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September 2019


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Buddy Magazine: The Original Texas Music Magazine Dallas Texas September 2019

In This Issue:
Vaughan Brothers
Lukas Nelson
Gary Clark, Jr
Alice Cooper Group
Record Review

From Nowhere: The Story of the Vaughan Brothers
NEW Documentary by Kriby Warnock

Texas Premier on September 19th at the Famous TEXAS THEATER.
(The Night before Eric Clapton's Crossroads)

Making the Vaughan Brothers documentary: A story from fly-over country, before the Internet

By Kirby F. Warnock

Making the Vaughan Brothers documentaryWhen I set out to make a documentary about the Vaughan brothers, it was the realization of a life-long dream. For nearly 44 years I had watched them play, first as a member of the Buddy staff, then as a fan. What I saw during those decades were two of the most talented guitar players I have ever seen and two brothers who were each other’s biggest fans.

There has been a recent spate of rock documentaries, or “rockumentaries” in theaters now: Bad Reputation: The Joan Jett Story, David Crosby: Remember My Name, and Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. These are all good films I have absolutely no quibbles with them, but they represent the music of the west and east coasts, and the major media that was present for those musicians’ early gigs. When Linda Ronstadt took the stage at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, or David Crosby at the Fillmore East, Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times all had writers there to publicize what was basically a club act. Add to this mix the major record labels of the day: Atlantic, Elektra, Capitol and Warner Bros. and you had A&R men looking to sign “the next big thing,” going to clubs in LA (the Roxy, Whiskey A Go Go) or in New York City (the Fillmore East, the Bottom Line). A club band on either coast could get discovered and signed to a major record label.

North Texas Giving DayIt was different here in Texas, or “flyover country” as the pundits call it. For two electrifying guitar players like Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, it was an endless stream of bar gigs without the glitz of the Fillmore or the Troubadour and usually just one writer in the audience—from Buddy magazine. The Vaughan boys played a less-than-glamorous bar scene that included The Cellar, Mother Blues, Stubb’s BBQ, The One Knite and The Rome Inn. All of these places had that unmistakable smell of stale beer, urine and cigarettes the minute you walked in their doors. Even the major Dallas media avoided covering bands that played there, leaving it to myself, Stoney Burns, Bobette Riner, Ben Ferguson and BJ Ellis (all Buddy staffers) to spread the word about any talent we witnessed.

And witness it, we did.

Billy Bob's TexasThe Vaughan brothers’ mainstay bands—The Fabulous Thunderbirds and SRV and Double Trouble—played with a dexterity and style that left many of the national recording acts slack jawed. If you went to a Fabulous Thunderbirds gig it was a guarantee that someone famous would be in the crowd. The same was true for Stevie Ray and Double Trouble. I personally saw Jaco Pastorious of Weather Report climb onstage to jam with the T-Birds, and Billy Gibbons standing by the bar at Fitzerald’s in Houston when Stevie was performing there. Those two brothers were musicians’ musicians.

Making the Vaughan Brothers documentaryBut the Vaughans stayed true to that Texas blues sound, even when the only bands getting airplay in the 70s were Blondie, Boston, Journey and Foreigner. And they didn’t move to California, like the Texas blues players before them (Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, Johnny Winter). The fact that they stuck with the sounds of Freddy King, Slim Harpo, and Muddy Waters is a testament to their commitment. Eventually they won out, getting signed to record deals and breaking through to a national audience while anchored in the Lone Star State.

Stagecoach BallroomThis is even all the more amazing when you remember that there was no Internet, Facebook, Twitter or cell phones back then. They had to get famous the old-fashioned way, by word of mouth.

More importantly, they had to play in clubs for years to build up a reputation, and they earned it through sheer, raw talent, something that today’s reality TV “stars” don’t possess at all. What book, movie or song did the Kardashian’s ever produce? How about the Real Housewives of Dallas? We now live in a void where talent no longer matters. Worse yet, some of todays “musicians” got onto the scene by sitting in their living room, recording YouTube videos (a la Justin Bieber). The Vaughan Brothers had to get off of their couches, and go out onstage and put it out there. They also learned how to work a crowd, and other social skills that today’s “celebrities” are sorely lacking.

In other words, they had to earn it.

It is also an incredible story of two young men who came from a cracker box house in Oak Cliff, to the top of the rock heap, and it’s also a shared story of all of the baby boomers. We all listened to KLIF 1190 AM on our transistor radios and we all watched TV shows like Shindig, or Where the Action Is. That was our “shared experience” not Facebook, and we went to live shows because that was how you met members of the opposite sex. It was a different time, before the digital age, when everything had to be done in person, including going down to a record store to get the music you heard on the radio. There were no iTunes and no way to “share music” except to loan someone your vinyl record.

With the help of Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne, Nile Rodgers and Billy Gibbons I was lucky enough to get interviews from the people who “were in the room when it happened,” not some music critic or “expert” telling us what they thought the Vaughan brothers represented. I also spent a lot of time going back to their Oak Cliff roots, because that is where it all started. There was a huge guitar scene in Oak Cliff in the 1960s, and several teen clubs like Candy’s Flair, and the Rocket Roller Rink. This was where Jimmie and Stevie both honed their craft, so by the time they moved to Austin they were already well-established players.

Making the Vaughan Brothers documentaryThis film has taken me three years, and almost all of my money, to produce, but it gives a view of the Vaughan brothers that hasn’t been told yet, mainly because we were lucky enough to have Jimmie’s full cooperation. I can tell you that you will see, and hear, things you never heard before, because we have it from the source, and I promise that after viewing it you won’t say, “Well, that was nothing.”

Come out and judge for yourself, September 19, at the historic Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff, where it all began.

As Jimmie would say, “Be there, or be square.”

For more visit From Nowhere: The Story of the Vaughan Brothers.

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A Real Alternative to Fake News

Headliners Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real Release Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

By S.D. Henderson

Lukas Nelson A Real Alternative to Fake News

Whether your favorite poison comes in either flavor of Fox or MSNBC, I promise you this; when you finally turn the channel, you’re not going to feel any better. And when you turn it back on, guess what? Nothing has changed. The more right and left turns we take, the less we move forward and we never meet in the middle. Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, might just have found the antidote to polarity with the release of Turn Off the News (Build a Garden); and in a much less preachy manner than this opening paragraph.

Stable Nucleus

The GoatThat atomic structure includes Lukas Nelson on guitar and vocals, bassist Corey McCormick, drummer Anthony LoGerfo, percussionist Tato Melgar, and multi-instrumentalist Logan Metz. And like all good atomic particles, capable of fusion and fission, POTR draws depth and uniqueness through an orbit of similarly charged collaborative particles like brother Micah Nelson, Willie, Young, Shooter Jennings, Lucius and Sheryl Crow.

All bands have influences, but few have been infused with their influencers like POTR. If growing up with Willie Nelson and touring with Neil Young and Dylan weren’t enough, the band opened shows for The Rolling Stones this summer. The benefits aren’t lost on Nelson, who says,

“It’s quite a highlight, we’re living in perpetual bliss, we get to learn so much from these mentors that we’ve got around us. It’s an experience that I intend to share with people.”

The key to the uniqueness of Promise of the Real, like their spiritual predecessor The Band is their ability to create something entirely new and undiscovered but in the same note feel utterly timeless and infinite. The Band backed Dylan, but in that space they carved out something undiscovered of their own. POTR created a similar space from their ongoing relationship with Neil Young. Instead of being absorbed by two or three legends, POTR is creating their own.

The lessons learned over the past decade have leached out organically through the music, which is evident throughout Turn Off the News. There’s so much on the album that deserves attention, but the first thing I noticed was a new version of one of my favorite POTR songs, “Something Real.” As the title track of their 2016 release, this one just jumped off the record and is a mainstay in their live performances.

Reduce and Reuse

Making the Vaughan Brothers documentaryWhen asked about the decision to include it on Turn Off the News, Lukas says, “I knew more people would hear this record and I want more people to hear that song. We basically put it on the album because we want to keep playing it.” The process for capturing this version was stark, Lukas adds, “’Something Real’ was done in one take, completely live. I kind of like rawness in a way. It sounds different maybe because we spent less time polishing it. We played it and we printed it.”

I like the idea of recycled and recrafted songs, bringing new life and new audiences to great songs. I mean a song doesn’t really exist unless it’s heard, and that concept isn’t particularly new to the family, as Lukas notes, “My dad has put out a lot of different versions of his songs, because so much of a song is captured in the production and arrangement. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle, I just like looking at things differently. It’s so much fun to play live, we might do it on another album.”

Lukas Nelson A Real Alternative to Fake News

Good news

Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) overflows with creativity, diversity, depth and imagination; densely packed, but it feels light, like a daily driver. Lukas Nelson is unquestionably an accomplished songwriter, who’s words and worldview are uniquely his own. The full work contains so many little unique pieces that it’s difficult to single any out to the exclusion of others. If I wrote this tomorrow, I’d choose different songs than today, but I’m presently mesmerized by “Mystery” which also features some of Willie’s guitar work. As the title implies, think it would belie your own experience to comment further.

MemphisPOTR launches in multiple trajectories without a single misfire on the album. It was surprising to hear echoes of Roy Orbison from the band in “Where Does Love Go” and “Bad Case” but they make it so palpable that you have to dust off some things in your record collection just to revisit them again. Really great music puts you on a path to follow more paths, some you’ve been down before and some you’ve yet to experience.

Produced by the band and John Alagia, and recorded at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studio in Malibu and Village Studios in West Los Angeles; Turn Off the News captured the unique energy of the band by working fast and in analog, which results in a sound that is, for lack of a better word, real. Promise of the Real is more than a name, it’s the essence of who they are as a collective.

The thing I really appreciate about Turn Off the News is the powerfully subtle message behind it. You get a sense from the title, but you get the message from the songs. Lukas Nelson has a unique view of the world, and it just might be the antidote to the acrimony surrounding us on all sides. That sensibility is absolutely reflected in Nelson’s songwriting and is something he communicates deftly through his music.

Lukas says, “The one gift that humans have that other primates don’t is self-awareness. At some point we developed the ability to tell stories. That’s what this record means to me. If the outer world is a reflection of the inner world, then I should turn inward and find my peace and maybe the rest will follow.”

Not Preaching

So what is the message? Lukas explains, “Imagine you put your phone down for a minute. You turn your TV off. You take two hours, go to your farmers market with the intention of meeting somebody, go to a yoga class or wherever. Or just look around who see who your neighbor is, how can I cooperate with them? Maybe the people in my vicinity are meant to be here? If everybody approaches life like their growing and they continue to grow, and it’s not just ‘this is who I am and that’s it and I’m going to die this way’; on the inside you don’t get old. There’s always room for growth. The idea is just to get people thinking about it. When I write all these songs, I’m really just talking to myself. I’m not preaching to anyone but me.”

KNON's Mexican Independence Day CelebrationIf anything is going to change, it requires a change of perspective, and Nelson provides a new one to consider, adding, “You have to balance what you take in. You’re never going to solve the world, but your input is important to balance. If you’re getting a lot of negativity out there, I think it’s important to balance that with positivity. You’ve got to take ‘em both. If you look at the world, it’s actually at it’s most peaceful time. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the news. If we can get our shit together, most of us actually want to see a better world. The problem is all the people that are being forgotten, we have to adopt a new system.”

Maybe I read too much into music, but that’s kind of my job, so it really shouldn’t be that surprising. Music changes things. If you’re not changed by music, then you should change the music. While the rest of the media world is busy digging trenches and building walls, music builds bridges. Instead of being herded like sheep into two pastures, maybe it’s time to start enjoying the green grass in front of you. If you turn on Fox News or MSNBC, you’re only going to hear one story told from two ridiculously distorted perspectives. Maybe it’s time to change the frequency?

KNON Presents Igor And Red ElviesAs well as they are captured on the album, Promise of the Real was meant to be enjoyed live. That can be said for most bands, good ones at least. But really great bands, the kind of bands that can hold their own with Willie, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones; those are bands you have to see to believe. If an album is catching lightning in a bottle, the lightning is live performance. If you haven’t been struck by Promise of the Real yet, I suggest stepping outside and seeing it for yourself.

Turn Off the News (Build a Garden) is available online and in stores, but you can catch Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real live and in person at Dos Equis Pavilion in Fair Park on October 26 with the Zac Brown Band. So maybe the best thing to do today is Turn Off the iTunes (Buy a Ticket). I promise you, a stack of amps ringing in your ears is much better for you than the buzzwords and blather you’ll find on cable news networks any day.

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Gary Clark, Jr.: NOT the Savior of the Blues

Nine years after his breakout debut at Crossroads 2010, he makes his peace with the blues

By Chuck Flores

Gary Clark, JrOn Saturday, June 26, 2010, Gary Clark, Jr., a soft-spoken guitarist from Austin, played the most pivotal two songs of his 26 years. Only a few weeks prior, his electricity had been cut off and there was a possibility that he might have to get a real job. The following morning he received a text from longtime friend, Doyle Bramhall II, who plays with Eric Clapton, saying that Clapton was going to invite Gary to play the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago.

After walking onstage with little fanfare, Gary plugged in his red Epiphone Casino guitar and launched into the chunky groove of “Bright Lights,” his homage to Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights Big City.” He followed up with the runaway train rhythm of “You don’t owe me a Thang.” The lanky 6 ft. guitarist with the mirrored sunglasses played with an urgency and authority belying his years.

Leo HullThe impact was immediate and profound, not only on the audience, but on the seasoned artists on stage. Thus began Gary’s coming out party.

Warner Brothers wasted no time in signing him and they released the EP

His first LP, Blak and Blu (2012), displayed what would become a signature style for him: passionate and loud blues-rock guitar against a fusion of blues, rock and soul music with elements of hip hop. While some were disappointed that his guitar wasn’t as prominent and thought that the sound might be a bit slick, Blak and Blu announced to the world that Gary Clark, Jr. was a musical force to be reckoned with.

It also spurred over the top accolades: The Chosen One, the Future of the Blues, and the Savior of the Blues.

Texas Homegrown MusicClark swept the 31st annual Austin Music Awards for 2012–2013, collecting eight awards: Band of the Year, Musician of the Year, Song of the Year – “Ain’t Messin Round” (from Blak and Blu), Album of the Year – Blak and Blu, Electric Guitarist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Blues/Soul/Funk Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year.

In February 2012, Gary performed alongside blues legends B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy, among others at the Red, White and Blues event at the White House.

In 2014, Clark was awarded a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B performance for the song “Please Come Home,” while the year before he had been nominated for “Ain’t Messin Round.”

The Story of Sonny Boy Slim (2015), his sophomore effort was closer to home, literally. He recorded in his home studio and played most of the instruments, including the drums. The reception was mixed.

Gary Clark, Jr

Many listeners longed for the guitar experience that they enjoyed at his live performances. Warner responded by releasing Gary Clark Jr. Live (2014) and Live North America Tour 2016 (2017)

KNON Rockabilly RevueThis Land (2019) is a 15 song, (17 with the bonus songs) album that is his most cohesive and where his compositional skills have caught up with his musical skills. This Land covers the black experience, musically, as it ranges from blues to hip-hop to reggae to rock n roll to punk, and if he takes more chances musically or thematically, it’s all well worth it. No longer worried about other’s expectations of him as a ‘savior’ of any genre, This Land spans so much of the music that informs his original material – Motown, Al Green, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Prince.

This Land opens with the title song, a direct shot at the resurgent racism in today’s political climate. The title song is a seething, growling response to a personal experience with casual racism when a neighbor refuses to believe that Gary Clark, Jr. as a black man couldn’t possibly be the owner of his own 50 acre ranch just south of Austin. The band is tight and there’s a palpable restlessness in his guitar. Lyrically, it’s equally uncompromising: “N**** run, n**** run/Go back where you come from/We don't want, we don't want your kind. We think you's a dog born/Fuck you, I’m America’s son/This is where I come from/This land is mine!”

Breast Cancer Can Stick It - DrummathonThe remainder of This Land isn’t steeped in politics; rather it’s a great collection of musical and lyrical pastiches, especially the gorgeous and powerful “Pearl Cadillac,” inspired by and devoted to his mother and the heartfelt “Feed the Babies.” “Well, it's hard out there for a man/Yeah, it's cold out on the streets/But the world is my buffet, child/And I'm just looking to eat/ And feed the babies, oh/Gotta feed the babies now, yeah/So come on brothers and sisters/It's the same path you walk/Come on mothers and fathers/Teach the babies to talk…”

As Gary Clark, Jr. looks ahead to his performances at this 2019 iteration of Crossroads, he can approach it as a more complete artist and on his own terms.

He doesn’t need the yoke of ‘savior of the blues,’ or even ‘savior of rock.’

Now that he’s found his voice, he’s got his own agenda.

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Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group

By Colleen Morgan

Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group

Who's your favorite band? Christopher Todd Penn of Good Records favorite is Alice Cooper-- so much so that he was instrumental in reuniting the living members of the original Alice Cooper Group on October 6, 2015. Alice Cooper Group's bassist Dennis Dunaway was writing a tell all book, Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group and Penn began discussions with Dunaway for a book signing and ended up creating the best of monsters.

Love and War In Texas“I first began communication with Dennis Dunaway in 2013. Then in January 2015, I reached out to him prior to his book being published and mentioned the idea of flying him into Dallas for a book signing at Good Records. We had already done a successful book signing with John Densmore of The Doors. Also, the original Alice Cooper group are my Beatles so there’s that, too. Dennis and I went back-and-forth over the course of basically a year and then after his initial book tour was ending, he reached out to me and said “Hey, I've got a window of time I'm available. When would you like to do the book signing?”

Before replying to Dennis, I looked over Alice Cooper's tour schedule with Motley Crue and noticed he had a day off between Hidalgo and Dallas, so I chose October 6, 2015 as the book signing date. I knew they would come to Dallas rather than Hidalgo, or at least I was hoping.

After securing Dennis for the book signing, I asked him what he thought about getting Michael Bruce and Neal Smith to be a part and was just thinking Q&A but I was also thinking of them playing, to be honest.

I reached out to Michael first and then I reached out to Neal Smith and they were on board. I began to ask Tone Shop Guitars if I could borrow some amps, an extra guitar, a drum set from Lone Star Percussion and then I mentioned to Dennis, “Hey, what do you think about reaching out to Alice to join us?”

Texas Theater Greenville, TXWe both in our own subtle ways inquired about getting Alice there and as it got closer, we got a green light that he was going to be able to participate. One of the stipulations was I had to sneak them in. I was never sure he was going to be there until he stepped on the stage. I realized it was a day off and he was doing it for free-- Alice is on the road 200 shows a year still and I could totally understand if he would just want a night off rather come perform again.... but here we are, promoting a movie now and it's pretty incredible!
Recently, I was in New York City for the premiere of Live From The Astroturf: Alice Cooper as well as Dennis’ film, Cold Cold Coffin. We were back stage and Dennis asked me, “Did you ever think that we would be sitting here basically four years later after a two song 7 inch, an LP and a movie, that you and I would be friends and be hanging out backstage while our movies are premiering in New York?” and I said, “Hell no but it sure is awesome, isn't it!”

A documentary film about the entire affair, Live from the Astroturf: Alice Cooper, directed and written by Stephen Gaddis with footage culled from eight cameras at the Good Records set, and edited by legendary producer Bob Ezrin, has been on the world wide film festival circuit this year, garnering rave reviews and several awards. And even though it made its Dallas debut last spring, it has been chosen to screen at the inaugural North Texas Film Festival on, September 28, at 7 PM at Cinemark, West Plano, 3800 Dallas Pkwy. Tickets and more information available at ntxff.com or livefromtheastroturf.com.

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Record Review

Eastside Kings
Eastside Kings
Dialtone Records

By Jackie Don Loe

Eastside Kings FestivalThe new Eastside Kings record is an instant Blues Party for your house, car or where ever you may listen to it. With an All-Star cast of musicians ranging from old time blues shouters, veteran showmen, back up guitarists, shake-leg dancers, soul stirrers and house band legends, they bring the juke joint to you!

Track one starts with a proper introduction by Soul Man Sam hosting a rousing version of "Let the Good Times Roll" followed by a funky tune by Peewee Calvin called "Goodie Ooglie" that would open up the dance floor in any club. You have to keep the dancers on the floor and the next three songs follow the shuffle mode but without being redundant or boring. "Tore Up From The Floor Up" by Bobby Gilmore is a true Texas shuffle that is only missing some sweet Bar-B-Que and a cold beer.

Tavern On Main StreetThe classic "Kidney Stew" sang by Mac McIntosh flows with a flat-tire shuffle and added horns by Kaz Kazanoff. Fort Worth's own Ray Reed delivers a rollicking shuffle with "Whisper in Your Ear" and squeezes all the right notes out of his guitar. The Blues party continues with the funky "Untold Story" where Peewee Calvin addresses the social conditions of the times, we all don't have secrets but we all have untold stories, he sings, "Somebody's got to listen!" There are two hip instrumentals, "Stevie C" and "Skirt Chaser" that showcase the band's chops and collective groove and with contributions by Jabo and Birdlegg the party never stops. Produced by Eddie Stout on Dialtone records, who also played bass on the release, this is the first time in the studio for some of the artists and it captures a celebrated line up of talent. Bravo! This is a very enjoyable collection of songs that depicts each artist's heart and soul.

All sales of the CD goes to support the Eastside Kings Foundation which mission is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of African American Blues, Jazz and Gospel music.

Kevin Fowler
Barstool Stories
Kevin Fowler Records

By Mary Jane Farmer, Scene In Town

Bob Wills Fiddle Festival & ContestKevin Fowler has gone and done it again — released a great album. Barstool Stories, this project is called, released

Some of the songs have already been major hits, not only in Texas, but across the national charts as well. Those include “Beach Please,” which was released about 18 months go; “Country Song to Sing;” and “Better With Beer,” which is currently high on the Texas charts.

And there’s some of the first-time-on-a-record songs that have that same charting potential. “Breakin’ in a Broken Heart” is one of those and should be on the Americana/Texas music/Country music stations now. “Living These Songs I Write” probably isn’t a potential release, but it is a dynamite album cut! Roger Creager and Cody Johnson join him on “A Drinkin’ Song.” This song reminds me of something Fowler told me during an interview. He said he believes that people go out at night to have a good time, that they don’t want to hear tears-in-the-beer tunes. And he always plans to give them a fun evening. If you’ve been to a Kevin Fowler show, you understand. If you haven’t yet — it’s just a suggestion, but find one near you and partake of the party he provides. Just make sure you don’t get into the club with a “Fake I.D.,” and the song about his experience with such is another good song on this CD.

Fowler has a serious, but not at-all gloomy, side on “She’s Growing On Me” and “Heaven.” Lyrics on that song, destined to be a Texas classic, say, ‘When it’s my time to go, And I’m at the end of my road, I’ll be fine, I know, ‘Cause I’ve already gone to heaven.” Serious, but not gloomy.

This powerful CD, Barstool Stories, is available on all streaming sites and online at KevinFowler.com. Fowler will be playing Lewisville Western Days on September 27.

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