It’s easily the busiest week of the year so far for new local releases. Fitting, then, that Willie leads the way:
Willie Nelson, “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin” (Legacy). When Nelson received the Library of Congress’ prestigious Gershwin Prize last year, he surprised with the revelation that he would soon release an album of songs by the award’s namesake composers, George and Ira Gershwin. Like Nelson himself, the brothers were icons of 20th-century American music, and as such, it’s something special to hear what a country legend does with these jazz-inflected popular tunes. Of course, Nelson has long worked across all genres, and he’s visited the Gershwin songbook before, notably on his multiplatinum “Stardust” standards album of 1978. That record’s finale, “Someone to Watch Over Me,” gets another look here, but more revelations come on the blues-tinged “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and the joyously witty “They All Laughed.” Nelson’s recent right-hand studio man Buddy Cannon returns here, but it’s telling that longtime Lyle Lovett pianist Matt Rawlings is co-producer, as piano is more central to the sound than Willie’s trusty Trigger guitar. Rollings, drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist David Piltch and guitarist Dean Parks supplement Nelson’s family band, along with cameo singers for two duets — Cyndi Lauper on the playful “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and Sheryl Crow on the sweetly romantic “Embraceable You.” Playing March 12 at Rodeo Austin and March 18 as host of the Luck Reunion. Here’s the title track:
Bill Carter, “Innocent Victims & Evil Companions” (Forty Below). A roots/blues songwriter and guitarist whose career took off in the 1980s when the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray Vaughan covered his songs, Carter is back with a triumphant 14-song set that boasts some of Austin’s best musicians, from guitarists Charlie Sexton and Denny Freeman to the Tosca String Quartet. Release show Saturday at the Saxon Pub. Here’s the video for the leadoff track, “Black Lion”:
Mama K & the Shades, “Honey Made,” Friday at One-2-One Bar. It’s been a tumultuous year for the local funk-soul powerhouse, whose saxophonist and co-founder David McKnight drowned in the San Marcos River last summer. They’ve rebounded with a remarkable debut album; we’ll have more on the band next week. Release show Friday at One-2-One Bar. Here’s an album preview:
Golden Dawn Arkestra, “Stargazer,” Friday-Saturday at Mohawk outdoor. On this eight-song follow-up to a 2014 debut EP, Golden Dawn cements its reputation as one of Austin’s most exotic bands, combining deep dance grooves with multicultural influences on songs such as “Spacewaves” and “Shabuki.” Release shows Friday-Saturday at the Mohawk outdoors. Check out the song “Osaka” and a brief Q&A with the band on our Austin Music Source blog.
Jared Leibowich, “Welcome Late Bloomers,” Monday at Waterloo Records. The solo album from the Zoltars member shares a lo-fi ’60s sensibility with that local garage band but feels a little more pop with an emphasis on vocal layers. In-store Monday at Waterloo Records. Here’s the track “Please Never Take Me Home”:
David Messier, “Waiting for Eldridge” (Fable). Formerly of Boston band Papermoon, Messier moved to Austin to open the recording studio Same Sky Productions and is now issuing his first solo album. Release show Friday at the Townsend. Here’s the track “Everything Breaks My Heart”:
Black Balsam, “See You Later, See You There” (Punctum). Fifteen tracks from ringleader Jesse Wooten and friends that wander widely across the indie spectrum. Release show Sunday at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Here’s the track “Days With Wings”:
Coattails, self-titled. Heavy blues-rock with a touch of psychedelic energy marks this local outfit’s latest album. Release show Saturday at the Mohawk indoors. Here’s the song “Pauline”:
8 Ball Aitken, self-titled (Red Rocker). Raw and rootsy country-rock from a recent Australian transplant. Song titles include “She’s Going to Mexico, I’m Going to Jail,” “Seven Bucks an Hour in a Chicken Suit” and “Outback Booty Call,” so consider yourself warned.
Kathryn Legendre, “Don’t Give a Damn” EP. Building on the country-folk foundation of her 2013 debut album “Old Soul,” Legendre serves up four new original tunes that ring out with Texas twang. Release show Friday at the White Horse.
SuperEtte, “When People Are Cold and Hard and Hate” EP. The second release from the punk-pop trio featuring bassist Dominique Davalos, known for her work with local blues-rock band the BlueBonnets. In-store Sunday at Waterloo Records.
Robin Wymer, “Table of Grace” EP. New music from the local contemporary Christian music outfit. Release show Monday at North Door.
MARCH 2: “Dreamer: A Tribute to Kent Finlay” (Eight 30), in-store March 6 at Waterloo Records with James McMurtry, Jamie Lin Wilson, Matt Harlan and Owen Temple.
MARCH 4: Benjamin Cissner & the Apologies, “Birds in the Night,” in-store March 4 at End of an Ear.
MARCH 5: Torino Black, “Food for a Therapist,” release show March 5 at the Parish.
MARCH 11: Penny & Sparrow, “Let a Lover Drown You” (Single Lock/Thirty Tigers), playing April 16 at the Parish.
MARCH 11: Holy Wave, “Freaks of Nurture” (Reverb Appreciation Society), release show Feb. 26 at Barracuda.
MARCH 25: White Denim, “Stiff” (Downtown), produced by Ethan Johns, playing SXSW (dates TBA).
MARCH 25: Bayonne, “Primitives” (Mom+Pop), re-branded wider release of Roger Sellers album issued last fall.
APRIL 1: Greyhounds, “Change of Pace” (Ardent).
APRIL 1: Explosions in the Sky, “The Wilderness” (Temporary Residence).
APRIL 1: Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow, “From the Forest Came the Fire” (Modern Outsider), release show April 2 at Stateside at the Paramount.
APRIL 8: Hayes Carll, “Lovers and Leavers” (Hwy 87/Thirty Tigers).
APRIL 15: Calliope Musicals, “Time Owes You Nothing,” re;ease show April 15 at Central Presbyterian Church.
APRIL 22: Sharks in the Deep End, “Killin Machine.”
APRIL: Michael Fracasso, “Here Come the Savages.”
MAY 3: Jeremy Nail, “My Mountain.”
MAY 6: A Giant Dog, “Pile” (Merge).
MAY 13: Migrant Kids, “Primordial Soup” EP (Pure Joy).
MAY: Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, self-titled.
MAY: Cotton Mather, “Songs From the I Ching,” first in a series of vinyl releases collecting 64 digital tracks.
Are you an Austin-area act with a new record coming out? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.