Thursday, September 5, 2019

September Brings Some Famous Names to New Braunfels

Hey Folks!

September brings us some fantastic picks for music 'In New Braunfels'...
This Saturday September 7th, one of the finest songwriters of our time comes to Gruene Hall.
Veteran Texas songwriter Rodney Crowell knows better than to tell his songs what to do and listens to them instead.
His latest album, “Texas,” proved more of a place where those songs came home to rest rather than an album force-fed by a concept.
Crowell, who performs Saturday at Gruene Hall, explained that “Texas” cuts like “Deep in the Heart of Uncertain Texas” and “Brown & Root, Brown & Root” date back to the 1970s. “I had some songs left over from the ’70s . . . that I never saw they belonged in a collection of any songs I’d made,” he said.
Then he started thinking that he and Steve Earle had talked for some 25 years about recording “Brown & Root” together and, with “Texas,” the time seemed right.
Others like “Treetop Slim & Billy Lowgrass,” “Texas Drought Part 1” and “The Border” were more recent, with origins in the 1990s and 2000s. Some had personal connections. “Caw Caw Blues” was the last song he wrote with Texas songsmith Guy Clark before Clark’s death in 2016. ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, a longtime friend and also raised a fellow Houstonian, also was a long-running promised duet; Crowell wrote “56 Fury” and the duet light went on.
With songs lining up for “Texas,” others showed up and brought their performing partners to mind: “Flatland Hillbillies” and Randy Rogers and Lee Ann Womack. The “the-gang’s-all-here-drunk-on-the-lake kind of song” “Deep in the Heart of Uncertain Texas” and Ronnie Dunn. “What You Gonna Do Now” and its need for an “elegant narrator,” which Lyle Lovett fit to a T.
Not only did those artists show up for duets with Crowell, but so did others such as Ringo Starr and Vince Gill.
No concept album here, but a collection of strong-willed songs whose time was right and which served the advice of co-producer Ray Kennedy, who told the fellow Texan, “Let’s make sure this is a Rodney Crowell album.”
“The album ‘Texas’ more or less made itself,” said Crowell.
Crowell’s philosophy of letting the song speak to him has served him well, leading to a four-decade long career, two Grammy Awards, five No. 1 hits and standing as one of Nashville’s top songwriters. He’s had an A-list of country stars record his songs, musicians such as Emmylou Harris, Crystal Gayle, Bob Seger, Waylon Jennings, Oak Ridge Boys, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Lee Ann Womack and Tim McGraw.

Earlier this year, Crowell and Waco’s Billy Joe Shaver were honored with the Academy of Country Music’s Poet’s Award.
Crowell’s songwriting prowess has made him a go-to guy for many young musicians wanting to learn the craft and he’s quick to say there’s talent out there, including Hayes Carll and Robert Ellis.
“Any other idea other than the one the song is presenting is putting the cart before the horse,” he said. “Most of the time, the song comes to me as a feeling, the sound of a chord I strike or a tempo I’m in. I let the songs tell me, for the most part.”
Joining his backing band on Saturday are Austin guitarists David Grissom and Steuart Smith. “It’s a pretty rocking bunch. We can move people around,” he said.

Crowell’s fall schedule is heavy with Texas dates, which makes sense given that his new album carries the same name. “I need to stand up and proclaim it,” he said. “I’m putting my mouth where your money is.” This show will be an early one. Local songwriter Zack Walther will take the stage 8pm till 830, then Rodney on at 9pm. Get your tickets now!

Friday September 13th Crystal Gayle will perform in downtown New Braunfels at the legendary Brauntex Theater. Born January 9, 1951, in Paintsville, Kentucky, Crystal Gayle moved with her family to Wabash, Indiana, when she was still quite young. Her music career was given a big boost by her older sister, country superstar Loretta Lynn. Loretta thought that Crystal's real name of Brenda Gail Webb was not quite "classy" enough, and after noticing a sign for the Krystal restaurant chain, she changed the "K" to a "C" and her sister became Crystal Gayle. She recorded her first hit song, "I've Cried the Blue (Right Out of My Eyes)", in 1970, which peaked at #23. In 1974 she signed with United Artists Records and producer Allen Reynolds. Over the next two years she released three albums and had several hit songs, including "This Is My Year for Mexico", "I'll Do It All Over Again", "Wrong Road Again" and "I'll Get Over You", her first #1. The next year, 1977, would prove to be a landmark year for her, with the release of her album "We Must Believe in Magic" and the worldwide smash hit, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue", which--along with her almost floor-length hair--made her a household name.

She had many more hits throughout the rest of the 1970s, including "Talking in Your Sleep", "Ready for the Times to Get Better" and "Half the Way". She continued into the 1980s with such hits as "If You Ever Change Your Mind", "Too Many Lovers", "The Woman in Me", "Til I Gain Control Again" and "The Sound of Goodbye". In 1982 she recorded a duet with Eddie Rabbitt, the acclaimed "You and I", which has become one of the most popular wedding songs ever. In 1985 she teamed up with Gary Morris to record the love theme for the prime-time soap opera Dallas (1978), called "Makin' Up For Lost Time", which turned into yet another #1 hit. Her other 1980s hits included "A Long and Lasting Love", "Nobody Wants to Be Alone", "Straight to the Heart", "Cry" and "Nobody's Angel". In 1987 she guest-starred on the daytime soap opera Another World (1964) for a week. She teamed up again with Gary Morris and turned out the hit "Another World", which was also used as the new theme song for the soap opera. Her career took somewhat of a downturn in the late 1980s and she released her last major single, "Never Ending Song of Love", which peaked at #72, in 1990. Since then she has released several more acclaimed albums and many hit compilations.

This is going to be a really special show, her smooth vocals will fill the theater at 7:30 pm, doors at 6:30.

Now I have to tell you about my favorite show coming to town on September 20th. Los Lobos will be back at Gruene Hall to rock the ol dancehall to its core! I am convinced these guys can play about anything and make it sound cool. If Los Lobos has learned one thing in nearly four decades together, it’s that playing by the rules is not for them. They tried it for a while, said no thanks, and they’ve been better for it ever since. The 20th anniversary re-release of Los Lobos’ landmark Kiko album by Shout! Factory on August 21—bursting with bonus tracks and a live DVD in addition to the original album—serves as a potent reminder of why going rogue was the best thing this legendary American quintet ever did.By early 1992, prior to making Kiko, Los Lobos—David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, Louie Pérez and saxophonist/keyboardist Steve Berlin—was wrapping their second decade together, coming off a five-year period of newfound massive commercial success but lost creatively. Their 1987 remake of Ritchie Valens’ classic “La Bamba” for the soundtrack of the same name earned the band a number 1 smash on the Billboard charts, and the following year’s La Pistola y El Corazón, which found the band revisiting its Mexican folk roots, was also highly regarded. Then things went south.

“To a certain extent I guess we didn’t really trust ourselves,” says Berlin, who joined the four founding members in 1984, some 11 years after Los Lobos’ formation. “We weren’t totally confident as a band in our own ability to say fuck this, we’re going to do it this way and we don’t care what anybody says. We’d had ‘La Bamba’ and La Pistola, and it was all great but there was a lot of expectation surrounding the next record.”That next record turned out to be 1990’s The Neighborhood. The band didn’t have much fun recording it, compromising in the studio and embarking on a grueling large-scale tour with buses and a lighting rig, rather than simply hopping in their van and driving from gig to gig. The tour lost money and 
Los Lobos was left without a clue as to what they wanted to do next.

Reconvening for the next record, busted but not broken, the band decided to ignore everyone else’s advice and try a new way of recording: their way. Feeling they had nothing to lose, they forged ahead into new territory. Prior to Kiko, Los Lobos had been “segregating our influences, treating them parochially,” as Berlin puts it: a rockabilly tune here, a Tex-Mex there, some folk, a bit of country, an R&B tune, plenty of classic rock. This time, they decided to take all of those myriad influences out of their separate boxes, toss them into the air and let them fall where they might. “Whatever our unconscious minds’ response was to the stimuli, that was what we wanted. We let our imagination take over and didn’t try to control it.”

Rather than taking advantage of Los Angeles’ major studios, the band cut the demo tracks at a small place called Paul & Mike’s Studio in downtown L.A., run by their friend, engineer Paul duGré. On their way in, Berlin recalls, they would walk by homeless families living in boxes. “Here we were whining about being poor musicians and then we encounter real life. These people had real problems. It kind of enforced our sense of ourselves at that moment.”

Throwing caution to the wind, Los Lobos began cutting such new original Hidalgo-Pérez compositions as “Two Janes,” “Peace,” “Arizona Skies,” “Short Side of Nothing” and “Rio de Tenampa,” self-producing and following their instincts sound-wise. “We cut seven tracks in a week or two and it was cleansing,” says Berlin. “It was very dreamlike as it was going down. Everything was working. Even the mistakes sounded good. The tracks sounded really good and we weren’t holding back. We didn’t filter ourselves to do anything other than play. We knew it was a departure from what we’d done before, but we weren’t sure if it was commercially viable.”

There was only one way to find out: Los Lobos met with Lenny Waronker and Mo Ostin, the top executives at Warner Bros. Records, who distributed the band’s label Slash at the time. To the band’s relief, the record men loved what they heard and told them to continue, suggesting only that the band bring in super-producer Mitchell Froom and engineer Tchad Blake to help them mold their vision. It became an instant dream team. Froom told Los Lobos that several of the demos were good enough to release as is, and helped them fine-tune the rest, including such brilliant classic Lobos tunes as “That Train Don’t Stop Here,” “Angels With Dirty Faces,” “Whiskey Trail” and “Kiko and the Lavender Moon,” from which the album drew its title.
“Mitchell is a unique dude, probably one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever worked with,” says Berlin. “He’s a genius orchestrator and genius arranger. He and Tchad, who is also brilliant, were in a similar state of mind, wanting to do it their own way.”

When Kiko was released in the late spring of ’92, it was embraced by fans and hailed by critics as Los Lobos’ defining moment, the album that put Los Lobos back on the innovation track. The album, wrote All Music Guide, “demonstrated the breadth of their sonic ambitions.” Comments the band’s Cesar Rosas, “With that album we didn’t want to be tied down to all the conventional ways of recording, so we started experimenting and making up sounds.” That is where they remain today. Next year Los Lobos will celebrate 40 years together, a monumental achievement in a world where bands come and go in the blink of an eye.

A rare example of longevity in a volatile music world that stresses style over substance, Los Lobos’ lineup has remained uninterrupted since 1984, when Berlin joined original members Pérez, Hidalgo, Rosas and Lozano, each of whom had been there since the beginning in 1973.

“This is what happens when five guys create a magical sound, then stick together for 30 years to see how far it can take them,” wrote Rolling Stone, and indeed, Los Lobos is a band that continually reboots itself and expands its scope with each passing year, while never losing sight of where they came from. Through sheer camaraderie and respect for one another’s musicality, they’ve continued to explore who Los Lobos is and what they have to offer, without succumbing to the burnout that plagues so many other bands that stick it out for any considerable length of time. Their influence is vast, yet they remain humble, centered and dedicated to their craft. Each new recording they make moves Los Lobos into another new dimension while simultaneously sounding like no one else in the world but Los Lobos. As All About Jazz raved, “The genius of Los Lobos resides in their innate ability to find the redemptive power of music, no matter the style they choose to play.”

It was during their earliest years that the group’s particular hybrid of traditional regional Mexican folk music, rock and roll, blues, R&B, country and other genres began finding a sweet spot in the music of Los Lobos. “In 1973, when we first formed,” says Pérez, “we were four guys from East L.A. who were friends from high school who played in local rock bands. Then once we got out of high school you still had four guys 

who were just hanging out together. So the natural progression of things is to just start playing music again. You’d think that we’d form a rock band but then out of nowhere somebody got this idea of ‘Let’s learn a Mexican song to play for somebody’s mom for their birthday’ or something. Mexican music was largely just wallpaper for us—it was always in the background, and we never paid much attention to it. We were modern kids who listened to rock and roll. Then when we finally dig up some old records to learn a couple of songs, that was a real revelation to us that this music is actually very complicated and challenging. So at that point we were off and running.” Their first several years, says Pérez, were a “chapter,” as Lobos began discovering who they were as a creative unit. The band’s 1978 Spanish-language debut found only a small audience, but by 1980—when 

Los Lobos was rejected by a hostile hometown crowd while opening for John Lydon’s post-Sex Pistols band Public Image Ltd.—although large-scale acceptance still evaded them, Los Lobos had begun to build an audience within L.A.’s punk and roots-rock world. An opening slot for hometown rock heroes the Blasters at the Sunset Strip’s legendary Whisky A-Go-Go in 1982 was a breakthrough, and that band’s saxophonist Steve Berlin took a special interest in Lobos, joining the group full-time for 1984’s critically acclaimed Slash Records debut, How Will the Wolf Survive?

As the ’80s kicked in for real, Los Lobos’ fortunes quickly turned in a positive direction, and they became one of the most highly regarded bands to emerge from the fertile L.A. scene. “It was one of those places and times, like ’67 in San Francisco or Paris in the ’20s,” says Berlin. “A lot of really superlative creative energy was focused in that place at that time. It was a very collegial atmosphere because everybody was experimenting with everything: with their identities, with their music. It was a very exciting time to be in a place where everybody around you was doing really interesting stuff. To this day I think that ethos informs 
a lot of what we do.”

One of the most momentous events in Los Lobos’ history arrived in 1987, when the band was tapped to cover “La Bamba,” the Mexican folk standard that had been transformed into a rock and roll classic in 1958 when it was recorded by the ill-fated 17-year-old Ritchie Valens. Valens, the first Chicano rock star, was catapulted to legendary status the following year when he died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper and it was a natural choice that Los Lobos be asked to remake his signature hit
for the forthcoming biopic of the same name. Little did anyone suspect that the remake would spring to number one on the charts.

“We had met Ritchie’s family and they had asked for us,” says Pérez. “Of course, our emphasis at that time was on making our next album, By the Light of the Moon. Then ‘La Bamba’ came out and when the other record came out a few months later it was, By the Light of the Moon, what’s that? It was completely pre-empted by this massive hit. We had no idea what was going to happen.”What happened was that Los Lobos was now reaching a vastly larger audience. “We were opening up for bands like U2 and the Clash and traveling around the world,” says Lozano. “You’d walk into an airplane and some little kid would be singing ‘La Bamba.’ It was a great time.”

Rather than capitalize on the elevated commercial profile that “La Bamba” had given them, Los Lobos instead chose to record as a followup La Pistola y El Corazón, paying tribute to their acoustic Mexican acoustic music roots. Kiko came next, followed by such equally stunning albums such as 1996’s Colossal Head, 2002’s Good Morning Aztlán and 2006’s The Town and the City, Los Lobos has continued to deliver dependably solid and diverse recordings, a live show that never fails to disappoint, and just enough side 

trips—a Disney tribute album and a couple of live ones, solo and duet recordings (among them Hidalgo and Pérez’s ’90s diversion Latin Playboys), Berlin’s many production and sideman gigs—to keep their creative juices flowing. 2010’s Tin Can Trust, Los Lobos’ most recent release and first for Shout! Factory, pushed the venerable quintet ahead a few more notches while retaining everything the band’s loyal fans have come to expect.“There’s this thing that still happens, this musical thing,” says Pérez. “But if you took everything away, even the music, you’d still end up with four guys who were friends and hung out and grew up in the same neighborhood. And you can’t take that friendship away from us.”“We’re brothers and we all equally recognize that,” says Rosas. “That’s what keeps us going, knowing that we need to help each other and we need to get through this and we work well together. And we keep it real.”

Their debut album was called Just Another Band from East L.A., but they’ve since repeatedly disproven 
that title—Los Lobos isn’t “just another” anything. “We’re incredibly lucky,” says Steve Berlin. So are 
we—lucky to have Los Lobos. Indeed we are! This show will sell out, get your tickets NOW.

And no matter where you go in New Braunfels, you are sure to find some great live music at one of the many venues in town!! So get out there and get ya some!

Until next's a little video to get ya ready for Rodney Crowell.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

My 'HOT' Picks for August...

Hey Folks,

The hot summer marches on, and with that, the great music 'In New Braunfels' continues...Starting this Friday August 16th, something new and different, The Jamestown Revival will make a stop at Gruene Hall.

Jamestown Revival is a group formed by Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance. After growing tired of a life mining tiger's eye in the foothills of the Texas hill country, they hit the road to conceive a style that could be described as back-porch- folk rock. Reflecting the majestic landscape where it was recorded, Jamestown Revival’s new album San Isabel feels calming, spacious, and most of all, natural. Led by Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance, the band embraced a minimalist approach for these 11 tracks, recorded in a remote cabin in central Colorado. Each workday began with coffee on the front porch and a mountainous view of the San Isabel National Forest. 

“We were out there probably 17 days. Everything just slows down,” Chance says. “We’d go into town to get food in the evenings, just to break it up, but most days when we were recording we would have the doors and the windows open, and the breeze going through it. It’s a small cabin so it’s cozy.”

“It’s got so much character. You walk into this place and it gives you a really cool feeling,” Clay adds. “The spirit of that mountain range is all over this record.”

Following four years of relentless touring, Jamestown Revival essentially disappeared in 2018, spending almost every day together writing new material in their home base of Austin, Texas. Clay and Chance – who met as teenagers in the small town of Magnolia, Texas – set out to pursue their own musical vision, re-focusing on their roots.

“When we sat down to write this record, we asked ourselves, ‘What kind of record do we want to write?’” Clay recalls. “The first thing that came up in that conversation was, ‘Well, why did we even start Jamestown Revival in the first place?’ It was because we enjoyed singing harmonies so much. So we decided to write a record built around that. That’s what we started doing this for. It’s really as simple as that. To us, harmonies are the third man. It’s what makes a song feel complete.”

Most of the time, Clay takes lead vocal with Chance on high harmony, a striking blend that appears effortless. Yet, San Isabel occasionally flips that concept as Clay’s expressive baritone drifts beneath Chance’s pristine tenor lead. “It’s not about who’s singing the loudest or who’s the getting the voice with the most recognition. It’s about blending these voices together so it makes the most impact,” Chance says. “I grew up playing basketball and baseball, and in my mind, harmony is a team sport and it’s a sum of all the parts.”

For the first time ever, Jamestown Revival enlisted a co-producer, Jamie Mefford (Nathaniel Rateliff, Gregory Alan Isakov). Finding inspiration in ‘60s and early 70’s folk and pop, the original songs on San Isabel show a reverence for early John Denver and Bob Dylan, as well as Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nestled near the end of the album is a stunning reinterpretation of the 1965 classic, “California Dreamin’.”

The low-key vibe of San Isabel harkens back to the duo’s first recording, Utah, a homemade project from 2014. After signing with a major label, the band expanded and re-released Utah, followed by 2016’s rock-oriented The Education of a Wandering Man. Building a fan base through grass roots support and AAA radio, Jamestown Revival has performed at iconic venues from the Ryman Auditorium to Red Rocks Amphitheater as well as countless festivals such as Coachella, Austin City Limits, Stagecoach, Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic and more.
Chance says, “This record is different than our previous two and it definitely has more of an ethereal thing. The heads and tails of the songs are longer, so it really is creating a trance. We love records that you can drive to, and hopefully this is one that you can take a road trip to. Jamie really helped bring that out. We would record and get the essentials, whether it be an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. Then we would add what we started calling ‘celestial seasonings,’ where we would do these tracks with an ethereal vibe, which became an undercurrent throughout the record.”
Indeed, listen closely to San Isabel and the sounds of songbirds, a booming tin roof, and even a package of flour tortillas (used as a snare drum) can be heard in the mix. A skilled woodworker, Clay also built a baritone lap steel guitar from a leftover piece of alder wood in order to capture a deep slide guitar groove. However, he didn’t get the instrument’s grounding quite right, meaning that Zach had to put one hand on the guitar jack and the other hand on his bandmate to eliminate the buzzing.

That obvious camaraderie is a big part of Jamestown Revival’s appeal. Clay and Chance have maintained a close friendship since they met at age 15, attending high school together in Magnolia, Texas. “People say they can see it and they can feel it,” Clay says. “I mean, we’ve been friends forever, it feels like. It’s a brotherhood. We don’t always like each other but we love each other, you know? We truly enjoy being able to do what we do, to make music and travel together.”

The band’s name evokes the beginnings of a new era by combining a reference to one of America’s first settlements (Jamestown, Virginia) with one of their favorite bands (Creedence Clearwater Revival). Now that San Isabel is complete, another revival is imminent.

“Especially when music is your job, if you’re not out playing shows and you don’t have these tangible things to show what you’re doing, it feels kind of intimidating,” Chance says. “But it is so essential to step away from that and reflect and to spend time working on it. Honing our craft is something I think we’ll always have to do, but in our humble little world, we have to chip away at it however we can. Stepping away like that is important to slow it down a little bit.”

Clay adds, “We wrote this record with sort of an overarching theme, which is cutting out the noise for a minute and maybe stepping away from social media, from the internet, and from the complicated, busy nature of most of our lives – and focusing on existing for a minute. If this record inspires people to do a little bit of that, then we would be really happy with that result.”
This show will sell out...get there early!

Next up,  This Saturday August 17th, at one of my favorite venues in New Braunfels, River Road Icehouse brings an always entertaining songwriter to the stage.

For every album Texas music singer-songwriter William Clark Green shows another place down in Texas that's near and dear to his heart. In the past, he's taken us to Lubbock, Tyler and Eastland--places he's lived. Now, with his new album Hebert Island, he ventures out into old family stomping grounds.
Green's family moved to Texas from Louisiana in 1869. It was Green's grandmother's great-grandfather, an Hebert (pronounced A-Bear), who originally bought the LaBelle Ranch located outside of Beaumont, Texas. Surrounded by rice fields and in the middle of the marsh, Green's Hebert Island--and namesake for his fifth studio album--is indeed a real place.

"I was looking for a place to put a camp house," Green tells Wide Open Country. "I found this old oil pad put in by an oil company. Just a flat elevated surface out in the marsh. When it rains, it turns into an island. Everything around it floods so I just started calling it Hebert Island.

Green was looking for a place to put a rudimentary camp house out on the old family property. With a shipping container, a generator, an AC unit, a small outdoor shower, water catch and a cistern, it's as primitive as can be but serves as a mighty fine home base for Green when he's out duck hunting.
With that in mind, Green knew his latest album called for those distinct swampy sounds found on the Texas-Louisiana borderline. He enlisted Benjy Davis, a Baton Rouge native living in Nashville, as the project's producer knowing Davis would tap into those rootsy sounds.
Written with Davis and David Borné--another Louisianan living in Nashville--the distinct title track sets a specific tone for the album.
"When I had the song idea for 'Hebert Island,' I knew I wanted to write it with Benjy," adds Green. "He'd recently done this record that really played up those cajun, swampy and Louisiana sounds. I wanted there to be that influence so it just made sense. The guys in the band, they know what they're doing when they get in the studio. But sometimes, you need those little things that really set the mood. Benjy had those and knew how to apply them.”

Recorded primarily in Nashville at The Sound Emporium, Hebert Island finds Green delivering as tight a collection of songs as he's ever written. In many respects, the 14-track album plays out like two specific sets. The A-Side front end is Green and company offering guitar-driven singalongs built around anthemic ear candy hooks. On the B-Side back half, Green settles things down a notch and finds the Texas storyteller delivering intimate ballads marked by their vulnerability and space-filled arrangements.
Barnburners like the spiteful lead single "Hit You Where It Hurts," the charging rush of "What About Now" and harmony and hook-laden "Goner" are prime Green cuts. Often built around the dueling guitar riffs of Steven Marcus and Josh Serrato, there's a familiar edge and tone. It's a surefire recipe that calls for blazing guitar, Green's gritty rasp and clever wordplay. "Goner," written with Ross Cooper and Dean Fields, is as strong a radio-worthy single as Green's ever delivered.
Other songs such as "Poor," written with Lubbock buddies Brandon Adams and Dalton Domino, and "She Loves Horses," written with Trent Willmon and Jay Clementi, find Green venturing into a somewhat newer territory. For what feels like the first time, Green offers up straightforward and plainspoken love ballads without his often cynical viewpoint.
It wouldn't be a Green album without his brutal honesty and heart-on-his-sleeve late-night confessionals. On the standout "Farewell," Green's lines cut deep to the bone. Throughout, he throws out a bevy of one-liners meant to hurt his former flame. Where "Hit You Where It Hurts" had a tongue-in-cheek wink, "Farewell" is the flipside of the coin and all business.

Still, it's on "Drunk Again," another song penned with Adams, where Green is both as candidly forward and drunkenly vulnerable as he's ever been. Written on the big stage at Larry Joe Taylor's Melody Mountain Ranch at one of Green's Lubbock songwriter retreats, "Drunk Again" is a mounting wave of relentless sincerity and drunken introspective. It's sobering self-analysis with a monstrous chorus.

Still, it's on "Drunk Again," another song penned with Adams, where Green is both as candidly forward and drunkenly vulnerable as he's ever been. Written on the big stage at Larry Joe Taylor's Melody Mountain Ranch at one of Green's Lubbock songwriter retreats, "Drunk Again" is a mounting wave of relentless sincerity and drunken introspective. It's sobering self-analysis with a monstrous chorus.

"My Mother," the closing country ballad written with Channing Wilson, is another bare-bones number in which Green lays it all out on the table.
"I thought it was a cool song, but I wasn't necessarily 'wowed' by it when we finished it up," says Green. "I don't know why, but one day I played it at a soundcheck in Lawrence, Kansas. Our merch guy, Tyler Miska, started crying when I played it. I'd never brought tears to someone's eyes with a song before. I ended up playing it that night and there were more people crying. It was really powerful to see a song I'd written affect someone like that. It felt good."
Green admits that he felt a little burnt out after 2015's breakout album Ringling Road. Often worrying about radio, second-guessing his songwriting and wondering what people were going to like, Green wiped the slate clean before starting Hebert Island.
"I just wanted to write songs that I really liked. So the songs that I really liked, they ended up on the record. I didn't care that it ended up being 14 songs long," says Green. "This was kind of a do or die record for us--Hell, every record is that way. Every record, you try and make it something special. I hope others think it's special. But all I know is that it's special to me. That's what really counts."
Green's Hebert Island is officially out! With the excitement of this release, you can bet this guy will put on a heck of a show! This too will sell out, get your tickets NOW!

Finally the Rock Band Los Lonely Boys, playing Gruene Hall on Friday August 23rd.
Los Lonely Boys, the close-knit Texas band including bassist/vocalist Jojo with his brothers Henry (vocals, guitar) and Ringo (drums, vocals). “As musicians and artists, we’re here to connect with people, and to share our view of things.” 

“We’re always trying to broaden our horizons and advance musically, and that’s something that we were very conscious of in making the record, Revelation,” Jojo states. “We’re always looking for new ways to communicate and reach people, so we experimented with a lot of different sounds and production approaches on every recording we've done.”

Toward that end, the brothers also collaborated with an eclectic cast of co-writers in assembling the dozen new original songs that comprise Revelation, including alt-country icon Radney Foster, in-demand pop tunesmiths Matthew Gerrard and David Quiñones, Black-Eyed Peas collaborators George Pajon Jr. and Keith Harris, and Raul Pacheco of Ozomatli.

Revelation also marks Los Lonely Boys’ first recording work since Henry Garza sustained serious injuries in a fall from the stage during a February 2013 performance in Los Angeles, necessitating a lengthy and ongoing recovery period.

“We nearly lost Henry, man, and that was a big change for us,” Jojo acknowledges. “The whole experience was a wake-up call for us. It made us rethink every aspect of our lives and our careers, and it reminded us of what’s really important to us.”

The abiding sense of family unity and creative rapport that allowed the band to weather such a potentially devastating event has been built into Los Lonely Boys from the beginning. Indeed, Henry, Jojo and Ringo have been making music together for their entire lives. Their father, Ringo Garza Sr., was a member of another sibling band, the Falcones, which played throughout southern Texas in the ’70s and ’80s. When that group disbanded, Ringo Sr. went solo, and recruited his three young sons to back him. The family relocated to Nashville in the ’90s, and soon Henry, Jojo and Ringo Jr. began writing and performing their own material as a trio.

After moving back to Texas, the brothers recorded their eponymous debut album in 2003 at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales studio in Austin, with Willie himself guesting on the sessions. Although originally released on small Or Music label, Epic Records picked up Los Lonely Boys for major-label distribution in early 2004. The album quickly won the band a large national audience. Its lead single “Heaven” became a Top 20 pop hit, reached the #1 spot on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, and eventually won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. 

After a prominent guest appearance on the 2005 Santana album All That I Am, Los Lonely Boys solidified their success with 2006’s Sacred, which brought two more Grammy nominations, and 2008’s Forgiven, as well as the holiday-themed Christmas Spirit. Meanwhile, the band continued to build its reputation as a singularly powerful live act.

In early 2009, Los Lonely Boys made their LonelyTone/Playing in Traffic debut with the all-covers EP 1969, followed by the unplugged Keep On Giving: Acoustic Live! Those releases set the stage for the band’s acclaimed 2011 album Rockpango, and for the creative leap forward that Revelation represents. 

“We want to make music that brings people together, not music that divides people,” Jojo states. “We’re all about having a good time, but we also make an effort to write about things that really matter. A lot of people write songs about superficial things, like how you look and what kind of car you drive and how much money you have, but we’re not interested in that. We want to create music that’s about the love and the energy and the spirit that we all carry as people.” 

“We’re very thankful that God blessed our family with a drummer, a guitar player and a bass player, and that the three of us get to make music together,” Jojo concludes. “There’s been a few bumps in the road here and there, but that happens in any family and in any band. The main thing is that we stick together, and that we’re trying to pass on that feeling of brotherhood, of familia, in the music that we make.”

Great soulful tunes make this band one of my favorites that visit Gruene Hall. Get your tickets soon!!

Hot music in the hottest month of the year...seems fitting. Visit one of our many venues 'In New Braunfels'...where there is music in the air on any given night.

Until next time....


Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Quick One...All About Friday!!!!

Hey Folks,

I just have to get a quick one in for this weekend,  there are some great local and regional bands hitting town on Friday and I wanted to give you a heads up about the where and when for each of them.

First Up,  Friday night at The phoenix Saloon! Knotty Grove is perhaps the best 70's styled cover band I have ever heard. They cover the whole gamut of rock& roll from that era, Deep Purple, 3 Dog Night, Aerosmith and much more. Highly recommended!! get out there early, it gets packed!

Also on Friday night at Billy's Ice is the one and only 3 Man Front. These guys are another amazing cover band that will play just about anything you can come up with, and all from only 3 guys! Always entertaining, Josh and the boys WILL deliver!

Moving away from cover bands, another local band bursting at the seams with talent will play The River Road Icehouse on Friday as well. The story of Midnight River Choir is proof that sometimes great bands just happen. One night, four strangers ended up on a late night float trip down the Guadalupe River. As they made their way down the river singing songs, the beautiful harmonies floated into the heads of sleeping campers. The next morning, the boys overheard a man telling a friend that he was “awakened by a midnight river choir.” That was all it took. Eric Middleton (lead singer and guitarist), Justin Nelson (lead guitarist), Jeromy Yager (former bassist), and Mitchell Pyeatt (drummer), realized the magic of their combined talents and began writing and performing together under that River-God given name. 
The formation of Midnight River Choir was nothing short of a force of nature that now translates seamlessly during their live shows. This band needs no labels or comparisons. Their music speaks volumes about who and what they are. Their lives have been woven together by a strong thread of energy both on and off stage. That energy is raw and natural and soaked up from the earth through their bare feet. They believe that what you get is what you give and they give everything they have to their crowds. When that kind of energy lands back at the feet of the boys it is something of supreme intensity. And no one ever forgets it. These guys will be making your soul groove starting at 9pm.

So if it were me, (and it very well might be), I would put together a little tour on Friday night and hit ALL THREE!! 

Theres only one way to end this quick little note...HAPPY FRIDAY everyone!!

Until next week...


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

An OLD favorite returns to Gruene Hall...and Then Some!

Hello Folks,

These are my picks for great music 'In New Braunfels'...let's get to it!

First up is one of my all time favorites to work with...Radney Foster hitting the stage at Gruene All this Friday night July 12th. As a young musician straight out of Texas, Radney Foster spent the lengthy drives in between tour stops reading the likes of John Steinbeck, Larry McMurtry, and Harper Lee. Over 30 years of artist cuts later, there is no question that he himself is an established storyteller. Whether it’s navigating the ever-changing music industry or battling a sudden, terrifying illness – Foster definitely has a story to tell.
In late Fall 2015, the legendary songwriter got the diagnosis every musician fears-- a severe case of pneumonia and laryngitis. However, for someone who’s been producing songs for almost 40 years, the desire to write doesn’t fade along with the voice. During a grueling six week period of vocal constraint, Foster’s creative side emerged in the form of a short story inspired by the song, titled “Sycamore Creek,” and the idea for Foster’s newest endeavor was born.
For You To See The Stars is a project comprised of two parts – a book and a CD. The book is a collection of short stories published by Working Title Farm. Though the stories are fiction, they are informed by Foster’s upbringing on the Mexican border in Del Rio, TX. The story that most closely resembles memoir, “Bridge Club,” is a humorous and poignant retelling of the song “Greatest Show on Earth,” a recollection of playing music with family and friends on the back porch on a Saturday night.
While it’s evident that Texas has always been an inspiration for his music, in For You To See The Stars, Foster explores various landscapes, both physical and emotional, from the story of a retired spy in New Orleans, to the tale of a Dallas lawyer wandering the Rocky Mountains in search of redemption, to a post apocalyptic parable of a world in endless war.
The beauty of this CD/book combo lives within Foster’s extensive imagery, which not only further expands the meaning behind Foster’s songs, but gives the reader a look at the thought process behind his songwriting. “For me, the goal of writing is always to touch that one person so much that they wonder how I got a peek into their living room--how I understood exactly what they felt. More than just rhyming or having a pretty melody, I try to express a part of the human condition that can make someone want to laugh, cry, make love, or all of the above.”
Although the literature can be enjoyed independently, each story is uniquely coupled with a song. The 10-track album, also titled For You To See The Stars, features nine new songs and a special re-recording of “Raining on Sunday,” the song Foster co-wrote with Darrell Brown, which became one of Keith Urban’s top Billboard singles. The album was recorded at the historic Nashville studio Sound Emporium and was produced by award-winning Will Kimbrough, who also plays multiple instruments and sings on the record.
For You To See The Stars is Radney Foster’s eleventh album. Foster has written eight number one hit singles, including his own “Nobody Wins,” and “Crazy Over You” with duo Foster & Lloyd. His discography contains countless cuts by artists ranging anywhere from country (Keith Urban, The Dixie Chicks, Luke Bryan, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) to contemporary (Marc Broussard, Hootie & The Blowfish, Kenny Loggins, Los Lonely Boys). Although highly recognized and accomplished in the music world, Foster is a true renaissance man. In addition to For You To See The Stars being his first book, Foster recently starred in the world premiere of "Troubadour,” at Atlanta’s Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre.  He also appears in the upcoming feature film, Beauty Mark.
For You To See The Stars is Foster at his classic storytelling best, both as a seasoned singer/songwriter and a soulful writer of prose. Although both components stand alone as separate pieces of art-- they are meant to be enjoyed together for a reason. When coupled, the book and CD give fans a deeper insight into the subconscious of Foster’s storytelling. Journalist Peter Cooper puts it best, “Radney Foster writes with uncommon depth of emotion, humor, empathy, and clarity. I’m going to ask him how he does it, and if he tells me I’ll let you in on his secret. Until then, it’s best that we read, wonder, and revel.” This man never ceases to amaze me, every song seems better than the last and every story has me hooked a little deeper. Always an amazing show, get your tickets now!

Next up, and OLD favorite returns to Gruene Hall. the OLD 978's will make a long awaited appearance on Friday July 19th. 

Although they became one of the most enduring bands in the alternative country-rock catalog, Old 97's drew inspiration from a broad range of genres, including the twangy stomp of cowpunk and the melodies of power pop. Formed in 1993 by frontman Rhett Miller and bassist Murry Hammond, the group spent the bulk of the decade posed on the brink of mainstream success, issuing albums that often drew warm reviews but never yielded a substantial hit. Old 97's tightened their sound as the decade drew to a close, retaining their bar-band vigor while introducing a stronger pop/rock sound on albums like Too Far to Care and Satellite Rides. Miller also mounted a solo career in the early 2000s, but the band remained together nonetheless, continuing to release material with their original lineup intact into the following decade.

Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond first partnered up in 1989, when Miller enlisted the latter's help in producing his debut solo album, Mythologies. Although six years younger than Hammond, Miller proved to be a dedicated musician as he canvassed the Dallas club circuit, playing a blend of folk and British-styled pop to local audiences. He also displayed a knack for storytelling, having previously earned a creative writing scholarship to Sarah Lawrence College. One year after Mythologies' release, Miller and Hammond teamed up once again, this time as part of the short-lived Sleepy Heroes.

Although the Sleepy Heroes disbanded after issuing one album, the band's mix of pop and Texas-styled twang helped lay the foundation for Old 97's. Continuing to build upon that sound, Miller and Hammond linked up with lead guitarist Ken Bethea and recorded a demo tape at the Cedar Creek studio in Austin. Drummer Philip Peeples climbed on board shortly thereafter, and Hammond's childhood obsession with trains inspired the band's new name, which paid homage to the country ballad "Wreck of the Old 97." With their lineup intact, Old 97's released the debut album Hitchhike to Rhome in 1994. It garnered positive reviews and began to build the group's alt-country fan base, which they consolidated on the album's follow-up, Wreck Your Life. Issued in 1995 by the newly formed Bloodshot Records -- a label that would also launch the alt-country careers of Neko Case and Ryan Adams -- Wreck Your Life presented Old 97's as a sharp, eclectic country-rock outfit with a pinup-worthy frontman. Such positive attention led to a major-label deal with Elektra Records, who hoped to translate the band's underground buzz into mainstream success.

Old 97's made their Elektra debut in 1997 with Too Far to Care, a muscular album that balanced the band's Texas traditionalism and pop leanings. Many publications placed the band among the leaders of the alt-country movement, and Old 97's toured extensively in support, joining the Lollapalooza tour that summer and playing alongside Whiskeytown for a series of shows sponsored by No Depression magazine. Arriving two years later, 1999's Fight Songs offered another polished, pop-friendly set of songs, allowing the band to sell out 1,500-seat venues during its return to the road.

By this time, Miller had moved to Los Angeles and shed the thick, '50s-style glasses that had become a major part of his image. He and Hammond also began performing in an informal side project dubbed the Ranchero Brothers, although a proposed album never materialized. Instead, the musicians returned their focus to Old 97's, releasing another pop-influenced record with 2001's Satellite Rides. Miller took a temporary leave after its release to work on a solo power pop record, The Instigator, which was released in late 2002. A period of relative inactivity followed, as the bandmembers found themselves in different cities, with several of them starting families.

The hiatus ended in 2004 with the release of Drag It Up, whose subsequent tour featured prominently on the double-disc live album Alive & Wired. Afterward, Miller returned to his solo career with 2006's The Believer, which found the frontman experimenting with strings and orchestral arrangements. Old 97's returned to the studio once again in 2008, though, this time holing up in their native Dallas to help channel the energy of their earlier records. The move worked, and the resulting album, Blame It on Gravity, delivered some of the band's strongest songs in years. While touring the country in support, Murry Hammond launched his own solo career, packaging a wealth of old-timey gospel ballads and locomotive imagery onto the album I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm on My Way. Miller also found time to release a solo album, 2009's self-titled Rhett Miller, which appeared one year before the ninth Old 97's record, The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1. Originally intended as a double album, The Grand Theatre was followed in mid-2011 by a companion record, The Grand Theatre, Vol. 2.

In 2012, Old 97's released an archival project via Omnivore Records, an expanded and remastered reissue of Too Far to Care that included a bonus disc of demos recorded before the project went into the studio. (The demos also received a stand-alone release on vinyl as They Made a Monster: The Too Far to Care Demos.) That same year, Omnivore released a limited-edition EP for Record Store Day that featured two songs the group recorded in 1996 in collaboration with Waylon Jennings; the EP was reissued in 2013 simply as Old 97's & Waylon Jennings. In 2014, the band released its first album for ATO Records, a fiery effort titled Most Messed Up, and continued their series of back catalog projects with Omnivore by issuing a remixed, remastered, and expanded edition of their debut LP, Hitchhike to Rhome. In the last weeks of 2016, Old 97's announced the upcoming release of a new album, Graveyard Whistling, which was issued by ATO in February 2017. The album included guest vocals by Brandi Carlisle on the song "Good with God," and songwriting contributions from Nicole Atkins and Butch Walker. November 2018 saw the release of a Rhett Miller solo set, The Messenger, as well as the first-ever Christmas album from Old 97's, Love the Holidays; both were issued by ATO Records.

This show WILL sell out, get your tickets NOW!

Lastly,  Another rocking' fave of mine Stoney Larue will take the stage at Gruene Hall on Saturday July 20th. “I like to connect with people at any age, whatever it might be sonically or to the depth of what they are willing to think as LaRue reflects on this important connection he has fostered with his fans over his 15-plus years of touring and recording music. Together, LaRue and his fans have culled together a “favorite live song set” that is dedicated to his loyal and growing fan base.
LaRue is known for his real life, thinking man’s music as well as his high energy live concerts with fans singing along to songs such as “Feet Don’t Touch The Ground”, “Look At Me Fly”, and “Oklahoma Breakdown”.
Being able to connect with fans the way we can today is mind blowing to LaRue. When this journey started over 15 years ago, communication was restricted mainly to the stage, written letters and before show meet and greets. Now with social media along with the audience feedback at his shows he feels closer to them than ever and looks forward to the future as he travels around the world writing songs as well as performing.
Independently charged, LaRue has sold over one million records over his career and plays 200-plus shows a year, and he has released a new single “You Oughta Know” in November 2018.
Stoney LaRue has a new album slated to be released in 2019. 

Summer marches on, and so does the great music across multiple venues...'In New Braunfels'.
Go hear some live music, you'll be glad you did!!
I shall leave you with this video from Stoney...

Until Next Time...CHEERS!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Summer Marches On to the Beat of Great Music

Hey Folks,

Summer time is upon us and the great music scene in New Braunfels is hotter than ever! My upcoming picks start with the incomparable Reckless Kelly playing Gruene Hall this weekend on both Friday and Saturday. Understanding the virtuosity of Reckless Kelly requires the perspective of where the band has been. Cody and Willy Braun grew up in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho. They moved to Bend, Oregon, and then migrated to that great musical fountainhead, Austin, Texas.

The band’s co-founders and frontmen toured the country as part of their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys, as children. They performed on The Tonight Show twice. Their father taught his four sons a professional ethic – integrity, persistence, hard work and professionalism – honed over three generations. They overcame hardships, struggled for recognition, and learned the lessons of the trial and error that defined them.

In one sense, it’s remarkable in the way of any musician, athlete, or businessperson who bucks the odds.
In another, though, it’s utterly natural that Reckless Kelly, born in the dreams of the two Braun brothers and their heritage but nurtured in the bumpy road of maturity, became the very essence of Americana music in all its far-flung glory.
“We came along in that second wave of the movement,” Cody Braun says. “Son Volt’s album Trace had a major effect on us. People like Joe Ely, Ray Kennedy and Robert Earl Keen were always big supporters. Our goal was to make music that had a country vibe but a solid rock edge.”

In the end, all the recipe required was to just add water. Water facilitates life. It enriches the soul.
As Music Row magazine proclaimed, “In my perfect world, this is what country radio would sound like.”

“This” is Reckless Kelly.

The heartland gave the band authenticity. Musical lives honed its skill. Adversity instilled its persistence. Moving to Austin gave it wings to fly.

As kids, the Brauns – Cody, Willy, Micky and Gary – shared a stage with the likes of Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell and Merle Haggard. Micky and Gary Braun now helm their own band, Micky and the Motorcars. In Bend, Cody and Willy added drummer Jay Nazz, who brought with him his own unique experience.

“I had grown up in the Northeast, performing at clubs and weddings with my dad and brother from the age of 13,” Nazz recalls, “so, when I met Willy and Cody, we already had that in common. Both of our dads were musicians with a very similar kind of performing discipline. That helped us bond immediately.”

The band took its name from the legend of Ned Kelly, the Australian highwayman, and the three moved to Austin in the autumn of 1996, where they carved a niche of their own. Early on, Keen, a Texas legend himself, took them under his wing and became their first manager. They listened, watched and interacted with the creative dynamos of the outlaw country scene – Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark and others – and joined them in a redefinition of what contemporary country music had become. Theirs was gritty, hard-edged, uncompromising and convincing. They turned country music real again.

Willy Braun wrote half the songs of Millican, 1998’s self-released debut, in an abandoned school bus, where he had lived for six months in Bend. The effect of that album was to emblazon Reckless Kelly with a reputation as a band of no-nonsense insurgents that could raise the rafters while still retaining a heart and soul of honesty, soul and conviction.

They evolved, adding David Abetya, a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, on lead guitar in 2000. Kansas-bred bassist Joe Miller -- who had grown up on a family farm before becoming a broadcaster at his college radio station and migrating to Austin – signed on 2012.

Reckless Kelly’s string of critically acclaimed albums – Under the Table and Above the Sun (2003), Wicked Twisted Road (2005), Bulletproof (2008), Somewhere in Time (2010), Grammy-nominated Good Luck & True Love (2011) and Grammy-winning Long Night Moon (2013) – set a standard of reliable excellence and commitment to an instinctive vision of Americana. No band exemplifies the broad genre better.

Independent? Oh, yeah. Doggedly so. Nothing demonstrates it more than the band’s path through a succession of prestigious record labels – Sugar Hill and Yep Roc, among them – en route to a label, No Big Deal, of their own.

For two decades, the band has toured coast to coast relentlessly. It has demonstrated its longevity in a world where trendy newcomers are proclaimed the Next Big Thing by spinning a couple pop hits. They disappear from the radar, doomed by the very fad that invented them. Not unlike the pioneers who preceded them on the western frontier where the Brauns were raised, they have forged their survival without compromise, combining hard work with a resolve that success is only satisfying when achieved by their own standards and definition.

The group’s new album, Sunset Motel, is, like all its predecessors, distinctive in its own way while true to form. Self-produced and recorded in Austin’s renowned Arlyn Studios (where Millican was made two decades ago) and mixed by Jim Scott (Rolling Stones, Dixie Chicks, Tom Petty, Sting, Roger Daltrey, Crowded House, et al.), it reflects Reckless Kelly’s attention to craft and continuity.

Twenty years since its founding, Reckless Kelly continues to fight for wider recognition, secure in the knowledge that fans, critics and contemporaries will continue to sing its praises.

The songs hit one emotional peak after another: the infectious “Volcano,” the urgent “One More One Last Time,” the desperate desire that comes full circle in “How Can You Love Him (You Don’t Even Like Him)” and the bittersweet title track. With steady guitar drive and a series of insistent choruses, they all ring with power and conviction that make Sunset Motel a breathtaking listening experience.

“Willy wrote 30 or 40 songs for the new album and we cut about half of them,” Cody says. “We ended up using 13 of them, but there were still some good ones left on the cutting-room floor.”

Cody, Willy and Nazz have been constants since the beginning. Abeyta and Miller add their own wrinkles to a signature sound that remains intact. The populist following grows, but the band has also moved on to play in performing arts centers and listening rooms that provide more focused encounters.

“We’re at the point where we’re not content to be categorized as simply a party band anymore,” Willy says. “We would like folks to really hear these songs, to be able to hear the lyrics and appreciate the musicianship that goes into the arrangements. Yes, we still want our audiences to have a good time, but we also want to show that this is a real band with a cohesive attitude and a muscular backbone, as well. We don’t want to be pigeonholed as simply a Texas-based, beer-drinking, rowdy bunch of party boys. There’s a lot more to it than that.”

“This is a really good place to be,” Cody adds. “We’ve built a solid fan base, which gives us a nice safety net. At the same time, we can take things at a more leisurely pace because we can control our own destiny.”

Great bands know good music. They make it the way they like, confident that what they love, what excites them, will also gain traction with thousands and thousands, perhaps even millions, of passionate fans.

Reckless Kelly is, by the best possible definition, a great band.

Freedom to pursue its own destiny has always been at the center of the band’s ambitions. Their fate is as much in their own hands as is reasonably possible.

“We’ve toured extensively over the course of our career,” Cody says. “We’ve traveled front and back, up and down, across this country. Happily, we’re at a point where we’re not killing ourselves to pay the bills.”

That point liberates them to be true to their background, their heritage and, most importantly, themselves.
“We’ve always been hands-on in terms of our marketing and our delivery,” Willy says. “The labels always gave us the freedom we asked for, but an A&R person doesn’t always know what’s best for the band.”

The fierce self-reliance and independent spirit keeps Reckless Kelly happy, appreciative and charitable. Their annual festival, The Braun Brothers Reunion, in Challis, Idaho, has been ongoing for 37 years now. They reunite with their brothers, Gary and Micky (and the Motorcars). The Brauns run it without major sponsors or outside promoters.

The band also hosts the yearly Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam to raise money for Austin-area youth charities, putting $300,000 in those coffers over the past seven years.

“It’s a great way to give back,” Cody says. “It’s great to be able to share our success in such a positive way.”
Collectively, they’ve played over 3,000 shows and traveled over 1,500,000 miles to 49 states.

Reckless Kelly is a great band with an apt name. The outlaw’s spirit pervades the ambiance. They are rugged individualists who dedicate themselves to advancing the state of their art.

They’re good guys, too. Their hearts dwell in the right places, and those are where the music follows. Their latest release 'Bulletproof Live' is yet another example of the high 
octane live performances this band puts on. Tickets still available, I highly recommend this show! 

Next Up, this weekend June 15th is Ruben V at Krause's in downtown New Braunfels. The power of music is amazing.  I’ve known my whole life that this is what I’ve wanted to do and I’ve had confirmations at every step that this is what I’m supposed to do.”

Ruben V is an accomplished artist.  He’s released eight solo CDs, 14 group albums and averages over 120 shows a year.  He is a guitar player, songwriter, producer and family man. He’s built a huge following of Ruben V Band fans – all while keeping a sense of humor and a genuine Texas charm.
But first and foremost, there is the music.  It’s a fresh, smooth blend of blues, Latin, soul, and rock. It’s an ambitious mix of the music that moves him and in his skillful hands, becomes a truly energizing and enjoyable experience.  The result is stylistically different from his peers – it’s alluring, soulful, fun and mature.  As he says, “it’s everything I love about music.”

For a man who would turn out to be such a celebrated guitar player, Ruben was self-taught – old school style.  “I would slow down our old 45 albums on the record player and learn that way. I was also front and center at every concert – watching and listening. Then it was just hitting the road. There’s no better way to learn.” Hitting the road began at 15 for Ruben, who played in a string of bands and eventually landed an Indie record deal with his heavy metal band, Final Assault.  The unexpected death of a friend, the band’s bass player, brought everything to a halt for Ruben and he began questioning his direction.  Again, it was music that pulled him back in.  “I was in a dark time in my life when I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan in concert.  It was the opposite of the heavy metal bands that were defining the time.  I wanted to play Stevie’s kind of music – to bend a guitar string like that because that’s what I felt.”  That performance is what drove him back to writing and playing, but this time, he surrounded himself with his brothers and the group began touring clubs in the area.  As time passed, the shows became bigger and the four albums they put out became heavier, but, again, that sound wasn’t what Ruben had envisioned for himself.  Forced to confront the different directions the brothers were heading, Ruben parted ways with the group to pursue his own musical path – one that was true to him.  That becomes the essence of Ruben V’s music.

Putting out great music meant finding a producer with equally high standards and the talent to match.  It was sheer determination that led Ruben to search out two famed producers.  Richard Mullen produced Ruben V’s first three CD’s: In His Hands, Home and Let Me In.  Mullen’s previous work included Eric Johnson, Joe Ely, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Jim Gaines, whose previous credits included multiple Grammy Awards and 4X Platinum work with Santana, Blues Traveler and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  The collaboration between Gaines and Ruben produced I AM, Labor of Shame and Come to Me.  “Jim pushed me and brought out a more Hispanic flavor than what I had done in the past. He’s an amazing man and I’m blessed to work with him.” 

Every show is different; Ruben has a vast catalog of songs to pull from.  They may play a familiar song but change the tempo or instruments.  The Ruben V shows become enlivened jams inciting the audience into a musical frenzy.  It keeps the audience entertained and coming back for more.  From here, Ruben V will continue to pursue what has been in his life at every turn – he’ll tour, write songs and make albums.  The musical path that he’s followed – varied, honest and sincere – may not have always proved the easiest, but from a man who knows where he comes from, playing music his way is the only way to go.  “My guitar might change shape and size; but, those six strings will always be a part of who I am and who I have grown up to be". This guy puts on an amazing show, and the venue is pretty stellar as well.

A blast from the past will be performing at The Brauntex Theater on June 27th. Lorri Morgan whose hits still ring true today will make her second appearance at this historic venue. “One of the most eloquently emotive country vocalists of modern times is launching her first new solo album in five years.
Lorrie Morgan, the first woman in her genre to begin her career with three consecutive Platinum albums, re-emerges on Shanachie Entertainment with Letting Go….Slow. It is a collection that showcases a rainbow of emotions, from darkest heartache to bright, shiny humor.
“Where I am in my life right now, I’m not afraid to express what I feel, or what I don’t feel,” she comments about the collection’s varied moods. “I’m not afraid to express my views on anything, especially on being a woman.

“I have been a daughter, a bride, a mother, a divorcee, a widow, a single mother, a breadwinner and, ultimately, a survivor. In many ways, I am a living, breathing country song, and I know what I sing.
“I didn’t want this to be just another album. I wanted it to be something that really moved me. When I listened to songs for it, I’d think, ‘No, not that one. I’m not going to be able to sing that one, because I’m not going to be able to feel it.’ It was very important to me for this album to reflect the things that I am feeling today.”

Morgan has long been the envy of her peers for her lustrous vocal phrasing and the down-to-earth believability of her torchy performances. On records such as “A Picture of Me Without You” and “I Guess You Had to Be There,” she ached with pain. She was feisty and sassy in “Watch Me,” “What Part of No” “Five Minutes” and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.” She has kicked up her stiletto heels in fun on her hits “Except for Monday” and “Go Away.” On her epic “Something in Red” she was an anguished, struggling everywoman.

Her performances on Letting Go….Slow can match any of her earlier efforts, for they are among the most vibrant of her career. The collection is divided equally between new songs and her reinventions of country classics. This peerless song interpreter brings a soprano lilt and a cha-cha retro tempo to the Patsy Cline favorite “Strange.” Bobbie Gentry’s Southern-gothic saga “Ode to Billie Jo” is taken at a slow, swampy pace with Morgan dipping into her deep alto register. She brings enormous tenderness to Vern Gosdin’s “Is It Raining at Your House.”

On Bob Dylan’s “Lay, Lady Lay,” Morgan is pert and jaunty, riding a reggae groove. She resonates sadness in her version of Larry Gatlin’s “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today,” but rises resiliently in her reworking of Earl Thomas Conley’s “What I’d Say.”

Each of the new songs she has chosen for Letting Go…Slow is a small revelation. “Something About Trains” is a highly inventive arrangement and a contemplative lyric, both of which fit this singing stylist like fine couture. “Slow” is a power ballad that she gives a torrid, emotional undertow. “Jesus and Hairspray is “one for the girls,” a humorous, upbeat and highly entertaining ditty incorporating the old aphorism, “the higher the hair, the closer to heaven.” 
Morgan co-wrote “How Does It Feel” in response to her divorce from singer Sammy Kershaw several years ago. The sublimely country “Lonely Whiskey” is the penultimate barroom weeper. The stunning “Spilt Milk,” on the other hand, finds the singer exploring a jazzier tone as she adopts an after-hours cabaret mood. 

To record this remarkable return to disc, Lorrie Morgan reunited with producer Richard Landis. He has helped craft many of her prior hits, as well as acclaimed recordings for Vince Gill, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Milsap, Juice Newton, Eddie Rabbitt, Poco, Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and dozens more. 

“Richard is so creative,” says Morgan. “It sounds like a cliche, but he really is a musical genius. And he believes in what he produces so passionately that it scares people. He’s very intense. We feed off of each other in the studio. We push each other to be better. He has a way of making me try harder.
“We recorded in a former church that has been turned into a recording studio on Music Row. It had a great vibe. We had all the musicians in there with me. I wanted it to sound like me and the guys just sitting and playing. It’s a very warm sounding record, with the steel, the harmonica and the dobro ‘answering’ my vocals. I like to sing ‘live’ with the musicians. A lot of the vocals on this album were done in one take, because I feed off the musicians. And Richard encourages that.

“I have been living with some of these songs for more than a year. ‘I’ve Done Enough Drying Today’ and ‘Is It Raining at Your House’ are songs I have wanted to record for 10 years. I sang ‘Ode to Billie Jo’ in my live shows for a long time.”
“Slow” is co-written by Ashlee Hewitt, who is Lorrie Morgan’s daughter-in-law and former backup singer. Hewitt now performs in the up-and-coming Nashville trio Post Monroe. “How Does It Feel” is even closer to home, since Morgan co-wrote it herself.

 “I have always written songs, and I do love to write,” she comments. “But I don’t like to pair up with a lot of people. It’s more of a personal thing with me. It usually bothers me to co-write, and I don’t like appointment writing, at all. Plus, I’m not one of those people who says, ‘If I didn’t write it, I’m not going to record it.’ If somebody else’s song is better, I’m going to record it and not mine.”

Lorrie Morgan has been around great songs all her life. She is a Nashville native who is the daughter of Country Music Hall of Fame member George Morgan. She made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage at age 13, singing “Paper Roses.” Her father died suddenly of a heart attack at age 51. She was l6 at the time and just beginning her musical career. Lorrie Morgan began making records shortly thereafter. She was honored with induction into the Opry cast when she was just 24.

Morgan married fellow country singer Keith Whitley in 1986. She was signed to RCA Records in 1987, and her onslaught of hits began the following year. Whitley’s tragic death of an alcohol overdose in 1989 left her a widowed working mother. Their duet “Til a Tear Becomes a Rose” earned her a 1990 CMA award. 

Her first three albums, Leave the Light On (1989), Something in Red (1991) and Watch Me (1992), all earned Platinum Record awards. Her Greatest Hits collection (1999) is also Platinum. War Paint (1994), Greater Need (1996) and Shakin’ Things Up (1997) are all Gold Record winners. 
She sang “The Sad Cafe“ on Common Threads: Songs of the Eagles, which was named the CMA Album of the Year in 1994. Country fans voted Lorrie Morgan their TNN/Music City News Female Vocalist of the Year in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998. 

Lorrie Morgan maintained her recording pace in the new millennium, releasing collections in 2002, 2004, 2009 and 2010. In 2012 and 2013, Morgan starred and sparkled in the lavish Enchanted Christmas productions at the opulent Opryland Resort in Nashville. She took that show on the road in 2014.

In 2013, she teamed with fellow Opry star Pam Tillis for the duet CD Dos Divas. The two hit makers then embarked on a two-year joint tour that sold out every appearance. 
“We had a blast,” says Morgan with a chuckle. “It wasn’t until the Grits & Glamor tour that we really connected. We connected as working mothers, as businesswomen, as second-generation performers.” Pam is the daughter of Country Music Hall of Fame member Mel Tillis, who co-wrote “Strange” on Morgan’s new CD. Both women also share a finely honed sense of humor.
“I pride myself on my humor. My dad used to say, ‘You should never take yourself too seriously,’ and I got my sense of humor from my dad. I love to have fun. I’ve reached the age where I feel that I deserve good company around me, people who can make me laugh, who love music and who love to have a good time.

“On the outside, I’m very lighthearted. But on the inside, I have a lot of pain that I deal with. Singing is my therapy, and that is what this album is all about. ‘Lonely Whiskey’ says it all. Like I said, I’m at the point where I’m not afraid to sing about what I want to sing and to be creative. And this record gave me that chance.  “I didn’t want to record just another nice little album that gets put away on a shelf. I wanted to record a Grammy Award winning album. That was my goal.

“But no matter what happens, I think these recording sessions were just magical. It was the most fun I’ve ever had doing an album.” Seats are still available at

And one last reminder before we head into July. On July 4th in Landa Park The famous United States Air Force Band of the West will be performing live at the dance slab prior to the Fireworks Show. 
Bring the family out and make a day of'In New Braunfels'.

Until next time...

Here's a little Reckless Kelly to get you going...