Austin360 On The Record: Gary P. Nunn, Mobley, Christy Hays, more

The big Austin release this week is Willie Nelson’s “Last Man Standing.” Read our extended review of that album here:

Willie Nelson is still writing songs, well into his 80s

Christy Hays’ new album is titled “River Swimmer.” She’ll be at Waterloo Records May 14. Stephen Spillman for American-Statesman

In the meantime, here’s more Austin music out this week:

Gary P. Nunn, “Friends for Life.” The songs here are all familiar, a dozen of Nunn’s best known tunes across five decades of playing music in Texas (a career her recently chronicled with the autobiography “At Home With the Armadillo”). What’s new are his co-conspirators, a litany of troubadours who shared the journey or followed in his footsteps and pay their respects by singing along with Nunn here. The full cast of duet partners: Lyle Lovett & Robert Earl Keen (on the signature tune “London Homesick Blues”), Kimmie Rhodes, Bruce Robison, Dale Watson, Sunny Sweeney, Kevin Fowler, Cory Morrow, Cody Canada, Wade Bowen, Roger Creager, Cody Johnson and Red Steagall, who’s on the title track and is the one guy on the disc who’s Nunn’s senior. This is a state-pride record through and through, with “What I Like About Texas and “It’s a Texas Thing” riding alongside the likes of “Austin Pickers, “Guadalupe Days” and “Why Don’t You Meet Me Down in Corpus.”

Mobley, “Fresh Lies, Vol. 1.” American-Statesman/Austin360 writer Deborah Sengupta Stith observes: The adventurous electro-pop artist doesn’t consider this new release an album. Instead, he thinks of it  as an album-sized excerpt of an ongoing project, his exploration of the relationship between man and country cast as a romantic love song. This idea is as old as the traditional Irish ballads that are a latent influence on his work, but the specifics make the concept potent: he’s a black man in modern America. The release, cast as volume one, collects new works with some of his most powerful (and popular) singles like “Tell Me” and “Swoon.” These are big songs with soaring vocals and incisive lyricism that deliver a gut punch in the context of a jilted lover, and feel devastating carrying the failed promise of a nation where so many are haunted by  placelessness in a place that should be all of ours.” In-store April 27 at Waterloo Records. Here’s a “read-along video” for the track “Selfsame”:

Christy Hays, “River Swimmer” (Nine Mile). Based in Austin for the past decade while spending summers in Montana, Hays recorded her third full-length album with producer Dexter Green in Nashville, where she lived before moving here. “River Swimmer” mixes rootsy rockers (“Ribbon of Highway”) heartache ballads (“Don’t Let Me Die in California”), midtempo gems (“Strange Times”) and ethereal soundscapes (“Atchafalya”). But there’s an overarching mood that runs through all 10 tracks, a rich melodic tone centered on Hays’ warm and personal vocals. In-store May 14 at Waterloo Records. Here’s a live version of the track “Strange Times”:

Nightowls, “We Are the Nightowls” (Nine Mile). Formed in 2011, native Austinite Ryan Harkrider’s big-band soul revue the Nightowls grew an audience locally for years. Playing residencies at the Highball, One-2-One Bar and Icenhauer’s, they eventually got slots at the Austin City Limits Music Festival and Blues on the Green. “We Are the Nightowls,” the band’s new album, follows up a pair of historically-minded EPs they recorded at legendary studios in Memphis and Muscle Shoals, Ala. We gave the album its streaming premiere yesterday. In-store May 15 at Waterloo Records. Here’s a live video for the track “Lift Me Up”:

Dunebuggy, “33” (Flak). Latest release from the local five-piece rock band featuring guitarists Donnie Poston and Seth Tiven, bassist Chris Mietus, keyboardist Vincent Flores and drummer AJ Moore. Release show April 28 at Carousel Lounge; in-store April 29 at Antone’s Record Shop.

COMING SOON

  • MAY 4: Shakey Graves, “Can’t Wake Up” (Dualtone).
  • MAY 4: Jeff Plankenhorn, “Sleeping Dogs,” playing May 2 on Texas Radio Live at Guero’s, in-store May 4 at Waterloo Records, release show May 5 at One-2-One Bar.
  • MAY 4: Annie Rost, “Wild Heart,” release show May 4 at El Mercado Backstage.
  • MAY 4: Various artists, “A Tribute to the Tributes to Gary Floater” (Eight 30).
  • MAY 11: Marmalakes, “Please Don’t Stop” (Austin Town Hall), in-store May 7 at Waterloo Records.
  • MAY 11: Johnny Fury, “II,” release show May 11 at Bat Bar.
  • MAY 18: Kelly Willis, “Back Being Blue” (Thirty Tigers), release show June 2 at Stateside at the Paramount.
  • MAY 18: Jason Boland & the Stragglers, “Hard Times Are Relative” (Thirty Tigers), playing May 19 at Dripping Springs Ranch Park.
  • MAY 18: Chris Sensat, “Rye.”
  • MAY 20: Paper Moon Shiners, “Illusions of Composure” (Shiner), release show May 20 at One-2-One Bar.
  • MAY 23: Christina Cavazos, “Mile Marker” EP, release show May 23 at Sahara Lounge.
  • MAY 25: Brownout, “Fear of a Brown Planet” (Fat Beats).
  • MAY 25: Patricia Vonne, “Top of the Mountain” (Bandolera), release show May 26 at Continental Club.
  • JUNE 1: Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “Downey to Lubbock,” release show June 2 at Antone’s.
  • JUNE 8: Jesse Dayton, “The Outsider” (Blue Elan).
  • JUNE 15: Tish Hinojosa, “West.”
  • JUNE 22: Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat).
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town.”
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile).