth, admitting that it’s a special place.
“Growing up in San Antonio, I really didn’t hear that much about it. It wasn’t until I moved up to North Texas that I started seeing all these bands I loved coming through there. It’s so huge. It seems like the kind of place that even if folks aren’t too familiar with the band that is playing, they go there because it’s Billy Bob’s. They have a good time there, and it’s a good family atmosphere. You can bring the kids. That’s a little bit different than other venues that you don’t get to see that often. To see the looks on some of these little kids’ faces, when you walk by them – and they get this wide-eyed stare because they think you’re some kind of famous person, it such a cool vibe all the way around. It’s a great place – aside from the historical significance of it. It’s just a great place to play because of the people that show up and the energy and the electricity that exists in the building.”
Billy Bob’s proved to be a critical spot in the career of Mike Ryan – without him even being there. Renowned songwriter and producer Chris DuBois, who co-founded Sea Gayle Music Publishing in Nashville, said it was at the “World’s Largest Honky Tonk” that he first became aware of Mike and his music in 2013.
“We had two of our artists playing there on back-to-back nights,” says DuBois. “I was hanging out back in the green room, and I ran into Robert Gallagher, who had been the backstage manager at Billy Bob’s for years. We sat and talked a little bit, then the next night, he came back and said ‘I’ve got a CD I want to give you. I see a lot of artists pass through here, but this guy has something special. I stuck it in my pocket, and brought it back with me to Nashville. I get a lot of CD’s, and with all due respect to Robert, my expectations were not super-high. But, when I put the CD in my jeep, I thought ‘This guy is really good.’ So, we set up a meeting the next time he was in Nashville.” DuBois offered Mike a publishing deal with Sea Gayle right there on the spot.
With the number of discs that DuBois receives in an average week, what was it about Mike Ryan? DuBois says, “I’ve been in this business for going on twenty-five years, and when you hear something that is different, you can’t describe what it is that strikes a chord in you. You can just tell. He just had that thing in his voice that made him great. I just heard that special quality, and he had written all the songs on that first CD. That said to me that he had skills as a writer.”
With the release of his forthcoming new album, Ryan is hoping to make more music that his Texas audience loves, but he also wants to take his music all the way around the world. “I consider myself very fortunate to have the support from Texans that we do. We’ve actually been playing in the surrounding states for the past couple of years, and we’re getting further and further away from home all the time. I just want to keep making music that I am proud of and that I believe in. Texas has a lot of great fans, and I know the rest of the United States does as well. I’m ready to take it to them!”

I have not heard him live yet, but will be looking forward to his show this Saturday January 5th. 

Also this Saturday at the Phoenix Saloon is something that caught my eye. El Rocker will be taking the stage at 9pm.  Phil Rocker aka Felipe Ossa is a musician from the City of Medellin, Colombia where he was born and still lives and performs. Weaned on both local and American music, Rocker deftly fuses Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jump Blues, Rockabilly, Hillbilly and more with Colombian street music from Tangos, Boleros, Tropical Music, Salsa and Pasillos. For influences, he gives a tip and a nod to the likes of Carlos Santana, Nick Curran, Ronnie Dawson and Mike Ness of Social Distortion. This Latino Rock ‘n’ Roller has even been honored with a place in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Nashville, alongside the luminary likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.  He is the first non US Latino on their wall! Expect the unexpected! I plan on dropping in on this show, I just have to!

One last show that I don't want to slip by is a Fleetwood Mac Tribute band appearing at The River Road Icehouse on Saturday as well. Nightbird featuring Brook Alyson as a 'spot on' Stevie Nicks. I have seen this band and they are amazing, I highly recommend them! There's a little sample below!

2019 is going to be incredible, plenty of live music will fill the air this year...let's get to it I say!

Until next time...

Cheers!


NIGHTBIRD

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Some New Artists Come to Town and Some Old Favorites Too!

Hey Folks!
Tis the season, for some great live music in New Braunfels! So let's get to it shall we? My picks for this week and beyond are...
Tyler Childers will be making an appearance at Gruene Hall this Wednesday and Thursday! A relative newcomer to these parts, I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with this guy. Like many great Southern storytellers, singer-songwriter Tyler Childers has fallen in love with a place. The people, landmarks and legendary moments from his childhood home of Lawrence County, Kentucky, populate the 10 songs in his formidable debut, Purgatory, an album that’s simultaneously modern and as ancient as the Appalachian Mountains in which events unfold.

The album, co-produced by Grammy Award winners Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson, is a semiautobiographical sketch of Childers’ growth from wayward youth to happily married man, told in the tradition of a Southern gothic novel with a classic noir antihero who may just be irredeemable. Purgatory is a chiaroscuro painting with darkness framing light in high relief. There’s catharsis and redemption. Sin and temptation. Murder and deceit. Demons and angels. Moonshine and cocaine. So much moonshine and cocaine. All played out on the large, colorful canvas of Eastern Kentucky.

Childers had been searching for a certain sound for his debut album for years as he honed his craft, and was finding it elusive when his friend, drummer Miles Miller, introduced him to Simpson, the Grammy Award-winning musician and fellow Kentuckian. Childers sent Simpson a group of his songs, then went to visit him in Nashville.
“And he said, ‘There’s this sound. I know what you’re trying to get at, the mountain sound,’” Childers recalled. “’So I asked, ‘What are you doing?’”

Intrigued, Simpson enlisted the aid of Ferguson, the Grammy Award winning sound engineer. They assembled a band that included multi-instrumentalists Stuart Duncan, Michael J. Henderson and Russ Pahl, bassist Michael Bub and Miller on drums, of course, and helped Childers make a debut album of consequence that announces an authentic new voice.

“I was writing an album about being in the mountains,” Childers said. “I wanted it to have that gritty mountain sound. But at the same time, I wanted a more modern version of it that a younger generation can listen to—the people I grew up with, something I’d want to listen to.”

If you like the story telling songwriter types..this guy is for you!! Doors are at 7pm each night.

Continuing with another new fella hitting the scene, Kody West will take the stage at one my favorite venues in town, The River Road Icehouse, This Saturday Dec 15th. Kody started playing music in the beginning of 2014, eager to take on as many acoustic gigs and songwriting competitions in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area that he could. As a frequent support act of the Texas Country/Red Dirt band Dalton Domino and the Front Porch Family, he took on the role of tour manager beginning of 2015. On the road with the band, he rapidly gained valuable hands-on experience working and playing music across the state of Texas. Thanks to his time on the road and his ability to fill in and play when needed, he was quick to gain a fast following of loyal fans.

Kody recorded his first full production EP later that year in Stephenville, Texas with producers Ben Hussey and Josh Serrato. The EP titled Higher Ground released January of 2016 with "Playing Cards" as the first strong, poignant single. Kody's music has been described as a mix of Texas Country and Bluegrass with some good-for-the-soul grooves.

Shortly after his EP release, Kody formed a full band in order to continue his commitment to travel across the country playing his tunes to the masses. 2017 has been full of new venues, growing crowds with the same guys by his side. They began to record the debut album "Green" together at Boyd Street Studios, alongside producers Ben Hussey and Josh Serrato again. The title of the new album taking on the meaning of 'new, and growing' representing a 21 year old Kody West and his band indescribably well. Kody started playing music in the beginning of 2014, eager to take on as many acoustic gigs and songwriting competitions in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area that he could. As a frequent support act of the Texas Country/Red Dirt band Dalton Domino and the Front Porch Family, he took on the role of tour manager beginning of 2015. On the road with the band, he rapidly gained valuable hands-on experience working and playing music across the state of Texas. Thanks to his time on the road and his ability to fill in and play when needed, he was quick to gain a fast following of loyal fans.

Kody recorded his first full production EP later that year in Stephenville, Texas with producers Ben Hussey and Josh Serrato. The EP titled Higher Ground released January of 2016 with "Playing Cards" as the first strong, poignant single. Kody's music has been described as a mix of Texas Country and Bluegrass with some good-for-the-soul grooves.

Shortly after his EP release, Kody formed a full band in order to continue his commitment to travel across the country playing his tunes to the masses. 2017 has been full of new venues, growing crowds with the same guys by his side. They began to record the debut album "Green" together at Boyd Street Studios, alongside producers Ben Hussey and Josh Serrato again. The title of the new album taking on the meaning of 'new, and growing' representing a 21 year old Kody West and his band indescribably well. This show should be a good one, tickets are available online or at the door.

This Saturday at The Phoenix Saloon in downtown New Braunfels will be the place for some smoking blues from Austin. Sonny Wolf will be tearing the roof off the joint starting at 9pm. Sonny Wolf is a blues guitarist hailing from Montreal, Quebec and veteran of the north of the border blues scene. In 2007 he and his band (eponomously named for their lead singer) moved to Austin Texas; the band is comprised of Wolf on lead guitar and vocals, Captain Drey (Andre Boucher) on bass guitar and Janic Gingras on drums. Wolf's style and sound is similar to blues guitarists from the late 50's, 60's and 70's, most notable Stevie Ray Vaughan. Vocally you can detect some very Muddy Waters-esque tones. Currently unsigned, he plays live shows five nights a week around the Texas bar and rock club scene, and we are fortunate enough to have him visit our fine city.!!

And lastly, don't forget 2 Tons of Steel next Tuesday December 18th at Gruene Hall. Always A treat for holidays! 
Until next time
Keep the music in your hearts and get out there and support!!

Cheers!







Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Weekend... Great Music to be Thankful For!

Hey Folks!
Thanksgiving Weekend...a long weekend with plenty of great music! I am  so thankful to live in New Braunfels with all of the great venues and artists that create a spectacular music scene. My picks right through the weekend are...

Thanksgiving Eve, The Watering hole Saloon, Knotty Grove. I can't think of a better way to start off the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend! And not to shamelessly self promote, but it looks as though yours truly will be playing some tunes with them that night. So come on out, its no cover, and who doesn't like some awesome classic rock?


Knotty Grove

If you listen to any Texas country music, then you must know the name Pat Green. Pat has been monumental in the development of the Texas sound and more importantly getting that sound to become popular among college students in the nineties through today. Saturday night he comes back to New Braunfels!


After rising through Texas' college-town and dancehall scene years ago, Green earned himself major-label support in Nashville and became the poster child of Texas music for a whole generation of fans. His list of achievements includes over 2 million albums sold, three Grammy nominations and a sold out Houston Astrodome.

But after releasing six albums in eight years, sending singles like "Wave on Wave" and "Let Me" up the charts, touring with powerhouses like Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban and dealing with accusations of "selling out," the meat grinder of mainstream stardom proved to be too much. He was spent.

"I felt so much pressure during the years I was with the big record labels to put out a record almost every year," he explains. "There was a constant loop of having to be creative with new music, and that's just not my style. I like it to happen when it happens."

Now, after breaking the cycle for a three-year recharge, Green is back in his comfort zone and playing by his own rules again. His is new independent album Home is his first set of originals in several years, and directly speaks to the hardcore fans that have been with him since the beginning.

Featuring a mature country sound that is both modern and exposes his roots for all to see, his new tunes are full of ringing acoustic guitars, slippery steel and dobro, wailing fiddles and heartfelt, personal lyrics, making Home the return to form many fans have been waiting for.

"I'm very comfortable with this record, it came out exactly as I wanted it," Green says.

Produced by the all-star team of Jon Randall Stewart, Justin Pollard and Gary Paczosa, the album captures some of the unbridled energy of his first three self- released projects.

"It's not too over-the-top produced, and it's not bare bones," says Green. "It grooves well, you can turn it up or you can leave it down. It’s a very comfortable spot."

Of 13 new songs, Green co-wrote seven with big names like Scooter Carusoe, Liz Rose and Chris Stapleton, while six more were pulled from A-listers like Jessi Alexander, Brett and Jim Beavers, Chuck Cannon, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne.

The album begins with the title track, boldly tackling the singer's contentious mainstream rise and any lingering naysayers right off the bat. Green doesn't regret taking his shot at the big time -- and says he had a lot of fun doing it -- but he does understand why some fans felt left out in the cold.

"I was blind to the game, I sang the wrong songs, and disappeared for way too long," he sings. "But I've finally found my way home."

"That song was very, very easy to write," he says. "I was writing with Patrick Davis for a couple of days here in Ft. Worth, and that song was really fast, just because I could hear those lines so easy -- 'Yeah it was fun, we were drunk as sailor's sons' -- we were heroes in our hometown, we were all those things."

With that out of the way, Green gets down to business, laying out a series of songs aimed straight toward his core fan base in the Lone Star state, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The album's first single, "Girls From Texas," is a prime example, and also features the first of Home'sstellar guest appearances. A sugary, grown-up lullaby that explains why Texan girls are just a little bit better than the rest, the track spent 10 weeks on top of the Texas Music chart. Green calls recording the song face-to-face with Lyle Lovett a highlight of the whole project.

"That’s a Jon Randall song," he explains. "He sent it to me and I’ll never forget it. I was on the plane coming home from Louisiana, and he goes 'What do you think about this?' and I literally had chills all over my body. I was like 'I’ll cut that son of a gun right now!'"

"While I Was Away," the project's second single, will strike a chord with anyone who leaves his or her family behind to travel for work. Written by Zane Williams, it's a tearjerker of the highest caliber -- one that even Green has trouble getting through. "It's just such a ringing truth," says the father of two. "Everyone says 'That got me. This thing made me cry. God dang, why'd you have to do that?'"

For lighter fare, Delbert McClinton and Lee Roy Parnell guest on "May the Good Times Never End." With a twisting, generation-spanning storyline, it features a hot- rod beat and Parnell's burning slide guitar, as well as McClinton' rabble-rousing vocals and harmonica.

"Break It Back Down" speaks to Green's new outlook on life and music, while "No One Here But Us" brings in Sarah Buxton to tell a steamy tale of desperate romance. Meanwhile, "Right Now" is a broken-hearted duet with Sheryl Crow that tells the unflattering-but-true story of Green dumping his now-wife on Valentine's Day. "I was 22 years old and she was 21, I was ready to move on from Texas Tech and get to Austin and whatever was next," he says. "It was the biggest mistake of my life, but at the same time it paid off, because once I realized it was a mistake, I knew our love was the real thing."

And finally, "Good Night In New Orleans" ends the project on a high note, featuring a celebratory storyline and Louisiana-native Marc Broussard for added Cajun authenticity.

"I kind of have a standard rule to start and finish strong," Green laughs. "The story behind it is great, and everything about that song is cool and fun and funny to me. Everybody around here loves a trip to New Orleans."

According to Green his time off was very much needed, but even though he always intended to return, it still feels like a risk.

"There's a lot of fear, of course, and a lot of 'Is anybody interested? Has the landscape changed so much that I can't have an impact?'" he admits. "It's a mix of excitement and fear, but it’s a welcome challenge."

Mainstream country may have changed, but Green is back in his groove, back to loving and making music on his own terms and happier than ever. And that's a recipe for a comeback of epic proportions.

"I think I'm having the best year of my life," he says. "I feel happy and I feel smarter now. I look back and I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to slow down a little bit, but the truth is life is just enjoying the passing of time, as James Taylor says. There's a lot of drama and there's mistakes and you've gotta get through all of it to get to what you're looking for."

What he was looking for was right at Home all along, and since he considers Gruene Hall to be a home for him since the beginning...his show Saturday should be fantastic. Tickets are still available for the late show, it will sell out so get em NOW!

PAT GREEN

Also playing on Saturday the 24th, The Brian Volante Band...Excellent Rock and Blues at Billy's Ice. I have only seen him once, but it was stellar, so if a free show is in the cards for you, THIS is the one!
So get out there and listen to some live music this holiday weekend...'In New Braunfels'...

Until next time

Cheers!





Friday, November 2, 2018

WURSTFEST !!

Hello Folks! Its the that time of year when the sounds of polka music fill the air around Landa Park ! Yes Wurstfest is upon us once again! Here are my picks for the BEST of the WURST festival!! Today I have decided to give each of my picks with video clips. I think this will better illustrate what you are in for, and really set the mood for the polka party you will be attending....
So, lets start with the obvious...Alex Meixner! Alex Meixner is a nationally acclaimed musician, performer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of polka music. Formally trained in classical, jazz and ethnic music, Alex has cross-pollinated his versatile playing styles through pop music, funk, jazz and polka. He is an active ambassador for polka music, revitalizing interest coast to coast resulting in sold out shows, renewed cultural interest, and growing mainstream acceptance. For Alex, it’s more than playing energetic shows; it is a mission to provide a much needed positive experience that pulls communities together to celebrate history, culture and genuinely good times.

Developing the Perfect Gentleman, Scholar, and Phenomenal Performer

Alex’s passion for music was kindled at an early age by having the rare fortune of living in a household of professional musicians. He was cultivated intimately by his father, the 3rd generation of the family band whose leadership was passed down through generations hailing from Austria. Fully immersed in the business of music, Alex immediately gravitated toward mimicking their activities in the studio, stage and record shop. Finally, at age 3, he began formal study on the piano, and within a year he picked up the accordion resulting in his debut on stage by age 6, an experience that was to shape his life so much in future years.
And if playing those instruments weren’t enough, his ability to learn many instruments led to gigging regularly on drums, bass, keyboards, piano accordion, button accordion and trumpet with Polish polka legend Joe Oberaitis and Canada’s Polka King, Walter Ostanek, in addition to touring nationally with his father’s band by age 11. His aptitude for playing jazz and classical trumpet opened doors to formal study and opportunities including playing with the London Symphony Orchestra in High School and emerging as a highly sought after candidate for music school. He chose Ithaca College for its renowned reputation in developing music performers and educators.
Alex Meixner- Trumpet promo shot
Photo Credit: Karen Vaughan
While exceeding expectations in academic pursuits, he continued developing professional credentials in the polka music, recording albums for artists from the USA, Mexico, Austria and Canada while maintaining a national touring schedule. At age 18, a track he performed on with his father was on Walter Ostanek’s, 1994 Grammy award winning album “Music and Friends.” This performance not only added to his credibility but also started a renewed curiosity of the polka music market by younger musicians and veteran performers who had viewed this genre as a mere novelty whose popularity was past its prime.

Many Milestones on a Road Less Traveled

As a leader in the polka music cultural renaissance, Alex performs fluidly in styles hailing from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Spain, Poland and America/Cleveland. His signature style pays homage to the authenticity instilled in his DNA while adding a modern twist that appeals to a broad cross-section of audiences. By creating and performing an expansive range of new and traditional music for solo, small, and large groups, Alex has expanded the vocabulary of ethnic music and continues to maintain a body of work that places him among the culture’s finest performers.
Recording the soundtrack for the movie, The Polka King with Jack Black
Recording the soundtrack for the movie, The Polka King with Jack Black

Growing Mainstream Recognition

In 2016 Alex collaborated with the notable advertising agency, BBDO, to produce the infamous Hormel Pepperoni commercials contributing to a successful sales campaign and contract renewals. At the end of 2016, he recorded with comedy phenomenon, Jack Black, for the major motion picture, ”The Polka King, ” that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017. Alex’s reputation for professionalism and quality performance attracted additional commercial opportunities including performing on radio commercials for Ford Trucks and the soundtracks for numerous episodes of Moonshiners on the Discovery Network.

Next up, SQUEEZEBOX featuring Ted Lange & Mollie B have become one of the most popular and well known bands specializing in live dance music and entertaining stage shows.  Currently based in NW Ohio, their performances include multiple genres of music including polkas, waltzes, fox-trots, 2-steps, big band, swing, square dances, and figure dances.  With a repertoire of over 600 songs, and solid vocals in English, Polish, German and Czech, Squeezebox is able to play "something for everyone", and easily adapts to any venue, ranging from town festivals, polka festivals, ethnic festivals including Polish, Czech, and German festivals and Oktoberfests, to weddings, anniversary parties, church festivals, state and county fairs and music festivals.  They currently perform close to 100 engagements a year in up to 20 states a year, including an annual Caribbean Cruise taking place in January.

A little more history for you....

Squeezebox began in the late 1990's under a different name, known at that time as the "Bratwurst Boys," which was a part time spin-off band consisting of members of the Grammy Nominated "Toledo Polkamotion."  The band continued to evolve and in 2005, the band was comprised of Ted Lange on accordion/bass and vocals, Dave Burner on drums and vocals, and Ted's mother, Betty Lange, on 2nd accordion. 
 Mollie Busta added her talents to the Bratwurst Boys for the very first time on December 31, 2005, and it was evident the combination of Ted, Mollie and Dave had something unique and special.  Due to popular demand, the band's number of performances doubled every year, and due to the continual evolution of the band, a decision was made in May of 2007 to change the name of the band to "Squeezebox."
 To date, Squeezebox has released 3 CD's and is featured regularly on the Mollie B Polka Party on RFD-TV.  They have performed all over the US to capacity crowds, and as of January 2018, have made over 1000 appearances in 23 states. This band can get folks moving in big way...check this out...


And beginning Thursday night, the one and only Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra. And what an Orchestra it is! JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTA has over 106 recordings; the excellence of these recordings has been recognized and rewarded throughout the very competitive music industry. The fact that JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTRA is on the Top Ten list of the All-time Grammy Awards, has won eighteen Grammy Awards and has received more consecutive Grammy nominations that anyone in the history of musical awards has made the music industry sit up and take notice. Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) has awarded JIMMY STURR & HIS ORCHESTRA its most valued award, the Commendation of Excellence. The only one ever awarded in the polka music field.​The band constantly attracts crowds of screaming, adoring fans wherever their travels take them. Their tremendous popularity has resulted in not only numerous Grammy Awards, but also being voted The #1 POLKA MUSIC BAND IN THE COUNTRY for the past ten years.​Many great things have happened to JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTRA, but none has been more exciting than just completing their Fourth recording with country superstar WILLIE NELSON. In addition they have recorded with other artists such as THE OAK RIDGE BOYS, CHARLIE DANIELS, BOOTS RANDOLPH, MEL TILLIS, BRENDA LEE, plus banjo virtuoso, BELA FLECK, and folk legend ARLO GUTHRIE.​One of the major events in Jimmy’s career came when the Orchestra was asked to appear on The Grand Ole Opry. They were not only the only Polka Music Band to all appear, but the only band to appear with brass.​A question on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? television show hosted by Regis Philbin, was Who is Americas polka Music king? The contestant won $250,000 by correctly answering Jimmy Sturr. Sturrs music has been heard on the TV show JEOPARDY and articles have appeared in print throughout the nation including a front page story on The Wall Street Journal and full length story in US World and News Report.​The incredible popularity and success of JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTRA has caught the attention of many networks, including appearances on CNN, ABC, NBC, FOX NEWS and a fifteen-minute segment on CNN Headline News that aired worldwide.​The band has made several appearances on Saturday Night Live. The quality and appearance of JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTRA makes them sought after for television commercials such as Budweiser, Pontiac, and Mrs. T’s Pierogies, who signed Jimmy to be their National spokesperson.Jimmy can now be seen on his national television show on the RFDTV network on Direct TV Channel 345, Dish Network Channel 231 on Friday’s at 7PM EST and on Family Net Sunday’s at 5:30PM EST. Jimmy Sturr syndicated radio show will now be heard on Sirius XM rural/radio Channel 80 on Saturday at 6PM EST.​Due to the great demand for live appearances by The JIMMY STURR ORCHESTRA they have an extensive road schedule of 165 dates per year. They crisscross the country and make several international trips yearly. While on the road they travel in Jimmys forty-five foot customized tour bus. The Bands travels have taken them to some of the most prestigious venues in the world, including seven Sold Out concerts at Carnegie Hall and four Sold Out concerts at Lincoln Center in New York City and a sold out concert at The Palace of Culture in Warsaw, Poland where the band received seven standing ovations.​The Band appears annually at many of the top casinos in the country including Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT; The Tropicana and Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ; Patowatomi Casino, Milwaukee, WI; Soaring Eagle, Mt. Pleasant, MI; The Presidents Casino in Biloxi, MS; Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort, Chester, WV and Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where Jimmy was the first polka music band to be booked by a major casino. The sellout crowds at these popular events keep coming back for more wherever they see the band scheduled.​Today, JIMMY STURR lives in the house he grew up in, his office is across the street from the high school he attended in the upstate village of Florida, New York with a population of 1,800. His hometown recently honored Jimmy by placing a Star of Fame in the walkway on Main Street. They also display HOMETOWN OF POLKA KING JIMMY STURR signs at each entrance to the village. Five gold albums, each representing five million dollars in sales, are displayed on his office walls where he runs his various businesses which include United Polka Artists, Starr Record Company, Jimmy Sturr Travel Agency, a publishing company and his syndicated radio show.​A full scholarship gave Jimmy the opportunity to attend and graduate from Valley Forge Military Academy. Among his many accolades, and something Jimmy is very proud of, is his selection by The Valley Forge Military Academy as Man of the Year, he was honored with a full-dress parade in front of the Corp of Cadets at VFMA.​No one has done more for the polka field than this young Irishman from the little village of Florida, NY. Seeing is believing. When you see JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTRA in person, you know why they draw the huge crowds, have been voted #1 in the country and considered one of THE BEST IN POLKA MUSIC.


So ready, set, POLKA! German Food, German Music, and German Traditions, here 'In New Braunfels'....

Until next time....
Cheers!



Friday, October 12, 2018

Fall is in the Air, So is GREAT LIVE Music...'In New Braunfels'

Hello Folks,
The weather is spectacular this time of year in New Braunfels. We have multiple outdoor venues and a wide variety of live music. My picks for October begin TONIGHT with Branford Marsalis at the Brauntex Theater. Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans as the oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. His first instrument, the clarinet, gave way to the alto and then the tenor and soprano saxophones when the teenage Branford began working in local bands. A growing fascination with jazz as he entered college gave him the basic tools to obtain his first major jobs, with trumpet legend Clark Terry and alongside Wynton in Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers. When the brothers left to form the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, the world of uncompromising acoustic jazz was invigorated. Branford formed his own quartet in 1986 and, with a few minor interruptions in the early years, has sustained the unit as his primary means of expression. Known for the telepathic communication among its uncommonly consistent personnel, its deep book of original music replete with expressive melodies and provocative forms, and an unrivaled spirit in both live and recorded performances, the Branford Marsalis Quartet has long been recognized as the standard to which other ensembles of its kind must be measured. 

The Quartet rarely invites other musicians into the folds of their cohesive unit, but in December 2015, they were joined by guest-vocalist Kurt Elling for a weekend’s engagement at New Orleans’ Snug Harbor.  This culminated with three days in the studios of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music where, energized by the artistic promise of this collaboration, the musicians all contributed new arrangements to record with this special line-up.  The result can be heard on their June 2016 release, Upward Spiral.
Branford has not confined his music to the quartet context. In addition to guest turns with a legion of giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins, he has excelled in duets with several major pianists, including his boyhood friend Harry Connick, Jr. and the longtime pianist in his quartet, Joey Calderazzo. Branford’s first solo concert, at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, is documented on his latest recording, In My Solitude.

Classical music inhabits a growing portion of Branford’s musical universe. With a repertoire including works by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughan Williams, Villa‐Lobos and Sally Beamish (who reconceived a work in progress, “Under the Wing of the Rock,” to feature Branford’s saxophone after hearing him perform one of her earlier pieces), Branford is frequently heard with leading symphony orchestras including those in Chicago, Detroit, Dusseldorf and North Carolina as well as the New York Philharmonic. He also served as Creative Director for the Cincinnati Symphony’s Ascent series in 2012‐13. 

Broadway has also welcomed Branford’s contributions. His initial effort, original music for a revival of August Wilson’s Fences, garnered a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play and a Tony nomination for Best Original Score Written for the Theater. Branford also provided music for The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, and served as musical curator for the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Branford’s screen credits include the original music for Mo’ Better Blues and acting roles in School Daze and Throw Momma from the Train. 
Branford formed the Marsalis Music label in 2002, and under his direction it has documented his own music, talented new stars such as Miguel Zenon, and un-heralded older masters including one of Branford’s teachers, the late Alvin Batiste. Branford has also shared his knowledge as an educator, forming extended teaching relationships at Michigan State, San Francisco State and North Carolina Central Universities and conducting workshops at sites throughout the United States and the world.
As for other public stages, Branford spent a period touring with Sting, collaborated with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby, served as Musical Director of The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno and hosted National Public Radio’s widely syndicated Jazz Set. The range and quality of these diverse activities established Branford as a familiar presence beyond the worlds of jazz and classical music, while his efforts to help heal and rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina mark him as an artist with an uncommonly effective social vision. Together with Harry Connick, Jr. and New Orleans Habitat for Humanity, Branford conceived and helped to realize The Musicians Village, a community in the Upper Ninth Ward that provides homes to the displaced families of musicians and other local residents. At the heart of The Musicians Village stands the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a community center dedicated to preserving the rich New Orleans musical legacy containing state‐of‐the art spaces for performance, instruction and recording. 

Some might gauge Branford Marsalis’s success by his numerous awards, including three Grammys and (together with his father and brothers) his citation as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. To Branford, however, these are only way stations along what continues to be one of the most fascinating and rewarding journeys in the world of music. Good seats are still available, so if you'd like to witness one of the finest musicians on the planet, this is your chance, right here in downtown New Braunfels.

Famous actors often make their way through New Braunfels, some like to lay low and stay 'under the radar', NOT Dennis Quaid, he will be bringing his rock band The Sharks to Gruene Hall on Thursday October 18th. Actor Dennis Quaid and The Sharks have been performing in front of thousands of people receiving rave reviews. He is not just another actor turned rock star, he is a rock star.
​Dennis Quaid is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist. He performs many original plus classic hits such as "Spill the Wine", "Gloria", and many more.The band's origins can be traced to one night when Quaid went to see actor Harry Dean Stanton and his longtime band (appropriately named the Harry Dean Stanton Band) perform at an L.A. club. Quaid was invited to join the band onstage. At first reluctant because of his decade long layoff from music, Quaid finally did perform with the band and was successful enough that James, also a member of Stanton's band, approached Quaid about starting a group of their own. James quickly began recruiting others for the band and it wasn't long before Dennis Quaid & the Sharks, which specializes in "rock 'n' roll and country-soul," was performing at L.A. clubs.  The band even throws in a Jerry Lee Lewis song or two in the mix, such as "Great Balls of Fire," which Quaid has firsthand experience performing, having played "The Killer" in a 1989 biopic.Quaid said the shows are as much fun for those in attendance as they are for the band. "(The audiences) have a blast, which is all we want," he said. "I make a complete and utter fool of myself. I think that's the only way to have fun (onstage), instead of trying to pretend to be cool and all the rest of that stuff." Tickets still available as of today. I have worked with him before here and it will a raucous time for sure!!
If Outlaw Country is your thing, have I got a show for you...Shooter jennings at Gruene Hall on Friday October 19th.

The only son of country legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings literally spent his childhood on a tour bus. Shooter seemed destined for a career in music, and like his father, he established himself as an artist who played by his own rules from the start. Shooter's music was strongly informed by both hard rock and outlaw country, with 2006's Electric Rodeo emphasizing the guitars and 2007's The Wolfplaying up his twangy side. With his project Hierophant, Jennings explored his interest in metal and electronic music, while 2016's Countach paid homage to a seemingly unlikely influence, Euro-disco icon Giorgio Moroder. Through it all, Shooter's gritty, passionate songwriting and vocals have remained a constant. 

Born Waylon Albright Jennings, Shooter was playing drums by the time he was five years old and had already begun taking piano lessons, only to break them off and follow his own path to an understanding of the instrument. He discovered guitar at 14 and rock & roll (particularly Southern rock and the loose-limbed hard rock of Guns N' Roses) at 16. Soon he moved from Nashville to L.A., where he assembled a rock band called Stargunn. Stargunn earned a strong local reputation for its live shows, and enjoyed a six- or seven-year run on the L.A. circuit before Jennings rediscovered his outlaw country roots and dissolved the band. 


After a short stay in New York, where Jennings assembled material for a country project, he returned to L.A. and put together a second band -- this time with solid country roots -- which he named the .357s. Jennings, and the band holed up in the studio, eventually emerging with a rambunctious country album called Put the O Back in Country, which was released in 2005 on Universal South Records. Following in his father's footsteps, but with his own feisty, scrappy sense of country, Jennings placed himself in a fine position to both explore that legacy and carve out his own. A second album, Electric Rodeo (which was actually recorded before Put the O Back in Country), appeared in 2006, followed by a live set, Live at Irving Plaza, later in the year. Jennings' third solo effort, The Wolf, was released in October 2007, featuring a cover of Dire Straits' "Walk of Life" (whose composer, Mark Knopfler, had been a longtime family friend). A month later, Jennings became a father. His girlfriend, actress Drea De Matteo, gave birth to Alabama Gypsy Rose in November. He proposed to De Matteo in 2009 on-stage in Utica, New York. 



Jennings renamed his backing band Hierophant for his fourth studio album, Black Ribbons, a dark concept record influenced by Nine Inch Nails and produced by Dave Cobb. It appeared early in 2010. Later in the year, the album was re-released in a special edition entitled Black Ribbons: The Living Album. The second version was sold on a USB flash drive in the shape of a Tarot card. It featured the studio record and live performances by Hierophant. In early 2011, Jennings and blogger Adam Sheets came up with the idea of creating XXX, a new radio format that would focus on insurgent country, rock, and hybrids of both, from new and established artists, that fell far outside the narrow conceits of mainstream radio and were thus ignored. It gained traction, and a channel on Sirius/XM where both men served as program hosts. Jennings also moved to New York City with De Matteo. He and pianist Erik Deutsch formed a new band called the Triple Crown, and he became a father for the second time in April, to Waylon Albert "Blackjack" Jennings. 



In urgent fashion, Jennings and the Triple Crown began recording; they released the video/download-only single "Outlaw You," his screed against the country music establishment. It reached the top spot on CMT's daily audience request competition and stayed there until a dispute with his former label dictated it be removed. The first official single from the forthcoming album, "The Deed and the Dollar," again reached the top spot in the daily CMT request competition. Jennings' fifth album, Family Man, followed soon after in March of 2012 -- minus "Outlaw You." 



His next album, The Other Life, was released a year later on his own Black Country Rock label; it featured guest appearances from Patty Griffin, Scott H. Biram, and Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas. The Other Live, Jennings' second live album, recorded during his 2013 tour and featuring many of the songs from The Other Life, appeared early in 2014, again from Black Country Rock. In 2013, BCR also released an EP in which Jennings performed a dark and atmospheric reworking of "You Are My Sunshine" with Jamey Johnsonand former Marilyn Manson guitarist Twiggy Ramirez that was originally recorded for the television series Sons of Anarchy. 2014 saw the release of an EP, Don't Wait Up (For George), a tribute to his longtime friend George Jones



In early January 2016, Jennings announced a February release for Countach, a collection of songs written and/or inspired by legendary producer Giorgio Moroder. The nine-song set featured guest appearances from Marilyn Manson, Brandi Carlile, Steve Young, and video game pioneer Richard Garriott de Cayeux. 2016 also saw Jenningscollaborating with Billy Don Burns on the EP A Night in Room 8, while he also reissued Black Ribbons in recognition of that year's presidential race. Jennings struck a deal with Dave Cobb's Elektra-distributed label Low Country Sound, and Cobb produced his first release for the imprint, 2018's Shooter, which celebrated Jennings' roots in vintage country and blues.

This show WILL SELL OUT, so get your tickets now.


 

And lastly, Eli Young Band comes back to New Braunfels at the iconic hall after a long hiatus. The band got their start here in the early days and its nice to see them coming back. The ELI YOUNG BAND has always been unique in modern Country music – a true band of brothers who play their own instruments, write their own songs and cling fast to their Texas roots. They’d even go so far as to call themselves “misfits,” but with their fourth major label album, FINGERPRINTS (The Valory Music Co.), they’re finally embracing what makes them different once and for all.
“With 17 years of experience comes a little bit of wisdom and freedom in knowing who you are,” says lead singer Mike Eli. “And what you’re really good at.”
Although their sound has evolved over time, what they’re good at has always been the same – organic, live-show focused Country dripping with authenticity and perfected in clubs, amphitheaters and stadiums from coast to coast. 
Eli founded the band with guitarist James Young, bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson at the University of North Texas in 2000, building a grass-roots fanbase that propelled each of their previous three albums into the Top 5 of Billboard’s Country Albums chart, with 2014’s 10,000 TOWNS bowing at No. 1.
Three No. 1 singles gave the band an edgy, romantically-charged identity (“Crazy Girl,” “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and “Drunk Last Night”).
Their stable of hits collected Platinum and Multi-Platinum certifications that lead to Grammy and CMA Award nominations, Billboard Awards and an ACM trophy for Song of the Year (“Crazy Girl”). All of these accolades combined with their loyal fanbase and successful touring have resulted in over 500 million streams of their career catalogue.
Confident in their soulful, hearts-on-fire brand of Country, the group headed back into the studio to co-produce FINGERPRINTS alongside Ross Copperman and Jeremy Stover. Eight of the 11 new tracks were penned by the band members themselves. They’ve returned to a live-show-first mentality, trading in studio tricks for the “meat and potatoes” of a touring band; ringing guitars, driving bass lines, thundering drums and heartfelt, genuine vocals.
“There were so many organic sounds on those first records, and you can hear a lot of that in this album,” says Eli. “But mostly, I think it’s about passion and soul and believe-ability.”
Co-writing with some of Nashville’s hottest hit makers like Ashley Gorley, Lori McKenna, Ryan Hurd and Shane McAnally, that honesty is paired top-notch song craft and vivid imagery.
The album’s FINGERPRINTS title comes from a fist-pumping anthem about a smooth romantic criminal, but its meaning invokes the band’s quest to unmask themselves. No two fingerprints are the same, and their newest collection represents the most personal music they’ve ever made.
“So many of the songs we were writing and connecting with felt personal,” Eli continues. “So many songs came from a place of passion, and something I just really wanted to say.”
New single “Skin & Bones” is a prime example. A tender, epic love song built on real-life devotion and decorated with a dash of Tejano flair, it’s a direct reflection of Eli’s enduring love for his wife, Kacey.
“Walking into the writing room with Phil Barton and Lori McKenna was such a treat,” he explains. “I felt in my gut we were gonna walk out of that room with a special song, and it turns out we did. My wife and I have been together for a lot of years now, and there comes a point where so much of who you are is intertwined and connected. You sometimes lose that line of where they end and you begin.”
Meanwhile, the band was keenly aware of longtime fans’ thirst for “old school” EYB, and their calls on social media led to one of the project’s most nostalgic and heartwarming standouts, “Old Songs.”
A feel-good anthem about days – and tunes – gone by, the song celebrates happy memories in a way that harkens back to their first Gold single, “Always the Love Songs.”
“When somebody says, ‘We love the old stuff,’ so much of that is built around the memories that come along with the old songs,” Eli says. “When you hear one, they come back right away.”
Backed by harmonica and perfect for a campfire sing along, Carolyn Dawn Johnson provides gorgeous backup vocals on the track, as she does on another laid-back, life-is-good ballad – “God Love the Rain.” But the band was also excited to revisit its rocking side.
“I think we pushed ourselves to dial it up a notch,” Young says, flashing a playful grin. “Maybe that’s why a lot of this reminds us of our earlier days.”
Songs like “Drive,” “Once” and “The Days I Feel Alone” will energize established fans and newcomers alike, while the clever “Never Land” offers a soaring fairy-tale head fake.
An irresistible groove defines “Never Again,” and even songs the band did not write – of which there are only three – feel incredibly true to them ... just like some of their biggest hits. “Heart Needs a Break” is so catchy it can’t be ignored.
“The first time you hear it, you’re singing along,” says Eli. “We were lucky with ‘Never Again,’ ‘Heart Needs a Break’ and ‘Saltwater Gospel.’ We knew right away that we needed to record those, and songs like that seem to end up like ‘Crazy Girl.’ They’re undeniable.”
What’s also undeniable is the band’s unique connection with fans. Even through sonic evolutions and changes to the Country industry, their obsessive following has continued to grow as “Saltwater Gospel” became one of the best reactions from Highway listeners all year on SiriusXM. And that they put on one of the best loved live-shows around – the very fingerprint of the Eli Young Band itself. Maybe that makes them misfits, but so be it. This is who they are – some of the last true brothers of the road.
“We’ve been through everything together,” Eli says. “We’ve had this inner support system even before we had families of our own, and I think we still turn to that. Whatever the road is in front of us, our friendship will always be the priority.”
This summer, the road will take them from California to Maine, headlining shows with a set of brand new – but classic sounding – Eli Young Band tunes. And it will likely be just as much fun for them as it is for fans.
“We still look at each other as college buddies – not business partners,” says Young. “We get to share our lives with each other and we’ve done some really cool stuff, and our music has been the greatest byproduct of that.” This show will also sell out, so don't delay, get your tickets now.
And Fall doesn't end here, check out all of the fantastic music venues here in New Braunfels. And the Fall fun is just getting started! Next up...a full report on New Braunfels favorite festival...WURSTFEST!!

until next time...


Cheers!