Austin360 On The Record: Band of Heathens, Hard Proof, Barbara Nesbitt


Band of Heathens, “Duende.” The first album in four years from the Americana band fronted by Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist mixes elements of backwoods country and folk with touches of street-smart rhythmic funk ’n’ roll. Since 2013’s “Sunday Morning Record,” they took some time away from their own material to back up other artists, ranging from the renowned Texas troubadour Hayes Carll to the unforgivably bad poseur Kid Rock. On “Duende,” their moods swing from the down-and-dirty raunch of “Sugar Queen” to the buoyant pop of “Deep Is Love” to the steady-rolling acoustic blues of “Last Minute Man” to the laid-back groove of  “Cracking the Code.” Best of the bunch is the closing number, “Green Grass of California,” a richly melodic country-rock tune sweetened with pedal steel that first appeared on last year’s “Green Grass” EP. Playing Feb. 23 at Mohawk. Here’s the leadoff track, “All I’m Asking”:

Hard Proof, “Stinger” (Modern Outsider). It’s mainly about the horns with instrumental combo Hard Proof, though the 10-piece group has room for a lot more, from guitars and bass to keyboards and multiple percussionists. On the Chris “Frenchie” Smith-produced “Stinger,” the group’s first full-length release since 2010, Hard proof “mixes the Afrobeat sounds pioneered by Nigerian artist Fela Kuti with jazz and hard funk,” writes the American-Statesman’s Deborah Sengupta Stith. “They pack a wall of sound and a plethora of booty-moving polyrhythms.” Release show Jan. 13 at Antone’s. The band played an in-store at Waterloo Records on Thursday; here’s full video of that event:

Barbara Nesbitt, “Right As Rain.” Austin lost raucous roots-rockers the Whiskey Sisters, except for occasional reunions, when husband-wife Teal Collins and Josh Zee moved west a couple of years ago. But that opened the door for co-founder Barbara Nesbitt to relaunch a promising solo career. Her voice shines brightly on this down-home, twang-centric pop-country collection, which she co-produced with Jeff Berkley. Release show Jan. 14 at Strange Brew. Here’s a recent live version of the album track “Beautiful,” recorded at the Saxon Pub:


JAN. 18: Seela, “Track You Down,” release show Jan. 18 at Cactus Cafe.

JAN. 20: Matthew Squires, “Tambaleo.”

JAN. 20: Mark McKinney, “World in Between,” release show Jan. 19 at Saxon Pub.

JAN. 20: Sharon Bourbonnais, “A Girl’s Gotta Play,” release show Jan. 20 at Strange Brew.

JAN. 20: We Are Blood Bays, “Mexican Fiction,” release show Jan. 20 at Spider House Ballroom.

JAN. 27: Leopold & His Fiction, “Darling Destroyer,” release show Jan. 25 at Stubb’s indoor.

JAN. 27: Pollen Rx, “Sunbelt Emptiness,” release show Jan. 28 at Cheer Up Charlie’s.

JAN. 27: Whitney Rose, “South Texas Suite” EP (Six Shooter), release show Jan. 26 at Continental Club.

FEB. 3: Gurf Morlix, “The Soul & the Heal,” release show Feb. 4 at Strange Brew.

FEB. 3: Daisy O’Connor, “Lightchasers,” release show Feb. 3 at Cactus Cafe.

FEB. 3: Traveling Ones, “Meet Me There,” release show Feb. 3 at Stubb’s indoor.

FEB. 3: Ty Richards, “Zillion,” release show Feb. 3 at Swan Dive.

FEB. 10: Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, “Backlash” (Ingroove).

FEB. 10: Ulrich Ellison & Tribe.

FEB. 10: Letting Up Despite Great Faults, “Alexander Devotion” EP (Shelflife), playing Feb. 16 at Barracuda.

FEB. 10: Ali Holder, “Huntress Moon” EP, release show Feb. 10 at Cactus Cafe.

FEB. 17: Curtis McMurtry, “The Hornet’s Nest.”

FEB. 17: Molly Burch, “Please Be Mine,” release show Feb. 18 at Mohawk.

FEB. 18: Later Days, “Lost in the Sound,” release show Feb. 17 at Grizzly Hall.

FEB. 24: Shinyribs, “I Got Your Medicine,” release show March 3 at Antone’s.

FEB. 24: Scott H. Biram, “The Bad Testament” (Bloodshot).

MARCH 17: Spoon, “Hot Thoughts” (Matador).

MARCH 31: Toma, “Aroma.”

APRIL 7: Darden Smith, “Everything,” release show April 8 at Stateside at the Paramount.

APRIL: Willie Nelson, “God’s Problem Child.”