Uncle Walt’s Band, “Anthology: Those Boys From Carolina, They Sure Could Sing” (Omnivore). Lucinda Williams has a song about things that are “too cool to be forgotten,” and the music of Uncle Walt’s Band falls squarely into that category. South Carolina transplants whose Austin heyday was in the mid-1970s, the trio of Walter Hyatt, Champ Hood and David Ball never really got famous (though Ball did years later, as a Nashville country singer and writer). Decades down the line, though, it’s really hard to pinpoint any Austin act, ever, that left behind better music to last for the ages. (Willie Nelson, I suppose, but I’d argue he’s the only one.) The subtitle of this 21-track anthology — which collects songs from their two studio albums, a live set and a cassette release, plus five previously unreleased recordings — comes from a line in “That’s Right, You’re Not From Texas” by the trio’s most celebrated fan/disciple, Lyle Lovett. Texas loved them anyway, and how could they not: All three had gorgeous voices, were impeccable musicians, and wrote with a distinct style both lyrically and melodically. Listen to Hood’s achingly beautiful “High Hill,” Ball’s letter-perfect “Don’t You Think I Feel It Too” (recorded by Shawn Colvin, Toni Price and others), and Hyatt’s sweet-sorrow farewell “I’ll Come Knockin’” (revisited by Lovett), just for starters, and it becomes increasingly hard to fathom how Uncle Walt’s never got their due in the lifetimes of Hyatt and Hood (who passed in 1996 and 2001, respectively). “Anthology” is a strong step in that direction; some of the group’s music has been sporadically available in various forms over the years, but this set gathers most of the high points in a well-presented package bonded by Nashville-via-South-Carolina historian Peter Cooper’s exemplary liner notes. It’s early March, but there’s no way a better historical album will be released in 2018. Ball teams with Hood’s son and nephew, Warren and Marshall Hood, at the Saxon Pub on Friday, March 8, for a sold-out show celebrating the release with special guests Kelly Willis, Marcia Ball, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Toni Price and Hyatt’s children, Taylor and Rose Hyatt. Ball also will perform with the Hoods on June 2 at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Here’s a live version of the anthology’s opening track, “Seat of Logic”:
OUT THIS WEEK
Progger, “Dystopia” (Ropeadope). The brainchild of Austin composers Brian Donohoe and Matthew Muehling, Progger combines the talents of local and non-local players to create sophisticated jazz-rock fusion instrumentals. For “Dystopia,” their fourth album, all members gathered in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Sound studios with Grammy-winning engineers Diko Shoturma and Nic Hard. Release show March 8 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s the video for the track “Housewives”:
- MARCH 16: Caroline Says, “No Fool Like an Old Fool” (Western Vinyl).
- MARCH 23: Sword, “Used Future” (Razor & Tie), release show March 21 at Mohawk.
- MARCH 23: Erika Wennerstrom, “Sweet Unknown” (Partisan).
- MARCH 23: Johnny Chops & the Razors, self-titled.
- MARCH 30: Holy Wave, “Adult Fear” (Reverb Appreciation Society).
- APRIL 6: Greyhounds, “Cheyenne Valley Drive.”
- APRIL 6: Lagoons, “Escape” EP.
- APRIL 12: Sideshow Tragedy, “The View From Nowhere” (Hand Drawn).
- APRIL 13: Wood & Wire, “North of Despair” (Blue Corn).
- APRIL 13: Josh T. Pearson, “The Straight Hits!” (Mute).
- APRIL 14: Andy Macintyre, “Melomania” EP, release show April 14 at Antone’s.
- APRIL 20: Marcia Ball, “Shine Bright” (Alligator), in-store April 24 at Waterloo Records.
- APRIL 20: Ty Richards, “Welcome to Flat Earth.”
- APRIL 20: Arkansas Dave, self-titled (Big Indie).
- APRIL 27: Mobley, “Fresh Lies, Vol. 1.”
- MAY 4: Shakey Graves, “Can’t Wake Up” (Dualtone).
- MAY 4: Jeff Plankenhorn, title TBA.
- MAY 18: Kelly Willis, “Back Being Blue” (Thirty Tigers).
- MAY 25: Patricia Vonne, “Top of the Mountain,” release show May 26 at Continental Club.