OUT THIS WEEK
“Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll” (Eight 30). If you search for Adam Carroll on Wikipedia, you’ll find an Irish rock singer and British race car driver. In Texas, though, the Adam Carroll of note is a songwriter beloved to many, even if his praises have been largely unsung to the masses. More than a dozen of his peers aim to change that with this collection of his tunes featuring some of Austin’s biggest Americana names plus a few ringers from beyond the region. Fellow Texas troubadours James McMurtry, Hayes Carll and Slaid Cleaves get the record off to a strong start, while contributions from Terri Hendrix, Jamie Lin Wilson and Brennen Leigh help keep the proceedings from being exclusively a boys’ club. Among the outsiders, longtime Guy Clark sideman Verlon Thompson stands out with a sparkling, spoken-sung take on “Lil’ Runaway.” Pretty much everyone does their subject proud, and it seems fitting that they give him the last word, as Carroll concludes the record with the easygoing “My Only Good Shirt.” “I’m not Viva Las Vegas, but I’m Motel 6 famous,” he humblebrags, and that’s good enough for his friends. Here’s James McMurtry’s take on “Screen Door”:
Brownout, “Brown Sabbath, Vol. 2” (Ubiquity). Grafting Latin-funk atop Black Sabbath metal proved a winning combination on Vol. 1 in 2014, enough so to spur a sequel. Check out Deborah Sengupta Stith’s interview with guitarist Beto Martinez about the new record. Release show Oct. 29 at Scoot Inn, in-store Nov. 1 at Waterloo Records. Here’s the track “Symptom of the Universe”:
Croy & the Boys, “Hey Come Back.” Brownout collaborator Adrian Quesada also was involved here, producing his first-ever country record for this eclectic ensemble led by Corey “Croy” Baum. We’ll have more on the band in next week’s Austin360 section of the American-Statesman. Release show Oct. 29 at Hotel Vegas. Here’s the track “Woke Up in Love”:
Bonnie Whitmore, “(Expletive) With Sad Girls.” Often in demand as a bassist with both local and national roots acts, Whitmore also writes and sings her own material, and she deserves greater notice for those pursuits. Equal parts rock ’n’ roll, country, R&B and soul, Whitmore’s third album is a bold and confident step into the spotlight that plays up the remarkable versatility of her voice. From deeply moody on the opening “Wash It Away,” to richly melodic on the pop gem “She’s a Hurricane,” to smartly sassy on the bluesy “Used to Call Me Baby,” to poignantly vulnerable on the lovely “Fighter” and “Stoned,” Whitmore shows a range that suggests she should be mentioned in any conversation about Austin’s finest singers. And that’s before she burns the place down on an album-closing cover of Kevn Kinney’s “Ain’t Waitin’ on Tomorrow.” Drummer Craig Bagby, keyboardist Jared Hall and especially guitarist Scott Davis nail the support throughout. Betty Soo, Wendy Colonna, Jaimee Harris and sister Eleanor Whitmore chime in with backing vocals on several songs, while Chris Masterson and Jon Dee Graham lend guitar support on a couple of tracks. Though Whitmore wrote almost all the songs herself, of special note is “I’ll Make a Living,” co-written with Aaron Tasjan and the late Chris Porter. Playing Nov. 10 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s the track “She’s a Hurricane”:
Rick Broussard’s Two Hoots & a Holler, “Time Has Shown Me.” Mortality is weighing heavily on old-school rock ’n’ roller Rick Broussard’s mind, judging from the dominant subject matter of this 13-song set that, against all age, is bristling with youthful energy. The title track and “The Past Is Gone” tackle the clock head-on, but he’s also looking back across the arc of time on tunes such as “Black Cat Lounge,” which vividly recalls the white-hot 1980s heyday of the long-gone Sixth Street dive, and “Seek Strike and Destroy,” a salute to his father’s WWII-era battalion. This isn’t so much nostalgia as history, well-told and brought back to life through the playing of ace Two Hoots rhythm section Lisa Pankratz and Brad Fordham plus an Austin roots A-list of guests including Casper Rawls, Rosie Flores, Mike Hardwick, John X. Reed and T. Jarrod Bonta. The past is tempered with the present via “Austin Traffic,” a swinging rockabilly number spiked by Bradley Jaye Williams’ accordion that’s a fitting theme song for 21st-century ATX. Release show Oct. 29 at ABGB.
Major Major Major, “PG-13 Movie” (Punctum). Ten tracks from the indie punk-rock duo of Adrian Sebastian and Andrew Torrey, issued on cassette with ditigal download. Release show Oct. 28 at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Here’s the track “All of My Friends”:
Alejandro Escovedo, “Burn Something Beautiful” (Fantasy). The longtime Austinite moved to Dallas last year, but the story with the latest album in his quarter-century solo career revolves around a Pacific Northwest partnership with former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and his longtime sidekick Scott McCaughey, who produced the record and co-wrote all the songs with Escovedo in Portland, Ore. No surprise, then, that “Burn Something Beautiful” follows those two musicians’ shared interests with Escovedo in the gritty outer edges of rock’s golden age. Some of this follows naturally from the glam style and sound of Escovedo’s recent records with renowned producer Tony Visconti, but Buck and McCaughey help him dig deeper into the underground here. The supporting cast also includes guitarist Kurt Bloch (Fastbacks/Young Fresh Fellows), drummer John Moen (Decemberists) and saxophonist Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), plus singers Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney) and Kelly Hogan (Neko Case). In-store Nov. 4 at Waterloo Records; taping “Austin City Limits” at ACL Live Nov. 30. Here’s the track “Heartbeat Smile”:
Nina Diaz, “The Beat is Dead” (Cosmica). Escovedo shares management with this fellow San Antonio native, who first rose to prominence with the femme punk trio Girl in a Coma. She branches out considerably on her debut solo album, setting her passionate vocals into dramatic and inventive arrangements that draw on rock, pop, jazz, electronica and more. In-store Oct. 30 at Waterloo Records. Here’s the song “January 9th” (read more about the song in an excerpt from Deborah Sengupta Stith’s interview with Diaz):
NOV. 1: Jonathan Terrell, “Color Me Lucky” EP, release show Nov. 19 at Indian Roller.
NOV. 4: Tomar & the FCs, “Heart Attack,” release shows Nov. 4-5 at C-Boy’s.
NOV. 4: Jess Williamson, “Heart Song,” release show Nov. 4 at Cheer Up Charlie’s.
NOV. 4: Bright Light Social Hour & Israel Nash, “Neighbors” EP.
NOV. 6: Gary Frank Taylor, “Man Sitting in Chair Playing Guitar,” release show Nov. 6 at Hyde Park Theatre.
NOV. 18: KP & the Boom Boom, “The Brave,” playing Oct. 31 at Geraldine’s.
NOV. 18: Churchwood, “Hex City,” playing Nov. 5 at Hole in the Wall.
DEC. 6: David Halley, “A Month of Somedays.”
JAN. 20, 2017: Matthew Squires, “Tambaleo.”