Lil Dicky postpones ‘Life Lessons’ tour, including Erwin Center date

Rapper, comedian and internet sensation, Lil Dicky has postponed his “Life Lessons” tour which included a stop at the Erwin Center on Oct. 25.

In a message to fans posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday morning, the artist also known as Dave Burd explained that between the pressure to complete a new album and working on a television show based on his life for the FX network he’s “bitten off more than I can chew.”

No rescheduled dates have been announced, but in his message to fans Burd said his new plan was to finish the new album and hit the road with new music.

From the Frank Erwin Center: Customers who purchased tickets using a credit card either online or by phone through Texas Box Office will be automatically refunded. For all other ticket refunds, fans should return to their original point of purchase. If you have questions regarding your previously purchased tickets, call 512-477-6060 or 1-800-982-BEVO (2386).

Rattletree School of Marimba to close

On Tuesday afternoon, Joel Laviolette announced on Facebook that he and his wife Rakefet Laviolette will be closing the Rattletree School of Marimba, a small complex in South Austin dedicated to teaching mbira, marimba and African music. The school has been open since 2013.

Joel Laviolette at Rattletree School of Marimba in 2014. Laura Skelding/American-Statesman

“Thank you for being a part of this beautiful community and supporting us over the years as we built this dream together. It’s been an honor to share the music with so many of you,” Laviolette said in the Facebook post.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Joel Laviolette makes ‘musical rain’

Laviolette said his elite student band, Kupira Marimba, will continue to perform and study with him. The group is booked to play the Austin Kiddie Limits stage on Oct. 6 at Austin City Limits Festival.

The Laviolettes have been open about financial struggles the family has endured since Rakefet Laviolette, who worked as program director at the school, was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Earlier this month, fellow world music musicians rallied to create a benefit show, Rakefetfest. There’s also a GoFundMe account started by the family to help cover the expenses of Laviolette’s care.

“Unfortunately the cost of maintaining the school is just too great, and our family isn’t able to make ends meet,” Joel Laviolette said in the Facebook post.

 

Charlie Robison announces retirement after surgery complications

Charlie Robison in a 2009 Dualtone Records promotional photo.

Texas country-rock singer-songwriter Charlie Robison announced to fans on his official Facebook page Thursday night that he’s “officially retiring from the stage and studio” after complications from a surgery procedure earlier this year left him permanently unable to sing.

Brothers Charlie and Bruce Robison rose from the Hill Country town of Bandera in the early 1990s to become two of Central Texas’ most successful Americana artists. Charlie, 54, released nine albums between 1996 and 2013. He was married to Emily Strayer (nee Erwin) of the Dixie Chicks from 1999 to 2008; they have three children.

In 2009, former American-Statesman staffer Michael Corcoran wrote the following profile of Charlie:

Charlie Robison hates doing interviews and they sometimes hate him right back, like the time in the ’90s he got wasted and ending up trashing just about every country music act besides his beloved George Strait – which is what you want to do when you’re an outsider from Texas on a Nashville label.That late-night jawing session set to print probably didn’t hurt Robison’s musical career as much as when he wed the sexiest member of country music’s biggest act in 1999. You can’t be a country music “outlaw” when you’re holding your wife’s purse on the red carpet while she’s being interviewed by a guy from ‘N Sync. Robison had become Stedman in a Stetson, a professional “plus one.”

But even as Mr. Dixie Chick, Robison maintained a pretty good career, with four albums each selling in the 100,000-300,000 range. He was a judge on the first season of “Nashville Star” and has had a couple songs in movies and TV shows. But when your wife’s won 18 Grammys and you’re still playing Gruene Hall, it’s hard to not become the Kris Kristofferson character in “A Star Is Born.”

Then, when the Dixie Chicks luxury liner hit an iceberg after anti-Bush comments Natalie Maines made in 2003, Robison became first mate on the Titanic of twang. What happened to the guy who just wanted to write a song as good as Willie Nelson’s “The Party’s Over”?

The old Robison was back in peak rascal form on a recent Thursday at the historic Liberty Bar in downtown San Antonio. The 6-foot-4-inch, 245-pound Troy Aikman look-alike drove up in a gold Yukon with black rims, wearing a straw cowboy hat and big, gaudy $4 sunglasses. Robison ordered a Jack Daniels with a beer back before his rear hit the seat. “Welcome to media day!” he toasted. The shots of Jack Daniels stacked up like planes over DFW as Robison talked about a new album that can’t get here soon enough.

Robison started writing the ironically titled “Beautiful Day” the day after he filed for divorce from Emily Robison in January 2008 on grounds of “discord or conflict of personalities.” The couple has three children.

“When our parents got divorced, they didn’t tell me and Bruce (his songwriter brother) why it happened,” says Charlie Robison, who was 8 at the time. “But we had ‘Phases and Stages’ (the Willie Nelson divorce album where the husband told his side, then the wife told hers) to help make some sense of it. My record is like side one of ‘Phases and Stages.’ “

The woman’s point of view in this split could be told by the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Racing in the Streets,” which ends the album. It’s a song about pursuing a calling at all costs, even if it means someone is always waiting at home. (Emily Robison currently is not doing interviews and could not be reached for comment.)

“I knew that when I was marrying Emily, I was also, in a sense, marrying (Dixie Chicks) Martie (Maguire) and Natalie (Maines),” Robison says. “Those three girls were already tighter than any three people I’ve ever met. But when the Bush thing happened, they really stuck together.”

As the trio fought hard to hold on to what they had built up, Charlie Robison said he felt left out. He also lost sponsors, he said, because of his affiliation with the Chicks.

“It was intense and it was every day,” Robison says of the media glare. The couple had seen a marriage counselor who noted that in the Dixie Chicks’ documentary “Shut Up and Sing,” Charlie Robison was off to the side while Maines and Maguire were bedside when Emily Robison was about to give birth to twins in 2005. “He was wondering what that meant and I said, ‘They were filming a documentary!’ They were making a movie that I didn’t feel a part of.”

Although they didn’t officially divorce until Aug. 6, 2008, Charlie Robison says he saw it coming in March 2005 when Emily moved to Los Angeles to write songs with her bandmates and make an album with Rick Rubin. Charlie stayed in Texas to run the ranch the couple owns near Kerrville.

“It’s funny,” he says. “I can’t stand L.A., but some of my most successful songs, like ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and ‘El Cerrito Place’ are set there.”

The new album opens with another good song that takes place in his least favorite city. Over a hard strum, Robison sings, “Well she’s hangin’ out in Venice with her Siamese cat/ She’s tellin’ everybody she’s a Democrat/ She sold her Palomino when the tire went flat/ On the 405.” Earlier in the interview, Robison says he wasn’t going to talk about specifics of the new songs, except to say they have thinly veiled references to his ex. But when asked what “her Palomino” was about, Robison pointed his thumb toward his chest.

“I gave Emily a CD a few days ago and she said she really liked it,” says Charlie, whose two-story house with the circular drive in the upscale, yet funky Olmos Park neighborhood is just a 10-minute drive to his ex-wife’s house. “There are probably a few things on there she’s not wild about, but she’s always been very supportive of my music.”

With the wound still fresh, Robison delves deep into what went wrong on songs such as the title track, “Yellow Blues” and a cover of “Nothin’ Better To Do” by Bobby Bare Jr.

Robison says what made “Beautiful Day” especially therapeutic was that he was surrounded by old friends. Warren Hood, who toured with Robison one summer while still a student at Austin High, plays fiddle on the record. Rich Brotherton and Charlie Sexton, whom Robison has known since moving to Austin in the late ’80s, lend rich guitar textures, while another old runnin’ buddy, Bukka Allen, handles keyboards. “Making this record felt like a homecoming,” says Robison, who produced “Beautiful Day” at his brother’s Premium Sound Studios.

There’s a sense of bitterness to the album, but there’s an air of starting over in better shape than going in. “There ain’t no blues where I point my shoes/ Well buddy have you heard the news/ I’m fine, I’m fine” he sings on “She’s So Fine.”

“Emily is the mother of my children and I love her, but over time we just discovered that we didn’t have as much in common as we thought we did,” Robison says, showing that this celebrity divorce is no different than most others.

Robison says the divorce was so amicable that the couple used the same attorney to draw up the papers. “We had always set it up as us having separate accounts,” he says. “She got her money and I got mine.” The couple owns the ranch jointly, he says, with the intent of passing it on to the children. (Robison has the names of his three children tattooed on one arm and the logo of the U.S. Army division he entertained in Iraq in 2007 on his other arm.)

Although Robison is reluctant to leave San Antonio, “the only city I’ll ever live in,” the new record means a new tour. And a reintroduction to a public that has mainly known him this past decade as a husband.

“About a year ago, someone introduced me as a ‘Texas songwriting legend’ and it kinda took me wrong,” says Robison. “I wanted to say, ‘No! I’m the bad boy of country music!” Then he bugs out his eyes and roars. “Look, I’m still crazy!”

The legend part especially confused him. “First, it’s not even close to being true,” he says. “And second, ‘legend’ means you’re done and I feel, at the age of 44, that I’ve finally figured out how to make a record.”

Tis not the season, yet, but here’s the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar lineup

Austin rising star Mélat will play the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar on Dec. 21 at noon. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

It’s beginning to look a lot like… well, the autumn equinox? The arrival of fall brings an early announcement of the music lineup for the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, which will present its 43rd annual holiday shopping extravaganza from Dec. 13-24 at Palmer Events Center.

PHOTOS: Gallery from last year’s Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Lots of familiar locals fill out the 12-days-of-pre-Christmas schedule, but there’s also a rare and intriguing out-of-town addition. Cajun/zydeco accordionist C.J. Chenier and his Red Hot Louisiana Band, regular visitors to Antone’s in recent years, will play the 7 p.m. slot on Dec. 23. Two other non-locals also will appear: Oklahoma’s John Fullbright (3 p.m. Dec. 15) and Mississippi’s Charlie Mars (3 p.m. Sept. 21).

Highlights among hometown acts include Shinyribs (7 p.m. Dec. 14), Ray Wylie Hubbard (7 p.m. Dec. 18), Tomar & the FCs (noon Dec. 16), Suzanna Choffel (noon Dec. 19) and Mobley (3 p.m. Dec. 20). The final Saturday, Dec. 23, features a triple-threat of Austin blues women with Shelley King (noon), Carolyn Wonderland (3 p.m.) and Marcia Ball (7 p.m.).

RELATED: Scenes from the 2016 Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Tickets are now on sale via the Bazaar’s website. Single-day tickets cost $10; full-run passes good for all dates are $50 and will be sold online through Dec. 12.

Here’s the full lineup:

Maybe I’m amazed at this Barton Hills Choir ‘Abbey Road’ video

It’s still two weeks before Paul McCartney arrives in town for the first of two concerts in Zilker Park as part of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, but the Barton Hills Choir is ready: They’ll be tackling the ambitious side two medley of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” as part of their annual performances on the festival’s Austin Kiddie Limits stage.

The video above features a run through the suite of songs that many consider to be McCartney’s masterwork as an artist. The choir’s vocalists get support from teacher/ringleader Gavin Tabone plus band members Andy Harn, Don Cento and Jake Perlman.

Nakia teams up with the Barton Hills Choir at the 2016 Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The choir, featuring students from Barton Hills Elementary School, has been a hit at past fests, often tailoring its repertoire to well-known artists performing at the event. Tabone says focusing on McCartney this year was an easy call: “I’ve been playing and listening to that since I was a child, so it makes me very happy to share my love of that amazing work with my kids.”

They’ll also be working in something by David Byrne, who’s performing both weekends at the festival in addition to an Oct. 10 show at Bass Concert Hall. Set times for the two Barton Hills Choir performances at ACL Fest are 12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, and 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.

Related: Barton Hills Choir with Charlie Sexton at ACL Fest 2017

Willie Nelson on Stephen Colbert’s show: ‘I don’t hold any grudges against people’

It’s been a media-blitz week for Willie Nelson supporting his new album “My Way,” a collection of songs widely associated with Frank Sinatra. After a Tuesday appearance on ABC’s “The View,” he visited Stephen Colbert for “The Late Show” on CBS Wednesday night.

Before performing “Summer Wind,” Nelson invited Colbert out of his studio and onto his bus on 53rd Street in Manhattan. They made small talk about old photos and the new album (and, inevitably, marijuana), but they also touched upon the rally Nelson is playing next weekend at Auditorium Shores to support U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Willie Nelson appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Wednesday. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman 2017

Addressing the controversy that arose in the wake of the rally announcement, Colbert asked Nelson, “Do you get shook up by people saying they’re going to boycott your music?”

Willie’s answer: “Naw, not really. You know, it’s their prerogative. I might not like their music either, you know, so I don’t hold any grudges against people.”

READ MORE: Check out all our Willie Nelson news on Austin360

Nelson also cleared up some confusion about a statement in last week’s press release announcing the rally would be “the first public concert Nelson has held for a political candidate.” Nelson mentioned he’d played shows in the past for Dennis Kucinich, Ross Perot and even country singer Tex Ritter, a Republican who lost a 1970 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee.

Past political events Nelson played, however, involved ticketed fundraisers, Nelson’s publicist Elaine Schock clarified Friday, whereas the Sept. 29 rally is a free event open to the public.

In Nelson’s appearance on “The View,” Schock reported that when he was asked about the controversy regarding the rally, his response was simply, “We’re not happy until they’re not happy.”

One interesting bit of trivia that arose from the Colbert interview segment: Willie apparently was not familiar with legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Someone ought to get those two in a room together and see what happens.

Here’s the footage of his “Summer Wind” performance:

 

Jim James’ ‘The Future Is Voting’ tour set to kick off at Emo’s

My Morning Jacket frontman, Jim James has launched ‘The Future Is Voting’ tour, a run of six dates in swing districts designed to promote voter participation among young people.

Austin, TX – Jim James performed in concert at ACL Live on December 13, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

The tour, which will be part concert and part nonpartisan town hall meeting, kicks off with an Oct. 7 show at Emo’s.

James will be joined by raucous blues rocker Benjamin Booker and Made of Oak (Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso) alongside special surprise guests.

Tickets to the show go on sale Sept. 21 at 10 a.m.

After the Emo’s show, the tour will roll into San Marcos for a free show at Texas State University that will be open to students only.

“The importance of getting involved at this moment in time cannot be overstated. This isn’t only a Get Out The Vote concert,” James said in a press release about the event.  “This is a learning moment aimed at college students to motivate them to vote, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. Each stop on the tour purposefully takes place in a contested electoral district or state for this important midterm election, where students and young voters have the ability to dramatically affect the outcome of this tremendous moment in history.”

Leon Bridges to join Willie Nelson at Beto O’Rourke rally at Auditorium Shores

[cmg_anvato video=4483614 autoplay=”true”]

The rally for U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, set for Sept. 29 at Auditorium Shores, was already destined to be a Texas-sized spectacle with local legend Willie Nelson headlining. On Wednesday afternoon, the show got even bigger as Leon Bridges, who recently sold out two nights at ACL Live, announced plans to join the bill.

RELATED: Leon Bridges plays a steamy set at ACL Live 

The soul sensation from Fort Worth posted a photo of himself in a Beto for Senate T-shirt on his official Facebook page. Expressing appropriate reverence for Nelson, Bridges said he was joining the rally in support “of my friend and Texas Senate candidate, Beto O’Rourke.”

“Elections are coming up — so make sure you exercise your right to vote. Texas Forever,” he added.

Leon Bridges and special guest Masego perform at ACL-Live at The Moody Theater on September 1, 2018 in Austin, Texas

Nelson and Bridges will share the bill with Joe Ely, Carrie Rodriguez, Tameca Jones, and Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah Nelson.

Admission to the concert and rally is free but requires an RSVP via O’Rourke’s website.

Aloe Blacc, Jackie Venson to play next free Longhorn City Limits concert

Longhorn City Limits, the new series that puts a free concert before each University of Texas home football game, will indulge in a little West Coast hip-hop/soul on Saturday. In his first Austin performance since 2014, L.A. singer and rapper Aloe Blacc is down to headline the third installment of the concert series.

Aloe Blacc performs during SXSW 2014 at Stubbs at the Def Jam showcase Tuesday, March 11, 2014. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN)

The first two shows featured Jimmie Vaughan and Reckless Kelly, making Blacc the first headliner without a strong Texas tie.

“The response from our fans to Longhorn City Limits has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte in a press release about the event. “As we continue to grow this new gameday tradition, I challenged the staff to create a mix of local and national artists, as well as offer a variety of musical styles throughout the season.”

Blacc will be joined on the bill by local blues sensation Jackie Venson. Venson was our first Austin360 Artist of Month of 2018, after being named Breakout Artist of the Year in the inaugural Austin360 Awards in 2017.

Longhorn City Limits concerts take place on the LBJ Lawn outside the Northeast corner of the DKR Texas Memorial Stadium. The concerts are free and open to the public.

Jackie Venson is scheduled to kick off the show at noon on Sept. 22. Blacc is down to perform at 1:30 p.m.

A Flock of Seagulls headlines ’80s rock-themed ‘I Want My All ATX’ benefit

British synth-pop band, A Flock of Seagulls, has been tapped to headline a concert benefiting the local music nonprofit, All ATX on Sunday, Nov. 18 at the Four Seasons hotel.

A Flock of Seagulls. Courtesy of Paradise Artists

Mobley, Kalu & the Electric Joint, Alesia Lani and recent Austin360 Artist of the Month, Night Glitter will also perform.

Presented by local NPR affiliate KUTX 98.9 FM, the event is an afternoon show that will take place on the downtown hotel’s lawn. The concert’s theme is “I Want My All ATX,” a nod to the golden age of MTV. It doubles as a release party for this year’s All ATX compilation CD, which features local artists exploring the songs of that era. Sales from the compilation benefit local music non-profits the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, the SIMS Foundation, Black Fret and the Austin Music Foundation.

It will also be the grand opening of a new restaurant, lounge and deck at the Four Seasons.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 19, at KUTX.org. Prices range from $20 for general admission on the lawn, to $100 for the Restaurant Terrace, to $200 for the Lounge Deck. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m.