M. Ward, Ray Benson and more added to Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion

M. Ward has been added to the lineup for Willie Nelson's Luck Reunion on March 16. Contributed/Bella Union
M. Ward has been added to the lineup for Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion on March 16. Contributed/Bella Union

M. Ward, Ray Benson, Valerie June, the Felice Brothers and Ray Wylie Hubbard are among more than a dozen performers added to the schedule for Willie Nelson’s annual Luck Reunion, set for March 16 at Nelson’s hill country property just west of Austin in the midst of South By Southwest.

The new additions join previously announced guests including Margo Price, Conor Oberst and Parker Millsap. Details on obtaining general admission tickets, $70, are at the event’s website.

Here’s the current lineup, spread across three stages, with more still to be added:

World Headquarters Stage: Willie Nelson & Family, Conor Oberst & Friends featuring M. Ward and the Felice Brothers, Margo Price, Valerie June, Big Thief, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Insects Vs. Robots, Devon Gilfillian, Indianola, Bee Caves and a special surprise headlining guest.

Revival Tent: Parker Millsap, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Brent Cobb, Wild Reeds, Valley Queen, Paul Thorn & the McCrary Sisters, Texas Gentlemen’s “Texas Review” featuring Ray Benson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Paul Cauthen, Kirby Brown, Jonathan Tyler, K Phillips, Wesley Geiger, Dan Dyer and more.

Chapel Stage: Lillie Mae, Andrew Combs, Twain, Kelsey Waldon, Frankie Lee, National Reserve, Red Shahan and more.

Additional acts: Mastersons, Deslondes and more.

Pretenders to tape ‘Austin City Limits’ TV show in March

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band the Pretenders will tape an episode of “Austin City Limits” at ACL Live on March 13, the long-running television show announced Monday.

The Pretenders will tape "Austin City Limits" in March. Scott Moore for American-Statesman 2016
The Pretenders will tape “Austin City Limits” in March. Scott Moore for American-Statesman 2016

It’s the first taping announcement for the program’s 43rd season. The Pretenders have never appeared on the show before, though it’s a quick return for them to ACL Live, where they performed a regular ticketed concert last October just after the release of a new album, “Alone.”

PHOTO GALLERY: The Pretenders at ACL Live on Oct. 31, 2016

Details about entering the lottery for free tickets will be posted about a week before the taping to the ACL TV website and to the show’s social media accounts. The taping coincides with the band’s Erwin Center appearance on March 12 opening for Stevie Nicks. It’s also in the same window as the start of South by Southwest, but an SXSW representative says the band is not playing the festival.

Leader Chrissie Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers are the sole original members of the band, which formed in England in 1978 and released several top-10-selling albums in the 1980s. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. The current lineup also includes guitarist James Walbourne, bassist Nick Wilkinson and pedal steel guitarist Eric Heywood.

[This story was updated to include the Pretenders’ Erwin Center appearance with Stevie Nicks.]

Shakey Graves says: Buy my albums, pick your price, oppose Trump

Shakey Graves performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday October 10, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Shakey Graves performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday October 10, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Ever since the City of Austin declared February 9 “Shakey Graves Day” several years back, the Austin artist a.k.a. Alejandro Rose-Garcia has used the day as an opportunity to celebrate with his fans in Austin and around the world. Most years, he’s released a collection of b-sides or live recordings to commemorate the occasion.

This year, frustrated by the current events, he is opting to make his entire catalog, “10 albums worth of songs including demos, b-sides, live recordings, and rarities,” available at a pay-what-you-wish price on www.shakeygraves.bandcamp.com for 72 hours, from February 9-11. He plans to donate 50 percent of the proceeds to charities that support “good causes.”

“Every day it seems we awaken to news that some new hole has been slashed in the foundations of everything we’ve held true concerning science, human rights and general empathy,” Rose-Garcia wrote in an emotional post on his Facebook page Monday. “These things now come in direct conflict with our new president’s disgusting vision of America.”

Rose-Garcia is asking his fans to suggest worthy charities, nonprofits and think tanks that are working to turn the tide. He and his team will select one or more to support.

He will also be hosting his annual Shakey Graves Day party at the Mohawk on February 9. This time round he’s bringing along friends, David Ramirez and Rayland Baxter to “do a set of songs in the round, fart jokes storytelling and kumbaya.” Los Coast opens the show.

Fans have an opportunity to sign up to buy $10 pre-sale tickets on his Website. The reduced price pre-sale tickets will be awarded by lottery. Additional tickets will be available at the door on the day of show.

Kings of Leon to play Austin360 Amphitheater in May

Kings of Leon play ACL Fest in 2013. Tammy Perez for American-Statesman
Kings of Leon play ACL Fest in 2013. Tammy Perez for American-Statesman

Rockers Kings of Leon announced dates for the North American second leg of their tour supporting their critically panned but popular 2016 album “Walls.” The tour includes a stop at the Austin360 Amphitheater on May 9, 2017.

Atlanta rockers Deerhunter, who play a sold out show at the Mohawk on Tuesday, open.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, February 4th at 10:00 am via ticketmaster.com, all ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 1-800-745-3000 to charge by phone.

More information.

This week’s music picks: Get Grizzly with D.R.A.M., get Rick-rolled at Emo’s


Wednesday: Jonathan Terrell at Guero’s and the White Horse. Getting lost somewhere between the worlds of singer-songwriter roots music and hard-driving rock ‘n’ roll often ends up being a good place to be creatively. Terrell has explored the latter with Not in the Face, but under his own name he gravitates to a different place, one that’s not quite country but more nuanced than his band’s punk-fueled attack. Catch him early or late: He starts the evening at Guero’s Oak Garden for Sun Radio’s weekly “Texas Radio Live” program, before closing out the night at east side honky tonk the White Horse. Guero’s: free (donations accepted), 6 p.m. (with Kurt Grein), 1412 S. Congress Ave., sunradio.com. White Horse: free, midnight, 500 Comal St., thewhitehorseaustin.com. — P.B.

D.R.A.M. plays Thursday at Emo's. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016
D.R.A.M. plays Thursday at Grizzly Hall. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

Thursday: D.R.A.M. at Grizzly Hall. Like your soulful grooves laced with tongue-in-cheek hilarity or super-sized into Freddie Mercury-style epic rock jams featuring Young Thug? Big Baby D.R.A.M. has you covered. His talent is tremendous, and his freewheeling take on R&B veers refreshingly far from the chilly, hazy sound du jour. If there’s any justice in the world, he’ll be playing much bigger rooms by the end of the year. $15-$20. 8:30 p.m. 2015 E. Riverside Drive. scoremoreshows.com — D.S.S.



  • Mystery Monday with Gurf Morlix and Ray Bonneville at El Mercado Backstage
  • Church on Monday at Continental Gallery
  • Sharon Bourbonnais at Driskill Bar
  • Nightowls, Matchmaker Band at Highball
  • Nick Diaz at Hole in the Wall
  • 80H Project at One-2-One Bar




Ten years on, Austin’s Band of Heathens are embracing their ‘Duende’

A decade is a long time to devote to any one thing, let alone a creative undertaking.

But Austin quintet The Band of Heathens, who just released their fifth studio album and celebrated a decade as a band, are showing no signs of slowing down.


“We all feel really fortunate to have made it this far and this long together, and looking back at our various successes and failures, it’s all been fantastic, and I feel like we’re just getting started,” lead vocalist and lead guitarist Ed Jurdi told me in an interview.

The band, which got its start playing various sets at the now-defunct Momo’s, took some time off from the studio in the past few years to back up other artists, like Kid Rock and Hayes Carll. Their latest album, “Duende,” came out January 13 and boasts some of the most eclectic sounds you’ll hear from an Americana or Southern rock ‘n’ roll release this year.

More: Read our ‘On the Record’ review of ‘Duende’

The album’s name is Spanish, a noun meaning “a quality of passion and inspiration.”

“[That’s] what we’re chasing. True authenticity. True connection. Being true to who we are as a band,” the statement on the band’s website reads.

And while the sounds of “Duende” are indeed eclectic, they also fit with the ethos of the band.

There’s echoes of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” in the raunched-earth jam “Sugar Queen,” while “Last Minute Man” switches over to some easygoing acoustic guitar with some quick, rat-tat-a-tat drum fills, and “Trouble Came Early” is a straight rocker. They’ve been billed as “Grateful Dead Americana,” and the bill is fitting.

“Oh , you should hear the 10 or so songs we left off,” guitarist and songwriter Gordy Quist joked. “We like the mellow stuff but we also really like the rock ‘n’ roll stuff, and I feel like this is some good, tight, rock ‘n’ roll.

“In the studio, it was all about throwing a song around and seeing where it went, letting it take its course.”

“Conventional wisdom would say to pick one thing and get really good at it, but I think at the core of it, we just wanted to get back to this rock ‘n’ roll ethos,” Jurdi added. “This idea of rock ‘n’ roll has become a parody of itself, you know, with like Ed Hardy shirts and motorcycles and having to act hard all the time. And there’s not a lot of bands that can actually groove and swing and have a visceral edge to them, but hopefully that’s exactly what we accomplished with this album.”

All great rock ‘n’ roll albums need a great rock ‘n’ roll tour, and that’s what the Heathens are setting their sights on now. They’re in Massachusetts at the moment, but will be back in Texas on Feb. 17 and will play the Mohawk on the 23rd. Later in the year they’ll head to Europe, and Jurdi teased a few dates with “another artist from Austin that I can’t mention yet.”

So, 2017 will be a big year for the band.

“We’re doing less touring than we used to; it used to be like 250 days out of the year. These days it’s more like 100-120 out of the year,” Quist told me.

“But, you know, it’s like a cumulative effect,” Jurdi added. “It’s been 10 years, we’ve gotten married, had kids, some of us have had relationships end, family members have died, people have broken up with significant others, it’s just 10 years of life happening all around you. So a lot of the writing, especially on this album, is influenced by that.”

A big part of that life on the road is keeping in touch with family, which in this day and age means Skype, FaceTime and the myriad other ways we’re all connected through our screens.

“While modern technology has certainly allowed us to stay in touch over vast distances – something a band that lives on the road certainly appreciates – it doesn’t really provide the authentic connection we crave,” Quist wrote in a press release.

The group touches on that divide in a verse from “Deep Is Love” that focuses on dropped phone calls from hotel rooms.

“All the touring, social media plays a part in that, trying to keep in touch with our families while we’re on the road,” Jurdi said. “It’s something that we want to participate in, but there’s a fine line between participating in it and then letting it embrace you and then you’re living in some cyber domain.”

Expect the band to bring their won brand of authenticity back to Austin when they return to play the Mohawk.


Austin360 On The Record: John Wesley Coleman III, Leopold & His Fiction, more



John Wesley Coleman III, “Microwave Dreams” (Super Secret). With song titles such as “Jesus Never Went to Junior High,” “On the Couch Again” and “Exotic Tambourine,” it’s clear Coleman doesn’t take himself too seriously. But that’s not to say he doesn’t put time and care into his music. His base is garage-rock, yes, but over the course of nearly a dozen solo albums (plus his tenure in the Golden Boys), Coleman has sharpened his focus, to where little if any space is wasted on this 10-track, 34-minute effort. And in the truest punk-rock tradition. Coleman wasn’t blessed with a naturally great voice but has become a really strong singer. He invests just the right emotional touch in each track, whether it’s a strident swagger on the anthemic opener “Shovel” or a reverent plainspokenness on the country-tinged “See You Tomorrow.” Playing Feb. 4 at Hotel Vegas. Here’s a video for the song “Mama I’m a Big Boy”:

Leopold & His Fiction, “Darling Destroyer.” Often pushing his dramatic vocal delivery into the red, band leader Daniel Leopold mixes hard-edged gutter-punk with more traditional elements of neo-soul on the group’s fourth album. Leopold, who co-produced the 11-track release with Chris “Frenchie” Smith and Vance Powell, wrote most of the songs, but a frenetic take on Bob Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” near the end puts fresh energy into the timeless classic. Following a local release party earlier this week, the band has headed out on an extensive national tour that will keep them on the road until they return for shows during SXSW. Here’s the video for the track “It’s How I Feel (Free)”:

Pollen Rx, “Sunbelt Emptiness.” Building upon two EPs in the past three years, this co-ed ensemble serves up nine engaging indie tunes on their first full-length effort, weaving together elements of old-school garage-rock and modern dance-pop. The songwriting ranges from the rhythmic crunch of “Apartment” to the bittersweet melodicism of “Control” to the angular guitar spikes of “Interstate.” Lyrically, they’re often focusing on societal ills, from ad-overload culture in “Billboard Promises” to environmental issues that run through “Sand in the Well.” Release show Jan. 28 at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Here’s the title track:

Whitney Rose, “South Texas Suite” EP (Six Shooter). A frequent performer at the Continental Club since relocating to Austin from Canada about a year ago, Rose has entrenched herself in the local country community. Her backing crew on “South Texas Suite” features longtime local aces including bassist Kevin Smith, drummer Tom Lewis, fiddler Erik Hokkanen, guitarist Redd Volkaert and pianist Earl Poole Ball, as well as fellow recent international transplant Sophia Johnson. She supplemented three original tunes with two by fellow Austin women songwriters (Brennen Leight and Teri Joyce), and the EP concludes with a brief, frewheeling instrumental that allows her supporting cast to shine. Here’s a preview video for the EP:


  • FEB. 3: Gurf Morlix, “The Soul & the Heal,” release show March 4 at El Mercado Backstage.
  • FEB. 3: Daisy O’Connor, “Lightchasers,” release show Feb. 3 at Cactus Cafe.
  • FEB. 3: Traveling Ones, “Meet Me There,” release show Feb. 3 at Stubb’s indoor.
  • FEB. 3: Ty Richards, “Zillion,” release show Feb. 3 at Swan Dive.
  • FEB. 10: Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, “Backlash” (Ingroove), in-store Feb. 10 at Waterloo Records.
  • FEB. 10: Merles, “Hate to Say Goodbye,” release show Feb. 24 at White Horse.
  • FEB. 10: Kathy & the Kilowatts, “Let’s Do This Thing,” release show Feb. 11 at C-Boy’s.
  • FEB. 10: Letting Up Despite Great Faults, “Alexander Devotion” EP (Shelflife), playing Feb. 16 at Barracuda.
  • FEB. 10: Ali Holder, “Huntress Moon” EP, release show Feb. 10 at Cactus Cafe.
  • FEB. 17: Curtis McMurtry, “The Hornet’s Nest.”
  • FEB. 17: Molly Burch, “Please Be Mine,” release show Feb. 18 at Mohawk.
  • FEB. 18: Later Days, “Lost in the Sound,” release show Feb. 17 at Grizzly Hall.
  • FEB. 24: Shinyribs, “I Got Your Medicine,” release show March 3 at Antone’s.
  • FEB. 24: Scott H. Biram, “The Bad Testament” (Bloodshot).
  • FEB. 24: Billy Harvey, “Elephants in the Room.”
  • MARCH 3: My Education, “Schiphol” (Headbump).
  • MARCH 3: Cilantro Boombox.
  • MARCH 10: Sunny Sweeney, “Trophy” (Thirty Tigers).
  • 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 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: Willie Nelson, “God’s Problem Child” (Legacy).
  • SPRING: Ulrich Ellison & Tribe.

Miranda Lambert to headline Mack, Jack & McConaughey fundraiser

Call it Mack, Jack, McConaughey and Miranda: The fifth year of the annual children’s charities fundraiser presented by the local coach/musician/actor power-trio will feature country superstar Miranda Lambert.

Miranda Lambert performs onstage during the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival held at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman
Miranda Lambert will play this year’s fifth annual Mack, Jack & McConaughey fundraiser on April 20 at ACL Live. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman 2016

The April 20 concert at ACL Live is the highlight of Mack, Jack & McConaughey, a two-day event organized by former Texas Longhorns football coach Mack Brown, Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey and singer-songwriter Jack Ingram. It also includes a golf tournament, a fashion show and luncheon, and a concluding songwriters show the night after Lambert’s concert.

“The impact of their effort is off the charts and I am glad to help,” Lambert said in a press release.

Tickets to Lambert’s concert run $99-$152 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at the ACL Live website.

Lambert, a native Texan, is currently flying high off November’s chart-topping “The Weight of these Wings,” her seventh studio release and first double-album.

This year’s fundraiser benefits CureDuchenne, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, HeartGift, the Just Keep Livin’ Foundation and the Rise School of Austin.

“There is nobody better than Miranda to take year five of MJ&M to the next level,” Ingram said in a statement. “Matthew, Mack and I are so proud to have seen MJ&M grow from a fun idea into an impactful effort already investing more than $5 million into charities working to empower kids.”

SXSW 2017: Hurray for the Riff Raff, Har Mar Superstar among 175 new bands

Har Mar Superstar closes out the night at The Har Mar Superstar's Best Party Ever at Cheer Up Charlie's during SXSW on Sunday, March 20, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Erika Rich for American-Statesman
Har Mar Superstar closes out the night at The Har Mar Superstar’s Best Party Ever at Cheer Up Charlie’s during SXSW on Sunday, March 20, 2016 in Austin, Texas.
Erika Rich for American-Statesman

The South by Southwest Music Festival added another 175 bands to this year’s Friday morning, and notables include NYC-based Americana folk outfit Hurray for the Riff Raff, soulful Minneapolis glam rocker Har Mar Superstar and British rapper Lady Leshurr.

Artists representing Austin this go-round include Latin fusion, reggae rockers Cilantro Boombox, blues upstarts, the Peterson Brothers and rockers Quin Galavis, Hikes and Boyfrndz.

Austin council passes Red River curfew extension program

Jamie XX performs at the Mohawk on Saturday, August 1, 2015. Erika Rich/For American-Statesman
Jamie XX performs at the Mohawk on Saturday, August 1, 2015. Erika Rich/For American-Statesman

City Council approved an amended version of a proposed pilot program to test extended curfews for outdoor live music in the Red River Cultural District on Thursday. The plan extends curfews in the district to midnight on Thursdays and 1 a.m. on weekends for a six-month period. City officials will use that time period to gather data on the community impact of the later end times and decide whether to continue the program for an additional six months. The proposed time period for the pilot program runs from May to November of this year.

Bar owners in the district, which includes the popular music venues Stubb’s BBQ, the Mohawk and Empire Garage, have argued that extended hours could have a big impact on struggling clubs.

More details on the decision from City Council here.