So I get Ronnie Fauss’s EP, New Songs for the Old Frontier (FTG Records), in the mail today. I play it a couple times and immediately fall in love with it. Then I play my favorite track (favorite so far – these things change) for Bucky.
“How do you like my new favorite song?:” I ask him.
“It’s good!” he says. ‘Is that Jeff Tweedy?”
“Nope,” I reply, smugly. “It’s someone you’ve never heard of.”
“Yeah?” he says. “Sure about that? ‘Cause it sounds like Pre-
Wanker Wilco.” Or Tweedy with Uncle Tupelo.
This is high praise from Bucky. Just saying.
So yeah, neither Bucky nor I had heard of Ronnie Fauss but, one quick listen later, we’re both fans. Listen here and you’ll see why.
I got this in my inbox this morning…
Message from Jess Barr, guitarist for Slobberbone / The Drams:
Early this morning my car was broken into and all of my equipment was stolen. This includes my red matchless clubman 35 head and cabinet, my black gig bag with cables and pedals, and, most importantly, my Gibson Les Paul Gold Top.
The Saturday before St Patrick’s Day is the one day every year when Dallas seems almost a little bit like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. A little. People start setting up their party base camps in parking lots for the big parade real early. Kegs, beer bongs, makeshift bars set up on portable tables, lots of people wearing lots of crazy green shit and even lots of dogs wearing crazy green shit. By the time the floats start rolling down Greenville Avenue at 11:00 AM sharp the general ambiance is pretty much mass public intoxication. And crazy shit. And of course I mean that in the best possible way.
After the parade is the big concert in a big fenced in parking lot and this year it featured some of the best of Dallas’ alt-country-roots rock scene. The O’s, The Drams, Eleven Hundred Springs and The Old 97s.
The crowd was kind of thin but you could no doubt chalk that up to the weather- it was cold, windy and the cloud cover was threatening drenching rain at any moment. Still, for the faithful that did show up, it was as fine a day of music as a drunken partier decked out in a spray painted fake beard, 2 lbs of beads and a big green hat could hope for. And I saw more than a few of those.
The Old 97s and The Drams
New Year’s Eve at The Longhorn Ballroom, Dallas
There’s something about the Longhorn Ballroom.
Something that hits you the minute you walk through the door. The room just permeates history from every corner and crevice. It’s an awesome place, in the truest sense of the word awesome. For one thing, it’s as big as an aircraft hangar. For another, it’s the real thing.
Any performer who was anybody in country music played there back in the day. Bob Wills owned the place in the 50s and 60s. Later, it was resurrected briefly in the 80s as a live music venue banking on its biggest claim to fame that it hosted The Sex Pistol’s Dallas show just a few short days before that band broke up.
Having seen a number of shows there through the years, I can personally attest that just being on that enormous stage, where so many came before and made history, seems to inspire bands to go above and beyond what anyone would expect of them.
I had all that in mind and more when we went there on New Years Eve to see The Old 97s, The Drams and The Boys Named Sue.
47 Drams – Straight To Hell
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What can I say- that Tequila Brad sure knows how to throw a damn party. Saturday night at Dan’s Silverleaf was a total liquor fueled, pull-out-all-the-stops, crank it up and rock this place throw down. With cake. Todd Mankin and his band started things off. We got there in the middle of his set and he was already in full rockin’ mode. He’s got a great voice, some good songs and a kickin’ band behind him. He closed his set with Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. Austin’s Band of Heathens were up next. I’ve heard their fine debut CD, Live At Momo’s- and it’s good, but I was still surprised by the full force of their set. (more…)
Anybody know Tequila Brad down there in Dallas?
You might if you go to certain shows in the Dallas area or you visit certain discussion boards (The Drams, The DriveBy Truckers, for example).
Well, even if you don’t, you just might want to check out Brad’s birthday party this weekend (Saturday, November 17, 9:00) at Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton, Texas.
See, Brad had this great idea. What if he got three of his favorite bands and had them all play at the same venue for him as a birthday present for himself??? He figures there is not a lot of overlap between the fan bases for these three groups and he might be doing some people some favors by introducing them to more good music. So, these Texas bands, not necessarily in this order are: The Drams out of Denton, Band of Heathens out of Austin, and Todd Mankin out of Fort Worth.
We all have our favorites – those bands that are just special to us for one reason or another. It’s probably no secret to regular readers that we here at SlackerCountry.com are partial to The Drams and, of course, Slobberbone. And, although jitter has seen them live many times, this past weekend was my first experience when they played a set at Boulder, Colorado’s Trilogy Wine Bar on Friday and a longer head-lining set at Bender’s Tavern in Denver on Monday.
I’ve waited a while to write this one, I guess I didn’t really know where to start.
I’ve been watching The Drams progress steadily from that first Dallas show at their home-base, The Barley House, up to a recent Labor Day appearance in a crowded, trendy uptown pub and there’s been a definite arc to their sound that bears noting.
When Slobberbone released their fourth album, "Slippage," in 2002, it was apparent they were trying for a new direction. The sound was leaner, tighter, and more produced. Where they once chiseled out a unique alt country sound with banjos, mandolins, and even the occasional fiddle backing up fiery electric guitars, on "Slippage" they stripped it down to the bare essentials and turned up Brent Best’s lead vocals.
The result was an unabashed rock and roll record that left many long time fans scratching their heads. While the record sounded different, the live shows still sounded like the old Slobberbone.
It was a sad day for Texas music on March 13, 2005. That’s when people from as far away as Europe crowded into a sold-out Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton to bid farewell to the State’s reigning ‘best bar band’. That final show was short on covers and long on remembrances, for the band and the audience alike.
They resurrected a “Barrel Chested” era documentary film to kick off the night, standing quietly onstage while the film rolled on a screen set up near the entrance. Then they played for a little over two hours. While the album of the night seemed to be their second release, “Barrel Chested”, they managed to cover their entire career, but went sparingly on their last and most over-produced record, “Slippage”.