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Friday, July 21, 2017

10 Questions With Bobby Bookout


By Sean Claes


Bobby Bookout’s unconventional entry into the Austin music scene (he served in the military, used his GI Bill to get a degree in music and released his debut self-titled album, to much acclaim, in 2010) has been a road few have taken, but few have the smooth soul-infused voice and gift for the written word that he possesses.


It’s been seven years since we’ve heard from this Jason Mraz-meets-Rob Thomasesque musician on a record. The release date of his second album, titled B (after his initials as well as the second letter of the alphabet) is close, but it hasn’t been set in stone just yet.


We thought it was time to check in and see how Bookout is fairing and encourage him to take that final step to let the world hear his songs again.




Sean Claes: In 2011, “Broken Promises,” a song off your debut album, won the R&B Category of the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards. Judges included Ozzy Osbourne, Seal and Tom Waits. How did it feel to know such mega-stars listened to your track AND THEN chose it as the top song?
Bobby Bookout: I was honored and blown away to know that this panel of judges even gave my music a listen and was shocked when they nominated it as a top song.


The win I received was the popular vote. Once you were nominated into that top five list, you were given a chance to compete for the popular vote. Supposedly, more than 14,000 people voted. My people killed it won it for me!


Claes: Following you over the years, it seems music is a major passion of yours, but the recording process seems to be a bit elusive. It took about 3 years to record & release your debut album and now you’ve been working on the follow-up for the last seven. How do you keep that fire lit?
Bookout:  Man, this is a rabbit hole of a question that’ll have me getting philosophical on you so I’ll try to spare you the long long answer. This is going to sound super cheesy, but in response to your metaphor, keeping the fire lit isn’t the problem at all… It’s keeping the fire contained so it doesn’t burn everything else down that gets tricky.


It’s a constant balancing act. I was single when I wrote and recorded my first record. My biggest struggle then was constantly being broke. But aside from going to work (shout out to Texas Roadhouse in South Austin!) my time was mine. I’d go to work and then go home and write or head to the studio.


When Kathryn and I got married and started making babies, everything changed. I was still financially broke, but time suddenly became the thing I had the least of. My desire to make music was as strong as ever but my efforts to juggle that and life were frustrating and exhausting.


I tried to consider… (emphasis on “tried”… I couldn’t ever get all the way to “consider”) just quitting music altogether, but having that thought even for a second immediately made me nauseous. It’s not connected to a switch. Being passionate about a thing, regardless of what that thing is, isn’t something you can just turn off.


It’s been pushed to the back burner a lot, but 7 years later, I’ve finally -sort of- got my feet under me and have figured out how to make it work.






Claes: Something I completely understand… when life becomes more important that a project (I’ve been trying to finish 52 Austin Musician interviews since 2012). What has been going on in your life since the last release?
Bookout: Well, I proposed to Kathryn in front of all of our friends and family at my CD release party for the debut at Dirty Dog on June 13th, 2010. We got married a year later.


We got pregnant with Braden, my oldest son, on February 15th, 2012. He was born 9 months later (to the day…) With my night schedule being what it was, I knew I’d never see him once he started going to school with my wife (she was a preschool teacher at the time), so I started keeping my eye open for a day gig.


In March of 2014, during SXSW, I had the pleasure of waiting on one of the coolest couples I’ve ever met, Healey and Rachel Cypher. Healey worked for Ebay and was actually speaking at SXSW. We hit it off and they at least pretended to be interested in my life story (which they got). We’d exchanged cards and that night I decided I’d follow up and see if Ebay might be looking for someone with a military/food service background and an associate’s degree in music (you never know… right?)


Two weeks later, I got a call from Sarah Romer, who would ultimately become my boss (and friend) at PayPal… I was working days and finally making decent money. We got pregnant with #2 in November. We decided we needed a bigger house for two dogs, two kids, and my gear so we signed a contract to build a new home out in Manor (NE Austin) where it was still affordable. Then, in February of 2015, almost my entire team and I were laid off.


Meanwhile, my sister-in-law, Jessica McCoy (Kennemer, at the time), was working on the marketing team for an extremely fast growing Austin based start-up called AffiniPay under a beast of a CEO named, Amy Porter. I met with Amy. She decided to take a chance on me and graciously offered me a sales position.


Brody, my second son, was born on August 10th, 2015. We moved into our new house a month later.


For years we’d talked about going into business for ourselves in some capacity. We started kicking around the idea of opening up our own preschool in Manor where there seemed to be a pretty high demand.


After a year’s worth of some pretty intense stress and a TON of work, we finally opened up The Busy Bee Preschool (www.busybeemanor.com) this last Spring.


And I’m finally, just now, cutting vocals on this record!




Claes: So, back to the music. What caught my ear when I heard you the first time was that smooth timeless equal parts rock and R&B voice that seemed to flow directly from your soul. How did you develop your voice?
Bookout: I grew up singing in the church. We were always in the choir. My Grandpa was a Methodist pastor and over the course of my childhood, was at a handful of churches throughout the Southwest Texas Methodist Conference. Those old hymns were a big part of my musical development and I feel really fortunate to have been exposed to them as much as I was growing up.


Beyond that, my influence came from a pretty awesome variety of genres. There’s a lot of soul in country music. George Strait and Merle Haggard were kings. Then at a very impressionable age for me, Garth Brooks blew up. I knew every song on his first seven records. My biggest childhood influence of all though, was Elvis Presley. My dad introduced me to him at a really early age and I was hooked. He did it all and he did it all really well.


I also vividly remember the first time I got to see Boys II Men perform live on TV. I was completely blown away and contemporary R&B became a thing for me right there in that moment. I was also constantly surrounded by Latin music, specifically Tejano and Norteno.


My sophomore year in high school, we moved to Midland and I really started paying attention to hip-hop. My friend, Savoy Smith, helped me pick out my first two rap cds - Mystikal’s “Unpredictable” and Bone Thugs & Harmony’s “East 1999.”


Their music couldn’t be more different, but Mystikal and Garth Brooks could both really tell a story in a song.


Claes: You’d mentioned that the debut album was centered around heartache and loss, and since the release you’ve gotten married and started a family. How has that influenced your songwriting?
Bookout: It actually made it a little harder. It’s so easy to bleed words when you’re hurt and alone. It’s hard to bleed when you have a toddler sitting in your lap with a huge smile on his face listening to his daddy make music. I had to evolve a little bit.


Claes: Tell me about some of the tracks on the upcoming album.
Bookout: The first song I wrote for this new record was a song called, “You.” It’s the first song I ever wrote about Kathryn. I managed to write what was ultimately a happy song but still sounded sad and dark because it focused on the black hole I’d been in before finding her.


Most of the songs on my new record are celebratory in one way or another though. Some of them are heavier and some are light and fun, but overall, they’re a lot more positive.



Claes:Musically, you’ve played out a few times in the last few years, One-2-One Bar, the 4th of July festival in Carrizo Springs, Moontower Saloon, Rattle Inn. Where can we see you next?
Bookout: I had to stop booking this year. I LOVE playing live but the live show itself is the easiest and smallest part of the gig. There’s a lot that goes into that show and at this stage in the game, I have to wear every hat. Booking, hiring, promoting, rehearsing, performing.


It’s all absolutely worth it, but not when it comes down to doing that or staying home and finally finishing this record you’ve been working on for the last 7 years.


The next show will be the CD release party sometime this fall and it will likely be down south at Moontower if they’ll still have me.


Claes: Where are you recording B?
Bookout: I split the recording of both of my records up between two studios… Studio 1916 down in Kyle, and The Amusement Park Studio in Lubbock. Both are killer studios owned and operated by great friends of mine.


Blake Atwell owns Studio 1916 and plays guitar for me quite a bit. Paul Miller is the engineer at the studio. He actually helped me rearrange and also played on a cover we’re putting on the record, The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”.


Scott Faris is a mega talented producer and guitar player and owns The Amusement Park. He was one of my instructors when I attended South Plains College and later became a good friend. He’s been on board with me from day one.


Claes:Who are some of the musicians you’re working with on the new album?
Bookout: Chris Moore is my permanent drummer so he played drums on the entire record. Chris Maresh played most of the bass on the record but Matt Slagle came in and played some too. Derek Morris and Amy Faris played keys. Kevin Flatt laid down some amazing horn parts. Jose Galeano, from Grupo Fantasma, killed the percussion on a few songs. Blake Atwell, Cale Richardson, and Keenan LeVick, three of the best guitar players you’ve ever heard, played guitar on almost everything.


Carter Arrington (guitar) and Dane Farnsworth (keys) are two guys I'd LOVE to make more music with. They both came in and played on a song called, “Time”. Scott Faris who’s co-producing and mixing the record will have probably ended up playing guitar on something also. Paul Miller played classical guitar, keys, and vibes on “Just Like Heaven”.


Kasi Painter, Ange Kogutz, and Anna Hillburn came in and put down all of the female background vocals for me. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out. I mean, it’s been 7 years of this so there’s a strong possibility.


Claes: What are your thoughts of how the Austin music scene has changed over the last decade?
Bookout: I was fortunate to come into the live scene under the wing of MC Overlord, (Donnell Robinson), which meant being introduced to some really good people from the get go.


I found my spots in Austin pretty quick and didn’t venture far. Ben (who now owns and runs Come And Take It Live) and crew, always took care of me at Dirty Dog. I love Gregg and Destinee at One-2-One. Earlier on, I always enjoyed playing at Lucky Lounge and Beso Cantina. Saxon was great. Momos was was of the first bars I ever played at downtown. Moontower Saloon is one of my favorite newer places to play.


From my limited perspective, it’s a little sad and unfortunate that the people and venues that actually care about the music, at least as much as… if not more than the bar sales, seem to struggle the most.


Austin’s changed a lot since I got here in 2007 but I know there are folks that would say Austin already wasn’t Austin anymore when I got here. The world’s an ever-changing place. Austin’s not any different.


There’s still so much talent here and new acts popping up everyday. In that regard, I’d say the music scene’s doing just fine. And I still love this place.


from bobbybookout.com

For those who are interested in checking out some of Bookout’s new material, he will be releasing a second music video for “Broken Promises” in the very near future. Also, as he approaches finalizing B he will be releasing a couple live videos filmed at Studio 1916. Check out http://www.bobbybookout.com for updates.

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. This is week 27 in his "52 Weeks of Austin Musician Interview" series. See the others here: 52 Week Project

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

10 Questions with Terrany Johnson - Tee Double

By Sean Claes
For those who have been in the Austin music scene for more than a minute, the name Tee Double is one you’ve heard. Native Austinite Terrany “Tee Double” Johnson is a 25-year veteran of the scene, and he’s done it as an independent artist. He is literally a chapter in the book (2016s Seduced By Sound) on Austin music.

He is an artist, producer, entrepreneur and August 1, 2017 will mark the release of his 30th album, Bless The Child.

Perhaps a big part of the reason he’s been a relevant mainstay on the Austin scene and in Hip-Hop in general is his willingness and desire to give back. It is not surprising that in 2010, just one month after INsite dubbed him the “CulturalAmbassador of Hip-Hop” the City of Austin announced “Tee Double Day” on September 30.

He is very involved in the business of helping other artists hone their craft. He is a member of the Texas Chapter of the Grammys, has spoken at numerous conferences as a leader in the Hip Hop movement, founded the non-profit Urban Artist Alliance, sits on the advisory board for several non-profits. Oh, AND he spends about 10 hours a day in the studio recording, writing, and as he states it…expanding his catalog.

INsite’s Sean Claes had a moment to catch up with the legend.

Photo Credit: teedouble.com


Sean Claes: You’re moving in on 25 years in the hip-hop business in Austin, Texas. How have you sustained yourself and kept your passion lit?
Terrany Johnson: Yeah,that is a hell of a long time and I have been very blessed to sustain. One of the things I learned early on was to diversify what I was trying to do and where I wanted to be in the future from licensing,consulting and teaching other artist about the music business.


Claes: You’ve paved your own path in your music by being self-employed, self-publishing and self-promoting. What opportunities do you feel you’ve afforded yourself by going this path?
Johnson: Well, one of the main things is more time to be with family as my time is based on how and when I choose to work. But anyone who knows me know I work ALL the time. It’s also giving me ownership of my craft and where it is used and sold which artist don't have these days.

Claes: In August 2010 INsite featured you on the cover with the title “Cultural Ambassador of Austin Hip Hop” a title, you’ve certainly earned. How do you feel the culture of Hip Hop in Austin has endured and what is the status in 2017?
Johnson: The culture of Hip Hop in Austin is an ongoing thing from booking our events to getting our artist fairly compensated by venues. As a long term artist it is my responsibility to keep the scene on track with solidifying the foundation the culture stands upon so future artist have a great start and aren't starting backwards.

Claes: In the height of the Black Lives Matter movement last year, you spearheaded a compilation of local/area artists called Black Mics Matter. You mentioned it was not a release for profit, but a release for “dialog and spiritual return.” What was the impetus behind the release and what was the effect you saw?
Johnson: I wanted the project to be about more than “It sold a million copies” but more an actual voice from the artist in the community who are being affected by the things some only see in the news.

It showed other black artists they have a voice and when put in a form that everyone listens too, because who doesn't like Hip Hop in some form, then you can have a powerful dialog as the attention that project received showed. It’s still resonating in the community as I hoped it would and a new breed of artist are taking that model and moving forward with new ideas.

Claes: Although it doesn’t seem to be front page news these days, how do you feel the voices of Black Lives Matter are being sustained today?
Johnson: The voices never left but the news cycle changes every half hour so there are still strong movements going on in the communities that won't be on the front page. Austin’s Austin Justice Coalition with Chas Moore and others are truly making a stance and being on the front line for justice and a educated voice for the victimized.




Claes: You’re very involved in the community. Tell me a little about your involvement with The Grammy’s, Black Fret and the Urban Artist Alliance.
Johnson: I was on the Board of The Governors for The Grammys and the education committee on how to assist in bringing music education back into schools for children who if they had the tools might be able to find their new path as I did when I was around 8 years old.

Black Fret is a non profit dedicated to assisting musician in growing their careers by giving grants and a strong team of advisors which I am one to guide them how to use the grants in the best manner for their career long term and not just for the moment.

Urban ArtistAlliance is truly at my heart as it was created to fill a void form other organizations not catering to the artistic development of the black music community in Austin. So instead of whining or begging for another group to it for us I created it myself and used my knowledge and community support to make it grow and my relationships to get the attention I wouldn't normally get if I hadn't made these relationships over the years. We do educational events, consult artist about publishing and ownership that is rarely spoken about.

Claes: Who are some of the local artists who are doing it well? Who out there should people sit up and take notice?  
Johnson: Easily there is MOBLY who is touring strongly and creating amazing music. Magna Carda has been consistent on their output and brand building and both are Black Fret grant recipients.

Claes: How do you feel Austin sits right now with the support and progress of local Hip-Hop?
Johnson: Austin is and has always been slow to recognize it’s gold mine in Hip Hop. Hip Hop artists work so hard here but don't always feel like the love is returned even if we are called the “Live Music Capital of the World,” so shouldn't that mean ALL music?

Hip Hop is such an economic driving machine globally it should be embraced more by the city and have its voice amplified not just when something goes wrong at a club but when something goes right which honestly is most of the time.

Claes: When I was a kid, it was all about NWA, Public Enemy, Tupac and Ice-T. There seemed to be a voice of young men coming up to point out injustice, stand up for something and throw their struggles in the face of an America who had ignored them, their culture and their neighborhood. Who carries that torch today?  
Johnson: I agree,as before Hip Hop was compressed it only four labels and there very small non Hip Hop based departments there was a message being released about love yourself, build a positive future and still have fun but it wasn't booty booty booty every minute Ha!!

Kendrick Lamar of course is at the forefront because his artistry is on a very high and consistent level with points being made in his music and his visuals he release for his projects. Even the gangsta rappers have a place i the mix as they are coming from a place of struggle and pain which all need to hear but most don't have the how they turned it around page of the story and I think that is because labels and new A&Rs don't think that will sell so they tell artist not to focus on that but let's cookie cut the other stuff and force feed the listener.




Claes: What is next for Tee Double? Playing anywhere soon?
Johnson: Working on my 30th album Bless The Child and doing plenty of licensing work for movies, commercials, video games and voice over work.

Back to what I said earlier about diversifying so I can stay busy and generate revenue without always having to be on a stage and play for tip jars as most booking agents aren't trying to pay an artist what they are worth just what they will give you.Often it’s beer and a tip jar.

Claes: Anything else you’d like to add?
Johnson: Yeah, for the artist, keep focused and moving forward and never let anyone stop you from your dreams or goals only YOU can do that.

Find new circles of resources to expand your brand whatever it may be and then share those ideas with newer artists so we don't have a generational gap of success but a continued lineage of winners.

Love the art, community and what you started out in this music business to be and stay the course.

Be The Impossible.

Find out more about Tee Double at www.teedouble.com and www.urbanartistalliance.com




--

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. This is week 27 in his "52 Weeks of Austin Musician Interview" series. See the others here: 52 Week Project

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

StoneKracker - 10 Questions

By Sean Claes
In 1998 Austin band StoneKracker emerged onto the scene and lasted just about as long, sadly, as most bands last… about 5 years and one album – The Puppet Show. It was a good run, but original members Dana “Red” Leigh Cooper (vocals), Bruce Ford (drums) and Eric Cooper (bass) felt they had left something undone.

Because of this, or maybe in spite of most norms of the lifecycle of a band, they reformed in 2013 after a decade-long hiatus and have been bringing their brand of “Southern Boogie Metal” back to the stage. They have released two albums since reforming, 2015’s The Book of Crazy and 2016’s The Horror Show and they have solidified their position as solid performers on stage, most recently opening for L.A. Guns at Austin’s Texas Mist.

Courtesy Photo
  
INsite owner Sean Claes had a chance to talk with Red Leigh Cooper about the past, present and future of Stonekracker.

10 Questions with Stonekracker

1. Sean Claes: I have to ask, what is the story behind the name Stonekracker?
Red Leigh Cooper: A Stone Cracker is a Chinstrap Penguin, so nick-named for their ear splitting call when their nest is threatened.

In other words, they are little bad-asses. They're cute, but don’t mess with them. This all came from a hot July day spent in the Penguin enclosure at Sea World.  

2. Claes: Speaking of bad-asses, bands don’t come back after a decade-long hiatus. What’s the story? 
Cooper: The breakup felt premature the first time and we felt there was more music to write.  We wanted to see where it should have gone past our 2001 release The Puppet Show.

We got back together because Eric and I did a gig under the name as a duo for a benefit.  We were asked to do another show where we could bring the whole band and play covers.  I had reconnected with just about everybody who had been through the band and everyone was agreeable.  After that, we were asked to come back again and play our originals and it just never stopped.

Now as of 2017, I think the focus has shifted to just having fun while honing our writing skills to an even greater degree.


3. Claes: Band members of StoneKracker are in several local bands. Who plays for whom and how does the cross-pollination of Austin bands help StoneKracker?
 Cooper: Eric and I play in a cover band called fUNNER that performs 80’s rap songs, Bruce is in hard rock band Unloader and cover band STAWG.  Bill plays in hard rock band Space Cushion.

I think the question of whether cross-pollination helps or not is interesting. I’ll promote the guys gigs and say “StoneKracker Drummer Bruce Ford plays... etc.” and try to make some cross-pollination happen, as it’s good for our scene.  I don’t think it’s helped in the bigger ways you hope, but if people go to see Unloader or Space Cushion because they like StoneKracker, or vice versa, then that’s pretty awesome.





4. Claes: Your music is defined as “solid, sexy & mean” and “southern boogie metal.” Can you explain a bit more about the description? What are some of your favorite songs you’ve written/released?
 Cooper: “Solid, sexy, mean” actually came from The Horror Show producer, Tim Gerron.  They whole quote is “solid, sexy, mean...it’s what’s for breakfast”.  We liked it, so it stuck.

The southern boogie metal one came after a night of too much Fireball, but we liked that one, too, and it stuck.

 What both of them address is that we have a groovy southern style flavor to our hard rock that you are finding in signed bands like Halestorm, Dorothy, Sons of Texas, Shaman’s Harvest, Otherwise, and even In This Moment just released a “swampy” song.  It’s a trend I hope to see continue in modern hard rock.

I think some of our favorite songs we’ve written are “Deaf”, “In Spite of You”, and our brand new one “Disappear.” While all are different, all have that groove that can fall under the solid, sexy, or mean category.


5. Claes: Tell me about your 2016 release The Horror Show. Favorite tracks?
Cooper: The Horror Show tells a story that goes from ultimate betrayal in a relationship, to release of and healing from that relationship.

The title track itself tackles anxiety that a bad relationship can cause in your life.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite track because they all mean so many different things to me, but I have to go “In Spite Of You.” It’s gotten the most feedback from friends and then also from strangers that any song of ours has.  Being a song about overcoming an abusive relationship, it’s struck a chord with many people, and ultimately, as a songwriter, you want people to be able to relate and say “me, too”.  They are some of my most vulnerable lyrics, written about a true story, so while you wish they weren’t relatable, it’s been cathartic for me as well that people get it.

6. Claes: What made you want to reinvent Phil Collins’ “I Don’t Care Anymore?”

Cooper: That’s an interesting, funny, and maybe not so funny story! We were frustrated because one of the members wasn’t coming to practice anymore. Like would literally show up the practice right before a show. We had reached an end. Someone probably said “I don’t care anymore” to which Bruce would reply with that iconic Phil Collins beat.

One day we just started playing it. When the missing member finally came back to practice we were like “we have a new cover” and he was kinda forced to play it. We have a running joke now about if you miss practice, expect a new cover that you may not want to perform to be worked out in your absence, but thankfully that hasn’t happened since.  It’s a great song though and the way it turned out with Bill Corley (guitars) playing electric violin is worth picking up the EP for alone.




7. Claes: Where and with whom did you record The Horror Show?

Cooper: We recorded, mixed, and mastered The Horror Show at GerronMusic with Tim Gerron. We’ve been using Tim since The Puppet Show.  He’s an amazing producer. We laugh a lot but there is … as Bill would say…. an “appropriate amount of seriousness.”

Tim can be tough, but he always operates from a place of respect, so you are more than willing to do the hard work. His name is going on it too, so he wants the best for everyone involved.

While you may be on the eighth take of a backing vocal or a guitar part, it’s only to get the best performance possible that he knows you are capable of. You work hard and play hard at Gerron Music for sure.
  
8. Claes: On June 16, 2017, you were tapped as the opening band for L.A.Guns’ stop in Austin at Texas Mist. How was that experience?

Cooper: We were really excited that Jim Ostrander added us to that bill.  I can honestly say that I don’t think we stopped smiling all night. Opening at 8:15 can be dicey; you don’t know if people will show up that early, but show up they did and we were able to keep them engaged.  We sold merch and met lots of cool people.  

One woman said to me “it was so good to see a woman up there…”  That has stuck with me ever since.  I forget that hard rock is still a very male dominated genre and that what we do makes a difference towards shattering that “glass ceiling” per se. I’ll be happy when there is a day that that doesn’t matter and women are treated as equally as men in the rock and roll world.

Getting back to the overall experience though, it was nothing short of awesome for us. We worked hard to make sure our set went off as a rapid-fire gut punch, and I’m so proud of the entire band for delivering.


9. Claes: What has been your experience in the last 15 years watching and taking part in the Austin Music Scene?

The more things change, the more things stay the same. 

On the “change” side, it’s sad to no longer see club owners and bands working together to promote shows. Each saying it’s the other's’ responsibility is not helping the scene, but instead causing low attendance and eventually clubs closing their doors. 

On the “same” side, there are still bands thinking they are “God’s gift” to the world, but hey, dude, you only have a handful of people there to actually see you at your shows.  You aren't that cool. No matter what we do, we aren’t that cool.  I’m not saying don’t be proud of what you do, I’m saying lose the attitude of thinking you're the best and everyone else must be slayed like a mythical dragon and be left in your wake. 

I have more respect for bands that truly treat their scenes like family, support each other, and aren't just out to take each other down. Other bands pick up on that really quick if they think you are just out for yourselves.

10. Claes: What is your favorite local music venue?
Cooper: It’s hard to pick just one because there are a few we like for different reasons, so shout out to Hanover’s, Texas Mist, and Kick Butt Coffee!





Stonekracker is in writing mode at the moment, but look forward to them making their way out a few times in the next few months. Cooper eluded to opening for a few shows with big headliners but wasn’t able to go into detail just yet. Look for a new CD in early 2018. In the meantime, look them up on Facebook at facebook.com/StoneKracker.



Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. This is week 25 in his "52 Weeks of Austin Musician Interview" series. See the others here: 52 Week Project

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Three Bands Who Typify The Music of Old Settlers Music Festival


The Music Of Old Settlers – An Example in Three Bands





The organizers of the 30th Anniversary of Old Settler’s Music Festival have pulled out all the stops and are bringing what is quite possibly the most impressive musical line-up to date. And that’s not an easy task for this festival that each year rides the beautiful musical line that contains traditional bluegrass that involves a common microphone that all gather around to harmonize, today’s NEWgrass movement that includes jam bands and extensive light shows as well as non-traditional but amazing music.



For 2017, Old Settler’s Music Festival returns to Driftwood, Texas on April 20-23. The 4 day camping and music experience will be housed at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCullough. A perfect place.



With so many great bands playing over the 4 day festival, it might be a little daunting to decide who to go see. Well… here’s INsite’s list of three bands that you should be sure NOT to miss this year.. and each typify a genre that Old Settlers masterfully melds each year.



The Del McCoury Band

Courtesy delmccouryband.com


There are few players alive today who’s very name personifies traditional bluegrass music. McCoury is at the forefront and Del is the leader. This year, attendees will be blessed with both a set from the DelMcCoury Band as well as The Travelling McCoury’s. When either iteration of this family band gathers around the microphone to sing, it transcends time and brings a smile across the crowd. 



Del has been playing for over 50 years was a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in the 60’s, has recorded with Steve Earle AND has jammed onstage with Phish. That’s a little something for everyone there. You’ll be pleased as well.



The Travelin’ McCoury’s are both Del’s band for the past 29 or so years as well as a masterful band in their own right. Two of Del’s sons, Ronnie and Rob, bring the McCoury swagger and willingingness to stretch the line of traditional bluegrass for the sake of the song.



CATCH THEM:
The Travellin’ McCourys – Bluebonnet Stage – Saturday 4:40 – 5:50

Del McCoury Band – Hill Country Stage – Saturday 7:10 – 8:25





Los Lobos


Courtesy Loslobos.org

When I heard Los Lobos was coming to Old Settler’s, I just about jumped out of my seat. Los Lobos is my desert island band…. Meaning, if I were stranded on a desert island with only one album for the rest of my life… it’d be theirs – Just Another Band From East LA to be exact.



Their music transcends labels. It’s equal parts rock, tejano, conjunto, funk, Americana and folk. They are their own genre, in my book.



Perhaps Los Lobos’ Louie Perez said is better than I can describe it when he said “We’re a Mexican American band, and no word describes America like immigrant. Most of us are children of immigrants, so it’s perhaps natural that the songs we create celebrate America in this way.”



They paint a picture of the beauty of America with all of her cracks and scars with each stroke of a musical brush. Storytelling songs like “One Time One Night” go along with their well-known version of “La Bamba” their mystical sounds of “Kiko and the Lavender Moon.” Plus their more recent work is forward moving and stellar. 44 years into their career, they still have some tricks up their sleeves, and you should be there to watch.



CATCH THEM:

Hill Country Stage – Saturday 10:30 – Midnight





Shinyribs

Courtesy shinyribs.org

What is there to say about Kevin Russell, the founder and mastermind behind Shinyribs? The gentleman makes people happy. He causes the least of us to jump up and shake what their mama gave them. He is an entertainer. Whether you catch the full stage show with lights, dancers and wardrobe changes on a Saturday night or you catch the annual  final set of OSMF at the campground on Sunday, you will be transformed.



Musically, Shinyribs is amazingly impressive. Lyrically Russell spins tales in a way that makes you look at going to the convenience store in a different light (See “Poor People Store”). Personally, the dude is a hoot.



CATCH THEM:

Bluebonnet Stage – Saturday 11:00 – Midnight

Campground Stage – Sunday 4:30 – 5:30p