For a healthy dose of folk rock, take a look at singer/songwriter JJ Baron’s "Brand New Stranger," released in 2005 by Rhody Records.
Baron’s got a voice with "that high lonesome sound that bluegrass music requires." The influences are there but the songs are more singer/songwriter folk and straightforward country. Although I prefer my country with more of a cynical twist, this is some good stuff. There are a few Dylan influences evident as well but then, who isn’t influenced by Dylan?
Okay. David Childers and the Modern Don Juans. Never heard of them. Sounded interesting on BootLiquor.com.
The CD is called Jailhouse Religion. That’s kind of appealing. So I got hold of it – it’s brand new – and gave it a spin.
How to describe it?? Well, I can’t, really. It’s not that they are genre-defying, like The Gourds. It’s more like they fit so many genres.
One thing you can tell right away about the husband-wife band The Dust Devils is that co-bandleader and songwriter Kevin Higgins grew up on seventies music; particularly seventies Southern rock.
He hooked up with wife Barbara Malteze in LA when he was on the singer-songwriter circuit and she was belting out the blues. They joined forces as The Cosmic Dust Devils and headed to Higgins’ home state of Texas where they started building up a pretty loyal regional following.
The Woodlands, the affluent suburb just north of Houston, seems like an unlikely place to spawn a gritty Texas country singer-songwriter but that’s where Hayes Carll was apparently raised in a two-attorney household. He left there to attend college in Arkansas, then spent six months picking corn as a farm laborer in Iowa – which is something else you wouldn’t expect a child of the Woodlands to be doing.
Those experiences and his years living in secluded Crystal Beach, across the bay from Galveston, playing local bars before launching out on the road, however, lend a lot of credibility to an impressive music resume.
He says he was the “perennial opening act” for the likes of Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sisters Morales, Willis Alan Ramsey, and a host of other legendary Texas artists when they played Galveston’s Old Quarter, where he learned his chops.
The Austin-based band, The Gourds, has put out its eighth CD, and just when you think this ragtag clan of modern day redneck hippies may be pushing too hard to maintain the magic, they turn it up two notches. In "Heavy Ornamentals," everyone in the band puts in his best performance each in a somewhat new way.