Album Review – Garrett T. Capps – “I Love San Antone”
Garrett T. Capps is the city of San Antonio’s resident cosmic country gonzo honky tonk weirdo freak, and if you’re looking to unwind from all the bullshit of, well, pretty much everything these days, cue this thing up and you’ll immediately be letting loose and losing your long face. Take a vintage 70’s Austin attitude, and add a healthy dash of authentic Texican culture, and I Love San Antone is like the perfect plate of enchiladas.
Garrett T. Capps has been a big booster for independent country music in San Antonio for years now, booking and promoting shows, bringing artists down from Austin, opening for national names as they roll through town, and cheerfully meeting the challenge of making the Alamo City into a musical destination as opposed to just ceding everything to Austin like so many in the region do.
But the man in the glasses has never really put his adulation for San Antone in song quite like this. This album is like a love letter to country music in the city. It’s okay if you really have no thoughts or opinions on San Antonio or its music, Garrett T. Capps is here to sell you on the virtues of both, not just by proudly representing it with his own efforts, but in multiple instances on this record he gives you a downright history lesson.
Oh but don’t worry, don’t expect some dry recitation of San Antonio’s resume points. From the starting gun, Garrett comes out swinging with the rambunctious and spirited “I Like Austin, But I love San Antone,” spelling it all out for you, boldly professing San Antonio isn’t just equipped to compete with Austin and that city’s rapid-declining music culture, it’s a measure better.
Okay, maybe that’s still a bit of wishful thinking at this point, but Garrett sure makes a strong case. You may look at the track list and say, “A cover of Jethro Tull’s ‘Locomotive Breath’ on a country record? What the hell?” But wait until you hear the guitar and drums kick in on this version. You’ll be swinging your hat over your head like a sauced up cowboy on Saturday night, and saying, “Why the hell has nobody ever done this before?”
But gimmicks aside, songs like “Never End,” “The Devil Inside,” and “The Neon Luv Waltz” with Katherine Legendre sell you on the virtues of Garrett T. Capps, and his use of organ in songs gives his brand of country that unique local flavor. Austin’s Croy and the Boys also appear. “Margarita, Margarita” with the one and only Santiago Jiménez Jr. (brother of Flaco) gives this album a straight up Tejano track, which is essential if you want to represent the full breadth of San Antonio music. And “The Highway 16” Shuffle gives you a “who” and “where” rundown of what makes country music from San Antonio so great.
One of the fundamental reasons so much of mainstream country is so terrible these days is the regional tastes and dialects have been bled out of the music in the effort to make it appeal to the greatest amount of people, and the lowest common denominator. When country was at its best, you had string bands from Appalachia, bluegrass from Kentucky, swing bands from Texas, the country blues from the deep South, and the electric sounds from Bakersfield all rising up from the countryside to create a strong and diverse tapestry of local sounds with national appeal.
With I Love San Antone, Garrett T. Capps looks to instill that sense of local pride back into country music with a passion that you can’t help but root for, regardless of what you think about San Antonio. Garrett T. Capps is one of the closest things we have these days to peak era Doug Sahm, or Gonzo era Jerry Jeff Walker. Marching to the beat of his own drum, a little wild and offbeat, his love for San Antonio is the love we all have for where we’re from or where we ended up. It’s that sense of “home” that’s at the heart of all great country music.
1 3/4 Guns Up (8/10)
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August 22, 2021 @ 9:31 am
I Like Austin …
What a great song to belt out while gettin’ down the road.
August 22, 2021 @ 9:57 am
This kicks ass.
August 22, 2021 @ 10:25 am
You all need to celebrate this man’s catalog. He does great work.
August 22, 2021 @ 10:47 am
This band sounds killer!
August 22, 2021 @ 11:42 am
Hey Trigger – off-topic, but do you have any info about the new Kacey Musgraves album “Star-Crossed”? Also, thanks for championing Sierra Farrell: I had so much fun listening to her new album yesterday.
August 22, 2021 @ 12:44 pm
I don’t have any specific inside info to share at the moment, but have been keeping one eye on the rollout and might have something on it soon.
August 23, 2021 @ 7:14 am
Apparently Musgraves is going to be on Apple Music 1 with Zane Lowe talking about the album tonight (Monday).
August 23, 2021 @ 7:47 am
Wow thanks so much for letting me know. Really excited about her new album.
Thanks for all you do for music, Trig.
Thom's Country Bunker
August 22, 2021 @ 11:53 am
August 22, 2021 @ 1:11 pm
Once again Garrett T Capps makes music that just makes you smile!
Fm to C
August 22, 2021 @ 3:05 pm
Thanks for this. I just bought the guy’s 3 CDs from the Shotgun House Records site.
August 22, 2021 @ 5:38 pm
Capps is one of those guys who never seems to take his music seriously. Sometimes it leads to some fun and creative songs, sometimes not. Haven’t listened to this yet, but digging the Jethro Tull cover you posted.
August 22, 2021 @ 6:19 pm
I was wondering when someone would do a country cover of Jethro Tull. There is some great material there.
August 22, 2021 @ 6:34 pm
Actually, it makes a lot of sense for an American country artist to cover Jethro Tull, with so many of Tull’s roots going back to English and Welsh folk music. Couple that with Irish music, to give it an edge, and you have American country. Also, why is the flute so rarely heard in popular music? Most bands that have used it, have done a masterful job of incorporating it into their sound. From Traffic to Jethro Tull to Marshal Tucker. More flute, please.
November 21, 2021 @ 2:57 am
Locomotive Breath performed as a train song. Brilliant!!
August 22, 2021 @ 7:17 pm
This has moved up to my #2 slot of the SCM Holiday releases. Fun album.
August 23, 2021 @ 1:41 pm
Glad to see GTC getting much deserved credit. I think this album might be his best yet and his life performances are electric.
December 6, 2021 @ 4:57 pm
I have and love many of the albums that are listed. I hope Anya Hinkle’s album, Eden and Her Borderlands is given consideration
December 8, 2021 @ 9:11 am
Love the San Antonio music influence!! All roots music is good!!
June 1, 2022 @ 1:53 pm
Thanks for spotlighting GTC and the San Antonio scene! It is an important place that often gets overlooked in the history of country music.