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THE ORIGINAL TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE

January 2020

VOLUME XLVII, NUMBER 7

On Stands Now!

Buddy Magazine: The Original Texas Music Magazine Dallas Texas January 2020

In This Issue:
The Peterson Brothers
Deep in the heart of Texas Music
Record Review
Blah Blah

Coming of Age: The Peterson Brothers

The Intro, their upcoming CD marks a pivotal stage in their evolution

By Chuck Flores, Associate Editor

Coming of Age: The Peterson Brothers

At first glance, The Intro, the title of the Peterson Brothers’ upcoming CD might be somewhat confusing. After all, haven’t these guys been around for ten years already?

The exciting and improbable ascendancy of Glenn, Jr, and Alex Peterson from the small town of Bastrop to become crowd favorites of Austin, just 30 miles away, has been repeatedly and breathlessly chronicled that the details have become almost the things of legend.

Their only experience playing in public had been playing “Amazing Grace” in church with Alex on violin and Glenn on guitar.

It was a box of 70s era LPs purchased by their mom and grandmother at a garage sale that provided the inspiration as well as much of their early repertoire.

Jimmy Wallace Guitars

“Our first records that we learned how to play from were the Brothers Johnson, the Isley Brothers, B.B. King and Earth Wind and Fire,” Glenn, Jr. recalls.

The music on these LPs served as an epiphany for them; before long, Alex would be playing bass to Glenn’s guitar, and the Peterson Brothers were born.

As there were no other musicians in the home, it was their own desire and sheer determination that drove them, and while they eschewed the label of prodigies, these self-taught musicians nonetheless learned their instruments at a rapid pace.

Their first gig was in 2009, opening for blues legend Pinetop Perkins as he celebrated his 97th birthday at Antone’s, Austin’s revered blues venue. Glenn and Alex were only 13 and 11.

Even then, it was apparent that their approach to the blues was quite unique as it was informed by the funk, soul, rhythm and blues and jazz that they had first discovered in the box of LPs. This was displayed by a unique sound that had depth and passion, augmented by an irrepressible urge to groove.

Ebullience

Despite their tender years, they exuded confidence in their growing abilities along with a reverence to their musical heritage. This won them fast notice and before long they were performing at venues throughout the U.S., opening for acts like Gary Clark Jr,  Los Lonely Boys, Lisa Marie Presley, Michael Burks, Pinetop Perkins, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Buddy Guy, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the late B.B. King.

Coming of Age: The Peterson Brothers

They say they never felt odd being the youngest players on the bill.

“Not at all,” Alex declares. “I would say we were comfortable from the get-go. Honestly, we never had anything like stage fright or anything like that.”

It sure didn’t hurt knowing that the other brother, their musical wing man, was right by their side.

Over the years they’ve made new fans at high profile festivals, including the Chicago Blues Festival, the Minnesota State Fair, the State Fair of Texas, the Annual Stevie Ray Vaughan Remembrance Ride and Concert, the King Biscuit Festival, SXSW, the Austin City Limits Festival, the Kerrville Folk Festival, and most recently in the DFW area, the 2019 Bedford Blues Festival and Eric Clapton’s 2019 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas.

Memphis

They’ve had a standing room only Monday night residency at Austin’s storied Continental Club since 2012.

Along the way, the brothers have received good advice from more seasoned players, like Austin blues legend Gary Clark Jr (himself a former prodigy) who has taken them on four tours and brought them onstage to help him close out the annual Austin City Limits Festival more than once, an honor indeed.

“It was ‘Just stick with it, be original, be comfortable being you,” Alex recalls. “And that’s the piece of advice we’ve gotten from everybody about what we do - Be you, and study, and be your authentic self from the things you gathered studying the greats.”

To witness the Peterson Brothers’ live show is to witness sheer joy.

There’s the constant eye contact and electric smiles that pass between them, the undeniable ebullience.

And then there’s the way’they move together on stage, stepping and twisting, swaying together, then suddenly freezing (but only for a beat or so, but then again you never know - they never play anything the same way twice), then it’s right back into the groove. They’ve even been known to hop off the stage to walk among their audience, jamming all the while.

A Peterson Brothers show is a heady musical thrill ride as they switch their musical pitches effortlessly, whether they’re channeling B.B. King, Parliament, SRV, Hendrix, the Meters, Curtis Mayfield or Prince, or sometimes dropping in the theme from Shaft and even sliding in the familiar strains of “The Streets of Cairo.”

They can shift from nuanced, snaky grooves with a teasing wah-wah guitar to raucous exchanges of frenetic 6-string riffs as the rhythm careens off the walls with breathtaking bass solos.

Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth Texas

If it looks like they’re having way too much fun on stage, it’s because they are.

“The environment on stage, I would say it’s just like regular fun,” Alex agrees. “We’re just having fun up there.”

“I think that for both of us, it’s whatever takes the music to the next level,” adds Glenn, “Then whatever it takes it to that next level, and it keeps building, who can play what, then when it gets to your turn, how you can take it to that next step higher.”

Their music has always been groove-based, which has been a key part of their songwriting process.

“It happens all kinds of ways,” Alex explains. “Like we’ll be sitting there grooving, we could be grooving at sound check, and it’s like ‘Hey, cut the recorder on real quick.’”

“On one song, the whole song,” Glenn remembers, “I hummed out everything (on a voice memo recorder). And then as soon as I could get to a guitar and a piece of paper, I wrote everything out and then played it and recorded it.

“I don’t think there’s only one kind of way for our process - it’s kind of like an open channel, and you just wait to receive the message. We constantly come up with different grooves and stuff like that, but then you have those moments where there’s the whole song and we already knew what we were gonna do.”

“There’s been a great reception to all of the (original) songs every time we’ve preformed them,” says Alex. “We’re excited to be able to share this new music with everyone!”

And sharing that original music brings us back to The Intro.

The Intro, produced by the brothers and engineer Chris Bell is slated for a January 25 release. The EP (four songs with two interludes) which also features Brannen Temple on drums and Jon Deas on keyboards, marks the latest stage in the evolution of the Peterson Brothers, a coming of age. While their 2015 self-titled CD was a mix of covers and original songs, The Intro is comprised of all-original material.

“We think it really captures who we are musically and our identity as a live band playing live music,” says Glenn.

Since it was important that the new CD capture the feel of their live performances, “Everything was recorded live with everyone in the room.” Alex states. “It definitely helps everything feel and sound more natural.”

If “Give Me Your Love,” the single released November 27 is a clue, Peterson Brothers fans should be amply rewarded for their loyalty. “Give Me Your Love” delivers the sound, feel, warmth, immediacy and fun of their stage show.

Glenn and Alex are now 23 and 20, respectively, and have been performing professionally for ten years.

They never hesitate to give credit to those who’ve done the most to get them to where they are now: their parents, Glenn, Sr and Deanna Peterson, who serve as business and personal management.

Mom and Dad

“Mom and Dad,” says Glenn. “Definitely got to give them props. and even to this day, just how much support they’ve given. I think more importantly than what anybody could have taught us, it’s the support that they’ve given us to do what we do, to get to the platform that we are now, and where we’re going. They’re definitely the most instrumental part of us leaving Bastrop… then getting to Austin and playing, and even beyond that.”

Coming of Age: The Peterson Brothers

“We have always believed in focusing on what you love,” stresses mom, Deanna Peterson, “and the right opportunities will come when the time is right. We never imagined we would be managing the band…we all are just growing together and learning one day at a time.”

To other parents of musically gifted offspring, she offers, “Best advice is take your time, and there is no rush. Read everything and have a knowledgeable lawyer that is familiar with entertainment law to help you understand what contracts are really saying.”

Rock Rattle N'Roll Collectibles

What had been two talented boys has now become two thoughtful young men with a great track record, and they offer some advice for those players following their path.

“As far as advice,” Glenn says, “the main thing that we can say, besides stick with it, is to have fun and express yourself both in recording and live. People can feel the honesty, the fun, and the love for what you are doing and the people that you are creating with. If you do that, even people that aren’t necessarily fans of “your style of music” can respect it and really grow to like it.”

Even though they play over 250 shows a year, they’re still consumed by music on their days off.

Glenn insists he plays “all the time whenever I can have the guitar in my hands. Of course, as much as we travel, you’ve definitely got to sleep (laughs). You need to pick out one time in the day and like, learn a new melody. Our motto is ‘Learn one new thing every day (and) you’re getting somewhere.’ I try to keep it where even on the days where (it’s like) ‘Oh, I can’t get it,’ just learn one new thing, whether it’s a new chord, and find a way to apply that new thing the next gig, especially since we gig almost every other day. It’s like ‘How can I apply this on the next show or the next day?’

“Man, everything really revolves around music. We’re just as big fans of music as much as we love playing and creating it. That’s if we’re able to go to a concert. We miss a whole lot of stuff we want to see because we end up being out of town when stuff rolls into Austin.
“We love collecting vinyl and studying the technical sides of both the guitar and bass, and studying stuff in the studio like engineering, things like that.

“It’s just music all around, I would say.”

The Peterson Brothers Band will celebrate the release of their new CD at Poor David’s Pub February 8, 2020. For more information, PetersonBrothersBand.com

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Deep in the heart of Texas Music:

Gen Z and the promise of its Rising Stars

By S.D. Henderson

Gen Z and the promise of its Rising Stars Salvation from Sundown

Salvation From Sundown: Kelsi Kee and Reece Malone

It’s kind of fun as you get older to blame the decline of western civilization on the next generation. It takes a little bit of the pressure off us to place the weight of the falling sky on younger shoulders. That tendency stretches to cover almost everything we value, including the future of music. That works until you look up and look around, and you realize that the sky isn’t falling after all.

Music remains a mutable force that can’t be muted from generation to generation. We spend most of our time looking in the rear-view mirror when it comes to appreciating gifted musicians and their work. It’s true that there will never be another Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker, Mance Lipscomb or Lightnin’ Hopkins, but there was an Albert Collins and then a Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray who followed in the same wide arc of Texas Blues. It’s a continuous arc still carried by Jimmie Vaughn and countless other bluesmen, continuously fortified with new blood in Gary Clark, Jr. and soon by the unheralded blues from Generation Z.

What is true in blues, is true across all genres and forms of Texas music. Bob Wills is still the king, but for now that kingdom is still ruled by Willie. Guy Clark is irreplaceable. It’s all part of the same constellation dotted with icons as diverse as Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin and Van Cliburn. You can draw a historic line from pioneering Texas jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, one of the first to plug a guitar to an amplifier, to the equally legendary “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott.

The Goat In Dallas Texas

But the thing about the sky is that stars aren’t replaced, they are added to. There is room in the Texas sky for a new generation of musicians, and they will add a new brightness and new voices to a rich landscape of music that stretches back as far as memory will carry. So, let’s take a look at the horizon; the reflections of the past will still be there when we’re through. You might just catch a glimpse of one of the next brightest stars in the sky.

At the close of 2019, we’ve reached the end of the decade and the end of the generational alphabet. Some of them aren’t quite able to drive yet, but that doesn’t mean that Generation Z isn’t poised and ready to lead us headfirst into the roaring 2020’s. We’ll feature nine artists to remember to watch for in the years ahead. You might not have heard about them yet, but they’re here and they’re ready for the main stage already.

As we turn the spotlight onto z-next group of young artists, regardless of genre they each share one thing in common in addition to their youth. Each of them has the raw talent and ability to make you immediately forget that you’re listening to someone younger by decades. Keep in mind, we’re featuring the ones we know about. Kane Alvarado, Reece Malone, Kelsi Kee, Jack Barksdale, Sawyer Guymon, Austin Michael Robinson, and the Stanley Twins are just the tip of the iceberg.

Salvation from Sundown

Two of these young artists front the growing force of Salvation From Sundown. Starting with the name of the band, borrowed from a Lance Lopez album, they are clearly woven from the fabric of Texas music. I can’t remember if I first saw them play at the Dallas Guitar Festival or Buddy Magazine’s 45th Anniversary show because the years and the shows are starting to run together, but I do remember this; it was striking. Anchored by the guitar play of Reece Malone and powerful vocals by Kelsi Kee, you have to pause to remember that these musicians can’t yet drive themselves to a gig. They might be kids, but this ain’t Menudo or some Disney contrivance; this is a band.

Gen Z and the promise of its Rising Stars Salvation from Sundown

Reece Malone is a guitar player. The important part of that sentence are the words I left out. I didn’t say “young” or “a kid who plays guitar” or “is becoming” all of which are also true. At 15, he’s still growing and refining his craft, absorbing as much knowledge, talent and skill from the world around him; but make no mistake, Reece Malone is a guitar player. At an age where most kids are still hoping for their first guitar at Christmas, Malone is sponsored by Gibson Guitars. He plays with an understated, almost nuanced power, casually skillful. He already understands the space he plays in which fills the room without the typical excess of youth.

Malone’s guitar work is bridged with vocals by the equally talented Kelsi Kee. Like her Salvation From Sundown bandmates, you forget about age when you hear her. When Kee steps up to the mic stand, she holds down the center stage and delivers performances that are ageless and powerful. It’s pretty impressive to hear blues vocals absolutely nailed, but Kee has found that deep well and draws flawlessly from a deep tradition. She’s not singing like a blues vocalist, she’s got it. It doesn’t matter if she’s with her band or on stage with veteran blues players, Kelsi Kee shines.

There is a vast difference between kid’s music and these kids who play music. Salvation From Sundown isn’t playing to audiences of eleven-year olds at some theme park in matching costumes hand-picked by some cynical boy band impresario. This is a guitar player, this is a vocalist, and this is a band.’

This summer, Salvation From Sundown was in the studio working on their first album. Like all bands, recording is a challenge. Malone is based out of Longview, Kee is in Dallas; but it’s working. They continue to forge a growing base of fans and are poised to bring powerful blues-infused rock to Generation Z. It’s going to be really fun, watching them grow as the years and miles start to add up and they layer their sound with the experience of life and the road.

Kane Alvarado

By Jan Sikes and Darleen McAdams

Eleven-year-old, Kane Alvarado is making a loud and proud splash in the Texas blues scene. He is leaving seasoned players with their mouths gaping open while he burns the strings on his Fender Strat. He is in the sixth grade at Bryan ISD, and in 2017, BISD made a YouTube video featuring Kane, entitled “I Am Bryan ISD.”

Gen Z and the promise of its Rising Stars Kane Alvarado

Hes just getting started: Kane Alvarado

Kane is the youngest performer ever to be booked at Gruene Hall, where he opened for The Peterson Brothers, Van Wilks, and Bird Legg Pittman. He has played at the Dallas International Guitar Festival, the Stevie Ray Vaughan Ride Concert, SXSW, Antone’s, Gilley’s Dallas, Sam’s Burger Joint, and many other venues, festivals, and private events. He has performed live on radio and TV stations, and in January 2019, he received an award for being the youngest to perform on the 2019 Tejanos In Paradise Cruise. Before that, in 2017, he won the prestigious Little Cutter Award.

In a recent interview, he explained.

“My first memory of music is me and my dad jamming in the car, and I started playing air guitar.” Kane’s dad, Anthony, has had a big influence on Kane’s love of music. Cheri, Kane’s mom, states that it brings her joy for them to bond not only as father and son but at musicians.

While the guitar is Kane’s number one instrument, he also plays bass and drums.

One of the most astounding things about this young man is that he’s never had a single formal guitar lesson or mentor. “I’m self-taught,” Kane said. “I just mess with the guitar until I figure out what I need to play. “Pride and Joy” was the first song I learned how to play from beginning to end. I was five. I play the guitar every day.”

No doubt, Stevie Ray would be impressed with this young man. Kane has had his own band, The Kane Alvarado Band, since the age of six and is serious about a tight sound. He practices with his bandmates every Friday night and has played well over three-hundred gigs. He’s shared the stage with some of Texas greats, such as Van Wilks, Ally Venable, Del Castillo, and Los Lonely Boys. More recently, he shared the stage with the great Lavelle White and her band in Austin.

He is currently working on his first single/album that will include some of his original songs and two great projects. When pressed for more about what to expect from these projects, he said, “Hang tight and stay tuned for the HurriKane!”

Not only is this young man functioning as a full-fledged musician, but he also has sponsors, Ernie Ball and Peavey, who are showcasing him at NAMM in January 2020. He will participate in several meet-and-greets as well as perform. Kane was also recently invited by the Houston Blues Society to participate in a blues talent show, and as a result, was awarded a scholarship that he can use to forward his music career.

For more on this phenomenal young man and to keep up with his touring schedule, visit his Facebook page – Kane Alvarado Band. And don’t forget to stop by Kane’s YouTube channel where you’ll find videos from age five to the present time. Subscribe and like his page. With so many accomplishments already under his young belt, it’s safe to say that Kane Alvarado, the HurriKane, is just getting started.

Jack Barksdale

By Jan Sikes

Jack Barksdale contin-ues to astound me. He is functioning as a full-fledged working musician, writing songs, recording CDs and videos, producing podcasts on YouTube and playing gigs, not only in Texas but around the country. He also happens to be 12-years old and in the sixth grade. He is home-schooled and prefers to be with adults rather than children his own age.

Gen Z and the promise of its Rising Stars Jack Barksdale

A full-fleged working musician: Jack Barksdale

I had the honor of interviewing Jack in his home outside Weatherford. We sat in a room that had over ten guitars hanging on the walls, posters from gigs where Jack’s already played, and a steel guitar sitting front and center.

“Where do you see yourself ten years from now?” I asked Jack.

“I hope that I am still getting to play and record music because it’s super fun,” he replied. “But, even if I grow out of the music, which I hope I don’t, I just hope I’m doing what I like to do.”

When asked if he thought he’d go to college, he replied, “Who knows? I don’t think I have to think about it yet.”

I couldn’t agree more.

When asked to name the most special venue he’s played over the past year, he hesitated, then said, “It doesn’t really matter where I’m playing, just that I get to play. I loved performing at the Bluebird CafÈ in Nashville, but I love playing just as much at the Greenwood Saloon in Bluff Dale, Texas. What matters to me is that I’m getting to play.”

KNON 21st Annual Blues Festival

Jack is the master of multiple instruments. Of course, his number one instrument is guitar, but he also plays harmonica, mandolin, ukulele, dobro, steel guitar and piano.

What Jack had to say about playing steel guitar typifies his entire view of music.

“I’ve learned how to play blues on it (steel). It’s easier to play a more country or major scale licks on it, but it’s kinda’ cool to go against what’s supposed to be. It’s fun to figure out something that’s not meant to be.”

This impressive young man isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet. He released a new CD, Live From Niles City in 2019, and he has a new album planned for 2020.

In the meantime, his new music video, “Man in the Shadows” is already creating a buzz. Its deep and meaningful lyrics draw the listener in, and the haunting melody hooks keep them there.

Jack loves learning from well-known guitar slingers, so much so that he produces a podcast, aptly called “Guitarslingers,” which you can find on YouTube. With guests like Verlon Thompson, Jim Suhler, Daniel Donato, Michael Lee and Bobby Texas, they are entertaining and fun. He plays with these greats, then asks questions (just like an adult would).”

Jack may not be able to say where he will be in ten years, but it’s easy for me to predict that he’ll be performing on stages around the world. With a mix of pure talent and desire, combined with amazing family support, he’s got a clear path ahead. You can find show dates, Guitarslingers episodes, merch and music at his website: jackbarksdale.com.

Sawyer Guymon

By Mary Jane Farmer, Scene In Town

Good things come in small packages. Is that an idiom or a truism? Well, give a listen to 12-year-old Sawyer Guymon and then decide for yourself. This Grayson County musician has only been “messing around on the guitar” as Sawyer described it “for about a year and a half.” But he’s learned from the best, including his dad, North Texas music icon Greg Guymon and his duo guitarist, Tanner Duncan. Sawyer said, “But I like figuring it out by myself. I get better sounds. Tanner—well, he’s taught me a lot on the guitar, like better chords and better ways to change chords, but I’ve also learned a lot off the internet.”

Gen Z and the promise of its Rising Stars Sawyer Guymon

Learned from the best: Sawyer Guymon

The younger Guymon has been singing along with the radio much longer than that, he said, and that’s where he picked up his love of old-style country. He joins his dad, Greg and Duncan on some of their gigs, and often sits in with his own songs during break-times. “Sometimes, I can’t stay all night, but I like to help them set up and I like being close to him,” Sawyer said.

Once, a patron was overhead telling Sawyer just how cute he was. Dad Greg let that pass until the lady was gone, but then told Sawyer, “Cute will go away. You’ve got to keep working to be good.” And Sawyer agrees. “I won’t always be a little kid and I have to sound better… good.”

“My favorite musician of all was Waylon Jennings.” And when asked what was the favorite gig he’s played, Sawyer answered quickly, “Opening for Shooter (Jennings).” This happened at Music on Main, Denison’s summer music concert series, this past summer. Can’t be sure, even, how many people got the connection of the son of a local music favorite opening for the son of a national music favorite. Sawyer carried his set off with the professionalism he’s learning. “Because my favorite singer is Waylon, it was good to play before Shooter, and he was really cool, very nice. We talked a lot after the show.”

Sawyer also opened at Sherman’s summer music series, Hot Summer Nights, and of that, Duncan said, “I’ve always said kids who can get up and play in front of 4,000 people are going to make it. I couldn’t even roll up a chord at that age.” Sawyer plays a Martin HD -8 and makes it ring true with every note. And his enunciation is the stuff that many other musicians could take heed of. And just now, his dad said, he’s beginning to get into songwriting.

Love and War in Texas in Plano Texas

And so, why country music? “I like the way it sounds. I’ll stick with country. It’ll go away if someone doesn’t bring it back.” He knows he’s not the only one who is going to “fill those shoes” as George Jones sang. Sawyer is willing to give it a good shot. “We need to keep it going strong.”

And so how do his school-age friends react? “Most of my friends at school listen to rap. They hardly know I do this, but some saw me on the (television) news once. I play basketball, too, but if I had to choose between them, I’d rather sing.”

At a recent gig opening up a Friday night show at Love & War in Texas, Sawyer hit the stage with nothing but old-school country. He belted out, for the 45-minute set, his versions of “Folsom Prison Blues, “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” and other classics. He even brought people out onto the dance floor with his version, guitar and voice only, of “Jaded Lover.”

Austin Michael Robinson

By Mary Jane Farmer, Scene In Town

Austin Michael Robin-son’s first CD will be released soon, and this Van Alstyne musician is excited about the songs on it, six of which he wrote himself. It’s not his first recording—he released a single, along with a YouTube video, in mid-2019, called “Country Cred.”

Gen Z and the promise of its Rising Stars Austin Michael Robinson

His vocal maturity is obvious: Austin Michael Robinson

Austin Michael got his start on the 2018 season of American Idol. He had been picking and singing at home on a video of that went onto social media, and someone else sent it to American Idol, which then contacted him. He made it through the preliminaries, but not past round one. However, American Idol producers were impressed enough that they flew him back out to take part in the season finale.

“At the time I began the American Idol experience, I only knew half of most songs, and that’s all the judges wanted. It was insane, I went from never playing for anybody to playing for the whole nation. I was so inexperienced. I’ve learned so much since then.”Austin Michael is working hard, honing his craft, taking stages here and there, handling himself with aplomb. And he’s been grabbed for management by Split Window Productions, who have taken him into the studio to make this new as-yet-untitled CD.

One song on the new project is one he wrote about his granddad, Jack Robinson, who went into the studio and sang along with him. The songs are sequential with one song story following the previous one. “I met a girl, wrote about liking her, then we both decided it wasn’t right for us. Then I wrote some breakup, sad songs. Happy times will give you a song, but not like the sad times.

“Ever since American Idol, well, that showed me maybe there is a hope for me in the industry. It never seemed like a reality. Now, I decided this is what I’m going to do.”

He recently opened for country icon Doug Stone, Austin Michael said, and has befriended singer, Lil Nas X, of the hit “Old Town Road.” Austin Michael explained that they met when he was flown back to Los Angeles. In the hotel, he got onto an elevator and he and the only other passenger were the only two people anywhere who wore cowboy hats. That got them talking, and that got them picking together, and since then they’ve co-written songs. Lil’ Nas X permitted Austin Michael to record his following hit, “Panini.”

Rockin' Robert Tomberlin

“I haven’t asked him (Lil Nas X) to promote anything, but he’s posted about me five or six times.” The future could hold a duo of the two.

For now, Austin Michael is practicing every day - guitar, vocals, songwriting - and learning the business end of the music industry. The vocal maturity is obvious in the recordings of “Country Cred” and “Panini.”

“I hope there’s a song for everyone on this album. No matter where you are in a relationship, there’s a song for it. Maybe you love your family — there’s a song for that. I tried to write about feelings.
“This (new CD) is me, the new me. I’m still ropin’ broncs and riding horses, but life has changed and I’ve matured. I’m excited about it,” said the North Texas resident.

Austin Michael will be playing at El Patio Escondido on January 20 and at Cooley Bay Winery on January 25. Both are in Van Alstyne.

The Stanley Twins: Zane and Noah

By Jackie Don Loe

The Stanley Twins are now 15-years old, but have been making a name for themselves on the local music scene for the last few years. They have been seen at local blues jams and festivals having played shows at the Hard Rock Dallas, the Gibson Stage at Summer NAMM 2019 and the Young Guns Stage at the 2019 Dallas International Guitar Festival. They have had some incredible guitar moments on and off the stage meeting some of their heroes such as Eric Johnson, Phillip Sayce, Eric Gales and Joe Bonamassa.

Gen Z and the promise of its Rising Stars The Stanley Twins: Zane and Noah

They command the stage: The Stanley Twins

The twins are humble and modest, yet are also determined and hard working to stay on the path and open to learn new things. They are true torchbearers of the Blues/Rock genre and purveyors of Texas tone, these young men are old souls and are spreading the gospel of guitar to their fellow generation and classmates that have never heard of Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan.

They are serious students of various guitar styles and I’ve seen them get better each time they play. Recently at a jam session they commanded the stage and played to the crowd with subtle dynamics while building their solos and adding hot licks. The crowd was bursting with applause and ended with a standing ovation!

When you grow up with a brother there will always be some competition and when you grow up as twins there is a special connection beyond explanation. Twins seems to learn twice as fast and push each other to always get better. Both Zane and Noah acknowledge the competitive aspect they have and freely share things they learn on the guitar, yet both hold out certain licks and tricks for themselves. “I like to share licks with my brother, because then I will learn a cool lick from him, if I have something special, sometimes I have to save that for myself” says Noah.

They both draw inspiration from other players and different genres of music. Zane expressed, “I really feel inspired to learn songs when I hear my favorite artists play their original songs or cool remakes of a cover song.” And Noah answered, “I feel inspired and motivated to learn new music because when I perform I want to bring something new.” Much credit for their success is the support of their parents, Jon and Rebecca Stanley who would love for them to live their dream and make a good honest living in music. “It’s not easy with these two and it’s a daily puzzle with moving and changing pieces and parts” says Jon. “We have always encouraged them to have a healthy balance of activities, and they are great kids! Playing the gigs has always been the coveted reward for a week of school and responsibilities done well.

MediaTech Instutute in Dallas ~ Houston Texas

They’ve also learned more about music at a gig than in any lesson.” Taking the twins to the source and having them thrown into the fire as they say, can really improve one’s skill set as an entertainer and nothing substitutes for stage time.

Keep a look out for the Stanley Twins, Zane and Noah they are sure to be performing at a venue near you sooner than later. They will be a force on the scene in the coming years and I can tell you this, as much as they are inspired by the local musicians to get better and learn new things, the local musicians are inspired by them and their parents for their talent, love and support of the scene.

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Record Review

Zac Harmon
Mississippi BarBQ
Catfood Records

By Jan Sikes

Zac Harmon Mississippi BarBQ By Jan Sikes

On the cover of Mississippi BarBQ is a photo of Zac Harmon holding a rack of ribs and wearing an apron that reads, “Real Men Don’t Use Recipes.”

After listening to the album, it struck me that Zac Harmon used no recipes on any of these songs. They are all original and stylistic, with no two alike. This award-winning blues singer/guitarist stands tall alongside such masters as Freddie King and Bobby Blue Bland.

Recorded at the famed Sonic Ranch and produced by Bob Trenchard, Mississippi BarBQ carries forward the lineage of American Blues.

“Gypsy Road” opens the album with a story about a boy born after midnight, heading down the path to becoming a man on a Gypsy Road.

“You know real love can’t be bought/Real love can’t be sold/Your love used to burn so hot…” How did it get “So Cold?” A full horn section on this tune adds dimensional layers.

Funky guitar kicks off “Smoke and Mirrors.” And, “it wasn’t love/It was a hustler’s con…”

The title track, “Mississippi BarBQ,” is all about socializing.

“Desperate Love” is often so wrong but feels so right. The harmonica and keys on “Honey Pleez” set the mood for a fierce plea.

My pick of this album, “Make a Dollar out of Fifteen Cents,” is relatable on a universal level. It’s hard these days, trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.

Americana blues at its finest, “Sunday Morning After Saturday Night,” has all the elements. Hot guitar riffs, horns, and a solid backbeat showcase lyrics filled with regrets. I think anyone who has ever been in L.A. would relate to “Lord Save Me from L.A.”

Tavern On Main Street in Richardson Texas

“Since You’ve Been Gone” is a story about a former love ready to reconcile. But, it’s a futile effort. “Leave me alone/Because I’ve been doing good on my own…”

The album concludes with the classic Bob Dylan tune, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” I’ve heard a lot of versions of this song, but none like the one Zac Harmon delivers. His guitar mastery, along with smooth-as-silk vocals do it justice.

Inside the back cover, you’ll find Zac Harmon’s recipe for Mississippi BarBQ ribs. And it sounds delicious.

If you are a fan of true Americana Blues, this album is sure to please. You can find Zac Harmon at the KNON Blues Festival on January 26! For more, visit ZacHarmon.com

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Fastball
The Help Machine
Independent Release

By Jan Sikes

Fastball The Help Machine By Jan Sikes

This Austin-based trio is known for its distinctive songwriting styles, expressive vocals and inventive melodies.

With nearly a quarter of a century of music-making under their belts, Miles Zuniga, along with bandmates, Tony Scalzo and Joey Shuffield, recorded The Help Machine at Austin’s Treefort Studios with Grammy-winner producer, Steve Berlin.

It’s hard to define this music. It’s maybe easier to say what it’s not. It’s not rock, country, or pop; I suppose the only genre to define it would be Americana (the catch-all genre).

The album gets off to an easy start with “Friend or Foe.” Sometimes it’s so hard to know which is which.
“White Collar,” written by Scalzo, gives an eclectic look at a man of the cloth, while “Holding the Devil’s Hand,” goes to the darker side.

We move on to “Redeemed.” It is my pick of the album. They start off singing acapella and morph into a funky beat with a strong message. “I’m not the one you should be worried about/Keep your own house clean/Redeem, redeem yourself.”

Another Scalzo tune, “All Gone Fuzzy,” is about a chronic condition filled with reminiscing.

The title track, “The Help Machine,” written by Zuniga, describes the general vibe of the world. We’re always waiting on a help machine.

“Surprise, Surprise” is upbeat with stellar guitar licks. The lyrics are poignant and depict a woman who has it all together until she doesn’t. Surprise!

Another Zuniga composition, “The Girl You Pretended to Be,” features Charlie Sexton on guitar.

Did you ever need someone so badly that you “Go South” when they’re not with you? “I go South/I get strange/I get weird/Slightly sideways/When you’re gone…”

“Doesn’t it Make You Feel Small” describes those moments in life when you get a wide expansive perspective of the world around you and see the reality of your true size.

Texas Homegrown with Maylee Thomas

“Never Say Never” is all about not letting go even when you should. “I know I’m being foolish/But I don’t really care/I know that you don’t love me/You just want somebody there…” I loved the acoustic guitar work of Kevin McKinney on this song.

Fastball is through with wasting time. These guys are all grown-up, and so is their music, as the compositions on this new album verify. If you are a fan of great melodies and lyrics, with smooth vocals, you’ll enjoy The Help Machine’with Fastball!

You can find out more at FastBallTheBand.com

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Kathy and the Kilowatts
Premonition of Love
Nola Blue Records

By Jan Sikes

Kathy and the Kilowatts Premonition of Love By Jan Sikes

Kathy Murray cut her teeth during the golden era of Austin’s blues and R&B, sharing stages with Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and W.C. Clark. She is a formidable Austin blueswoman.

“But,” she says, “My sound encompasses the influences of all Texas’ rootsy regional music styles…”

Premonition of Love is her latest musical contribution. Murray writes all tracks except for two.

We get our first peek at the album’s theme with “First Do No Harm.” It’s all about a way of life and being kind to each other. It is pure rocking blues with smooth vocals.’

The title track, “Premonition of Love,” is about that moment when sparks fly, and love reflects from the soul. It is possibly my favorite on the album, but honestly, it’s hard to pick just one. Each song stands alone and strong.

Slowing it down in the style of the late Otis Rush and the glory days of Chess Records, “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers,” showcases Kathy’s amazing vocal range. The guitar work of Bill “Monster” Jones is off the charts.

Picking back up the beat, “Always Fooling Me,” is the classic tale of a hocus pocus baby.

“Grow Some” requires no explanation.

“Close one chapter, open another/Use your senses and discover/Outside your mind is a world of wonder/To satisfy your deepest hunger…”

A mournful, soulful tune, “Black Nights,” written by F. Washington, is filled with hurt and misery.

Another tune that showcases the guitar mastery of Bill “Monster” Jones, “What Have I Done Wrong,” is a question begging to be answered.

The “Final Verdict” may not always be what you have in mind. Kim Field’s harmonica adds a layer to this multi-dimensional song.’

Bringing home the jazz sound from South Louisiana, “Sugar Bee” rocks with a zydeco flavor.”

“Only if you’ll hold on tight/I’ll love you, baby, through the night…” but you have to “Answer Yes.”

“Where? What? How? When? Who is she, baby?” There has to be an answer to “All These Questions.””

Positive and confident, “I Got This,” is an offer. “You need some real love/You need to be kissed/Well just hold tight, honey/I got this…”

The album concludes with “The Bigger Picture.” It pays to keep your eye on what is going on around and behind the scenes and see beyond because things aren’t always what they seem when your focus gets sharp. One word could describe this album, and it would be “Empowering.”

Kathy Murray’s vocals ooze with Texas’ low-down smooth and sexy blues, done as only she can. If you are a fan of strong females in the world of blues, you are going to love Kathy and the Kilowatts’ new album, Premonition of Love.

For more about this artist, her music and tour dates, visit KathyMurrayAndTheKilowatts.com

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Blah Blah

Grammy Awards: Texas Singer/ Songwriter/ Blues Guitarist, Jimmie Vaughan Nommine For Best Traditional Blues

2020 Texas GRAMMY Nominations

The Recording Academy will present the 61st GRAMMY Awards on January. 26, and broadcast on CBS from 7 pm CT.

Jimmie Vaughan: (Austin) for Best Traditional Blues Album for Baby, Please Come Home

Yolanda Adams: (Houston) for Best Gospel Performance/Song for “Talkin’ ’bout Jesus” (Gloria Gaynor ft. Yolanda Adams)

Chris Athens: (Austin) for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Ella Mai (with Chris “Shaggy” Ascher, Jaycen Joshua & David Pizzimenti)

Kal Banx: (Dallas) for Best Rap Album for Revenge of the Dreamers III by Dreamville

Brian “Malik” Baptiste: (Leander) for Best Pop Vocal Album for Thank U, Next (as a producer with Ariana Grande); and for Album of the Year for Thank U, Next (as a producer, with Ariana Grande)

Beyoncé: (Houston) for Best Pop Solo Performance for Spirit; Best Pop Vocal Album for The Lion King: The Gift; Best Song Written for Visual Media for Spirit (with Timothy McKenzie & Ilya Salmanzadeh); and for Best Music Film for Homecoming

Black Pumas: (Austin) for Best New Artist

Cardo: (Fort Worth) for Best Rap Album for Championships by Meek Mill; for Best Rap Album for I Am I Was by 21 Savage

Gary Clark Jr.: (Austin)for Best Contemporary Blues Album for This Land; and Best Rock Performance for “This Land”; and Best Rock Song for “This Land”; and Best Music Video for This Land

John Congleton: (Dallas) for Album Of The Year for Norman F****** Rockwell! by Lana Del Rey

Crowder: (Texarkana) for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for I Know a Ghost

Ronnie Dunn: (Coleman) for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for Brooks & Dunn Brand New Man

Bryan Fowler: (San Antonio)for Best Gospel Performance/Song for “Talkin’’‘bout Jesus” (Gloria Gaynor ft. Yolanda Adams)

Kirk Franklin: (Fort  Worth) for Best Gospel Performance/Song for “Love Theory”; and Best Gospel Album for Long Live Love

Patty Griffin: (Austin) for Best Folk Album for Patty Griffin

Jazzmeia Horn: (Dallas) for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Love & Liberation

Intocable: (Zapata) for Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano) for PercepciÛn

Craig Hella Johnson: (Austin) for Best Choral Performance for The Hope Of Loving

Sarah Jarosz: (Wimberley)for Best American Roots Song for “I’m With Her’s Call My Name” (with Aoife O’Donovan & Sara Watkins); and for Best American Roots Performance for “I’m With Her’s Call My Name”

Jonas Brothers: (Dallas) for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Sucker

Khalid: (El Paso) for Record Of The Year for Talk

Jeff Hyde: (Marshall) for Best Country Song for “Some Of It” by Eric Church and for Best Country Album for Desperate Man by Eric Church

La Energia NorteÒa: (Dallas) for Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano) for Poco A Poco

Miranda Lambert: (Lindale) for Best Country Song for “It All Comes Out in The Wash” (with Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna & Liz Rose)

Lizzo: (Houston) for Record Of The Year for Truth Hurts: and for Album Of The Year for Cuz I Love You (Deluxe); and for Song Of The Year for “Truth Hurts”; and for Best New Artist; Best Pop Solo Performance for “Truth Hurts”; and for Best R&B Performance for “Exactly How I Feel” ft.

Gucci Mane: and for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Jerome”; and for Best Urban Contemporary Album for Cuz I Love You

Delbert McClinton & The Self-Made Men: (Lubbock) for Best Tradional Blues Album for Tall, Dark, & Handsome

Post Malone: (Grapevine) for Record Of The Year for Sunflower; and for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Sunflower”

Buck Meek from Big Thief: (Driftwood) for Best Alternative Music Album for U.F.O.F. by Big Thief

Gene Moore: (Houston) for Best Gospel Album for Tunnel Vision Maren Morris (Arlington) and for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for Common (with Brandi Carlile)

Willie Nelson: (Austin) for Best Country Solo Performance for “Ride Me Back Home”

Tayla Parx: (Dallas) for Album Of The Year for Ariana Grande Thank U, Next

Sugaray Rayford: (Smith County) for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Somebody Save Me

Liz Rose: (Dallas) for Best Country Song for Miranda Lambert “It All Comes Out in the Wash” (with Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna & Miranda Lambert)

Travis Scott: (Houston) for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “The London” by Young Thug ft. J. Cole and Travis Scott

Robert Simpson, Ken Cowan, Houston Chamber Choir: (Houston) for Best Choral Performance for “Durufle: Complete Choral Works”

Tanya Tucker: (Seminole) for Song Of The Year for”“Bring My Flowers Now” (with Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth); for Best Country Solo Performance for Bring My Flowers Now; for Best Country Song for “Bring My Flowers Now” (with Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth); for Best Country Album for While I’m Livin’

Chris Tomlin: (Grand Saline) for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for Holy Roar

J. White Did It: (Dallas) for Best Rap Album for I Am; I Was by 21 Savage

New Releases

Andrew Jr. Boy Jones and wife, Kerrie, will hold a CD release party at The Goat in Dallas, February 1, for their new album, Jr. Boy and Kerrie’s Blues. The album was released with high acclaim and accolades in
November and is climbing the charts. This couple is Dallas blues royalty. It’s a show you don’t want to miss. 

Soul band Tomar and the FCs announced the forthcoming release of their second full-length album, Rise Above. The band is comprised of Tomar Williams on lead vocals, Andy Tenberg on guitar, David Earl on keys, Mitch Fiscels on bass and Paul Kresowik on drums. Rise Above is a quintessential soul album that explores the concept of time and the evolution of relationships over time.

Emerging honkytonk singer/songwriter, Jon Stork, released his debut album, Radio Cowboy on an independent label. This eleven track album features co-writes with Roger Brown, Byron Hill, Cody Johnson and Jake Worthington.

Two years since the release of their last full-length album, Texas-based metal band Sons of Texas has returned with a new EP, Resurgence, was released last month and a headline tour with guests September Mourning. Resurgence features three new songs, including the single “Lock, Stock & Barrel.” A video for the track will be revealed in the coming weeks. Says vocalist Mark Morales, “We arranged a big-ass party in the middle of nowhere, way down in Donna, Texas, and invited everyone for BBQ, booze and a good time! It was our very own“‘Q n’ Brew,’ if you will! For this video, we really wanted to catch the sense of a good time that our music invokes.” Formed in 2013, Sons of Texas were signed and released two albums, Baptized in the Rio Grande and Forged By Fortitude, on Razor & Tie.

Events

Singer-songwriter Cory Morrow will headline Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation’s 2020 benefit concert, on Thursday, February 27, at Gilley’s in Dallas. The Austin-native and Texas country legend, known for songs such as’“Texas on My Mind” and”“Beat of Your Heart,” has sold more than 200,000 albums as an independent artist. Morrow said, “I believe in the mission of Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation and in their work to teach outdoor conservation and instill a love of the outdoors in the next generation. Ultimately, OTF is about getting kids outside.”

Ronnie Dunn will emcee the 2020 TxHSA Hall of Fame Awards Show on February 22 this year. This special evening will pay tribute to songwriting legends Susanna Clark, Jim Collins, Jerry Jeff Walker, Larry Henley and T-Bone Walker at the Paramount Theatre for an evening of one-of-a-kind performances, tributes, and unannounced surprises from songwriting’s finest. Performacers will include Wade Bowen, Thompson Square, Emmylou Harris, Jeff Hanna, Rodney Crowell, Matraca Berg, Jack Ingram, Todd Snider, and Mignon,

A new festival, produced by Overdrive Entertainment of Denison and Durant, kicks off for the first time on April 19. The Red River Music Fest will host two stages of music all afternoon and evening long. Announced in the line-up so far are Stoney LaRue, the Kentucky Headhunters, Paul Cauthen, and Prophets & Outlaws.

Overdrive Entertainment promises there are more performers to be announced. There will be song-swaps, full band concerts, local vendors, door prizes and raffles, food, beer, and soft drinks. This event will be held at the Loy Lake Arena on U.S. Highway 75, between Sherman and Denison. Loy Lake Arena is an enclosed facility, therefore the festival will go on, rain or shine.

Advance tickets will go on sale January 10. For more information, go on Facebook to Red River Music Fest and/or Online to CactiCowboy.com

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