Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cindy Cashdollar and Carolyn Wonderland - Turtle Bayou Turnaround

Cindy Cashdollar
Carolyn Wonderland

Carolyn Wonderland is a blues singer, songwriter and musician from Houston, Texas. Born on Nov 9th 1972 she dropped out of Houston's Langham Creek High School to pursue her music. In 1999 she moved to Austin, Texas. In 2001, Wonderland lost her apartment lease when her landlord fell ill, and she decided to live out of her van for a while (two years) because she was on the road so much, spending over 300 days a year on the road performing.

Carolyn's instrumental abilities include acoustic and electric guitar, electric mandolin, slide guitar, trumpet and piano. Although she is primarily a Blues artist she likes to incorporate elements of Country, Swing, Zydeco, Surf, Gospel, Soul, and on some nights maybe even a little Cumbia into her musical mix.

In February 2008, she released "Miss Understood" on the Bismeaux Productions label. The title song from Miss Understood has remained in the Top 50 on the Roots Music Report charts ever since the album's initial release[3]. Her fans include Bob Dylan and Ray Benson, founder of Asleep at the Wheel. Benson produced Miss Understood, and has been a song writing collaborator with her for many years. Wonderland credits several other blues and Texas musicians as influences on her music. One notable is Austin singer/songwriterTerri Hendrix. Wonderland covered two Hendrix songs, ('I Found the Lions' and 'Throw My Love'), on her Miss Understood CD.

Wonderland has been involved in a large variety CD-album recordings. Several were self produced on independent labels. She was the lead singer fronting the band Imperial Monkeys. Wonderland released "Bloodless Revolution"(2008), for South by Southwest-2008. Today it is only available in an MP-3 download format. Carolyn is the primary singer on the Jerry Lightfoot's Band of Wonder "Texistentialism" CD with Jerry and Vince Welnick (Grateful Dead, Tubes.)[6] Wonderland was a founding member of the Loose Affiliation of Saints and Sinners (with Papa Mali, Eldridge Goins, Guy Forsyth, and others), with several of her songs being featured on their "Sessions from the Hotel San Jose Rm. 50" CD. Carolyn was also the lead guitarist in the all-girl, southern rock band Sis DeVille, and a founding member of the Austin Volunteer Orchestra.

Wonderland's virtuosity has earned her an appearance on Austin City Limits. Carolyn has also had her music used on NBC’s “Homicide” and Fox’s “Time of Your Life.” She was a headlining artist at the annual Rochester International Jazz Festival summer 2009 at the Eastman Theatre and New York.

Carolyn Wonderland jamming at Antone's in Austin (2008).

Carolyn Wonderland has won the following awards:

Best Female Vocalist - 2009 Austin Music Awards

Best Blues Band - 2009 Austin Music Awards

Best Female Vocalist - 2000 Houston Press Music Awards

Gold Award-Flagstaff International Film Festival- Music Video Awards -Alan Ames &Assoc.' "Party on Houston" featured artist "Carolyn Wonderland"

Cindy Cashdollar (born May 25, 1956) is a steel guitar and Dobro artist. She grew up in Woodstock, New York where she perfected her skills by playing with bluegrass musician John Herald, blues musician Paul Butterfield, and Levon Helm and Rick Danko of The Band.

Cashdollar received five Grammy awards while playing for eight years with Asleep at the Wheel and has also backed such noted performers as Bob Dylan, Leon Redbone and more recently Ryan Adams as a credited member of his band The Cardinals. She authored a series of instructional videos on her instruments and released her first solo album, Slide Show, in 2004. Cashdollar currently makes guest appearances on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, conducts workshops nationwide and plays in a number of musical venues around Austin, Texas.

During the fall of 2004 she was a member of Ryan Adams's band The Cardinals playing the steel guitar live on stage. She also went into the studio with this band and played on the album Cold Roses, although she didn't tour the album with Ryan Adams & The Cardinals and was replaced in 2005 by Jon Graboff.

In 2006, she toured with Van Morrison promoting his country and western album, Pay the Devil. She also appeared with him at theAustin City Limits Music Festival, on September 15, 2006 and on the television show Austin City Limits featuring Van Morrison.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Augie Meyers - The West Side Sound

Great feature by veteran music reporter Jim Beal on Augie Meyers, a pioneer of the Westside Sound of San Antonio.

August "Augie" Meyers (b. 31 May 1940 in San Antonio, Texas) is a Texas musician. He is best known as keyboard-player with the Sir Douglas Quintet and the Texas Tornados.

In the early 1960s Meyers was, with Doug Sahm, a founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet. His Vox organ was a main ingredient in the sound of the quintet, as heard in hits like "She’s About A Mover" (1964), "Mendocino" (1969), "Nuevo Laredo" (1970) and many others. Later Meyers also played on many of Sahms solo albums and released his own solo records, also in Tex-Mex-style.

In the 1990s Meyers was, with Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez and Freddy Fender, a member of Tex-Mex-supergroup Texas Tornados. He was also sought after as a studio musician. He worked, amongst others, with Bob Dylan on his albums Time Out of Mind (1997) and Love and Theft (2001).

In 2005 he played on John Hammond's CD covering Tom Waits songs, Wicked Grin, and toured with Hammond.

Meyers lives in Bulverde, Texas. Since the 1970s he runs his own record labels from there, namely The Texas Re-Cord Company, Superbeet Records and White Boy Records.

Local papers are reporting today that a donor has finally been located for Augie's needed kidney tranplant. Best wishes to Augie Meyer's, family, and friends.

More San Antonio Westside Sound:
Sir Douglas Quintet
The Royal Jesters
Randy Garibay
The Krayolas
Esteban "Steve" Jordan

UPDATE: San Antonio Current reports Augie Meyers received a new kidney and is doing well. (4/24/2010)

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sam Baker - Juarez (Song to Himself)

Sam Baker

Sam Baker on MySpace

Sam Baker on Music Road Records

Sam Baker thinks of "Mercy" as a collection of atonal story songs — little movies backed by instrumentation that feels like film scoring. It's a good description.

"Intellectually, I knew his songs were great from the moment I heard them. But on a personal level, I was deeply moved," says Austin musician Walt Wilkins, who co-produced Baker's first two albums. "What Sam writes about — and where he writes from — is completely universal."

After the critical success of "Mercy," Baker thought in longer terms — wanting to release two more albums, similar in tone and instrumentation, that would comprise a reflective trilogy. As "Mercy" was about fate, his newly released "Cotton" is a sophisticated record about forgiveness and forgetting. "Pretty World," released second in line in 2007, is in fact the final installment a message of gratitude.

Baker grew up in Itasca, Texas, a small, rural town of about 1,200, on the prairie between Waco and Fort Worth. “There were 35 people in my high school class—1972. And everybody did everything. Everybody played in the band; I played football, basketball, baseball. You had to.”

He graduated from North Texas State and briefly worked as a bank examiner, but a restless spirit led him to many jobs and eventually, like Phil Ochs, to wander the world.

From his bio: "...In 1986, at age 32, Baker was traveling in Peru when, as he says, “I got in the middle of somebody else’s war.” A terrorist bomb (the Sendero Luminoso or “Shining Path” Maoist group) blew up the train he and some friends were riding on. Several passengers died, including a German boy and his parents, who were sitting next to Baker. Though he nearly bled to death, Sam survived but suffered a constellation of injuries and aftereffects—shrapnel in his leg, renal failure, brain damage, even gangrene.

“Right now, the loudest thing I hear is the ringing in my head,” he says of the Tinnitus, which will never go away. The other obvious reminder of the blast is his left hand, the fingers of which are permanently scrunched and twisted. Fortunately, he has enough dexterity to grip a pick—after re-learning to play guitar left-handed (fretting with the less-injured right hand)—so that he can sing and play some of the most vivid, compelling, truly original songs of any artist working today..."

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sir Douglas Quintet - She's About A Mover

Sir Douglas Quintet was a rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Despite their British sounding name, they came out of San Antonio, Texas and are perhaps best known for their 1965 hit single written by Doug Sahm, the 12-bar blues "She's About a Mover" named the number one 'Texas' song by Texas Monthly. With a Vox Continental organ riff provided byAugie Meyers and soulful vocals from lead singer and guitarist Doug Sahm, the track features a Tex-Mex sound. Other influences came in from blues, jazz, and contemporary rock.

In addition to "She's About a Mover," (1965) the band is known for its songs "Mendocino," (1968) "Can You Dig My Vibrations?" (1968) and "Dynamite Woman" (1969). "Mendocino" was released in December 1968, and reached #27 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 by early 1969, spending 15 weeks in the chart. It was more successful in Europe selling over three million copies there.

The Sir Douglas Quintet is considered a pioneering influence in the history of rock and roll for incorporating Tex-Mex and Cajun styles into rock music. However, early influences on the band's emerging Texas style were even broader than this, and included ethnic and pop music from the 1950s and 1960s, such as doo-wop, electric blues, soul music, and British Invasion. The Quintet brought the older styles into a contemporary context, for instance by adapting the doo-wop feel, beat, and chord progressions. Perhaps even more off-beat for a late 1960s rock band than some inclusion of doo-wop type songs was that the band also played in styles like Western swing and polka (a Country & Western form and rhythmic style, from theTexas Hill Country, rather than a straight European style). They approached these styles with an instrumental line-up that was typical of blues bands: one guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, and drummer, and a member who could play either trumpet or saxophone.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Royal Jesters - Yo Soy Chicano

Royal Jesters on MySpace

Doo-Wop "...hits like "My Angel of Love," "We Go Together" and "That Girl" placed the Royal Jesters in rock and roll's '50s and 60's halls of history. Later those hits led to mega success for the Royal Jesters in the emerging Chicano music scene of the 70s where they struck a new chord with "Yo Soy Chicano," "Me Voy Pa Houston" and "Carino Nuevo." 

The Royal Jesters were born in the summer of 1958 after Oscar Lawson and Henry Hernandez met at a church talent show in San Antonio's West side. Some of the members wanted to name the group the Jesters, others wanted the Royals. "We decided to use both of the names," says Henry. "That's the way we did things. I gave in to Oscar's ideas and he gave in to mine. That's why we worked so well together." Their team work paid off. By the Spring of 1959, they had recorded "My Angel of Love," written by Lawson and sung in harmony with all the soul of a music that simply made you want to rock and roll. 

A string of hit singles-- in the 50s and 60s complete albums were not the norm they are today-- made the Royal Jesters the preferred group of the day. Successive recording contracts with Harlem Records (who also recorded Dough Sahm), Bell Records (the same label that recorded the Fifth Dimension) and Tower Records spread their name and their three-part harmony across the country and as far away as Europe. Apart from the many singles they recorded and released, The Royal Jesters recorded two complete English language albums, "We Go Together," and "Chevere." But the Royal Jesters had their eyes set on the future. And for Oscar and Henry that meant recording in Spanish. "Oscar had been reading in industry magazines that Chicano music was a sleeping giant that would one day wake up," tells Henry. So the group jumped right in. In 1973 the Royal Jesters teamed up with producer Manuel "Manny" Guerra, and began recording their own kind of Tex-Mex music that many fans still remember most. Under MGP Records they recorded "Yo Soy Chicano," "The Second Album," and "The Band."..."  Chito de la Torre
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Miss Leslie and Her Juke Jointers - Done With Leaving

Miss Leslie Blog
Miss Leslie: The Music

This group describes their music as 'Country music with a hardwood floor sound'. Combining some original material along with obscure country tunes that they have unearthed from the 50s and 60s, the band opens up new sounds in a retro honky tonk setting.

Leslie Ann Sloan sings a gutsy, belting lead that has been compared to the likes of Patsy Cline, Leona Williams and Connie Smith. The band's stage show features a real upright piano, pedal steel guitar, fiddle, small drum kit and a twangy Telecaster reminiscent of the Don Rich sound.

While Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers are a relatively new group on the scene, the band has played professionally with nationally touring acts. Randy Lindley, who plays electric guitar, has played and recorded with The Coleman Brothers, The Sullivan Family, Bill Grant and Delia Bell, Rebel Records' David Davis & the Warrior River Boys, and Rebel Records' Karl Shiflett and the Big Country Show.

Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers have been nominated for Houston Press Music Awards in 2004 and 2005. In 2005, they were nominated for Best Original Band in the Houston Chronicle's Ultimate Houston Awards.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sunny Sweeney - Lavender Blue

Sunny Sweeney
Sunny Sweeney on Lonestar Music

None of this Taylor Swift, ersatz, American-Idol "country" music for Sunny Sweeney. Not only no, but hell no. Sweeney is hardcore country with soul from Longview, Texas and a thick east Texas accent to prove it.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Lydia Mendoza - Collar de Perlas

Lydia Mendoza (May 21, 1916 – December 20, 2007) was an American guitarist and singer of Tejano music. She is known as La Alondra de la Frontera (The Lark of the Border).

Mendoza was born into a musical family in Houston, Texas. She learned to sing and play stringed instruments from her mother and grandmother. In 1928, as part of the family group Cuarteto Carta Blanca, she made her first recordings for the OKeh company in San Antonio. In the early thirties, Mendoza came to the attention of Manuel J. Cortez, a pioneer of Mexican-American radio broadcasting. Her live radio performances set the stage for her recordings for the Blue Bird label in 1934. One of her recordings, "Mal Hombre", became an overnight success, and led to an intensive schedule of touring and recording. After World War II, Mendoza recorded for all the major Mexican-American record labels. One of the relatively few songs she personally wrote, and a personal favorite, was "Amor Bonito", dedicated to her husband. Lydia Mendoza continued performing and recording until slowed by a stroke in 1988. In 1982, she became the first Texan to receive a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. In 1999, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts, and in 2003, she was among the second group of recipients of the Texas Cultural Trust's Texas Medal of Arts.

In 2001, Oxford University Press published a 235-page-book on her by Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez, entitled, Lydia Mendoza's Life in Music. From the introduction:Known as a lone artist and performer, Lydia Mendoza's voice and twelve-string guitar-playing figure prominently in her ability to both nurture and transmit the vast oral tradition of popular Mexican song with beauty and integrity. She sang the songs of the people across generations in the old tradition; all are indigenous to the Americas, and many of them to Texas. It is the music that emerged from the experiences of native peoples (on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border) within the colonial context of the nineteenth century.Mendoza's prominence and stature as a Chicana idol stems from her sustained presence and perpetual visibility within a complex network of social and cultural relations in the twentieth century. Along with being one of the earliest female recording and touring artists, she is loved as a voice of working-class sentimiento , sentiment and sentience, through song, which is one of the most cherished of Chicana/o cultural art forms. Through her vast repertoire and unmistakable interpretive skill in the shaping of songs she is a living embodiment of U.S.-Mexican culture and a participant in raza people's protracted struggles for survival.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Josh Abbott - Buried Me

Josh Abbott Band
Buried Me:


Formed in early 2006, The Josh Albert Band was founded by fraternity brothers Josh Abbott, Austin Davis, Drew Hurt, and Neel Huey. After playing mostly acoustic open mic night shows at The Blue Light, Josh and Austin called on Drew and Neel to give the band a rhythm section. On their debut night, The Blue Light packed in a full house and a sense of something special was present. After a year of picking up local shows and greek parties, the band released a self-titled LP in 2007 featuring four tracks. Immediately, the band recorded a music video for "Buried Me" and entered it in the Music City Madness competition on After beating out over 600 other videos, the live concept video made the final cut.

I really hate when you call me late at night.
I didn’t answer cuz I didn’t wanna fight,
or hear you say things you don’t mean;
and drive my heart again down Misery Street.

So go ahead and arrange the flowers,
and prepare my eulogy.
Call my brothers to be pall bearers,
cuz what you did already buried me.

When I think of you I get in my car,
but I can never escape from where you are.
And I can’t forget the words that you said
the night you shot me in the heart and left me for dead.

Who am I kidding, I’ll never be over you.
So put me ten feet deep, and I won’t face the truth.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Steve Earle - The Revolution Starts Now

Stephen Fain "Steve" Earle is an American singer-songwriter known for his rock and country music as well as his political views. He is also a published writer, a political activist and has written and directed a play. In the later part of his career, after troubles with the law, drug addiction and his uncompromising viewpoints, he has become known as "The Hardcore Troubadour".

Earle was born on January 17, 1955, at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. He is the eldest son of Jack Earle, an air traffic controller, and Barbara Earle. Although he was born in Virginia where his father was stationed in the military, the family returned to Texas before Earle's second birthday. They moved often during his childhood, primarily within Texas, but he spent several of his formative years in Schertz,Texas. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade to move to Houston and learn more about the music business. Earle released his first album, Guitar Town, in 1986. His sister, Stacey Earle, is also a musician, having toured with Steve in the 1990s and sung on the song "When I Fall" on Steve's 2000 album Transcendental Blues.

Earle has been married seven times, including twice to the same woman. His wives were Sandra "Sandy" Henderson, Cynthia Dunn, Carol-Ann Hunter (with whom he had his first child, Justin), Lou-Anne Gill (with whom he had a second son, Ian), Maria Teresa Ensenat, Lou-Anne Gill a second time, and finally, in 2005, singer-songwriter Allison Moorer. His first son, Justin Townes Earle, is also a musician, and is named for Townes Van Zandt. Earle and Moorer are expecting their first child together in March 2010.

Steve Earle Official Website
Original Unofficial Steve Earle Website
Steve Earle on Amazon

I was walkin’ down the street
In the town where I was born
I was movin’ to a beat
That I’d never felt before
So I opened up my eyes
And I took a look around
I saw it written ‘cross the sky
The revolution starts now
Yeah, the revolution starts now

The revolution starts now
When you rise above your fear
And tear the walls around you down
The revolution starts here
Where you work and where you play
Where you lay your money down
What you do and what you say
The revolution starts now
Yeah the revolution starts now

Yeah the revolution starts now
In your own backyard
In your own hometown
So what you doin’ standin’ around?
Just follow your heart
The revolution starts now

Last night I had a dream
That the world had turned around
And all our hopes had come to be
And the people gathered ‘round
They all brought what they could bring
And nobody went without
And I learned a song to sing
The revolution starts now
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Randy Brown - Ophelia

Randy Brown

Randy Brown Website
Randy Brown On My Texas Music

Randy Brown covers The Band's classic "Ophelia" with a straight-ahead Texas dancehall lilt, and makes it his own.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Austin Collins - House Without Windows

Myspace music player


Houston-born Austin Collins, currently headquartered in Austin, is garnering respect and considerable airplay on Americana and Texas Country radio stations...and beyond. Hardly a surprise. Collins combines knotty but thoughtful lyrics with a spare hard hitting rock sound (with echoes of folk phrasing in his vocals).

From Twangville:
"...I like lyrics that refuse to take the easy way out. This song, which musically is reminiscent of Whiskeytown’s “16 days”, could be George Strait’s “Easy Come, Easy Go”, where everyone involved is happy and ready to move on, but it doesn’t go that route. Picture the light “Easy Come, Easy Go” vibe with a casual middle finger waving effortlessly at this chick who done him wrong and then you have the right picture. The track where I feel that producer Johnson’s fingerprints are most evident is “House Without Windows”. The gritty, moody, muted guitar intro is a prime example of what you might hear on a future Centro-matic record (if you aren’t familiar with Centro-matic, you should be. They are DBT’s Patterson Hood’s favorite band, people!!) Again, lyrically this isn’t a song that chooses the stale, easy, country-cool path. When Collins strains his voice, he laments his “lead-based dreams”. We are left wondering how dangerous such dreams are when the chorus reminds us that his is a house “without windows...”

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Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt