Austin360 On The Record: Tim Henderson, My Education, Knife in the Water

TEXAS INDEPENDENCE DAY SPECIAL

multi_sTim Henderson, “The Legacy Collection” (6-CD set). No less an authority than Townes Van Zandt once called the late Tim Henderson “the best songwriter I know.” A native of West Virginia who moved to Austin around 1970, Henderson became one of the great chroniclers of Texas culture with songs such as “Jesus Would Have Loved El Paso,” “Galveston Shrimper,” “Austin in the Summer” and “Old San Antonio Road.” Dozens of his tunes are gathered on this definitive collection that aims to give long-overdue recognition to a Lone Star hidden treasure. Available digitally via CDBaby as separate discs or as a complete physical set, these 87 tracks are gathered by themes: Texas-centric favorites, live recordings at venues around the state, memories of his West Virginia youth, socially-motivated protest songs, and even a batch featuring the late Texas folk singer Allen Damron singing Henderson’s tunes. The final disc in the series, subtitled “In My Eyes,” is perhaps the sweetest, surveying many sides of Henderson’s troubadour perspective from the ridiculous (“Waiting for the Naked Girl to Call”) to the sublime (“Don’t It Make You Wonder”). Throughout, noted Austin musicians including fiddler Erik Hokkanen and the piano/bass pairing of Kay and Hugh Sparks help bring Henderson’s music to life. So many songs are memorable here, from the panoramic “Winds of Texas” to the still-relevant immigrant ballad “No Irish Need Apply” to the playfully romantic “Loving You Is Like Living in a Strange Hotel” to the tender portrait of “Miss Amelia Harris, Spinster.” Most dear to me, though, will always be “Rusty Old Red River,” which I first heard more than 20 years ago. In my head, I imagined the great Austin singer Toni Price’s voice, so I sent her a tape. It connected: Price recorded the song on her late-’90s album “Low Down and Up.” Release show March 5 at Threadgill’s South with friends performing Henderson’s songs, including Shelley King, Ed Miller, Tish Hinojosa, George Ensle and many others. Here’s Henderson’s original version of “Rusty Old Red River”:

OUT THIS WEEK

My Education, “Schiphol” (Headbump). The latest release from this long-running Austin instrumental outfit starts out quietly and deliberately, fading into a short “Intro” track with droning strings, echoing guitars and the kind of spacious atmospherics that have been a hallmark of the group’s work since the beginning. Over the next few songs, the music intensifies, pulls back, and swirls into psychedelic waves, traversing a dynamic range that makes the band hard to pin down to any one style or subgenre, much to their credit. It’s the kind of creative depth and adventurousness that tends to come only to musicians who have been doing what they do for quite some time. Check out our Austin360 Artist of the Month feature about the band on mystatesman.com., as well as our Statesman studio video for “Open Marriages.” Release show March 25 at Sidewinder; also playing March 13 and March 14 during SXSW. Here’s the album track “Class A”:

Knife in the Water, “Reproduction” (Keeled Scales). After three albums from 1998 to 2003, Knife in the Water seemingly vanished from the Austin indie scene, other than the occasional live show. But on their first album in 14 years, they pick up right where they left off, with fascinatingly moody, slow-paced, spacious tunes centered on the mellifluous vocals of leader Aaron Blount. In conjunction with the new album, they also have a vinyl reissue of their debut, “Plays One Sound and Others,” via the Sonic Surgery label. Release show March 2 at Mohawk indoor. Here’s the leadoff track “Call It a Shame”:

Cilantro Boombox, “Shine.” Statesman/Austin360 writer Deborah Sengupta Stith observes: “The eight-man crew has a fantastic knack for layering brassy blasts and funky grooves onto rich polyrhythms to create ecstatic booty-moving experiences. Their new eight-song release captures the rollicking vibe of their Afro-Latin-reggae-funk mashups, but do yourself a favor and catch it live.” In-store March 3 at Waterloo Records. Here’s the track “Love for Money”:

Heybale, “Play Me a Cheatin’ Song: The Songs of Wayne Kemp.” The local country supergroup and longtime Sunday-night Continental Club fixture pays tribute to the Southern songwriter who penned hits for Johnny Cash and George Jones in addition releasing a handful of his own album in the 1970s and ’80s. Release show March 5 at Continental Club.

COMING SOON

  • MARCH 10: Sunny Sweeney, “Trophy” (Thirty Tigers).
  • MARCH 15: Wayne Gathright, “Poparockzi,”
  • MARCH 17: Spoon, “Hot Thoughts” (Matador), playing March 14-16 during SXSW at Eno’s (the original Emo’s).
  • MARCH 24: Ruthie Foster, “Joy Comes Back “(Blue Corn).
  • MARCH 24: Will Johnson, “Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm” (Undertow).
  • MARCH 24: Kiko Villamizar, “Aguas Frias” (Peligrosa).
  • MARCH 24: Flyjack, “New Day.”
  • MARCH 29: Lili Blessing, “Lifeline,” in-store March 29 at Waterloo Records.
  • MARCH 29: DC Bloom, “Just Another Song and Dance Man,” release show March 29 at G&S Lounge.
  • MARCH 31: Toma, “Aroma.”
  • APRIL 7: Darden Smith, “Everything,” release show April 8 at Stateside at the Paramount.
  • APRIL 7: Sweet Spirit, “St. Mojo” (Nine Mile).
  • APRIL 7: Octopus Project, “Memory Mirror” (Robot High School).
  • APRIL 7: Walker Lukens, “Ain’t Got a Reason” EP (Modern Outsider).
  • APRIL 19: Ulrich Ellison & Tribe, “America.”
  • APRIL 21: Emily Bell & the Talkbacks, “Kali” EP.
  • APRIL 28: Willie Nelson, “God’s Problem Child” (Legacy).
  • APRIL 28: Beth // James, “All in Life” EP.
  • MAY 19: Wild Now, “Afterglow” EP.

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