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THE ORIGINAL TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE

February 2020

VOLUME XLVII, NUMBER 8

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

In This Issue:
Maylee Thomas & George Fuller
Delbert McClinton
Eleven Hundred Springs
Record Review
Blah Blah

“Music is what I was born to do!”

Maylee Thomas’ Texas Homegrown Music Radio Show is a perfect extension of her life long love affair with music

By Jan Sikes

Maylee Thomas and George Fuller

Multi-dimensional is a fitting Mword that describes the effervescent and Mdynamic Maylee Thomas. Inside the beautiful Guitar Sanctuary in McKinney, we sat down for an interview.

Maylee had an admittedly tumultuous childhood, and music was her escape.

“My mother grew up in a gypsy-like vaudeville atmosphere with singers and actors. So, I was exposed to music at a young age. But because of some situations with my mother, and a father who worked on the road, I spent a lot of time alone. I would pretend I was performing and made up songs using the little plastic organ my parents had bought me."

Texas Homegrown with Maylee Thomas

“Music was my refuge. A lot of people don’t know that I was a ballet dancer for about fourteen years. But most importantly, I could sing, and I knew it. The first song I can remember ever performing for people was the Nancy Sinatra song, “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” I sang in church and with bands in high school. Music is what I was born to do.”

However, music is only one aspect of the diverse lives of Maylee and husband, George.

“Let me tell you the way I met George. I had a band, MTS Express, and I needed a guitar player. So, I called Jimmy Wallace. He and George had the South by Southwest recording studio at the time. He told George that I was looking for a guitar player, and as it turns out, George had seen me perform the week before and told his band then that he wanted to play in my band. And that’s a whole other story, but the stars aligned, and he and I connected. But the common thread with George and I will always be our music, and it’s been a platform for everything that we’ve been able to do. One thing that the world can’t take away from us is that we create this music together.”

Maylee Thomas

George and Maylee continue to write and play music thirty years later. But that is only one aspect of their very busy lives.

“It’s a big balancing act with George and myself. If anyone had told me when I met George that he was going to be the mayor of our city, I would have laughed at them."

“Not that he wasn’t able or capable because when you get to know him, you figure out really quickly that he’s one of those unusual people that when he puts his mind to something, he’s going to be good at it. He’s left and right-brained. He’s so creative, but he’s also a doer. He’s got the business side. If he says he’s going to do something, it’s going to get done and it will be done well.”

Memphis

George Fuller is not only the current mayor of McKinney, but he is also a reputable home builder, and Maylee expressed such a sincere thankfulness for the life they’ve been able to build because of his determination and skills.

She spoke candidly about the joy of raising their four children and that they now have two grandchildren. “I always wanted to be a part of a big family, and I had to come to terms with the idea of creating it.”

In 1992, George and Maylee, along with a handful of other people, created a non-profit foundation for the specific purpose of helping others. The Love Life Foundation is a big part of what they do, but more than that, a huge reflection of what they stand for.

“This foundation helps at-risk women and children. It’s grown to encompass a lot more than just that. We have a ministry now on the third Sunday of every month where we go into a church that’s opened their doors and feed the homeless in McKinney."

Maylee Thomas and George Fuller

A group of volunteers come in and help us cook for them. We provide backpacks and school supplies for all the middle-school children who are on reduced or free lunch programs. And we help individual families. We also support the Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center, the Hope Store and The Samaritan Inn. But the most gratifying thing is when we are able to do any kind of hands-on.”

Mrs. Mayor

Maylee acknowledges that all of their work within the community helped in George running a successful mayoral campaign.

“People ask me all the time how my life has changed since George became mayor. I tell them that it really hasn’t changed all that much, because I’ve always been such a part of this community with the Love Life Foundation and the band, plus raising our children here. So, the only thing that’s changed is getting to know more people in the political world and they don’t know what to do with this freaky hippie mayor’s wife that hugs everybody.”

After I left the interview, Maylee texted me with a little-known fact about hugging. The average duration of a hug between two people is three seconds. But researchers discovered something amazing. When a hug lasts twenty seconds, it produces a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. A sincere hug produces a hormone called “Oxytocin,” also known as the hormone of love. There’s some trivia just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Maylee laughed at herself and went on to explain that she understands the importance of compliance in certain situations.

Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth Texas

“I always have to be my authentic self,” she said. “Sometimes, George will tell me that I need to hippie-down for a certain event, and I try to figure out what that is. I don’t know that I’ve ever really accomplished it, but I get what he’s saying.”

It is a well-known fact that George and Maylee own the beautiful and classy Guitar Sanctuary. If you’ve never been inside, treat yourself and go take a look around. But be ready to spend some time. Not only do they have an outstanding inventory of musical instruments and accessories, but also an upscale live music venue attached to the store that seats around two-hundred and fifty. You can find all the upcoming shows on their website, but a special Valentine’s Day show with Jon Christopher Davis and Maylee on February 15 at The Guitar Sanctuary.

Another aspect of The Guitar Sanctuary that I was not aware of is the Performance Academy.

“We have about three-hundred students here in the Performance Academy with nineteen teachers,” said Maylee. “We offer everything from learning to play instruments to vocal lessons. Almost all of our teachers are working musicians.”

Just inside the door of The Guitar Sanctuary, and to the right, you’ll find a clothing and accessories store. Maylee stated that all proceeds from the eclectic store go to help support The Love Life Foundation. If you are looking for hippieish or one-of-a-kind unique clothing or accessories, I can assure you that Maylee’s store has it.

Maylee Thomas and George Fuller

Radio Show

Texas Homegrown Music radio show is the brainchild of Maylee Thomas and George Fuller. And while she broadcast it as a radio show, she also made it available via podcast streaming. It has now moved onto a larger playing field, with Dallas radio station, KHYI 95.3 having added it to their programming as a regular Sunday night show. Texas Homegrown Music comes on immediately following Chuck Taylor’s Official Texas Countdown at 8 pm.

“The radio show was a big step for me, but it feels so natural. Having played music around here a lot and supporting other local musicians and Texas artists, I felt like the platform of doing Texas Homegrown Music was a perfect fit for me. I really want to navigate more in Texas music. When you play music out on the weekends, you don’t get to see a lot of the other artists. So, what I love most about this show is getting to meet these artists and sit down and get to know them as people. It’s been so beautiful to me to find out their intricate stories."

“But also, the radio show isn’t exclusively one artist and interview. I play a lot of other music during the hour-long show. I am proud to be associated with KHYI and respect the fact that it’s a family-owned station.”

Rock Rattle N'Roll Collectibles

Tune into KHYI to listen. You can find more about upcoming shows as well as archived shows on the Texas Homegrown Music channel on YouTube, Podbay, and on Facebook.

Stagecoach Ballroom in Fort Worth, Texas

Because Maylee Thomas has been a working musician for many years, I wanted to know if she had any advice for newcomers.

“I have people all the time come to me and ask that question, and I always say, just put together a band, get a group, and play. Don’t be afraid to play because there is a lot of truth to that old saying that you need ten-thousand hours to accomplish something. Some people have a natural gift, no doubt about it, but it’s the playing, it’s the connecting, and it’s the doing that’s going to make a difference.”

While Maylee made a lot of profound statements during the interview, I want to close out with one that I feel supports the climate of our entire world today.

Maylee said, “If you can’t forgive and understand where people are coming from, you’re putting yourself in a prison. I just never wanted to live that way.”

Maylee Thomas

There you have it. Please make a concerted effort to take a closer look at this multi-dimensional artist and her husband, along with all their endeavors. You can learn more about The Guitar Sanctuary, the live music venue schedule, and the Performance Academy on their website, theguitarsanctuary.com

For more information on the non-profit, Love Life Foundation, lovelifefoundation.com

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“Yeah Baby!”

Delbert McClinton’s Tall, Dark and Handsome reward the Texas native with a 2020 Grammy.

By Blue Lisa

Delbert McClinton

Delbert McClinton at 79 is a happy man. He has a new release, Tall, Dark and Handsome that he’s excited about and a band he adores. “I’ve enjoyed so much in life,” says McClinton. “I’ve lived through the good, bad and ugly. And I’ve become a much smarter man.” But there was a terrifying path to his current state of bliss.

On a Saturday in April of 2014, his tour bus pulled into Saint Augustine, Florida, early in the morning for a show. With the hotel not ready, Delbert decided to go straight to the gig. Walking around the venue he couldn’t put his finger on it, but he just felt strange. Paramedics were called, but he ignored their advice to go in and get checked out. Later that day, he changed his mind. Upon arrival at the emergency room. Doctors discovered he was having a “heart event,” and had a 95% blockage in the main artery. The Widow Maker they call it.

The Goat In Dallas Texas

He missed the Saturday show and Monday doctors operated. His recovery was steady, but included a period of melancholy. “I questioned if I would be able to go back and sing. I was lucky,” says Delbert “I had no complications at all. I survived all that and felt like I was 50 again. It’s an awkward but educational thing.” Two months later, he was back on stage. “Things got better and got better and got better and got better,” he says with a laugh. “And they keep getting better!” He says he feels like he’s got a second chance at life. And he’s living and enjoying it to the fullest.

Fourth Grammy

And what a life it has been! Two albums with pal Glen Clark, 28 solo albums, four Grammys (nominated seven times), induction into Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame and hosting a yearly Blues Cruise that sells out months in advance. He was born in Lubbock, and his family moved to Fort Worth when he was eleven.
That’s where he got hooked on the blues through radio stations like KNOK (the all Black station in Dallas), XERF in Villa Acuna and WLAC broadcasting out of Nashville. When he was 14, Delbert came home from school one afternoon and heard someone playing guitar and singing. But this wasn’t the radio; it was coming from inside the house.

Delbert McClinton

He followed the sound and found it right between the dining room and the kitchen. “My brother Jack’s friend Ray Harden was leaning against the wall with his feet up in the doorway,” says McClinton “playing a Martin guitar with a hole in it the size of a fist.” It was the first time Delbert had seen anyone playing live. “He was the coolest guy I’d ever seen. I was hooked!” he laughs, “That was the beginning.”

His other brother Randall’s friend, Joe Don Sanders, came over with a guitar. He would let Delbert play it and even taught him a few chords. Soon after, Delbert and his brothers scraped together the three dollars and fifty cents needed to buy an old Stella guitar. His fingers bled, but he practiced and learned songs. Soon he had his own band. At the time, there were only about 3 bands in town. “Everyone in the world wasn’t in a band in those days,” says McClinton. “Mine was the big fish in a small pond.”

Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth Texas

There was a place in Mansfield, Jack’s Place, THE place the kids hung out. The big name Blues stars of the day played there — Big Joe Turner, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King. When Jimmy Reed came through Delbert and his band played with him. Reed was impressed and hired them to go with him to Oklahoma. “We played at a black BBQ joint in Lawton. Five young white guys in an all-black club,” says McClinton. “Segregation was about to blow, but no problem there. The audience was fine with us backing Jimmy up.” And that was that. Music became his world.

Even now, if you were to catch Delbert on a rare day off listening to music, it would not be a particular style, but an era — specifically the 1940s and 1950s. “Even though it was a bleak time,” he says, “The music of the ’40s was uplifting. And then rock and roll exploded in the ’50s. It’s still the music that makes me happy.”

Delbert McClinton

His style evolved as a melting pot of those things he heard growing up in Cowtown — blues, country, and rock. McClinton just calls it American Music. And that’s what he brings to the table with Tall, Dark and Handsome on the Hot Shot Records label — songs that blend those influences into the unmistakable sound that is his own. Lush arrangements topped off by his distinctive raspy vocals. Songs that bring to mind smoky Saturday night dance halls of the ’40s and ’50s. He wrote or co-wrote all 14 tracks on this release. Delbert loves to write songs. “You sit down and where there was nothing suddenly there is this song. It’s a form of magic!”

Self-Made-Men

“Here’s the magic that has happened in the last eight to nine years,” says McClinton "a whole new band! About nine years ago the success I’d had from “Nothing Personal” was a good boost as a Grammy winner. But I had my band on per diem — they got paid whether they worked or not. And that took a financial toll — I had to make a change.”

Dallas International Guitar Festival

It was self admittedly both an exciting and frightening time. Not all the band was happy about it. Kevin McKendree (keyboards) and Jack Bruno (drums) stayed. And new musicians came into his life. “Now I know about three chords,” he jokes, “Which limits my songwriting. But these musicians were so advanced and brought more complex musical ideas with them. I told them “Why don’t y’all come over to the house and let’s write some songs.”

He estimates 98% of the new album was written with his band at his home in Mexico. It was a relaxed setting. About his band Self-Made Men + Dana (comprised of McKendree and Bruno as well as Dana Robbins (saxophone), Mike Joyce (bass), Bob Britt (guitar), James Pennebaker (guitar), Quentin Ware (trumpet), Dennis Wage (keyboards)) he says, “It’s a mutual admiration society — I love them and they love me. And we can’t wait to go play. I’ve been around long enough to know a good band doesn’t often fall in your lap. I’m very lucky. They’re all great players and we have such great fun together — it’s almost like robbing a bank! Everybody’s great — nobody’s a dick!”

Yeah Baby!

Tall, Dark & Handsome kicks off with the swinging shuffle about a big night out in a small town “Mr. Smith” complete with a blistering horn section. “If I Hock My Guitar” discusses a situation not uncommon to working musicians everywhere - how are you going to make a living if you’ve pawned your instrument to eat? There are a range of love songs: love gone right (“Let’s Get Down Like We Used To” and “Any Other Way”) love lost (“Down In The Mouth”), love gone very, very wrong (“Lulu”) and let’s-not-even-go-there love (“A Fool Like Me”)."

Delbert McClinton

There are cautionary tales as well: “Can’t Get Up” a tongue-in-cheek fable of the necessary shift in behaviors age brings and “Temporarily Insane”: are you crazy if you think you’re crazy? The clarinet driven “No Chicken On The Bone” and the swaying samba beat of “Gone To Mexico” are delightful earworms. McClinton ends the recording with the nakedly honest “A Poem”: stripped down in both instrumentation and message about the harsh reality of musical local heroes.

Delbert and his band Self-Made Men + Dana are joined in the studio for this recording by Joe Maher (drums), James Pennebaker (guitar), Glenn Worf (bass), Yates McKendree (guitar), Jim Hoke (tenor & bari sax, accordion, and clarinet), and backing vocals by Vicki Hampton, Wendy Moten, Robert Bailey, Pat McLaughlin and Delbert’s daughter Delaney McClinton.

Hot off a 2020 Grammy win for Best Traditional Blues Album (where he accepted the award with a jubilant “Yeah Baby!”), Delbert’s got tour dates scheduled throughout 2020 in support of’Tall, Dark and Handsome and is already looking forward to his next project (he’s begun to write songs for it).

Tavern On Main Street in Richardson Texas

Toward the end of our interview he said, “I’ll tell you something that just happened - I don’t think I’ve told anyone else this. I had a gig booked in 2001 on the Fourth of July in Lubbock. I didn’t really have any family left there, except for an Aunt who was dying of cancer. I got into town early, went by to see her, and then I decided to drive out to look at the house I grew up in. Nothing there but an empty lot; house on the right of it — still there. Same with the house on the left. Just my house gone. Last month when I came through Fort Worth, I drove out to look at the house I lived in here. Same thing — all the other houses are there, but there’s an empty lot where our house was. They say you can’t go home. I literally can’t go home."

Maybe not. But Tall, Dark and Handsome is proof his life’s rich musical influences are still with Delbert McClinton no matter where he calls home.

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Here ‘Tis released by Eleven Hundred Springs

By Mary Jane Farmer—Scene In Town

Eleven Hundred Springs

There’s no chance anyone can say that the members of Eleven Hundred Springs are resting on their laurels. This just keeps on challenging itself to be creative and productive, and at the same time stay true to their Texas roots and unique-but-true-country sound. They accomplished that in the recent release of their newest album, Here ‘Tis, released on State Fair Records.‘

Songbird Matt Hillyer wrote or co-wrote many of the 10 songs on this release, with lead guitarist Chad Rueffer also doing some solo and co-writing.

Hillyer said his favorite, so far, on this classic collection is the lead-off song, “This Morning It Was Too Late,” a remorseful story of a rude awakening. But, Hillyer said, “They all mean something to me. I think when you are in the place where I am at right now, releasing a record, your audience wants to hear old songs, but the new material you are digging on.”

“This Morning It Was Too Late” is moving up on the Texas charts. It’s a danceable tune, Hillyer added, “when we play it, the dance floor fills up.”

MediaTech Instutute in Dallas ~ Houston Texas

For this reviewer, its “Let’s Go Out To The Country” that speaks loudest. Such lyrics as “I’m tired of going to the races, every time I pull out on a drive” and “take my money and my honey out to the country” speak to the redneck in all of us.

Hillyer, with his high tenor singing voice, is easily recognizable when heard on the radio. No question about it, anyone who has heard Eleven Hundred Springs knows instantly who he’s listening to. He and Rueffer, with his deep baritone, combine lead and harmony vocal, adding depth to those songs. Rueffer takes lead on “All Jokes Aside” and “Let Tomorrow Wait and See” on this CD.”

Hillyer said they almost always release their new recordings in January or February. This album is their 14th. The current 6-piece configuration has been in place since 2016.

It’s hard to talk about Eleven Hundred Springs and not mention the depth that Ray Austin provides with his steel guitar and or Jordan Hendrix’ fiddle sounds. Pure magic from both of them. Rounding it out are Christian Dorn on drums and original co-organizer Steven Berg on bass. Together, these guys provide a sound that mixes today’s sounds with classic country.

Eleven Hundred Springs

“When people are singing along, it’s the number one indicator they recognize something about themselves in your song,” Hillyer said. “And when they holler out a song title, that’s one of the main things that keeps you going. You never know where your songs go when you release and they take on a life of their own. It’s a neat deal.”

No bruised feelings in the studio. Hillyer said, “We all act as each other’s sounding board. It’s tough, when a song doesn’t pass muster, but that’s the way it goes.”

It’s important, Hillyer added, that “You have to put your own experiences into a song, to give it a string of truth, believability.”

This recording project was unique in that “We did it in-house with our own space and our own equipment,” Hillyer explained. “We tracked it ourselves to get our feet wet working on projects with other folks, to be on that end of the creative process. You kind of have a good shorthand amongst your own guys, but working with new people is challenging.” And that is something he and Berg will be doing in the future, taking on production projects. “It was good practice,” he added, and when one listens to the songs, one hears the quality and professionalism necessary for such endeavors.

KNON The Voice of the People

Under the “busy is as busy does” category, a few years back, Eleven Hundred Springs set up its own YouTube channel, aptly found as “Eleven Hundred Springs.” “We want to document the history of the band, log that footage. The more we log, the more we realize there’s a lot here and there’s a story here. It’s already winding up to be a larger project than we imagined. There’s a lot of stories. Rather than release random clips of us years ago, we will be orally explaining it all.”

Eleven Hundred Springs will be at Hank’s Texas Grill in McKinney for four Sunday afternoons, February 9 through March 1. Also, in February, they will be at the Flores Country Store in Helotes, where, Hillyer said, “Over the years, we did a lot of shows there, once with Ray Price.”

And March 21, a highlight of their schedule will be returning to radio station KHYI’s (95.3 The Range) two-day Texas Music Revolution, held at Plano’s Oak Point Amphitheater. “We used to do it every year, and are so glad to be going back to play it again. We’ve had a long-standing good relationship with KHYI,” Hillyer said. He will also host an acoustic song swap with special guests February 4, 18, March 3, 17 and 31 at The Tavern on Main.

The CD Here ‘Tis is available on most streaming sites, Amazon, State Fair Records, and ElevenHundredSprings.com

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Record Review

Drew Fish Band
Wishful Drinkin’
Smith Entertainment

By Jan Sikes

Drew Fish Band Wishful Drinkiní By Jan Sikes

Native Texan Country singer, Drew Fish has released his third record, Wishful Drinkin’’ recorded and produced by five-time Grammy award winner, Adam Odor.

This album is a terrific blend of honky-tonk country, starting with “Lone Star Saturday Night.” There’s nothing like a crowded dancefloor on a Saturday night in Texas.

The title track, “Wishful Drinkin’,” describes a familiar scene of a man lusting after a woman at the bar and trying to find courage in a bottle.

A beautiful waltz, “Every Damn Time,” is a poignant duet recorded with Pam Tillis. Fish said, “I didn’t want to get my hopes up and believe it (Tillis duet) might happen. She got back to us right away and said she would love to do it. It was incredible to get to work with her.”

“Better Place” was the first single released from this album and went to No. 1 on the Texas Regional Radio Report. It’s a high-spirited upbeat tune.

Rockin' Robert Tomberlin

Keeping with the common honky-tonk theme, it’s a Friday night party with the “Devil You Know.” A song of heartbreak and searching for a way to heal, “Another You,” expresses the sentiment perfectly. “Hoping someday I’ll replace what’s missing/Another You…”

In the vein of Waylon and Willie, “High Rolling Home” takes you on the road with a traveling band. “I’ve had the highs/I’ve felt the lows/Seen burning love go up in smoke/I blaze a trail on down the road/All bunked up on Honeysuckle Rose/I’m loaded up and high rolling home…”

Taking life “One Beer At a Time” is a party that never stops.

It’s easy to get all wound up and stressed out, when all you need is, “Baby Just Let Go.”

The album ends with “Waiting For The Sun.” This is a story song and it is my pick of the album. It’s about those times when the rains come down and the water rises. You’re sitting on the rooftop just waiting for the sun to shine again.

If you’re a fan of honky-tonk country music, this new album from The Drew Fish Band needs to be in your player. With stellar musicians like Paul Eason, Cody Braun, Jason Roberts, Geoff Queen, Scott Davis and John Michael Whitby, you can be sure the music is off the charts. Add Drew Fish’s vocals and songwriting to the mix and it’s a winner all the way!

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Scott Walker
The Rock House Project
Independent Release

By Jan Sikes

Scott Walker The Rock House Project By Jan Sikes

Like most songwriters, Scott Walker, pens tunes taken directly from his environment and experiences. The Rock House Project is a collection of ten of those tunes. Recorded at The Rock House on the Rio Grande, the album encompasses everything from country to good garage-band rock ’n’ roll.

“Fourteen Days” is like the lonesome coyote howling in the night, releasing his pain and longing for his mate. Walker makes you feel the pain in his delivery.

“Deja vu” takes on a distinct South of the Border sound, and the vocal harmony of Sarah Burton lends a sensual vibe. “Alone with my love/And the night sky above/We’re so close/I can’t tell where I end/And you begin…”

The pure country truck driving song, “I-35” could only be written by one who has spent time behind the wheel of the big rigs. “The Lights of Amarillo” is another song about being a truck driver and always on the road. ”

“Doing The Right Thing Wrong” is a situation we can all relate to at one time or another in life. You can get into trouble even while crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s.

A full-on tribute to Walker’s love affair with his first Harley, “Glide Dyna Glide,” describes the high and fulfillment you can only find riding to live and dying to ride.

Denial can be a hard drink to swallow. “I Tell Myself” is just that. “I tell myself/She’s coming home/But in my heart/I know she’s gone…”

With signature steel guitar and a shuffle dance beat, “Just Passing Through” is the kind of song that makes you want to grab a partner and get out on the floor.

Zoo Music in Garland Dallas Fort Worth Texas

A harmonica-infused tune, “Find My Way,” is about leaving behind what is familiar and comfortable and starting new somewhere else.

Walker said, “Turns out this song is about me, and I didn’t know it.” He and his wife left East Texas behind, moved to Terlingua, and never looked back.

The Rock House Project closes with a song recorded by the great Gary P. Nunn in 1996. Walker puts his own distinct style to “Brother Tumbleweed,” and I think you’ll agree that no one can sing a song quite like the composer.

It can easily be said that Scott Walker has found his way with this album, and it won’t be his last. For more on the album and Scott Walker, visit scottwalkermusic.com

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James Steinle
What I Came Here For
Shotgun House Records

By Jan Sikes

James Steinle What I Came Here For By Jan Sikes

James Steinle is a South Texas Native who now calls Austin home. Recorded live to tape at The Bunker in Lockhart, and produced by Bruce Robison, What I Came Here For, is storytelling at its finest.

Fast money is hard to come by and even harder to hold on to, as Steinle sings about it on the “Black and White Blues.”

In a most unusual way, a spoken prelude segues into “What I Came Here For.” The lyrics come from a deep well of thought. “A bottle is for the whiskey/Money for the rent/A rag for the rain and a bucket for the stone/Oh, one day I’ll remember what I came here for…”

Cooking it “Low and Slow” is the only way to do it.

“In The Garden” carries such a deep meaning. I had to listen to the lyrics several times before it sank in, but it is a poignant look at being invisible while the world flies by at blazing speed.”

The most eclectic song on the album, “Blue Collar Martyr,” is an ode to the working man who is losing his job to automation. It is moody and full of reverb, creating a vibe that is perfect for the subject.
A ballad featuring Geoff Queen on dobro, “Without You,” has an easy rolling feel. Even though the lyrics are reminiscent and somewhat sad about common everyday things that don’t seem the same without you, the music feels like a stroll.

Too restless to stay in one place, “Back Out On The Road,” expresses the need to go.

“Sentimental Plague” could be labeled as a protest song.

“Had enough of this shit/I’m sick and tired of it/It’s time to open the hatch/And climb on out of the pit…”
Crying steel guitar leads into “In Love Again (Two Different Languages).” Cowritten with Juliet McConkey, she accompanies Steinle on this duet.

“Well So Long” is a sorrowful story about admitting he was wrong and moving on.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t pay homage to the amazing musicians playing on this album.

Geoff Queen is on pedal steel, Sam Rives on keys, Scott Davis on Bass, Banjo, percussion, and B3 Organ, Brian Broussard on Electric and acoustic guitar, and Richie Millsap on Drums. Jamie Lin Wilson, Rich Brotherton, Caitlin Palmer and Juliet McConkey provide background vocals.

Steinle’s style of writing is in the vein of Hayes Carll, with a lot of nuances mixed with satire. You can find out more about James Steinle and What I Came Here For at jamessteinle.com

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Blah Blah

It was a great year for Texas based/born (or raised) acts  at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards held last month in LA.

Gary Clark Jr.† of Austin for Best Contemporary Blues Album

It was a great year for Texas based/born (or raised) acts  at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards held last month in LA.

Thirteen acts or artists won a total of 17 Grammy awards including:

Blanton Alspaugh  (Houston) (Producer of the Year,

Classical...for work including:
Duruflé´ Complete Choral Works  (Robert Simpson  &  Houston Chamber Choir)

Smith, K.: Canticle  (Craig Hella Johnson  & Cincinnati

Vocal Arts Ensemble)

Visions Take Flight  (Mei-Ann Chen &  ROCO)

Beyoncé  of Houston for Best Music Film for  Homecoming

Gary Clark Jr.  of Austin for Best Contemporary Blues Album for This Land, Best Rock Performance for  “This Land” and Best Rock Song for  “This Land.”

Kirk Franklin  of Fort  Worth for Best Gospel Performance/Song for  Love Theory and for Best Gospel Album for  Long Live Love

Patty Griffin of Austin for Best Folk Album for  Patty Griffin

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

Lizzo of Houston for Best Pop Solo Performance for  “Truth Hurts,” Best Traditional R&B Performance for  Jerome and Best Urban Contemporary Album for  Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)

Delbert McClinton & The Self-Made Men + Dana of Lubbock for Best Traditional Blues Album for  Tall, Dark, & Handsome

Willie Nelson of Austin for Best Country Solo Performance for  “Ride Me Back Home.”

Robert Simpson, Ken Cowan, Houston Chamber Choir of Houston for Best Choral Performance for  Durufle: Complete Choral Works

Tanya Tucker of Seminole for Best Country Song for  “Bring My Flowers Now”  (with Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth) and Best Country Album for While I’m Livin’

Events

Author, filmmaker and producer, Tamara Saviano, and co-producer and co-director, Paul Whitfield, announce the world premiere of Without Getting Killed or Caught, their remarkable documentary film about the complicated relationship among legendary songwriters Guy Clark, Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and the art it inspired.

The film will premiere this March at the SXSW Film Festival for SXSW badge holders. Without Getting Killed or Caught features narration by Academy Award-winner Sissy Spacek (as Susanna Clark) as well as interviews with Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Jo Harvey Allen, Terry Allen and Verlon Thompson, along with archival soundbites, photos and vintage footage.

Grammy Award-winner, Tanya Tucker will appear at a sold-out show at the Kessler in on March 26.

Being called “Raised by Wolves, Bound for Glory,” the Texas Tribute to Hal Ketchum will feature musicians from all across the state. This is being held on February 23, at Gruene Hall, with doors opening at 3 pm and with a 4 pm downbeat.

Playing are Wade Bowen, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, Walt Wilkins, Lee Roy Parnell, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jesse Dayton, Slaid Cleaves and so many others.

Hal Ketchum’s wife, Andrea, announced on his Facebook page in April 2019 that he had been diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, after his last tour, and that it had progressed to the point that he could no longer perform.

This event is both a tribute to one of Texas’ greats, and also a benefit to help with medical and other necessary bills.

Gruene Hall posted on its Website “Hal Ketchum has been a part of the Gruene Hall family since 1985, and we will always love and cherish him.”

The annual Texas Steel Guitar Association Jamboree event is scheduled for March 12-15 at the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel in Irving will promote steel guitar music, performance, and education in Texas, the United States, and the world.

That Website for more information is TexasSteelGuitar.org and the hotel phone number is 972-929-8400.

One of Dallas’ oldest remaining record stores has closed. Hit Records, located in the Casa View Shopping Center at 10,253 Ferguson Road, closed after 46 years in business.

The 19th Annual Texas Drummers Luncheon will occur on March 17, which is also St. Patrick’s Day, at Fuddruckers in Grapevine, 12 noon. And to consider everything collectively, organizers said, they all share so much combined history and tons of common ground to discuss.

The 19th Annual Texas Drummers Luncheon

More than 70 drummers and their guests attended last year. Those who are new and planning to attend, please send Shane McCauley your email address along with your T-shirt size, ShaneMcCauley@gmail.com. Your guests will be to pre-order a T-shirt. Also, McCauley asked that anyone inviting fellow drummers, to also notify him and provide that person’s email.

There are several Mardi Gras festivals. On February 23, Poor David’s Pub is hosting KNON’s yearly gumbo contest. This begins around 3 pm and more than a dozen gumbo cooks are expected to compete, with celebrity judges handing one of those the grand prize and with the audience selecting the People’s Choice winner.

Music this year is coming from the Black Powder Vipers, Jay-B & The Zydeco Posse, Christian Dozzler’s Mardi Gras Tribute to James Booker & Professor Longhair. For more information, go online to KNON.org.

This year’s lineup for the 31st Annual Mardi Gras Festival at Nate’s Seafood in Addison includes the Sunday Blues Happening Band, Lundi Gras with Brent Rozell, Aaron Burton & Jason Cloud, plus Chant, Texas Flood, Juice & Jam, Jimmy Wallace and others. It all starts at 10 am.

Hank’s Texas Grill is rekindling its weekly Open Mic competition, with a $50 prize every week. It’s been several years since the last open mic contest at this McKinney location, and it was a hot contest each year, quite different to the singer/songwriter contests which are more prevalent. To enter, sign up at 8 p.m. every Wednesday in person at Hank’s beginning February 5,.

Hank’s, also, is beginning to host live music on Sunday afternoons, with Eleven Hundred Springs taking the first four Sundays beginning February 9, with shows starting at 4 p.m. Sound is provided with Tyler Rogers handling it and the MC/promotion honors. Hank’s Texas Grill is at the southeast corner of U.S. Hwy. 75 and White Avenue.

For seven weeks beginning February 16, Love & War in Texas will be turning over its Shiner Sunday afternoon spots to host the 2020 Rusty Wier singer/songwriter competition. This will begin at 4 pm with eight contestants each week.

Round 1 goes for four weeks, then Round 2 for 2 weeks, and the finale following that. Brett Dillon, with KHYI, will coordinate and host it each week. Love & War in Texas is at the northeast corner of U.S. 75 and Plano Parkway. There’s no charge for admission and it’s a good chance for music lovers to hear new performers and to support their favorites.

New Releases

Critically acclaimed and revered songwriter, John Moreland, is set to release his fifth solo album, LP5, on February 7 via Old Omens/Thirty Tigers. Produced by Matt Pence (Jason Isbell, The Breeders, Sarah Jaffe) at The Echo Lab, LP5  marks the first time that Moreland has worked with an outside producer. The elevated and brilliant production on LP5, provides a stunning backdrop for Moreland’s masterful and poetic lyrics, creating his most powerful work to date. 

Austin-based, soul band Tomar and the FCs released their second full-length album, Rise Above. Tomar and the FCs is a soul band 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.

Austin-based, synth/cosmic-pop pair, Moonray, and their new video, “No Stranger to Love,”  ahead of their self-produced and recorded LP, Digital Moon, released under their own label, Satellite Records. “The electrifying, upbeat track previews their upcoming self-recorded album, Digital Moon.” (Conversations About Her) “The synth-pop duo are creating their own lane when it comes to music, incorporating the infectious synth vibes that exploded in the ‘80s, along with live instrumentals and “free-spirited ’70s vibes.”

Westonn released his first EP titled  Way Past 2AM. Last month. It is collection of five, introspective and intimate tracks centered around what goes on when it’s past two o’clock in the morning.  Way Past 2AM  begins with an atmospheric admission of fears, love lost and aspirations in the first track titled  Nightmares. From there the mood shifts from somber to hopeful, in  Lines.

Texas native singer-songwriter, Tori Martin was dreaming of an “Old Fashioned White Christmas” with the release of her new single of the same title. It is currently available through all streaming platforms and digital retailers. The track was co-written with John Cirillo, Daniel Reifsnyder  and was produced by Jake Saghi.

The sweet sentimental lyrics and down-home feel paired with Martin’s unforgettable stacked harmonies are guaranteed to take listeners down memory lane as they ring in the holidays and create new memories. Martin added, “Old Fashioned White Christmas” was inspired by the great classics... our favorite Christmas songs! It makes me feel nostalgic and in anticipation of one of the most amazing days of the year.

The Wood Brother are set to release their next studio album Kingdom In My Mind on January 24 via Honey Jar/Thirty Tigers. The 11-song collection is the band’s most spontaneous and experimental work yet. Recorded over a series of freewheeling, improvised sessions, the album is a reckoning with circumstance, mortality, and human nature. While the lyrics dig deep, the arrangements are buoyant and transportive, drawing from a broad sonic and stylistic spectrum.

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