Country Music Roundup: The breakthrough of Maren Morris is upon us

Margo Price set Billboard chart records with her debut, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter,” earlier this year, but could Dallas-born Maren Morris break that record this week? Morris’ breakthrough full-length album, “Hero,” drops this Friday. Last year, the 26-year-old’s self-titled EP peaked at No. 27 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart and sold 2,400 copies in its first week. What’s more, she already boasts a No. 5 charting single in “My Church.”

Singer Maren Morris attends the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

And if that’s not enough, she appears with Dierks Bentley on his new album, “Black.”

However, no matter if Morris breaks Price’s record, 2016 is already shaping up to be a great one for female artists in country music. Loretta Lynn, Cam, Price, the Dixie Chicks, Brandy Clark and Martina McBride have all released new albums, released new songs, started touring again, or some combination of the above. And it’s not even summer yet.

Other New Songs:

Sam Hunt: “Single for the Summer”

Sam Hunt is milking his 2014 debut for all it’s worth. “Single for the Summer” is the sixth single from the 10-track “Montevallo,” and the new video for the song was just released. Like the rest of Hunt’s catalog, it fuses a hip-hop backbeat with pop-country lyrics. In another video, released way back in 2014 when the album came out, Hunt defends his musical choices for this song and the rest of his album.

Gary Allan: “Do You Wish It Was Me?”

It looks like MCA Nashville is slowly working through its backlog. May has seen a new song from Josh Turner and now another new song from Gary Allan. It follows the same pattern I’ve written about before: the new songs from both artists sound like compromises. “Do You Wish It Was Me?” is Allan on autopilot. He’s done this song before, and better: 2003’s “See If I Care” tells the same story, with more emotion.

Country Music Shows This Week:

Tuesday:

Americana mainstay Mike Stinson plays the late slot at the White Horse. … Croy & the Boys’ new country series “This Ain’t No Armadillo” at Barracuda welcomes J.D. Clark.

Wednesday:

Beat Root Revival, a U.K. roots-music duo who made their new record in Austin, play the happy-hour set at Continental Club, with Wednesday regulars James McMurtry, Jon Dee Graham and William Harries Graham & the Painted Redstarts following.— D.S.S.

The White Horse will feature up-and-comer Sophia Johnson.

The new Grizzly Hall has mostly been booking punk and metal shows, but they go country for a midweek triple bill with Aaron McDonnell & the Neon Eagles, Mayeux & Broussard and the Watters. —D.S.S.

Thursday:

Carson McHone at Shady Grove. Since we profiled McHone in an Austin360/Statesman cover story last summer, the country-folk singer-songwriter’s career has continued to be steadily on the rise. She’s opened for Jerry Jeff Walker at ACL Live, played Auditorium Shores during South by Southwest, and did some spring dates across the Midwest opening for Gary Clark Jr. She’ll play KGSR’s Blues on the Green at Zilker Park in July, but first, she’s doing the station’s more intimate “Unplugged at the Grove” series. Free. 8 p.m. 1624 Barton Springs Road. theshadygrove.com. — P.B.

Americana singer-songwriter Christy Hays will keep the dancers moving at the White Horse.— D.S.S.

This is the Country Music Roundup, a weekly blog where we’ll give you the latest news in country music releases and local country shows. For a more in-depth analysis of the genre and where it’s headed, check back with our weekly Gone Country blog every Thursday.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or by email: jharris@statesman.com. 

 

Austin’s summer soundtrack: sweet free music series

Austin band Wild Child performs at a super secret show with Shakey Graves at Holy Mountain Sept. 21 as part of the venue's last week in operation. 092115 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Wild Child plays KGSR’s Blues on the Green on June 22.  Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

MORE SUMMER MUSIC: SPECIAL EVENTS | ROAD-TRIPS | FESTIVALS

Our full Summer Music Guide comes out June 3, but temperatures are already rising, so we’re rolling out preview sections early. Austin is rich with free music series through the summer are here are a few fun ones to try.

Blues on the Green: KGSR’s wildly popular concerts draw thousands to Zilker Park for free music on a handful of summer Wednesdays. On June 22, check out uke-slinging indie pop darlings Wild Child, whose sudden rise has been one of Austin music’s great success stories of the last few years. The band’s Zilker performance will be their last local appearance before leaving on a cross-country tour that includes appearances at Lollapalooza and the Newport Folk Festival. Local R&B rocker Max Frost opens. Subsequent BOTG shows are July 13 with Hayes Carll and Carson McHone, and Aug. 3 with Sweet Spirit and the Suffers. Free. 8 p.m. 2100 Barton Springs Road. Kgsr.com. — D.S.S.

‘LOVERS AND LEAVERS’: HOW HAYES CARLL REDISCOVERED HIS INNER STORYTELLER

Unplugged at the Grove: KGSR’s other long-running series regularly packs Shady Grove on Thursdays through September. Upcoming highlights include Harvest Thieves on June 9, Alejandro Escovedo on June 16, Ray Wylie Hubbard on June 23 and James McMurtry on June 30. Kgsr.com.— P.B.

The Wine Down: The last Wednesday of each month through September finds up-and-coming local acts sponsored by KUTX at 3Ten, the new venue below ACL Live, with free wine samples from Ruffino plus bites from local eateries. Catch Amanda Cevallos on June 29, El Tule on July 27 and Blue Healer on Aug. 31, with a Sept. 28 act to be announced. — P.B.

Hillside Concert Series at Pan Am Park. The City of Austin programs Tejano groups and other artists who reflect the cultural history of the neighborhood surrounding this East Austin park for free evening concerts every Tuesday in July. — D.S.S.

Saturday Night Concert Series: Sun Radio presents these free shows on the small open-air amphitheater a couple of blocks from its studios at the Hill Country Galleria. Upcoming shows include Midnight River Choir on June 4 and Dawn & Hawkes on June 11. sunradio.com. — P.B.

Live from Beau’s Backyard: Another Sun Radio series features live sets once a month on Fridays at the Oasis overlooking Lake Travis. Coming up are Guy Forsyth on June 24 and Jonathan Tyler on July 29. sunradio.com. — P.B.

Sunset Concert Series: KLBJ-FM also sets up shop at the Oasis on many Friday nights. The lineup is still to come, but a May 27 kickoff show included Ben Ballinger, Eric Tessmer and Residual Kid. klbjfm.com. — P.B.

Children’s Day Art Park at Symphony Square: On Wednesday mornings in June and July, the Austin Symphony hosts a popular kids concert series featuring a variety of Austin musicians. In addition to bands, activities are aimed at Austin’s youngest music fans, including an “instrument petting zoo.” Series opens on June 8 with Sara Hickman and Family Time Rocks. $.50 cover. austinsymphony.org. — D.S.S.

Music Under the Star: Names won’t be announced until early June, but the Bullock Museum typically books high-quality local acts for free early evening shows on its Lone Star Plaza. Check thestoryoftexas.com for details. — P.B.

Sound & Cinema: The Long Center teams with Do512 and the Alamo Drafthouse to present well curated pairings of Austin bands with classic, family-friendly movies. The lineup has not been released yet, but the free shows kick off June 29 and continue on alternating Wednesdays through Aug. 17. thelongcenter.org. — D.S.S.

Courtyard Concert Series: A relatively new presentation at the Domain includes a main concert at Lone Star Court plus after-shows at the Water Trough Bar. June 3 features the Cody Bryan Band plus the Marshall Hood Band later. lonestarcourt.com.

Road trips and more musical excursions worth making this summer

Beyonce's Formation tour returns to her hometown, Houston on September 22. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Beyonce’s Formation tour returns to her hometown, Houston, on September 22. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

 » MORE SUMMER MUSIC: DAY PARTIES/SPECIAL EVENTS | FREE SERIES | FESTIVALS

Our full Summer Music Guide comes out June 3, but temperatures are already rising, so we’re rolling out preview sections early. Here’s a selection of musical events that might warrant leaving the city.

FESTS BEYOND THE CITY

Through June 7: Kerrville Folk Festival. A Hill Country tradition since 1972, this fortnight-long favorite among fans of acoustic music features performers every day, with highlights on weekends. kerrville-music.com.

June 24-26: Vans Warped Tour. The sound of teen spirit sweeps through Dallas on the 24th, San Antonio on the 25th and Houston on the 26th. Lineup includes New Found Glory, Tonight Alive, Less Than Jake, Yellowcard, among many more. vanswarpedtour.com

July 16-17: Float Fest. The mid-summer music-’n’-tubing extravaganza on the San Marcos River hits the Cool River Ranch, with a lineup featuring Chromeo, Rick Ross, Santigold, Big Gigantic, Future Islands and more. floatfest.net.

July 28-31: Viva Big Bend. Head farther out on I-10 for this annual bash in the heart of West Texas, with shows at venues in Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis and Marathon. Performers include Los Lonely Boys, Little Joe y la Familia, Mike & the Moonpies, Soul Track Mind, the Peterson Brothers and the Deer, with more to be announced. vivabigbend.com.

Sept. 29-Oct. 2:: Utopia Fest. The ninth annual event in Utopia, not the mythical nirvana but the small town three hours southwest of Austin, has a reputation as a good time for live music and a community spirit of overnight camping. If you’re looking for a small alternative to ACL Fest, this might be your ticket. utopiafest.com.

ROADTRIP-WORTHY TOURS

June 22: Steely Dan at the American Airlines Center in Dallas

July 22-23: Garth Brooks at the AT&T Center in San Antonio

Aug. 3: Guns N’ Roses ‘Not in this Lifetime’ tour at AT&T Stadium in Arlington

Aug. 5: Guns N’ Roses ‘Not in this Lifetime’ tour at NRG Stadium in Houston

Aug. 27: Coldplay ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ tour at AT&T Stadium in Arlington

Sept. 7: Black Sabbath ‘The End’ tour at Gexa Energy Pavillion in Dallas

Sept. 10: Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas at the AT&T Center in San Antonio (also has dates in Dallas and Houston)

Sept. 16: Bad Boy Reunion Tour at the AT&T Center in San Antonio (also has dates in Dallas and Houston)

Sept. 20: Carrie Underwood at American Airlines Center in Dallas

Sept. 22: Beyonce ‘Formation’ tour at NRG Stadium in Houston

This week’s music picks: Randy Newman makes good at the Paramount, Antone’s remembers Prince and more

MONDAY

Bluegrass Night at Radio Coffee & Beer. Though the coffeehouse and intimate music venue Flipnotics is still missed — even as the new SquareRut Kava Bar has opened in its old digs on Barton Springs Road — one tradition that survived in a new home is the weekly bluegrass jam, which moved a few miles farther south to the popular all-purpose hang Radio Coffee & Beer. An indoor-outdoor spot with quality drinks of the morning and evening variety alike, Radio also presents live music on a fairly regular basis, anchored by this Monday standby that had a long history even before it found a new home here. Free. 8 p.m. 4204 Manchaca Road. radiocoffeeandbeer.com. — P.B.

Also: Blues-rockers the Swamp Bats play an EP release show at One-2-One Bar. … Go to “church” on Memorial Day with the Church on Monday jazz crew at the Continental Gallery, or hang downstairs at the Club with honky-tonker Dale Watson plus happy-hour rockin’ blues with the Peterson Brothers. … Chris Gage and Kym Warner sit in on piano and mandolin, respectively, with Christine Albert and the Mystery Monday crew at El Mercado Backstage.

TUESDAY

Caravan Palace at the Mohawk outdoor. The seven-piece Parisian powerhouse filters the spirit of Django Reinhardt through an electrocool super collider to produce next generation gypsy jazz with a European club vibe. In the process, they conjure an ecstatic rave that lilts with the rhythm of a roaring twenties swing. $18. 6:30 doors. 912 Red River St. mohawkaustin.com. — D.S.S.

Also: Mongolian folk metal act Tengger Cavalry play Grizzly Hall. .. Nashville-based gothic country singer Adia Victoria plays Stubb’s inside. … Lots of good locals fill the night at Strange Brew with drummer Ernie Durawa at 6 p.m., bassist Bruce Hughes at 8 p.m. and the Band of Babies with Robyn Ludwick and Kacy Crowley at 10 p.m. … The early show by the Antone’s Trio of Denny Freeman, Sarah Brown and Corey Keller each Tuesday is a good enough gig when it’s just the three of them, but the lineup expands to a quintet this week with Mike Keller and Eve Monsees sitting in. … Guitar great David Grissom plays the 6:30 p.m. happy-hour show at the Saxon Pub. … Americana mainstay Mike Stinson plays the late slot at the White Horse. … Croy & the Boys’ new country series “This Ain’t No Armadillo” at Barracuda welcomes J.D. Clark. … Troubadour/drummer Freddie Steady Krc keeps the beat at Evangeline Cafe.

WEDNESDAY

Randy Newman at Paramount. So many entry points have led the way into Newman’s now-towering body of work. Were you a fan of his early songwriter albums in the late ’60s and early ’70s? Did you first hear him when “Short People” became an unlikely smash hit in 1978? Was it his 1980s film scores for “Ragtime” and “The Natural” (the latter of which won him his first of six Grammys) that drew you in? Did it take his Oscar-winning songs for various Pixar movies to reach your generation? Or maybe when his timeless classic “Louisiana 1927” resurfaced as a cultural touchstone during Hurricane Katrina? Legit living legends are hard to come by. At 72, Newman has more than earned the distinction. This show was rescheduled from March 5; all tickets sold for that show will be honored. $48.50-$94.50. 8 p.m. 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org. — P.B.

RELATED: The story behind the impossible photos of Prince playing SXSW

Grupo Fantasma performs with Prince in February of 2007 in South Beach, Florida, at a private party for CBS affiliates.  Grupo members Adrian Quesada, Greg Gonzales, and Kino Rodriguez are shown onstage with Prince. Photo by RPGough of Dodd Technologies
Grupo Fantasma performs with Prince in February 2007 in South Beach, Fla., at a private party for CBS affiliates. Grupo members Adrian Quesada, Greg Gonzales and Kino Rodriguez are shown onstage with Prince. Photo by RPGough of Dodd Technologies

Also: As we approach June 7, what would have been Prince Rogers Nelson’s 58th birthday, a slew of noteworthy ways to celebrate the pop star’s legacy have cropped up. The hottest ticket was the Antone’s Foundation benefit An Austin Salute 2 Prince featuring the Purple One’s one-time backup band Grupo Fantasma. After tickets to the first show sold out swiftly, this second show was added for the night before. It sold out in 40 minutes. … Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins’ “’70s dirt rock” cover band Chevy Metal plays an X Games Kickoff Bash at Stubb’s outside. … Beat Root Revival, a U.K. roots-music duo who made their new record in Austin, play the happy-hour set at Continental Club, with Wednesday regulars James McMurtry, Jon Dee Graham and William Harries Graham & the Painted Redstarts following. … Gutsy rockers Ghost Wolves kick off a “Make Rock ’n’ Roll Not War” residency at Hotel Vegas. … Also on the eastside, the White Horse features rootsy rocker John Evans plus country upstart Sophia Johnson. … Cosmic-cowboy era veteran Bob Livingston is this week’s guest of Will Taylor & Strings Attached at El Mercado Backstage. … Sun Radio’s Texas Radio Live series features Amanda Cevallos and Julian Acosta at Guero’s Oak Garden. … The new Grizzly Hall has mostly been booking punk and metal shows, but they go country for a midweek triple bill with Aaron McDonnell & the Neon Eagles, Mayeux & Broussard and the Watters.

THURSDAY

Carson McHone at Shady Grove. Since we profiled McHone in an Austin360/Statesman cover story last summer, the country-folk singer-songwriter’s career has continued to be steadily on the rise. She’s opened for Jerry Jeff Walker at ACL Live, played Auditorium Shores during South by Southwest, and did some spring dates across the Midwest opening for Gary Clark Jr. She’ll play KGSR’s Blues on the Green at Zilker Park in July, but first, she’s doing the station’s more intimate “Unplugged at the Grove” series. Free. 8 p.m. 1624 Barton Springs Road. theshadygrove.com. — P.B.

“Gold Gone Wild” at Kingdom. Fool’s Gold founder A-Trak will not be in the building when his label tour storms the city this time, but you can sweat it out to the progressive electro house of Australian DJ Tommy Trash and the tasteful grooves of label mates Madeaux and Shash’U. This is an 18 & up show. $20-$25. Doors at 9 p.m. 105 E. Fifth St. kingdomaustin.com. — D.S.S.

Also: The second night of Grupo Fantasma’s sold-out tribute to Prince featuring Tameca Jones, Nakia and more goes down at Antone’s. … Catch the cool lounge-crooner sounds of Monte Warden & the Dangerous few at 8:30 p.m. at the Continental Gallery, with traditional Latin jazz from Rey Arteaga following at 10:30 p.m. … Singer-songwriter Matt the Electrician plays for the fine-dining crowd at Winflo Osteria. … Americana singer-songwriter Christy Hays will keep the dancers moving at eastside honky tonk the White Horse.

Special music events to make your summer sizzle

Riders Against The Storm performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday October 10, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Riders Against The Storm performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday October 10, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

 » MORE SUMMER MUSIC: FREE SERIES | FESTIVALS | ROAD TRIPS

Our full Summer Music Guide comes out June 3, but temperatures are already rising, so we’ll be rolling out preview sections all weekend long. Here’s a selection of day parties and special events.

June 18: I Still Miss Liberty Lunch: The Reunion at ABGB. More than 3,500 Facebook users subscribe to a group called “I Still Miss Liberty Lunch” that helped spawn this event, but many more thousands of Austinites visited the legendary Second Street music venue during its ’80s and ’90s heyday. Era-appropriate acts Fastball, the Reivers, Wild Seeds, Pressure and more will perform, and recently unearthed Lunch memorabilia will be auctioned off. The whole thing benefits the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. — P.B.

June 18: Second Street Soundcheck. More than two dozen local acts, including Walker Lukens, East Cameron Folkcore, Tameca Jones and Moving Panoramas, will perform at this free festival, presented on two stages along Second Street just west of Congress Avenue. 2ndstreetdistrict.com— P.B.

June 29: Gorilla vs. Bear 5 at Parish. The influential Dallas-based music blog hosts a blowout bash featuring New Zealand’s electro-pop outfit Yumi Zouma, who dropped their debut full-length at the end of May. gorillavsbear.net — D.S.S.

July 4: Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic. The grandaddy of all summertime music bashes in Texas, Willie’s picnic is back at Circuit of the Americas for the second straight year, with music from noon to midnight in the large Austin360 Amphitheater Stage and the smaller Grand Plaza. Longtime Picnic faves such as Kris Kristofferson, Leon Russell and Billy Joe Shaver join comparative newcomers including Jamey Johnson & Alison Krauss, Lee Ann Womack and Brantley Gilbert, to name just a few of the performers. More info.  — P.B.

Willie Nelson performs at the 2015 Fourth of July Picnic held at the Circuit of the Americas. ERIKA RICH / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Willie Nelson performs at the 2015 Fourth of July Picnic held at the Circuit of the Americas. ERIKA RICH / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

» THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF WILLIE NELSON’S PICNIC

Aug. 27: RAS Day at Kenny Dorham’s Backyard. The core mission of husband/wife duo Riders Against the Storm is bigger than hip-hop. They are building a movement. A year after the City of Austin named August 29, 2013, “RAS Day,” they launched this annual celebration that combines musical performances with yoga, meditation, dance workshops and samples of healthy food and drinks. Avant jazz space travelers, Sun Ra Arkestra headline this year’s lineup. More info. — D.S.S.

Sept 3: Lovestream Festival in Pan Am Park. The Original Wailers, featuring one-time Bob Marley guitarist Al Anderson, headline this first-year fest. Jamaican band Third World and Tejano artist Sunny Sauceda also perform with a solid roster of local support. In addition to music the festival aims to “stimulate your senses.” Organizers promise reggae yoga, Gong Kundalini mixed with EDM and a witches market offering magic products, love spells and more. lovestreamfestival.com

Sept. 18: Yacht Rock Revival at ACL Live. You don’t have to own a yacht to be stuck in a loop of 1970s radio nostalgia. If that’s your particular cup of Ambrosia (yes, some of their members are part of this lineup), you’ll probably want to hop aboard this landlocked cruise that also includes Robbie “Steal Away” Dupree, Matthew “Break My Stride” Wilder and others. — P.B.

Levitation refunds taking longer than expected

When Levitation Festival was abruptly cancelled due to severe weather  at the end of last month, it was a drag for everyone involved. The fest rescheduled pop up shows with Levitation artists at clubs, but most of them sold out in minutes, before most fans in town for the fest had a chance to buy tickets.

Disappointed Levitation fans received another blow this week. The refunds festival organizers had hoped would hit ticket buyers’ accounts  in 30 days are still unprocessed.

Carson Creek Ranch suffered significant storm damage following Levitation cancellation. Courtesy of Carson Creek Ranch
Carson Creek Ranch suffered significant storm damage following Levitation cancellation. Courtesy of Carson Creek Ranch

Levitation organizers posted the following message to their website explaining the delay this week:

“We expected refunds to be processed within 30 days of the event, and hopefully sooner, but unfortunately the timeline isn’t up to us. It may take longer. We realize that the wait for refunds is frustrating, and we also understand that many customers are confused as to why it’s taking so long.

“Many events have financial backing, from investors or parent companies, which can be tapped into to immediately refund money. Levitation is an independently owned event, and the cancellation has been an unprecedented blow for the tiny company and record label that organizes it, The Reverberation Appreciation Society. All funds that came in from ticket sales went to paying for event costs – paying deposits for performers, production vendors and all other event costs. Like every other year, every penny was spent on event costs as it came in and even though the festival was cancelled, all of those costs still have to be paid. We simply do not have the funds or any way to process refunds to customers until the insurance claim has been paid out, and these things move at their own pace, unfortunately. Despite the urgency and our working night and day to try to expedite the process, it’s taking longer than anyone would like.

“We will make an announcement as soon as we have a definitive timeline and will let customers know when to expect a refund.”

Let these country music weather songs be the soundtrack to your weekend

It’s looking like it’s going to be a wet weekend with lots of storms ahead. While there’s plenty of stuff to do around the area, every rainy weekend needs a soundtrack. Might we suggest some country music songs about rain, followed by some about sunnier skies?

May 19, 2016- A pedestrian with a pink umbrella makes her way across the Oltorf Street overpass crossing I-35 as severe weather moves through Austin, Texas, on Thursday, May 19, 2016. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
May 19, 2016- A pedestrian with a pink umbrella makes her way across the Oltorf Street overpass crossing I-35 as severe weather moves through Austin, Texas, on Thursday, May 19, 2016. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Just listen to the playlist below for the soundtrack for this rainy weekend. And stay safe out there.

 

Gone Country: I read Bobby Bones’ memoir so you don’t have to

Bobby Bones is a divisive figure. Either you love his radio show, or you bemoan what it has done to country music. He’s a popular figure here in Austin, where he hosted the No. 1 “The Bobby Bones Show” on 100.7 KASE-FM and 96.7 KHFI-FM  for 10 years.

2016 iHeartCountry Festival At The Frank Erwin Center - Show
AUSTIN, TX – APRIL 30: (L-R) Singer Natalie Stovall, radio personality Bobby Bones and Producer Eddie of Bobby Bones and The Raging Idiots perform onstage during the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

He wasn’t so popular at first in Nashville, where the old guard of Music Row was angry at a young whipper-snapper coming in and taking over a DJ seat left vacant by the renowned Gerry House. More on that later.

But he has his fans. Why else would his new memoir, “Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book,” currently be in the Top 20 on Amazon’s best-sellers list? But at 36 years old, what’s there in his life to write a memoir about?

A lot, actually.

Bones’ (real last name Estell) listeners will know the highlights of the book. He grew up in the small town of Mountain Pine, Arkansas, son to an alcoholic single mother and raised by a grandmother who taught him about music. His drive to be a DJ sparked from being gifted with a radio as a young boy. He then scraped and saved and did whatever menial jobs he could do at his local radio station in order to realize his dream.

That first half of the book is the stronger story. Bones draws on his struggles as a child to illustrate how they shaped him into the man he is today (for better or worse).

His stories of constant hard work— on the football field, in the radio booth, in the classroom, at the random jobs he had to take throughout his life just to get by— make you respect his story, even if you don’t like what he’s done for country music. (As the son of a man who was the first in his family to earn a college degree and leave his hometown, that whole section struck a chord with me.)

But the book starts to wane when Bones talks about his later career, and the story meanders in and out of stories of every woman he ever dated (given fake names like “Betty Boop”) and every scrape he ever got into at work and still kept his job.

Bones is famous for his radio stunts, and the book makes clear that penchant for mischief was present long before he took over a Top 40 market. Those stunts include: taking over a rival station’s signal and broadcasting “You don’t f— with Bobby Bones” on air; having his co-host Lunchbox attempt to buy something in an Austin convenience store with pantyhose covering his face, making it look like a robbery; broadcasting a fake emergency signal on-air in Nashville last year, getting iHeart Media fined $1 million in the process; and launching a $13,000 negative ad campaign against himself when he started working in Nashville. (He admits that for the first time in this book, by the way.)

Perhaps the strangest part of the book is the chapter where Bones simultaneously praises his friendships with artists like Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, yet goes on to shun some of their catalog:

“When it comes to the current music industry, the biggest issue for me is the prevalence of what’s known as ‘bro country’…and I hate it, and I have since I started working in this format. By the time this book comes out, it could have gone the way of the boy band, but right now I am still praying for its death.”

Love him or hate him, Bones has impacted country music, for better or for worse. Chris Janson  wouldn’t have a career if it weren’t for Bones playing his debut “Buy Me a Boat” on air, and several other up-and-comers have Bones to thank for their exposure.

But aside from some more personal anecdotes about his childhood, which many listeners undoubtedly know, there’s not many new details here. Fans will love the more in-depth look into the life of Bobby Bones. Listeners who already don’t like him won’t find much to change their opinion.

Gone Country aims to thoughtfully explore the country music genre and where it’s headed, with a focus on national trends and buzzworthy news of the week. For info about album releases and concerts, check out this week’s Country Music Roundup.

Austin360 On The Record: Megafauna, Boyfrndz, Please Please Me

MegafaunaAlbumCoverOUT THIS WEEK

Megafauna, “Welcome Home.” Intriguingly trippy sounds mark this fourth full-length release from the prog-rock trio led by singer-guitarist Dani Neff. We’ll have more on the band in next week’s Austin360 section of the American-Statesman. Release show June 11 at Empire. Here’s the leadoff track “Desire”:

Boyfrndz, “Impulse” (Brutal Panda). The indie quartet’s third album features 10 new songs of hard-edged, psych-tinged rock produced by Jeff Ziegler, whose credits include Kurt Vile and War on Drugs. Release show Friday, May 27, at Sidewinder. Here’s the video for the track “Ghosted”:

Please Please Me, “Volume  2” EP. The electro-pop band describes this sequel as “the upside to the down ’n’ moody of our last EP.” Release show Thursday, May 26, at Empire. Here’s a video for the track “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”:

COMING SOON

JUNE 1: Capyac, “Headlunge,” release show Friday, May 27, at Scoot Inn.

JUNE 4: Goodblood, “Matters” EP, release show June 4 at Mohawk indoor.

JUNE 5: Kidlat Punch, “If Only We Could Hear Them” (We’re Trying).

JUNE 10: Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle, “Colvin & Earle” (Fantasy).

JUNE 10: Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, self-titled.

JUNE 18: Ricky Stein, “Long Summer,” release show June 18 at Blackheart.

JUNE 24: Jack Ingram, “Midnight Motel” (Rounder).

JUNE: Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, self-titled (Super Secret), playing June 28 at Beerland.

JULY 2: Watters, “The Great Unknown,” release show July 2 at the Parish.

JULY 8: Quin Galavis, “My Life in Steel and Concrete” (Super Secret).

JULY 8: Jane Ellen Bryant, “Twenties” (EP), release show July 8 at Lamberts.

JULY 15: Nightowls, “Royal Sessions” EP, release show July 15 at Scoot Inn.

AUG. 26: Wildfires, “Aguas Frescas (Part II)” EP.

SEPTEMBER: Band of Heathens, title TBA.

Billy Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan and pals put the blues in Blues on the Green

Thousands flocked to Zilker Park Wednesday evening for an all-star cast that emphasized the “blues” of Blues on the Green, KGSR’s long-running free summer concert series. Summer might not officially arrive for another few weeks, but this felt like the cultural christening of the season.

It was certainly hot enough. Though temperatures weren’t off the charts, the humidity was, with stiflingly sweaty and overcast conditions that seemed to threaten rain but held off and allowed the show to go on.

Mike Flanigin and Charlie Sexton high-five as Billy Gibbons and Jimmie Vaughan step out front at Blues on the Green in Zilker Park on May 25, 2016. Photo by Erika Rich for American-Statesman
Mike Flanigin and Charlie Sexton high-five as Billy Gibbons and Jimmie Vaughan step out front at Blues on the Green in Zilker Park on May 25, 2016. Photo by Erika Rich for American-Statesman

The evening centered around B3 organ master Mike Flanigin and his all-star cast of guitar greats. ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons kicked things off with “The Drifter,” the title track to Flanigin’s 2016 album that gathered a bunch of blues, rock, jazz and soul ringers from Austin and beyond. Flanigin showcased that album last August at the Paramount; this time it was more just a launching point for deeper blues explorations in the hands of Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan and Charlie Sexton, with George Rains keeping the beat steady on drums.

PHOTOS: Jimmie Vaughan, Billy Gibbons perform at Blues on the Green

All three guitarists took lead vocals, as did Flanigin from his seat at the B3. Flanigin moved to bass at the end of the night for Gibbons’ signature “La Grange,” which they followed with an unscheduled encore after their main set finished a tad before the 10 p.m. curfew.

If the heat was taking its toll on the crowd, who flocked to water stations and an Amy’s Ice Cream booth for relief, they didn’t seem to mind. Indeed, it seemed to fit the sweltering swagger of the music, recalling a hot July night at Austin blues haven Antone’s. Fittingly enough, just as the concert was starting, the recently reopened Antone’s announced the lineup for its two-week 41st anniversary celebration in early July. Shows include Chicago blues veterans Henry Gray (July 1) and Eddy Clearwater (July 2), an 87th birthday party for hometown heroine Miss Lavelle White, a reunion of singers Angela Strehli, Lou Ann Barton and Marcia Ball (July 13) and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (July 16).

RELATED: Mike Flanigin’s “The Drifter,” Austin’s best album of 2016

The Peterson Brothers at Blues on the Green in Zilker Park on May 25, 2016. Photo by Erika Rich for American-Statesman
The Peterson Brothers at Blues on the Green in Zilker Park on May 25, 2016. Photo by Erika Rich for American-Statesman

Also in the anniversary lineup are the Peterson Brothers, who kicked off Wednesday’s Blues on the Green concert with a tight and joyous set that energized the crowd. Led by Bastrop teens Glenn (guitar) and Alex (bass) Peterson with Chris Mead on drums, they favored feverish blues tunes with punchy solos, but took it down a notch midset with a beautiful version of “Amazing Grace” that featured Alex on violin.

Next up for Blues on the Green is Wild Child with Max Frost on June 22, followed by Hayes Carll with Carson McHone on July 13 and finally Sweet Spirit with the Suffers on Aug. 3.