He was one of the most authentic and magnetizing artists to grace the country music art form in the modern era. And those who knew Luke Bell, they know this assessment is in no way hyperbole or flattery. Even though he released only one album, in that single volume, Luke Bell captured a bygone era, aura, and mood.
The White Horse
Unfortunately, as life got in the way for the folks running Keep Austin Country, it just sort of faded out over time. But now Austin-based artist manager Kurt Whitley is looking to revitalize the effort, and will be officially relaunching Keep Austin Country on June 1st.
You show up with your chest puffed out, wearing funnyglasses with bunch of feathers shoved into the front of your Stetson, and telling everyone you’re slinging “Piss-hot freightlining country music,” then you better deliver, son. But Ellis Bullard has nothing to worry about.
Something tells me is that if you put Joe Rogan, Neil Young, and Jordan Peterson all together, standing in front of the Robert’s Western World stage, enjoying a fried bologna sandwich, a Moon Pie, and a PBR, the brotherhood of man would prevail.
For the past few years, if you truly wanted to get a snoot full of an authentic Texas country experience, you sought out a show from the Austin-based country-fried Outlaw Conjunto band called the Crooks. Originally formed as a two piece in 2007 around the songs of frontman Josh Mazour, over the years it has slowly morphed into one of the coolest live country music experiences you can find.
Who knows what goes into deciding what bands and artists launch into the stratosphere. and which ones are destined to slag it out on a slow build spending umpteen hours in a smelly tour van. All I know is I’ve seen Mike and the Moonpies get name checked by Sturgill Simpson and open for the Turnpike Troubadours on numerous occasions, and never did their music strike me as second class.
Some of the best cover songs are not the ones that are easily-recognized by the audience, but the ones that didn’t receive their due credit the first time around. This is the case with “Are You Sure,” which can stand right beside other iconic Willie songs from early in his career like “Night Life” and “Hello Walls” to be considered timeless in their message.
Traditional Texas country with a little bit of a Bakersfield spark is what Them Duqaines are all about. Rich with excellent guitar work, great singing, and those little elements of spice that make Texas country unique like accordion, backing chorus singers, and even saxophone, Them Duqaines capture an authentic country spirit that makes you go, “Yes, this is what I’ve been looking for!”
From the wild lands of Wyoming comes a by-gone man with a by-gone sound traveling under the name Luke Bell. With his dog and his 1995 Buick LeSabre, he comes trekking through the fog of obscurity to sing you some good country songs in the old-fashioned way. “Don’t Mind If I Do” harkens back to a time in country music when it didn’t suck, and hadn’t even started to.
On Monday (4-21), The Outlaw Carnie Bob Wayne will be releasing his latest album called Back To The Camper. It will be his first independent release in the United States after releasing two album with the heavy metal label Century Media. Before a show at Austin, TX’s White Horse honky tonk, I sat down with Bob to talk Back To The Camper and catch up with his other doings.
Shakey Graves is quickly becoming an inspiring independent roots music success story and in a big way, despite what seem to be his best efforts to remain as unassuming, humble, and non-commercial as possible, while people gladly shove dollar bills at him. But 2014 promises to see a sea change from this rising roots artist. He’s assembled a band to take his song craft to the next level.
Country music has lost one of the most tasteful lead guitar players to ever fill a break. Will Indian, lead guitarist for country legend James Hand, as well as the guitarist for The Nortons, The Cornell Hurd Band, and many others, has passed away after a long battle with Hepatitis C. He died Wednesday night (1-8-14) according to his family.
The greatest album, and the greatest recorded song will never be able to trump the truly live musical experience where music is shared in real time with both the artist and listeners. It is in this spirit that each year I assemble a list of the Best Live Performances to reinforce that as technology and the busying of life incrementally encroach upon us, we must remember that the live music show deserves its own attention and reverence.