Tag Archives: Walt Wilkins

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!


Mixed Tape Monday on Tuesday

Well readers, I know it has been a while and I have the same excuse as last time.  Home repairs! The lovely dwelling of mine had a leak  in the upstairs bathroom that has required two plumbers, a general contractor, and an insurance adjuster.  As a result, we have had to remove and replace of all of the upstairs plumbing.  In order to do so, they had to rip up floors, ceilings, walls, etc…Insert a litany of foul, four, six, seven, and eight  lettered words and various combinations of said words.  And, at this point, insurance is not covering the damage.  Again, insert more obscenities.

Of the folks mentioned, only two are currently in good standing with me.  Jason McCord of B&B Contracting you, my good man, are a life saver.  Chad and Kyle, from Flow Force Plumbing (www.flowforceplumbing.net ), you guys are the best. 

Welcome to another, late, installment of Mixed Tape Monday.

Topic: House, Home, Room, Repair, anything you might find in a house or that can go wrong with a house, etc…

Song:  She Came In Through the Bathroom Window

Artists: The Beatles

Album: Abbey Road

Song:  Light Up My Room

Artists: Bare Naked Ladies

Album: Stunt

Song:  Summer House

Artists: Better Than Ezra

Album: Deluxe

Song:  Black Door

Artists: The Black Keys

Album: Magic Potion

Song:  My Father’s House

Artists: Bruce Springsteen

Album: Nebraska

Song:  Walnut Street (Just listen to the song and you will get it)

Artists: Walt Wilkins

Album: Rivertown

Song:  Lost In the Backyard

Artists: James McMurtry

Album: Where’d You Hide the Body

Song:  Mudhouse

Artists: Bob Schneider

Album: The Californian

Song:  Back Against the Wall

Artists: Cage the Elephant

Album: Cage the Elephant

Song:  Burn That Broken Bed

Artists: Calexico & Iron & Wine

Album: In the Reins (EP)

Song:  Down the Drain

Artists: Chickenfoot

Album: Chickenfoot

Song:  Beautiful Homes

Artists: Chris Isaak

Album: San Francisco Days

Song:  Floorboards

Artists: Chris Mills

Album: The Silver Line

Song:  Living Room

Artists: David Gray

Album: A Century Ends

Song:  No Ceiling

Artists: Eddie Vedder

Album: Into the Wild

Song:  Climbing Up the Walls

Artists: Erin Ivey (cover of Radiohead)

Album: Sweet Little EP

Song:  Renovations

Artists: Helmet

Album: Aftertaste

Song:  Dusty

Artists: Kings of Leon

Album: Youth & Young Manhood

Song:  Another Brick in the Wall

Artists: Pink Floyd

Album: The Wall

Song:  Big Crash

Artists: Less Than Jake

Album: Hello Rockview

Song:  This Old Porch

Artists: Lyle Lovett

Album: Lyle Lovett

Song:  House Carpenter

Artists: Nickel Creek

Album: This Side

Great music awaits!

 


Walt Wilkins and Tommy Alverson: A Night of Sweet Music and Barbeque

Last night was one of those night you just kind of stumble upon and realize how good life can be when you slow down a bit.  Walt Wilkins, a favorite of mine, was in town this week playing with the great Tommy Alverson.  He did a show in East Parker County on Tuesday night and then a show in North Richland Hills last night. 

I’ve mentioned Walt in several of my blogs and just can’t seem to get enough of his music.  Each show I find something that I did not see or hear before.  Last night was no different.  The show took place at the Big Barn Barbeque in North Richland Hills.  It consisted of Tommy, Walt, two guitars and songs traded between the two.  The set list was a variety of covers and original music from each.  There was plenty of good natured banter between the two as well as considerable amount of talking to and from the crowd. 

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.  Walt’s honey dripped tenor is the embodiment of Texas.  Rich, smooth, with just the right amount of twang. 

Tommy Alverson is no slouch in the vocal arena and is a mighty fine guitarist.  His voice is warm and inviting with just a hint of mischief.  Promoting his new album Texas One More Time, his ninth studio album, Alverson played a few cuts from the album, as well as several fan favorites like Una Mas Cerveza”.

There was much discussion from each on how they just love to play and how much music has meant to each.  They covered songs from the likes of Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, and an impressive show closing cover of Van Morrison’sInto the Mystic”. 

The night had two defining moments for me:

  •  When B3, the current pseudonym of my bonus child, mentioned that she hoped that Walt would play his song “Poetry”, which has covered by Pat Green on his album Wave On Wave.  After some gentle prodding and a few words of encouragement from her mother and me, B3 marched up to the stage and politely asked Mr. Wilkins if he would play Poetry for her.  He responded with a hearty “Yes I Can” and lo and behold, the next song played was “Poetry”!  The ear to ear grin that washed over her face was pure bliss.  Even better was the 6-7 minute version that he sang, talked to the crowd, and did impromptu lyrical changes.  

 

  • As the show is winding down, Tommy and Walt are talking to the group and Tommy mentions that no one can sing this next song like Walt.  Walt begins strumming his guitar and then you hear the familiar word “We were born before the wind” and off he went into a beautiful Texas style version of “Into the Mystic”.  I just sat back in awe of what Ii was witnessing.  I’m a huge Van Morrison fan and am sometimes critical of the various covers of his music.  Not this one, he absolutely nailed it, played with complete reverence, and still made it all his own.

If you ever get a chance to see either Walt Wilkins or Tommy Alverson, take the time, drive the distance, and enjoy what music can do in the span of an hour or two.

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!


Mixed Tape Monday: Texas Artists

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday.  As you may have noticed, I am on a bit of a Texas Music kick and today will continue down that path.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to hear some great live music at a little barbeque joint just west of Fort Worth.  I am a huge Walt Wilkins fan and I saw that he had two shows in the Fort Worth area yesterday.  So, off we go for some beer and barbeque and some great music.  In addition to Walt, there were some up and coming musicians like Johnny Cooper, Bobby Duncan, and 6th Market Boulevard that played as well.

So, my topic for today is, you guessed it, Texas Artists.

Song:              One of Those Moments

Artist:              Walt Wilkins

Album:            Rivertown

Song:              Texas On My Mind

Artist:              Django Walker

Album:            Down the Road

Song:              Beautiful Thing

Artist:              Slaid Cleaves       

Album:            Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away

Song:              Eden’sGate

Artist:              Pat Green

Album:            Wave On Wave

Song:              My Brother and Me

Artist:              Bruce Robison

Album:            Wrapped

Song:              Home

Artist:              Eli Young Band

Album:            Jet Black and Jealous

Song:              Shades of Gray

Artist:              Robert Earl Keen

Album:            Picnic

 Song:              Daddy and the Devil

Artist:              Wade Bowen & Chris Knight

Album:            If We ever Make It Home

Song:              Goodbye Sweet Dreams

Artist:              Roky Erikson & Okervil River

Album:            True Love Cast Out All Evil

Song:              Simple Song

Artist:              Lyle Lovett

Album:            Pontiac

Song:              Too Many Ways To Fall

Artist:              Arc Angels

Album:            Arc Angels

 Song:              Sunday Morning Coming Down

Artist:              Kris Kristofferson

Album:            Kristofferson

 Song:              We Can’t Make It Here

Artist:              James McMurtry

Album:            Childish Things

 Song:              Sunday Clothes

Artist:              Charlie Sexton

Album:            Under the Wising Tree

 Song:              Fool

Artist:              Jack Ingram

Album:            Electric

 Song:              Life Without You

Artist:              Stevie Ray Vaughan

Album:            Soul To Soul

Song:              Love Must Follow You Around

Artist:              Randy Rogers Band

Album:            Rollercoaster

 Song:              Indianola

Artist:              Charlie Robison

Album:            Life of the Party

Song:              I’m the One

Artist:              Doyle Bramhall II

Album:            Jellycream

Song:              Come with Me Tonight

Artist:              Bob Schneider

Album:            I’m Good Now


You should be listening to Texas Music!

Recently I posted a blog that featured six Texas artists and it got me to thinking about all of the great music that comes out of Texas.  In years past, when I heard the term Texas music, I immediately associated that with country music.  As I’ve gotten older and immersed myself more into the music scene, I’ve realized that Texas offers a lot to all of the musical genres. 

I grew up on the greatness of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble as well as Jimmie Vaughan’s band the Fabulous Thunderbirds.  They were two paragons of the Texas music scene who paved the way for so many other Texas musicians such as the Arc Angels.

From the country side of music, you have early pioneers such as Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen.  These two college buddies have been leading the charge for over 20 years.  Based on their dedication to the craft, a whole new crop of Texas artists has emerged.  Folks such as Pat Green, Cory Morrow, Wade Bowen, and Walt Wilkins are just a few that top the list.

Austin has been dubbed the Live Music capital of the world and with good reason.  Not only are they home to one of the greatest music festivals (Austin City Limits Music Festival) they also have SXSW which is a great place to catch a litany of great musical acts.  Austin is home to musical greatness such as Spoon, Erin Ivey, James McMurtry, and Bob Schneider.

Dallas has given us the likes of Tripping Daisy, the Old 97’s, Nora Jones, and the erratic and recently erotic Erykah Badu.

Fort Worth is responsible for The Toadies, Elizabeth Wills, and the Butthole Surfers.

Denton, a thriving musical Mecca and home to my Alma Mater has provided us with artist such as Roy Orbison, Bowling For Soup, Eli Young and the always fun polka band Brave Combo.

Houston has provided the Southern Rap community with artists such as The Ghetto Boys, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, and Chamillionaire

Texas has a killer music scene and you should be listening to Texas music in whatever form/genre you dig.

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 6/1/10

Welcome to another addition of Tune in Tuesday!  Today’s musical choices are all from the great state of Texas.  And now, the obligatory cheesy state bravado, that’s right folks, it is Tune In Tuesday Texas style! I’m sure that was not as painful to read as it was to write. 

Step Inside This House

Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett is a great songwriter and has had a tremendous impact on the Texas music scene.  Step Inside This House is an album of covers written by fellow Texans.  It is one of my favorite albums that Lyle has released.  He covers songs from artist such as Robert Earl Keen, Townes Van Zandt, Steven Fromholz, and Guy Clark.  This release is a two disc album and is great from start to finish.  Lovett’s vocals add new life to the lyrics of others while staying true to their music and most importantly, himself.

Key Tracks:

Lungs, Rollin’ By, Texas Trilogy (All three songs, thus the word trilogy),

Rivertown

Walt Wilkins

Walt Wilkins is one of the greatest songwriters that you have never heard of.  His music has been covered by the likes of Pat Green and Ricky Skaggs.  Rivertown is one of his earlier solo albums and is filled with musical gems.  He has a really comforting vocal presentation and brings you into each of his songs. 

Key Tracks:

Poetry, One of those Moments, Seven Hillsides, Some Men Fall

Lost Hotel

Wade Bowen

Waco born Bowen is a Texas singer/songwriter who happens to be the brother in law of Cody Canada (Cross Canadian Ragweed).  He co-wrote Pat Green’s hit “Don’t Break My Heart Again” and has released four albums.  Lost Hotel was my introduction to Wade and is one of my favorite albums of his.  His whiskey soaked vocals add an emotional depth to his lyrics.

Key Tracks:

Resurrection, Perfect Silence, Lost Hotel, Broken Reflection (Troubadour’s Prayer)

Soul To Soul

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Not sure what I can say about this album other than it is pure greatness.  Stevie was a genius and this was just one of many ways he displayed his musical prowess.  Life Without You and Change it are in my Top 5 Greatest songs by Stevie.

Key Tracks:

Life Without You, Change It, Lookin’ Out the Window, Look At Little Sister

Carry On

Pat Green

Carry On was Green’s third self released album and one of his finest.  His cover of Walt Wilkin’s “Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters” is amazing and the rest of the tracks are just as good.  I am a huge Pat Green fan but find myself listening to more of his earlier recordings.  This album, in particular, just seems to be more authentic than some of his new releases. 

Key Tracks:

Whiskey, Carry On, Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters, Crazy, Holdin’ On

I’m Good Now

Bob Schneider

A paragon of the Austin music scene, Bob Schneider has got the musical goods.  This is his third solo album.  His funky word play, feel good vibe, and his musical fearlessness make him fun to listen to and even more entertaining to see live.  This album is one of my favorite as well as a favorite of my kids.  And really, there is nothing better than hearing the following words sung from your children when they are all under the age of 5.

I can see god on a cloud in the sky
On top of the world watching the world roll by
With a great big grin and some good cocaine
Jesus by his side in the pouring rain

And then there is another great verse that every kindergarten child should know

 I can see god In Italian shoes
With a beard and a gun and a case of the blues
Smoking a cigarette drinking coors light
With teeth so white they light up the night

It was shortly after this car ride sing along that I received my first of many Father of the Year nominations and subsequent awards.

Key Tracks:

Come With Me Tonight, God Is My Friend, Captain Kirk,

Great music awaits!