The Driftwood Music Festival, formed by two former Old Settler’s staff members, had planned to hold its initial festival at the former Old Settler’s site in Driftwood southwest of Austin on the same April 19-22 dates as OSMF’s upcoming event at a new site near Lockhart. An injunction issued in Travis County District Court in late November disallowed DMF from holding its festival on those dates.
A passage on the Driftwood festival’s website states, in part, that “festival co-founders Ryan Brittain and Scott Marshall are now considering other dates for the event, although the location will remain the same, the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch. At this time, no date has been selected and Driftwood Music Festival is on hold until further notice.”
Acts scheduled to perform at Old Settler’s include the Travelin’ McCourys, Calexico, Colter Wall, Greensky Bluegrass and the trio I’m With Her (featuring Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan), along with local performers including Ray Wylie Hubbard, Bob Schneider and the Peterson Brothers. Additional acts are expected to be announced.
OSMF’s new location is in Tilmon, just southeast of Lockhart. A Google Maps route from downtown Austin to Tilmon is about 45 miles and around an hour of drive time. The newsletter announcement also included information about shuttle-service plans: “In an effort to lessen traffic issues for Caldwell County residents and Old Settler’s patrons, and to lessen festival-related carbon consumption, Old Settler’s has partnered with FestDrive to offer shuttle service from Austin and San Antonio for $20 each way, and from Houston for $28 each way.” Shuttle tickets can be purchased via the FestDrive website.
It’s that time again: South by Southwest will begin selling wristbands to this year’s SXSW Music Festival at 11 a.m. this morning (Tuesday, Jan. 16). They’re $169 (tax included) and will only be available online via the event’s website.
More than 2,000 acts will perform on 100 stages between Monday, March 12, and Sunday, March 18, as part of SXSW Music. A new wrinkle this year: Music wristbands also will get you into the SXSW Gaming Expo.
Wristband sales are limited to Austin-area residents. Per the SXSW press release: “Individuals may purchase one wristband for themselves and one for another person whose name must be provided at the time of purchase. Online purchase requires a credit card with a billing zip code in the Greater Austin area. A list of zip codes is available at wristbands.sxsw.com/music.” Historically, the SXSW Music wristbands have sold out quickly.
When it sleets, it pours concert announcements, apparently. On the heels of Tuesday’s announcement of a May 2 Jack White stop at the Austin360 Amphitheater comes word that the venue also will present jam-scene kingpins the Dave Matthews Band on May 22.
Tickets, $45.50-$115, go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 2 via the venue’s website. It’s the first major appearance in Austin for the Virginia based musician and his group since a May 2015 show at the same venue that opened an extensive North American tour. This year’s show is the third of a summerlong tour, following stops at The Woodlands and in Dallas.
Another solo album from former White Stripes frontman Jack White is coming in March, and his tour to support the record will bring him to the Austin360 Amphitheater on May 2, the venue announced Tuesday morning.
Tickets, $40-$89.50, go on sale at 10 a.m. Jan. 26 via the venue’s website. White’s last major concert appearance in Austin was a two-night stand at the Austin Music Hall in January 2015.
“Boarding House Reach” will be released March 23 via White’s label Third Man with Columbia Records distribution. His Austin show is among three dozen tour dates just announced, including two nights each in Dallas and Houston.
The tour doesn’t begin until April 19 in White’s hometown of Detroit, which leaves open the possibility and perhaps likelihood of an appearance by White at South by Southwest around the date of the record’s release. His record label’s Third Man Rolling Record Store has been a frequent sighting at SXSW in recent years.
Midway through introducing the dozen-plus musicians onstage with him near the end of the first set Saturday at ACL Live, Alejandro Escovedo asked the crowd to forgive him if he was stumbling through it a little bit. “I just had a birthday and I’m really old,” said the well-traveled singer-songwriter and bandleader, who turned 67 on Wednesday.
Age is a relative term, and Escovedo seems in some respects younger than he was many years ago. Now free of hepatitis C after two decades with the disease thanks to a recently developed treatment, the longtime Austinite who moved to Dallas two years ago is expressing his gratitude for his health partly by calling attention to those who have not been so fortunate. On Saturday, he turned his annual ACL Live big-band concert into both a memorial for fallen friends and an awareness-raising moment for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
“Think About the Link” is the name of Escovedo’s upcoming tour, for which Saturday’s show was the kickoff. Designed to help those with certain viruses (including hepatitis C) understand the link between those conditions and cancer risk, it’s a cause dear to Escovedo largely because of friends he has lost, including his former guitarist Joe Eddy Hines, who died last year.
Between sets, a public service announcement featuring Escovedo aired on the venue’s video screen, and when he returned from the set break, Escovedo talked more about the foundation’s efforts with KUTX DJ Jody Denberg, the night’s emcee. With slides occasionally projected on the screen of Hines and others lost to cancer (including Austin music community fixtures Jimmy LaFave, George Reiff and Margaret Moser), the message was never far from anyone’s mind.
But the music was its own unique journey, as is always the case with these special shows Escovedo puts together at the city’s showcase downtown venue. The first set featured musical director Chris Stamey leading the way through an in-sequence performance of “A Man Under the Influence,” the 2001 record Stamey produced for Escovedo. It’s among the finest of the dozen or so albums Escovedo has made in his quarter-century solo career, and it was well-suited to such a formal presentation.
At stage left, the three-piece string section of violinist Warren Hood, violist Ames Asbell and cellist Brian Standefer continuously brought out the melodic beauty of songs such as “Across the River” and “Follow You Down,” with Stamey on keyboards beside them. Across the stage, guitarists Mitch Easter and Eric Heywood, the latter largely on pedal steel, provided muscle and brilliant solos to some of the album’s more rocking numbers, including “Velvet Guitar” and the longtime crowd favorite “Castanets,” which featured local musician and dancer Patricia Vonne adding exotic theatrical flair to the music.
In the back, drummer Hector Munoz anchored a rhythm crew that included bassist Mike Luzecky and percussionist Tristan Boyd. Horn players John Mills and Dave Young added brass embellishments to many songs, with members of the local Panoramic Voices choir joining in on the album-closing “About this Love.” Throughout, backing singers Karla Manzur and Gina Holton provided support up front, each stepping out for a featured vocal on “Wedding Day” and “Follow You Down,” respectively.
Compared to the tightly woven suite of that 11-song sequence, the second set was a bit of a mish-mash, though with some high points. Actor Robert Patrick and his brother Richard Patrick (of the band Filter) played two songs before the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and New York mainstay Jesse Malin followed with a couple of numbers each. Part of the focus in this second set was covers of tunes by musicians who have died of cancer, and so we got Finn’s tender take on the Warren Zevon gem “Mohammed’s Radio” plus Malin’s roof-raising romp through the Ramones’ “Do You Remember Rock ’n’ Roll Radio?”
Escovedo returned to lead the cast through five more songs. His own “Tugboat,” written for and dedicated to the Velvet Underground’s Sterling Morrison, and a run at David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” led up to Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes,” a perfect everyone-sing-along closer. The encore of Lou Reed’s “Rock ’n’ Roll,” though well-suited to passing back-and-forth between Escovedo, Malin and Finn, ultimately felt superfluous. A more lasting final moment was the sight of Escovedo at center stage amidst the massive cast, embracing Hines’ three daughters as a photo of their father loomed large on the screen behind them.
Monday-Thursday: Lazy Lester at Antone’s. When Antone’s celebrated its 42nd anniversary last summer with an impressive batch of blues greats, booker Zach Ernst seemed especially pleased at having booked this Louisiana legend for an extended run. “It really feels like the anniversary to me if you have Lazy Lester at the club every night for four nights,” Ernst said. So why wait until July for a repeat? Get a midwinter fix with the 83-year-old master whose influential 1950s sides for Excello and later recordings for the Antone’s record label have made him a favorite at the club since its early days at previous locations. Lester will play at 10 each night, with closing sets by Brad Stivers on Monday, Lindsay Beaver & the 24th Street Wailers on Tuesday, and Speedy Sparks & the Koolerators on Wednesday. $10. 305 E. Fifth St. antonesnightclub.com.
Monday: Geoff Queen at Sam’s Town Point. One of the coolest new weekly series to take root recently is “Steel Mondays,” an early-evening set of music focusing on steel guitar players at this South Austin hot spot. Even in a town rich with steel aces, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more in-demand talent than Queen, frequently seen with Hayes Carll, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, Randy Rogers and Sunny Sweeney. $5 suggested donation. 7 p.m. Stick around afterward for a 9 p.m. show by Jonathan Terrell and Josh T. Pearson. 2115 Allred Drive. samstownpointatx.com.
Thursday: 2Cellos at Erwin Center. Playing the University of Texas campus arena is a big move up for Slovenia’s Luka Sulic and Croatia’s Stjepan Hauser, who sold out the Long Center when they visited Austin in 2015. They’re touring behind their new album “Score,” which focuses on classic movie and TV music from “The Godfather,” “Titanic” and “Game of Thrones,” plus a splendid version of Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” $19.50-$59.50. 7:30 p.m. 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.com.
Austin MLK Festival at Huston-Tillotson University
Destroyer, Mega Bog at Mohawk outdoor
Dale Watson, Peterson Brothers at Continental Club
Church on Monday Band at Continental Gallery
Chris Gage at Donn’s Depot
Julieann Banks at Hilton Cannon & Belle
Dossey, Light Wheel, High Church at Hotel Vegas
Michael Mordecai’s Jazz Jam at Elephant Room
Matchmaker Band at Highball
Mean Jolene, Dirty Few, Residual Kid, Lochness Mobsters at Hotel Vegas
Ephraim Owens Experience, James McMurtry at Continental Gallery
Mike Stinson, Whitney Rose at Continental Club
Jeffrey Lewis, Folk Uke at Beerland
Durawa, Los Jazz Vatos at El Mercado Backstage
Dylan Bishop, 8½ Souvenirs at C-Boy’s
Seela at One-2-One Bar
Warren Hood at ABGB
Charlie Belle at Geraldine’s
Wood & Wire at Long Center Rollins Studio Theatre
Jake Penrod at Broken Spoke
Texas Radio Live with Sahara Smith, Steel Betty at Guero’s
Giulia Millanta with David Pulkingham at One-2-One Bar
Jon Dee Graham, William Harries Graham at Continental Club
Michael Fracasso, Blue Moon Jazz Quartet with Rosie Flores at Continental Gallery
Daisy O’Connor at Cactus Cafe
Barbara Nesbitt at Hilton Cannon & Belle
Chris Gage & Friends at El Mercado Backstage
Motel Radio, Artisanals, Ben Millburn at Stubb’s indoor
Aimee Mann, Jonathan Coulton at Paramount Theatre
Barfield, Casper Rawls at Continental Club
Bonnie Whitmore, Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few at Continental Gallery
Peterson Brothers at Cactus Cafe
Summer Fires EP release, Matt Gilmour & the Cuckoos at Stubb’s indoor
Aaron McDonnell at Geraldine’s
Jimmie Dreams, Koolerators at Sam’s Town Point
Derailers at Broken Spoke
Fingerpistol at Highball
Nocturnal Hallucinations at Electric Church
Suzi Stern Quintet at Elephant Room
Jazz Outside Inside, Utley3, Steve McCarthy at Carousel Lounge
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville has set a May 25 opening date for “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s,” a major new exhibition exploring the links between Austin and Nashville during the rise of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and others who changed the direction of country music in the 1970s.
As the title suggests, the history of Austin’s iconic Armadillo World Headquarters will be central to the exhibit, which promises to reveal “untold stories and never-seen artifacts.” Armadillo founder Eddie Wilson, whose memoir about the legendary music venue was published last year, helped with historical items, along with co-curator Eric Geadelmann, an Austin-based filmmaker who’s providing exclusive concert and interview footage. The event’s promotional artwork, pictured above, was created by renowned Austin poster artist Jim Franklin.
In a press release accompanying the announcement, museum CEO Kyle Young noted that “this was an era in which renegades Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson fought for and won creative control of their own songs and sounds. It was a time when melodic poets Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Billy Joe Shaver elevated public perception of what a country song could be.
“It was a time when the Austin, Texas, music and arts scenes blossomed, and when characters like singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, Hondo Crouch — who bought his own town, Luckenbach, Texas — armadillo art specialist Jim Franklin and University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal changed Lone Star culture.”
The exhibit follows a wave of Armadillo-era nostalgia that swept through Austin last year. In addition to Wilson’s memoir, last year’s All ATX concert at Auditorium Shores followed a “Back to the Armadillo” theme, and an annual SIMS Foundation gala at Emo’s was billed as “a celebration of the cosmic cowboy” (referencing Michael Murphey’s landmark 1973 album “Cosmic Cowboy Souvenir”).
And Jan. 23 brings the publication of “At Home With the Armadillo,” a memoir from longtime Austin singer-songwriter and bandleader Gary P. Nunn. His song “London Homesick Blues,” and its “home with the armadillo” chorus, became the era’s unofficial anthem (as well as the official “Austin City Limits” TV show theme for many seasons). Nunn will speak and sign copies of the memoir at BookPeople on Jan. 25.
Details will be announced soon about special concerts, panels and film events connected to the exhibit. “Outlaws and Armadillos,” set to run for nearly three years, replaces the museum’s current exhibit “Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City,” which closes Feb. 18. The museum also is partnering with the Sony Legacy label on upcoming reissues that will be associated with some of the exhibit’s core artists.
Shelley King, “Fan Faves” (Lemonade). The 2008 Texas State Musician revisited her past work for an 11-song set featuring songs that have tended to be most requested at her shows over the years. The leadoff track “Call of My Heart” is a welcome rescue from King’s out-of-print 1998 debut album of the same name, one of four tunes from that record included here. Elsewhere, King draws from her albums “The Highway” (2002), “Welcome Home” (2010) and “Building a Fire” (2014), with guests including lap steel guitar great Cindy Cashdollar on “Tennessee Whiskey” and members of soulful New Orleans band the Subdudes on the title track to “Building a Fire.” King recently has been working on a new album with Marcia Ball in Ray Benson’s Bismeaux studio; in the meantime, “Fan Faves” is a welcome gathering of career high points. Playing Jan. 21 at Antone’s as part of Lavelle White’s dance party & potluck residency. Here’s a live version of “Call of My Heart” recorded at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar in 2016:
OUT THIS WEEK
Lolita Lynne, “Fool’s Moon” EP. Recording under her own name after previously fronting the band Magia Negra, this singer-guitarist consistently delivers a cool, sultry indie-rock vibe on these six tracks. The studio efforts of keyboardist Robert Williams and ace engineer Adrian Quesada help make this a fully realized project, while the drums and percussion expertise of Daniel Coborn stands out on tracks such as the entrancingly rhythmic “I Won’t.” Release show Jan. 12 at Barracuda. Here’s the leadoff track “Enslaved,” which features a guest appearance by Yvonne Lambert of the Octopus Project:
Wide Open, “Long Road Home.” Singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Season Ammons and Allen Rayfield make up this Central Texas duo that brings equal parts rock, soul, folk, blues and country to its organic Americana mix on these 13 songs. They’re backed by a veteran local cast that includes drummer J.J. Johnson, bassist Glenn Fukunaga and cellist Brian Standefer. Here’s an excerpt of the track “Rye Whiskey”:
JAN. 18: Summer Fires, “Without a Word” EP, release show Jan. 18 at Stubb’s indoor.
JAN. 19: Johnny Dango, “Dear Everybody, I Love You,” release show Jan. 20 at Blackheart.
Friday: Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band at ACL Live. It’s a distant memory now, the first time I saw Ritter perform, ambling out onstage as a special guest of Glen Hansard’s band the Frames at a Boston nightclub and pin-drop silencing the crowd with a heart-stopping rendition of his song “Come and Find Me.” He’d made just two records at that point, but now he’s up to nine studio albums (including last fall’s “Gathering”), and he made an auspicious debut as an author with his novel “Bright’s Passage.” A sharp lyricist who’s also often inclined to step out with rock and pop songs well beyond acoustic singer-songwriter fare, Ritter benefits from the long and loyal support of his Royal City Band. Nicki Bluhm opens. $29.50-$39.50. 8 p.m. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. acl-live.com. — P.B.
Friday: Lolita Lynne release party at Barracuda. On the new six-song EP, “Fool’s Gold,” Lynne’s voice drifts between smoky nonchalance and sultry defiance as she lilts over dreamy pop soundscapes. Smiile, Batty Jr. and Carrie Fussel are also on the bill. 9 p.m. doors. 611 E Seventh St. barracudaaustin.com. — D.S.S.
Friday: Asleep at the Wheel at Broken Spoke. The unstoppable western swing machine rolls on, with plenty of regional and national touring on the horizon as 2018 begins. Before they go, though, they’ll make a rare appearance at South Austin’s storied honky-tonk, where leader Ray Benson’s head comes in dangerous proximity with the low ceiling. Benson’s 2017 was largely about his partnership with Dale Watson on their “Dale & Ray” record, but a new Wheel album is due this summer, after they play some high-profile local gigs with the Avett Brothers (Long Center, March 3) and George Strait (Erwin Center, June 3). $25. 9 p.m. 3201 S. Lamar Blvd. brokenspokeaustintx.net. — P.B.
Saturday: Polyrhythmics, Kalu & the Electric Joint at the Mohawk indoor. The sprawling jams of Seattle groove collective Polyrhythmics will make you move, but hometown opener Kalu & the Electric Joint, the new project from Nigerian expat Kalu James, is also a big draw. The group’s latest release, ‘Time Undone,” simmers a slow burning dish of love and longing into a murky stew of muscular psychedelics, gut-bucket blues riffs and rootsy soul. $12-$15. Doors at 9 p.m. 912 Red River St. mohawkaustin.com. — D.S.S.
Here’s the biggest name-drop yet for this year’s South by Southwest: The annual mid-March mega-festival has announced more than 500 new additions to its music event.
Highlights include the North American debut of Max Richter’s eight-hour composition “Sleep,” which is helpful seeing as how nobody ever gets any sleep during SXSW. Exactly how and when that’s going to take place hasn’t been announced yet; when it was performed in London last spring, the run-time was 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Other notable names among national acts in this batch include Minnesota indie minimalists Low, Philadelpia R&B act Son Little, Nort Carolina songwriter/producer Chris Stamey and Los Angeles DJ Cut Chemist (formerly of Ozomatli and Jurassic 5). International additions include Irish Rockers the Strypes, Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean, South Korea band Crush and English songwriter Frank Turner.