Austin360 On The Record: Bright Light Social Hour, Jerry David DeCicca, more

Jerry David DeCicca with keyboardist Eve Searls and guitarist Don Cento at Beerland in February 2018. DeCicca celebrates the release of his new disc “Burning Daylight” at Beerland on Saturday, September 29. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman


Jerry David DeCicca, “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret). The second full-length release this year from DeCicca, a Hill Country transplant from Ohio, is more in the vein of rootsy Americana than February’s comparatively minimalist “Time the Teacher.” Recorded at renowned West Texas studio Sonic Ranch with co-producer Joe Trevino, the record benefits from the tasteful and vibrant guitar work of Don Cento and Tyler Evans, plus tight rhythms from drummer Gary Mallaber and bassist Canaan Faulkner. Perhaps most significant among his backing crew is keyboardist Eve Searls, who contributes backing vocals and steps out for a sublime duet on the title track. It’s the most immediately infectious tune on the record and also the most Central-Texas-centric, with references to the Hill Country towns of Johnson City and Blanco and Highway 281. Release show Sept. 29 at Beerland. Here’s the track “Cutting Down the Country”:

Autumn Fakes, “A Sequence of Cheers for Cause and Effect.” Guitarist Jennings Crawford has a long history on the Austin indie scene, most notably as frontman for punk-pop band the Wannabes, but it’s his wife, Mikki Gibson, who’s out front here. Gibson favors concise songwriting; only the dreamy “Echo” exceeds four minutes, and nine of the 12 tracks are under three minutes. The musical structures almost always reach beyond simple chord patterns, and if that means they don’t often sink in immediately, they reward repeated listens. Release show Sept. 29 at Knomad Bar. Here’s the opening track, “Beam”:

Bright Light Social Hour, “Missing Something” EP (Modern Outsider). Part of what the accomplished psych-rock quartet was missing as they made this record was bassist-vocalist Jackie O’Brien’s brother Alex, the group’s longtime manager, who took his own life in 2015. The pathos is ingrained in the short but deeply affecting title track, which swirls with a darkness that makes the loss plain. The other four tunes are generally more upbeat, with grooves that sometimes veer toward dance-floor material. Playing Sept. 30 at Cheer Up Charlie’s. Here’s the video for the track “Trip With Lola”:

Nobody’s Girl, “Waterline” EP (Lucky Hound). The debut from the trio of singer-songwriters Betty Soo, Grace Pettis and Rebecca Loebe supplements original tunes with fellow Austin singer-songwriter Raina Rose’s “Bluebonnets” and a cover of Blondie’s “Call Me.” Recording with renowned producer/keyboardist Michael Ramos, they worked with a major-league backing crew: guitarist David Grissom, bassist Glenn Fukunaga, drummer J.J. Johnson and pedal steel player Ricky Ray Jackson. “Waterline” probably fits under the broad Americana umbrella, but this feels like pop music at its core, with electric instrumentation prominent in the arrangements. Release show Sept. 29 at Saxon Pub. Here’s the video for the title track:

Charlie Belle, “Like I Love This” EP. Latest release from the brother-sister duo of Jendayi and Gyasi Bonds, profiled by American-Statesman writer Deborah Sengupta Stith in 2015. Playing Oct. 13 at Whip In. Here’s the video for the EP track “Essay”:


  • OCT. 5: Molly Burch, “First Flower” (Captured Tracks), in-store Oct. 4 at Waterloo Records, playing Oct. 6 at Austin City Limits Music Festival, release show Oct. 20 at Barracuda.
  • OCT. 5: Max Frost, “Gold Rush” (Atlantic), playing Nov. 10 at Scoot Inn.
  • OCT. 5: Michael Martin Murphey, “Austinology: Alleys of Austin,” playing Dec. 21 at Paramount Theatre.
  • OCT. 12: Lindsay Beaver, “Tough As Love” (Alligator), playing Oct. 2 at Antone’s.
  • OCT. 12: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Rocket” (Verve Forecast).
  • OCT. 15: Kevin Welch, “Dust Devil” (Dead Reckoning), playing Nov. 15 at Susanna’s Kitchen in Wimberley.
  • OCT. 19: Kendall Beard, “Here Comes Trouble,” playing Nov. 10 at Lamberts.
  • OCT. 25: Lesly Reynaga, release show Oct. 25 at One-2-One Bar.
  • OCT. 26: Carson McHone, “Carousel,” playing Nov. 1 at Cactus Cafe.
  • OCT. 26: Jamie Lin Wilson, “Jumping Over Rocks,” playing Oct. 20 at Sam’s Town Point.
  • OCT. 26: Isaac Jacob Band, self-titled (Union 28).
  • NOV. 7: Kate Howard, release show Nov. 7 at One-2-One Bar.
  • NOV. 9: Sydney Wright, “Seiche.”

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:

Video premiere: Nobody’s Girl seeks their own level on ‘Waterline’

Nobody’s Girl (l-r): Grace Pettis, Rebecca Loebe, Betty Soo. Contributed/Nikki Gell

The new Austin trio Nobody’s Girl grew partly from the roots of the Kerrville Folk Festival, where Betty Soo, Grace Pettis and Rebecca Loebe had been past winners of the fest’s New Folk Competition. Earlier this year, they teamed up to perform a set there together, after spending the winter writing and recording material for a debut record.

That disc, a seven-song EP titled “Waterline,” comes out Friday, Sept. 28, supplementing original tunes with fellow Austin singer-songwriter Raina Rose’s “Bluebonnets” and a cover of Blondie’s “Call Me.” Recording with renowned producer/keyboardist Michael Ramos for the new label Lucky Hound, they worked with a major-league backing crew: guitarist David Grissom, bassist Glenn Fukunaga, drummer J.J. Johnson and pedal steel player Ricky Ray Jackson.

The result isn’t as folk-oriented as you might suspect from those Kerrville connections. “Waterline” probably fits under the broad Americana umbrella, but this feels like pop music at its core, with electric instrumentation prominent in the arrangements.

The opening track “What’ll I Do” (which gets an acoustic reprise at the end of the disc) got an early release a few months ago. It exemplifies the trio’s exuberant sound built around soaring three-part harmonies. The same is true for the EP’s title track, which features a video that we’re premiering on Austin360. Here’s “Waterline”:

The band celebrates the release of the EP with a performance on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Saxon Pub (10 p.m., $10).

It’s also worth checking out the video for their rendition of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” done last winter when they were initially billing themselves as the Sirens of South Austin.

RELATED: More on recent and upcoming releases by Austin artists

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

Austin360 On The Record: Western Youth, Jaimee Harris, Will Courtney, more

Western Youth. Contributed/Letitia Smith


Western Youth, self-titled. With the recent addition of well-traveled Austin troubadour Graham Weber to their lineup, the roots-rock band formed in 2012 by singer-guitarists Taylor Williams and Matt Gregg plus drummer Brian Bowe has reached another level. Weber, Williams and Gregg all contribute songs here, resulting in an 11-track collection with no weak links. The Weber/Williams co-write “Hangin’ On,” released this summer as a video, is a full-on rocker with a desperate tone to match desperate times. Williams’ “The King Is Gone” has a slower tempo but is no less immediately appealing with its anthemic “Hallelujah” chorus chant. Opener “Dying on the Vine” lyrically explores dark territory but musically bursts forth with beautiful melodicism and the band’s whirlwind three-guitar attack. Gregg, Williams and Weber all contributed to writing “Valerie,” a jangly folk-rocker with majestic three-part harmony. “Lost the War,” a lovelorn ballad near the end of the disc, brings down the tempo and volume, focusing on the duet vocals of Williams and guest Jaimee Harris. Austin’s long been rich with Americana talent, and Western Youth rises near the top of the heap with this impressive set. Release show Sept. 21 at Spider House Ballroom. Here’s the video for “Hangin’ On”:

Jaimee Harris, “Red Rescue.” We wrote at length about Harris for our Austin360 Artist of the Month series in June, when this album initially was set for release before a slight delay. It’s out now on the heels of Harris’s trip last week to Nashville for Americana Fest, where she drew attention from NPR and shared a stage with Rodney Crowell and John Hiatt. Produced by Craig Ross, “Red Rescue” is strong from start to finish, a long-due solo debut from an artist who’s been writing songs since performing in a duo with her father as a teen. The first single “Depressive State” is the immediate standout, a folk-rock tune that bypasses typical verse-chorus structure and features radiant vocal harmonies. “Catch It Now” is a heartfelt solo acoustic gem that could be the theme song of Harris’s life and career up to this point. The title track is almost cinematic, grounded by the thumping rhythms of drummer Jon Greene and bassist Bonnie Whitmore before Brian Patterson’s guitar atmospherics and backing vocals by Ross and the late Jimmy LaFave broaden the scope. “Fake” starts as a quiet confessional — “I’m a fake, you’re starting to notice” — and gradually builds to an emotional breaking point. “Forever,” spiked with pedal steel and guitar runs from Mike Hardwick, captures the high reaches of Harris’s spectacular voice. The scorching “Damn Right” is a full-force rocker that pushes the boundaries of her repertoire, though it feels out-of-place as the opening track. But by the end of the album, when Harris drifts away gently on the piano-based reverie “Where Are You Now,” there’s no doubting “Red Rescue” heralds the arrival of a major new Austin singer-songwriter. Playing Sept. 20 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s an acoustic version of the title track recorded at our Statesman studios in July:

Will Courtney, “Crazy Love” (Super Secret). First coming to attention with the family band Brothers & Sisters a dozen years ago, Courtney is now on his third release under his own name. He seamlessly blends country, folk, rock and indie influences on this set of nine originals plus a cover of Danny Whitten’s “Look at All the Things.” Recorded at his home studio with his Wild Bunch band (guitarist Dan Wilcox, bassist Dave Morgan and drummer Travis Garaffa), “Crazy Love” is a no-nonsense Americana affairs that puts the songs front-and-center, whether the instrumentation is primarily electric (“Too High Now,” the title cut) or acoustic (“Drunk on Your Songs Again,” “When Will I Find My Love”). The next-to-last number, the slightly carnivalesque “Finally,” is a co-write with Courtney’s mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cynthia Clawson. Playing Sept. 25 at Hole in the Wall. Here’s the opening track, “Too High Now”:

Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.” Prominent local musicians including Malford Milligan and Guy Forsyth teamed up with former Soul Track Mind leader Zemek in creating this unusual multimedia project that pairs music with a comic book. Written and produced by Zemek and Matt Smith, with comic book art done by Chris Rogers, it’s coming-of-age story that follows the adventures of a young boy whose father is killed at war. Appearing Sept. 21 at Wizard World Austin comic book convention at Austin Convention Center. Here’s a video of Zemek explaining more about the project, along with clips of both the artwork and the music:

Jane Ellen Bryant, “Let Me Be Lost” EP. The five songs here range from dreamy atmospherics (the opener “Take Me As I Am” ) to electronic outbursts (“Attention”) to sparkly soul (“Too Smooth”) to piano balladry (“If I Loved You,” the clear standout here) to melodramatic pop (“Let Me Be Lost”). Bryant, a terrific singer who’s toured with rising Austin pop star Max Frost and contributed vocals to several local acts’ records, seems to still be seeking her identity as a songwriter. Over the years I’ve been most impressed with her as an interpreter of other artists (Stephen Bruton’s “Make That Call” plus Daniel Johnston’s “Peek A Boo” as well as Stephen Stills’ “Helplessly Hoping”), and would love to hear her do a record along those lines at some point. Playing Sept. 22 at Mohawk indoor. Here’s the video for “Attention”:


“Blaze” Original Cast Recording soundtrack (Cinewax/Light in the Attic). Not your typical soundtrack album, this collection of a dozen songs draws primarily from performances as they appear right in the film itself. Musician/actor Ben Dickey, in the title role of ill-fated Austin songwriter Blaze Foley, is the focus here, performing Foley standouts such as “Clay Pigeons,” “Picture Cards” and “Cold Cold World.” There’s also two duets with actress Alia Shawkat (who plays Foley’s wife Sybil Rosen) and a couple of appearances by Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra (Foley’s sister in the film), including the closing-track rendition of Lucinda Williams’ song “Drunken Angel,” written for Foley. The show-stealer, though, is Charlie Sexton in character as Townes Van Zandt, completely inhabiting the spirit of the Texas legend as he sings Van Zandt’s “Marie.” Here’s that track:


  • SEPT. 25: Charlie Belle, “Like I Love This” EP, playing Oct. 13 at Whip In.
  • SEPT. 28: Jerry David DeCicca, “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret).
  • SEPT. 28: Bright Light Social Hour, “Missing Something” EP, playin Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 at Cheer Up Charlie’s.
  • SEPT. 28: Nobody’s Girl, “Waterline” EP, release show Sept. 29 at Saxon Pub.
  • SEPT. 28: Autumn Fakes, “A Sequence of Cheers for Cause and Effect,” release show Sept. 29 at Knomad Bar.
  • OCT. 5: Molly Burch, “First Flower” (Captured Tracks), playing Oct. 6 at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
  • OCT. 5: Max Frost, “Gold Rush” (Atlantic), playing Nov. 10 at Scoot Inn.
  • OCT. 5: Michael Martin Murphey, “Austinology: Alleys of Austin,” playing Dec. 21 at Paramount Theatre.
  • OCT. 12: Lindsay Beaver, “Tough As Love” (Alligator).
  • OCT. 12: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Rocket” (Verve Forecast).
  • OCT. 15: Kevin Welch, “Dust Devil.”
  • OCT. 19: Kendall Beard, “Here Comes Trouble,” playing Nov. 10 at Lamberts.
  • OCT. 25: Lesly Reynaga, release show Oct. 25 at One-2-One Bar.
  • OCT. 26: Carson McHone, “Carousel.”
  • OCT. 26: Jamie Lin Wilson, “Jumping Over Rocks,” playing Oct. 20 at Sam’s Town Point.
  • OCT. 26: Isaac Jacob Band, self-titled (Union 28).
  • NOV. 7: Kate Howard, release show Nov. 7 at One-2-One Bar.
  • NOV. 9: Sydney Wright, “Seiche.”

Austin360 On The Record: Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Band of Heathens, more



Willie Nelson, “My Way” (Legacy). There may be no artist in popular music more prolific than Nelson has been over the past decade or so, with albums regularly coming twice a year if not more. Lately quite a few of them have been tributes, including the Grammy-winning Gershwins collection “Summertime” and a salute to his late friend Ray Price. “My Way” continues that thread as Willie tackles 11 tunes indelibly associated with Frank Sinatra. Recorded primarily in Los Angeles (with additional sessions in Austin, Nashville and Brooklyn), “My Way” teams Nelson’s recent right-hand-man producer Buddy Cannon with longtime Lyle Lovett pianist Matt Rollings, who also worked on “Summertime.” Together they create an exquisite, intimate instrumental canvas for Nelson’s vocals to color with his iconically distinctive flair. At 85, Willie still swings with joy and wonder on the buoyant “A Foggy Day” and the bouncing “Night and Day,” but he’s best on more contemplative numbers: The wisdom of his years inhabits the reflective blue tones of “It Was a Very Good Year” and the romantic bittersweetness of “I’ll Be Around.” Norah Jones joins him for a sweetly swinging duet on “What Is This Thing Called Love,” but mainly this is vintage Willie doing Sinatra in his own way, right down to the dramatic closing title track. Playing Sept. 29 at Auditorium Shores. Here’s the video for “Summer Wind”:

Asleep at the Wheel, “New Routes” (Bismeaux/ThirtyTigers). Though they’ve stayed plenty busy the past decade with another Bob Wills tribute album and collaborations with Willie Nelson and the Fort Worth Symphony, this is the first new “normal” Asleep at the Wheel album since 2007’s “Reinventing the Wheel.” Leader Ray Benson’s backing crew has changed a lot since then, and “New Routes” reflects those changes — primarily the addition of fiddler/singer Katie Shore, who steps out in a big way here. She sings lead on six of the album’s 11 tracks, wrote two of the best ones herself, and co-wrote another with Benson. This isn’t entirely surprising, given the high quality of Shore’s 2016 solo album (recorded before she joined the Wheel in 2014), but it does suggest a brave new way forward for the band. Benson’s still steering the ship, and his lead vocals on three sublime covers — the late Guy Clark’s “Dublin Blues,” Scottish pop star Paolo Nutini’s “Pencil Full of Lead” and the old Moon Mullican hit “Seven Nights to Rock” — reaffirm the Wheel’s role as ace interpreters of a seemingly endless range of material. The album-closing “Willie Got There First” features the star-power cameo of Seth and Scott Avett, but that semi-novelty tribute number ultimately is just a postscript to a set that reaffirms the Wheel still has a wide-open horizon to explore. Release show Sept. 16 at Broken Spoke, in-store Sept. 19 at Waterloo Records. Here’s a recent live version of an abbreviated Wheel lineup performing the album’s opening track, “Jack I’m Mellow”:

Band of Heathens, “A Message From the People Revisited.” Released in 1972, Ray Charles’ “A Message From the People” was an ambitious concept album that noted 1960s civil rights triumphs while still acknowledging America had a long way to go. Austin’s Band of Heathens decided to re-record the album in sequence because of “its moving commentary on social justice, abuse-of-power, and its vision for a stronger, more-unified America,” per the press materials sent out with the record. It’s also a good fit for the group’s broad-ranging Americana talents, with songs that range from the soulful public-domain classics “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “America the Beautiful” to Dion’s folk classic “Abraham, Martin and John” and even John Denver’s rambling “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The band plans to donate proceeds from the record to Rock the Vote, a nonprofit “dedicated to building the political power of young people through pop culture, music, art and technology,” per its website. Playing the album in full Nov. 25 at Antone’s. Here’s the track “Hey Mister”:

Cory Morrow, “Whiskey and Pride.” With more than a dozen releases in the past two decades and a solid fan base built upon relentless regional touring, Morrow has long been firmly established as one of the top artists on the Texas roadhouse circuit. “Whiskey and Pride,” produced by Lloyd Maines, continues with what has worked for him all those years, delivering rough-and-tumble country-rock leavened with a few sweeter ballads. Of the latter, “Always and Forever” stands out, long a live-show favorite but getting proper studio treatment for the first time with harmonies from Jamie Lin Wilson. Morrow also nods to two of his favorite songwriters with covers of Rodney Crowell’s “Come on Funny Feelin’” and Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Hill Country Rain.” Release shows Sept. 14-15 at Gruene Hall. Here’s the video for the title track:

Gina Chavez, “Lightbeam” EP. This five-song collection from Chavez, who won Album of the Year honors at the Austin Music Awards for her last full-length release in 2014, “sheds light on times she grappled with faith, sacrifice and society’s views on love,” observes the American-Statesman’s Nancy Flores in this week’s feature story on Chavez. “It’s an ode to the dozen years she and her partner have weathered life’s storms together.” Release show Sept. 15 at Antone’s. Here’s the video for the track “Heaven Knows”:

Johnny Goudie, “Leper Hands” EP. Increasingly known for his “How Did I Get Here” podcast interviews with local musicians, Goudie gets back to his own music with this four-song collection of pop and rock tunes. Producer Scrappy Jud Newcomb keeps the spotlight on Goudie’s high tenor, weaving in the tasteful support of drummer John Chipman and bassist Sean Crooks plus backing vocals from Jaimee Harris and Jane Ellen Bryant. Release show Sept. 13 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s the opening track, “Everyone’s Got Something,” an instantly appealing melodic number that recalls the best of Marshall Crenshaw’s catalog:

Ben Millburn, “Sunglass Moustache.” The full-length debut from this Louisiana transplant features 11 original songs in the vein of psychedelic indie-rock. Here’s the video for “Mr. Tuxedo”:


  • SEPT. 21: “Blaze” Original Cast Recording soundtrack (Cinewax/Light in the Attic).
  • SEPT. 21: Jaimee Harris, “Red Rescue,” playing Sept. 20 at One-2-One Bar.
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled, release show Sept. 21 at Spider House Ballroom.
  • SEPT. 21: Will Courtney, “Crazy Love” (Super Secret), in-store Sept. 18 at Waterloo Records.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”
  • SEPT. 21: Jane Ellen Bryant, “Let Me Be Lost” EP.
  • SEPT. 25: Charlie Belle, “Like I Love This” EP, playing Oct. 13 at Whip In.
  • SEPT. 28: Jerry David DeCicca, “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret).
  • SEPT. 28: Nobody’s Girl, “Waterline” EP, release show Sept. 29 at Saxon Pub.
  • OCT. 5: Molly Burch, “First Flower” (Captured Tracks), playing Oct. 6 at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
  • OCT. 5: Max Frost, “Gold Rush” (Atlantic).
  • OCT. 5: Michael Martin Murphey, “Austinology: Alleys of Austin.”
  • OCT. 12: Lindsay Beaver, “Tough As Love” (Alligator).
  • OCT. 12: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “Rocket” (Verve Forecast).
  • OCT. 15: Kevin Welch, “Dust Devil.”
  • OCT. 25: Lesly Reynaga, release show Oct. 25 at One-2-One Bar.
  • OCT. 26: Carson McHone, “Carousel.”
  • OCT. 26: Jamie Lin Wilson, “Jumping Over Rocks,” playing Oct. 20 at Sam’s Town Point.
  • OCT. 26: Isaac Jacob Band, self-titled (Union 28).
  • NOV. 7: Kate Howard, release show Nov. 7 at One-2-One Bar.
  • NOV. 9: Sydney Wright, “Seiche.”

Austin hip-hop pioneer Donnell Robison, aka MC Overlord, has died

The Austin music scene is reeling following the death Wednesday night of Donnell Robinson, who was better known as MC Overlord, one of the city’s most prominent hip-hop artists. He was 49.

MC Overlord. 1997 Shelley Wood for American-Statesman

Robinson was the first rapper to be accepted into the fold of Austin’s downtown music scene and he remained a perennial presence in the Austin Chronicle’s Austin Music Awards rankings for best hip-hop artist for years, even during the period in which he put performing as Overlord on hold to focus on his children’s music project, Big Don.

Large in stature with a jovial disposition, friends and fellow rappers remember him as a big teddy bear of a man.

He never talked bad about anybody, never talked down to anybody. He was always friendly, would shake your hand and sign autographs…he was a people person,” Baxter Russell, who raps as MC Fatal, said on Thursday morning.  

Robinson moved to Austin from St. Louis in the early ‘90s to pursue a music career. He met one of his longtime producers, Ter’ell Shahid when the two men worked as bouncers at a Sixth Street club.

“He wanted to get in the clubs, but there was no hip-hop in clubs. They wouldn’t allow rappers to perform in clubs in Austin, so we found a way to get him in by putting a band behind him,” Shahid said on Thursday morning.  

He rapidly developed a loyal fan base in Austin’s mainstream music scene, but it wasn’t the typical hip-hop crowd.

“It was a predominantly white audience,” Shahid said.

His music was unique, a hybrid of hip-hop and the funky rock that was popular in Austin at the time. Shahid characterizes it as “alternative hip-hop.” It was good music, but also, non-threatening.

“He was a bridge,” Shahid said. He believes the widespread appeal of Overlord’s songs was in “the uniting factor.” He rapped about struggles and pushing through, but his music was loaded with love.

The love came across when he performed, both in his gregarious stage presence and his generosity with stage time.    

“He paved the way for people like me to be able to come onto the other side,” Russell said, noting that after Robinson started calling on him to freestyle on sets, he was booked into the South by Southwest Music Festival and began to land downtown gigs.  

“We was all rapping in the neighborhoods, on the corners and in the street clubs and stuff like that…he got us where black people could start performing in front of white crowds and break that barrier, going over to Sixth Street,” he said.  

“He shared the air with me,” rapper Bavu Blakes said Thursday. “He was very non competitive…he was the type of dude who was like, ‘Get it, get it. You’re incredible.’”

“We stood side by side and never had a beef and shared in each other success as if it was our own,” Terrany Johnson, who raps as Tee Double, wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

Though he recorded an MC Overlord album in 2017, Robinson’s focus in recent years was on his children’s music project, Big Don.

“His music has always brought young people out, even as Overlord,” Shahid said. As Big Don, Robinson was “trying to teach the kids, help them find moral compass,” he said.

In recent years, Robinson’s health had been up and down. Earlier this year, he returned home following the death of his mother and, while in St. Louis, he was hospitalized

“He ended up having a hernia that was strangling out his intestines and he had to do a bunch of surgeries,” Shahid said. Friends at home rallied with multiple benefits to help defray his medical expenses.

Shahid said a friend took Robinson to the doctor on Wednesday because he was feeling unwell and “his heart just stopped.”

Robinson will remembered as the godfather of Austin hip-hop. “He was a godfather in terms of showing that god-like love as a predecessor and just being welcoming and affirming to additional presence in a place where he had made his mark already,” Blakes said.

“He built his own lane,” local journalist and hip-hop promoter Matt Sonzala said Thursday morning. “He toured a bit … but he mostly was that Austin artist who really existed in Austin and thrived on his own.”

Robinson is survived by two sisters and a brother. 

PUBLIC VIEWING: 2 to 4:30 p.m., September 30 at King Tears Mortuary at 1300 East Twelfth St.