Sunday, August 7, 2016

Ryan Bingham - Live From Texas

Screenshot - Ryan Bingham performing live at Whitewater Amphitheater 

By accident I stumbled upon a tidbit that Ryan Bingham's concert at the Whitewater Amphitheater outside of New Braunfels will be streamed live (yesterday 8/6/16). It was too late to blog it in advance, but to my delight, the stream is still available and the whole concert can still be enjoyed n its full length.

Not familiar with the gaming platform Twitch, I first was wondering why amazonmusic would choose an outlet like this. But the almost two hour concert is wonderful, portraying the Americana artist in its best light and well worth tuning into Twitch.

The Oscar, Gloden Globe & Grammy winner, who came to prominence with his co-write of "The Weary Kind" with T-Bone Burnett for the 2009 movie "Crazy Heart" (it also won Jeff Bridges an Oscar as best actor) is currently touring behind his 5th studio album "FEAR AND SATURDAY NIGHT" which was released in January of last year. This does not include two non-major albums Bingham released early in his career in 2002 "WISHBONE SALOON" and 2006 "DEAD HORSES."

Besides his hits Ryan also included covers by Townes Van Zandt "Pancho & Lefty," Guy Clark "Dublin Blues" and Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried." It was really nice to see, Bingham including two songs of the recently departed Clark and Haggard in front of this enthusiastic crowd. Playing in front of a solid rhythm section, Nate Barnes (drs) and Shawn Davis (bs) with guitarists Daniel Sproul and Jedd Hughes, latter also on mandolin, setting the accents of the show. And yes it is good to see my old pal Richard Bowden still playing all these hot fiddle licks.

Unfortunately I don't know how long amazonmusic or twitch will keep this nice concert video up, so I guess watch it as long as it is hot. If you read this later, and the video shouldn't be playing anymore, please leave me a comment. And I guess thanks to amazonmusic to stream this concert - visit them and buy some Ryan Bingham music.

Watch live video from amazonmusic on

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Damn Quails Don't Fly Anymore

Gabe Marshall and Bryon White from the Damn Quails start looking into different directions.

In a surprise move, their performing calendar is stacked throughout the whole summer, including a headlining slot at the Woody (Guthrie) folk festival on July 14th, the Oklahoma Red Dirt singer/songwriting duo plus their current band members - Harmonica player Adam Rittenberry, Drummer Walton McMurry and original bassist Dillon Sampson - stalled in flight and call it quits. Gabriel and Byron announced their decision on the Quails facebook page on Sunday morning (6/18/16) out of the blue and stunned critics and their "Convey" of fans alike.

Nested out of a jam session, where different musicians would sit in and join Gabe and Bryon, the duo took to flight with their 2011 release "Down the Hatch" (produced by Mike McClure and Joe Hardy) and found an immediate connection to fans and critics. Three singles of their debut album, "Fool's Gold," "So So Long" and "Me and the Whiskey" got radio airplay and TV time on Asleep At The Wheel frontman Ray Benson's "The Texas Music Scene." (See two video's of the TV music series featuring the "birds" below.)

But as soon as the band took flight, there were legal issues with their management company and record label. Unsolvable lawsuits were filed and the band had to fight to even keep the rights of their own name, music, likeness. Basically everything associated with The Damn Quails was in question. Not giving up and taking off every night with engaging live shows, this was the only way the band was able to survive for the next two years, till the lawsuit was finally settled and the band was given the ownership of the name.

Broke and without a record label, the band turned to their flock or "Convey" as they called it and started a Kickstarter Campaign January a year ago. They raised according to their website, where a lot of information is coming from, almost $55'000 dollars to record a new record and take to flight again.
Reckless Kelly guitarist David Abeyta was enlisted to be the producer of what became "Out Of The Birdcage" which was recorded at 12th Street Sound in Austin, Texas and released in September of last year on their own "Swamp Fyst Records" label.

Fool's Gold - Texas Music Scene

A request to the Quail's publicist about the breakup was not immediately returned. All of Gabe Marshall's social media accounts are closed down. Hundreds of fans have by now commented on the split up, most of them surprised and dumbfounded. Well, I guess all we can say is - "So, So Long" and all the best to Gabe and Byron and their current band members for whatever endeavors they will tackle next. For more of their music, look below the video to "So, so long" and visit the band's soundcloud account.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

He Ain't Going Nowhere - Guy Clark's Just Leaving

Texas singer/songwriter legend Guy Clark passed away today, he was 74 and was in ill health for some of the last years. 

I will not even try to attempt to write an obit on this master of words, there are only a few in this world, who have (had) that craft of writing. Hank Williams comes to mind, a big influence for Guy, whom he celebrated in his composition "Hank Williams Said It Best," his old friend the late Townes Van Zandt as well as John Prine and Leonard Cohen. 

The only thing I would love to share here, are a couple of personal memories. An after hours night of pickin' and grinnin' at the Singer/Songwriter Festival in Frutigen in 1989. After a great night of fabulous live performances, we (a radio friend of mine, the promoter's daughter, Billy Joe Shafer and his son Eddy as well as Johnny Rodriguez) all landed in one of the hotel rooms. Being in a mountain valley, "far" from any major city we weren't able to score any party accessories, so we had to pass the night by listening to songs, which was as a natural high as they seldom come. 

Fast forward several years to 1997 - attending Jack Ingram's record release party for "Livin' Or Dyin'" for Rising Tide Records (by then an MCA imprint) at Iron Works Barbecue in Austin during SXSW -Guy Clark was attending, because Ingram had covered "Rita Ballou" for his third studio album. Enjoying the lovely spring sun, my ex-wife and I joined by Guy were standing outside, smoking. At one point we were all considering to go inside to rub elbows with some of the producers, label-head Tony Brown and other people being present, but Guy insisting to just have another smoke. In the end all of the label royalty showed up on the terrace to say hello and pay homage to Clark. After some pleasantries, they all went back inside, while we kept smoking, laughing and exchanging old stories.  

You may wonder what that old defunct motel sign is doing here, two years ago on a working trip I actually visited Guy Clark's hometown Monahans in West Texas. The Sunset Motel has definitely seen better days and even though the town was booming, there was not a room to be found, because of the oil price surge, it had a forlorn feel to it. 

As the quintessential Texas tune smith, there are several obits out there worth reading - the main one in my honest opinion "He Ain't Going Nowhere," published by Texas Monthly magazine four years ago. It's an intimate read, perfectly showing Guy's personality. Rolling Stone magazine offers: Guy Clark: 12 Essential Songs, which is worth visiting as well. 

Two of my favorite Guy Clark songs need to be added here, as a European transplant in Texas an ode to the culinary values of the Lonestar State, "Texas Cooking" and a song Guy wrote with his late wife Susanna and another Texas master poet, with Richard Dobson, "Old Friends"

Texas Cooking

Old Friends