Tag Archives: Roky Erikson

2010 Year In Review Part Deaux: Texas Music You Should Be Listening To!

As the saying goes, there must be something in the water!  There is something about the Texas music scene that defies typical musical conventions.  This, of course, comes as no surprise to the millions of Texas music fans.  The variety of music that hails from the great state is as expansive as the West Texas plains.  While Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital” of the world, there are plenty of fertile musical breeding grounds in Texas. 

 Today, I will WOW you with some of the musical greatness that came from or had ties to Texas in 2010. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, it is just a few of the albums that I have had in heavy rotation over the course of the last year. 

Artist Album Observations
Old 97’s The Grand Theatre Vol. 1 Dallas band gets back to their roots and write good music without trying to be anything more than they are.  After 17 years it is good to see them comfortable in their own skin.
Spoon Transference Not as much of gloss and a lot more rock is what make this album great.  Not shying away from the darker textures, Spoon creates a less poppy album and the laxity of Transference is the strength of the album.
Reckless Kelly Somewhere In Time A fine album of cover songs to their one time mentor Pinto Bennett. 
Roky Erickson & Okkervil River True Love Cast Out All Evil Concise production shapes the sorrow of the Austin icon Roky Erickson’s life and ultimately the optimism of his return.
Court Yard Hounds Court Yard Hounds 2/3 of the Dixie Chicks show that sometimes less is more.  Jakob Dylan adds his dusky dulcet tone for a quick duet.
Alejandro Escovedo Street Songs of Love The fierceness of the guitar and the bombastic instrumentation belie the emotional elements of the lyrics. 
Arcade Fire The Suburbs Currently Canadian, Butler boys do hail from the sterile Houston suburb known as the Woodlands.  This is a great album and also made my 2010 Year in review. 
Ryan Bingham Junky Star Former rodeo star hits the big time with Golden Globe and Oscar win and a current Grammy Nomination for his work on the “Crazy Heart’ soundtrack.  His 3rd album is no fluke either.  His whisky and cigarette vocals are the perfect vehicle for his forlorn tales. 
Randy Rogers Band Burning the Day One of the hardest working bands in the state.  Over 200 dates over the past years.  Still time to record and release their 5th album.
Norah Jones …Featuring Norah Jones The list of collaborators is what makes this album genius.  You have the rap community represented with Talib Kweli Q Tip, and Outkast, the rock genre is fortified by Foo Fighters, and Ryan Adams is a genre chameleon so several are covered with his efforts.  Also, Willie Nelson adds his own brand of greatness.
Walt Wilkins Agave A true Texas troubadour.  No one does it better then Walt.  The words of a poet delivered honey sweet with a calm, familiar feel.  Need to see him live if you ever have the chance.
Tommy Alverson Texas One More Time With a twinkle in his eye, and a beer in his hand, Tommy makes music that makes you feel fine.  When Tommy sings, it feels like a warm summer night and for that moment you are carefree.  Highly recommend you see him live, you won’t regret it.
Six Market Boulevard Running On Seven I caught these boys live one Sunday afternoon at a local barbeque joint.  Nice, strong debut album.
Mike Ryan The First One Great voice, laid back attitude, and interacts with his fans.  Ballsy covers of Lenny Kravitz and Conway Twitty.  Need to see him live to fully appreciate his brand of greatness.
Bruce Robison From the Top Amazing songwriting that has made many country artists famous.  This album finds him paired with Rodney Crowell and it is an effort steeped in simplicity.  When you write as well as Bruce, you don’t need to add a lot of fluff.

 Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 6/8/10

Welcome to Tune In Tuesday.  Today’s installment of Tune in Tuesday features six random albums with Texas roots.

If We Ever Make It Home

Wade Bowen 

If We Ever Make It Home is Bowen’s third studio   This album reveals the trials and tribulations of any relationships.  It speaks of love, loss, and the fallability of human spirit.  He is a solid writer that is able to convey his story with passion.  Daddy and the Devil is an amazing song that features Chris Knight and Bowen on vocals. 

Key Tracks: Daddy and the Devil, If We Ever Make It Home, You Had Me At My Best

Fire, Honey, & Angels

Walt Wilkins

 This is Walt’s debut album and some of his finest songwriting.  Walt’s music has a timeless feel to it with poignant lyrics about love, loss, and the varying stages of life.  His voice is comfortable and familiar with a hint of wisdom.  He has the ability to convey so many different thoughts and feelings through his lyrics and voice.  His strongest material is the songs that paint a picture of everyday life.  His eye for detail is uncanny as is his ability to take the mundane and make it memorable.  Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters is possibly the best country song ever written.

Key Tracks: Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters, Our Lady of the Avenue, Lessons Never Learned

Like It Used To Be

Randy Rogers Band

This is the debut studio album for the band and is a solid first venture.  Their sound is appealing in the fact that it does not stand out.  It is good music that could be heard in any number of bars in a college town in the great state of Texas.  Their music gives hope to all the other folks that are out on the road singing in dive bars and backyards.  Their studio work is not overly produced and crafted for radio friendly hooks.  Tommy Jackson is my favorite song from the band to date.

Key Tracks:  Tommy Jackson, Lost and Found, Like It Used To Be

11th Floor

Erin Ivey

Erin Ivey is Austin’s Folk music darling.  She was voted one of the city’s top 4 unsigned artists in 2007. 

Her voice is amazing, both haunting and angelic with a touch of sensuality.  Her single “Chocolate” is an infectious little number that has her voice dripping over her guitar. 

Erin Ivey is a new artist for me as I just heard her for the first time when she opened for Joe Purdy in Austin a few months back. 

Key Tracks:  Chocolate, Separational, Beautiful World

Picnic

Robert Earl Keen

Robert Earl Keen is a Texas born singer/songwriter who has built a cult following of both fans and musicians alike.  Keen’s music is bathed in humor, the hills and landscape of Texas as well as the cast of characters he has met along the way.  Picnic has several memorable (in pure Keen fashion) songs and the duet Then Came Lo Mein with Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins as well as his cover of James McMurtry’s Levelland

Key Tracks: Undone, Levelland, Shades of Gray

True Love Cast Out All Evil

Roky Erikson and Okkervil River

Roky Erikson is the former leader of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators and one forefathers of the psychedelic music scene.  This of course is before his well documented breakdown and battles that led him to a lengthy stint in Rusk Maximum Security Prison for the Criminally Insane. 

Will Sheff is the leader of Okkervil River and is the reason this album came to fruition.  Some of the songs were penned while Erikson was incarcerated.  Sheff deftly produces the album without trying to replicate the sound of forty years ago when Erikson was blazing the music scene. 

Key Tracks: Good Bye Sweet Dream, Be and Bring Me Home, Bring Back the Past

Great music awaits!