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My SXSW 2018 presentation and book signing 3.13.2018

28 Mar

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My book launch party April 22, 2017

10 Feb

Texas A&M Un3rdcoverrevisionmiller_jkt5-2iversity Press and I launched my book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, Saturday April 22 at the Broken Spoke, 3201 South Lamar Blvd.  Book signings were provided by James and Annetta White and myself.

Ben Rogers played for tips in the dining room from 6 to 8 p.m. Terri White offered dance lessons in the dance hall at 8 p.m. for $8 per person. Afterwards, Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys performed in the dance hall  for an additional $12 per person cover charge. 

Order books at: http://www.tamupress.com/product/Broken-Spoke,8735.aspx

 

My Emmylou Harris concert review posted to Elmore

3 Jun

Elmore Magazine | Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell At The KerrvFans braved record-breaking rains to see Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell inside the lobby of the YO Ranch Hotel & Conference Center. The duo had moved indoors and to higher ground after Turtle Creek broke its banks earlier in the evening, threatening Kerrville Folk Festival’s outdoor theater.

The legendary singer/songwriters performed inside the historic hotel’s cowboy-themed lobby in front of a cozy limestone fireplace framed by two 10-foot wrought iron candelabras and five hanging chandeliers crafted from authentic cattle brands.

The duo sang songs from their 2013 Yellow Moon album and recent CD, The Travelin’ Kind. “La Danse de la Joie,” written by Harris, Crowell and Will Jennings, added a playful Cajun and upbeat zydeco sound to the evening.

The two, friends for 40 years, sat in repurposed dining room chairs, amid mounted exotic wild animal heads on the walls and an impromptu audience of rain-soaked fans, mostly 55 and older.

Harris sang a beautiful interpretation of “Love Hurts,” a huge hit for the Everly Brothers in 1960. Harris and Crowell together sang the night’s highlight, “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,” from her 1978 Quarter Moon in a Ten-Cent Town album. Never did a bad storm feel so right.

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Please also see my article posted on Elmore magazine’s website at: http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2015/06/reviews/shows/emmylou-harris-and-rodney-crowell-at-the-kerrville-folk-festival

My interview with Cindy Cashdollar posted to Elmore

25 Mar

BESTCindy Cashdollar    Texas Guitar Women toasted some teary goodbyes Feb. 19 while regaling joyous stories of the good old days at the One2One Bar in Austin with five-time Grammy award winner and resonator and steel guitar player Cindy Cashdollar.

Cashdollar’s Austin friends officially gave her the boot — albeit a gold-colored and bejeweled one — as they celebrated on stage in front of a standing-room audience at the first of two such parties scheduled for her through March.

The send off party sold out days in advance as news spread that Cashdollar plans to leave town soon for her hometown of Woodstock, NY.

The Texas Guitar Women members included: bass player Sarah Brown, guitarist and singer/songwriter Shelley King, and drummer Lisa Pankratz, and guitarist/singer Carolyn Wonderland. Special guests included pianist and singer Marcia Ball and guitarist and singer Rosie Flores, who joined up halfway through the show.

Those who missed this party have a second chance when Johnny Nicholas & Hell Bent hold another send off for Cashdollar March 25 at Saxon Pub where Cashdollar has been performing most Wednesday nights with him and his band.

As one of the most famous female resonator and steel guitar players of all time, Cashdollar traverses the genres of blues, bluegrass, Cajun, country, folk, jazz, rock, roots, soul and Western Swing music.

Cashdollar has contributed to dozens of album recordings, three movie sound tracks, four instructional DVDs, and has performed on stage with some of the biggest names in the industry throughout a professional music career that spans nearly 30 years.

In an exclusive interview with Elmore magazine, Cashdollar said she soon plans to record a second album as a follow up to her debut CD, Slide Show.

Guests who performed on Slide Show read like a who’s who list of Americana and roots musicians including: Sonny Landreth, Marcia Ball, Lucky Oceans, Mike Auldridge, Redd Volkaert, Herb Remington, Jorma Kaukonen, and Steve James.

She plans to return to Austin as frequently as she can, she said.

   “There’s no way that I could ever leave Austin and not come back,” Cashdollar said. “There’s too many good things to just shut the door and go.”

She will return to her hometown of Woodstock, NY after living in Austin 23-years to live closer to her family and her significant other, Harvey Citron, of Citron Guitars.

“I’m still going to be working, that’s for sure. When you’re a musician – most musicians any way – you have to keep working. It’s funny because everybody thinks I’m retiring, but no, not at all,” she said.

While in her late 30s, Austin became her home base in 1992, after Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel hired her to go on the road. She spent eight and a half years with ASAW before leaving the band in 2000.

Since then she has performed and or recorded with Ryan Adams, Dave Alvin, Marcia Ball, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Van Morrison, Jorma Kaukonen, Daniel Lanois, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Leon Redbone, Peter Rowan, BeauSolieil, Rod Stewart, and Redd Volkaert to name a few.

Cashdollar became the first woman inducted into the Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2011 and she also was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

   “Austin is this incredible pool of so many talented singers, songwriters, musicians and so many great artists in one place. It’s just unbelievable,” she said.

“I’ve had such an amazing time here. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to work with people in Austin and with people outside of Austin. I just feel lucky to have had the best of both worlds.”

After she settles into her Woodstock digs she will hit the road this summer to tour with British guitar player and Grammy award winner Albert Lee and his band.

Cashdollar is her real name. She has been told that the name originated with the Mohawk tribe and Dutch who settled in Upstate New York.

Her fellow musicians on stage often claim that Cashdollar hits perfect notes consistently and that she often tailors her sound to “follow” fellow band mates instinctively to fit her music into the genre being performed.

“Steel guitar is fretless – it’s a very unforgiving instrument. I mean you’re playing all of these guitars with a slide bar so there’s not very much room for error. You’ve got to be in tune,” she said.

   “I really try to listen to a lot of components that are going on. I try to listen to the lyrics, I try to listen to other musicians that I’m playing with and I try to figure out just where can I best fit where I’m adding something instead of overcrowding something that’s going on. That’s the way my brain, or my ears always work.”

Cashdollar also brings several guitars with her to play wherever she performs or records. She possesses an uncanny ability to change guitars often on stage, a feat that boggles the minds of most musicians, as not all guitars are created equally.

“The steel guitar I play has two different necks and two different tunings and eight strings,” she said.

“To me that’s fun. I always like a challenge. The more versatile, the better for me. It’s like cooking. I always compare music to cooking. You can’t really over spice anything unless it’s really called for. I always think of musicianship as being like the spices in a recipe. You want to enhance the recipe or dish. You don’t want to overload it.”

Her career expanded over the last 17 years while contributing to three movie soundtracks including: the Horse Whisperer, in 1998; Elf, in 2003; and This is 40 in 2012.

   She also has made guest appearances with the Guy’s All Star Shoe Band on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion radio series that broadcasts every Saturday. The show airs from 5 to 7 p.m. Central Texas time on National Public Radio (NPR,) and also on Sirius XM satellite radio live from the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN. Cashdollar admits that the performances kept even her on her toes.

“Being that it’s live radio, things happen at the last minute and you just kind of have to be ready,” she said.

Cashdollar has created four instructional DVDs for Homespun Tapes and she teaches workshops at Fur Peace Ranch in Pomeroy, OH. ResoSummit in Nashville, TN.

Teaching has become an important component of her career, she said.

  “To me to be able to teach and to give people something to take with them is really rewarding,” she said.

“Touring, there generally are a few people at every show that come out and tell me ‘I learned how to play from your instructional DVDs and it is such a wonderful feeling.”

As a teenager, Cashdollar visited a multitude of popular club in Woodstock. She recalls often seeing Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson in the roots rock group The Band; blues singer and harmonica player Paul Butterfield; Northern Irish musician and singer George Ivan “Van” Morrison; guitarist/auto harpist and front man for Lovin’ Spoonful, John Sebastian; blues singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt, blues songwriter and record producer William James “Willie” Dixon, and father of Chicago blues musician McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield.

“There was this club there called The Joyous Lake in Woodstock where I saw most of the acts when I was probably 15 or 16 years old,” she said. “Nobody worried about ‘carding’ anyone (for legal identification.) I saw all these great players. I think that’s what really where I got my various interests in all kinds of music.”

While in her late 20s, Cashdollar played locally in various Woodstock bands, before landing her first touring gig on a Dobro with one of New York state’s bluegrass band led by singer, songwriter and guitar player John Herald.

She toured with Herald for five years. Throughout the 1960s, Herald wrote songs performed by legendary folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Maria Muldaur and Linda Ronstadt. He died in 2005 at age 65.

Then for five years she toured with blues and jazz artist Leon Redbone.

Cashdollar said she feels obligated to pay forward the favors that she received growing up in the idyllic and magical Catskill Mountains surrounded by musicians during an era when music gave life to every moment.

“It was a beautiful place to grow up. I feel really happy to have grown up there,” she said. “It was a very creative place to be. When I was growing up there was a lot of music, a lot of bands moving there and a lot of artists. That was my college – that was my education.”

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Hell Bent promise special surprise guests for Cashdollar’s final send off at the Saxon Pub at the end of March.

 

Please see my story posted to Elmore magazine’s website by following this link: http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2015/03/features/cindy-cashdollar-bids-austin-farewell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakey Graves review and photos posted to Elmore, video uploaded to Youtube

10 Mar

Elmore Magazine | Shakey GravesFrighteningly original Shakey Graves shook the rafters at Gruene Hall, the 6000-square foot historic Central Texas dancehall just outside New Braunfels Feb. 20.

Graves, (born Alejandro Rose-Garcia,) performed his hauntingly sweet mix of gritty and melodic vocals for a standing room only crowd. Throughout the sold out show, Graves changed tempo with tantalizing tunes not classified singularly as either country, blues, or folk and brought his audience participation to new levels.

Playing his hollow body acoustic guitar and homemade kick drum made from a Samsonite suitcase, Graves alternated between performing solo and delivering a big sound together with upright bass player Macon Terry and drummer Chris “Boo” Booshada. Millennials who had gathered nearly two hours beforehand to drink Shiner Bock beer from longneck bottles stood, stomped, clapped and chanted choruses on song favorites such as “The Perfect Parts” within a handshake of Graves.

Dressed in his suit, tie and Bob Wills-style hat, Graves granted an encore soaked through with perspiration as temperatures, spooky in February even for Central Texas, hovered at an uncharacteristically balmy 75 degrees. That’s when a female fan, identified only as Nicole, took the stage to harmonize on “Dearly Departed,” the song he previously recorded with Colorado native singer Esme Patterson for his And the War Came On album released last October on Dualtone Records.

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Please see the posted story on Elmore magazine’s website at: http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2015/03/reviews/shows/shakey-graves

 

Watson lies when he drinks, but not about country music

10 Nov

DaleWatsonaloneArchived story updated with video

Singer and songwriter Dale Watson admits that he lies when he drinks — and he drinks a lot of Lone Star beer, a magical elixir that he says promotes good health and a long happy life.

“It’s the best beer in the world,” he says. “It whitens your teeth, increases your brain cells, eats calories. If you drink one day every day of your life, you’ll never die – that’s a money back guarantee, though you must collect in person.”

He calls Lone Star beer “liquid Viagra; it’s good for your skin, it increases your eyesight, and it makes you prettier. Lone Star has all kinds of benefits.”

Though Watson has been performing at venues throughout Austin for more than 25 years, he recently became “an overnight sensation” with his hit single, “I Lie When I Drink,” off his El Rancho Azul album.  The lyrics to his song: “I lie when I drink and I drink a lot” drew the attention of David Letterman who invited Watson to appear June 24 on the Late Night TV show.

Since January, Watson’s signature deep baritone voice sings the catchy tune for Nyle Maxwell’s television commercials: “Maxwell’s got the trucks man, Maxwell’s got the trucks. Any Ram truck you’d ever want, Maxwell’s got the trucks…”

“I love those commercials man,” Watson says. “They help pay the bills” and for upkeep on his long luxury touring bus as well.

Watson also has become something of “a lightening rod” spokesman for recent music controversy across the Internet.  The old-timers in the music business could have spit teeth when 2012 Country Music Awards’ entertainer of the year Blake Shelton called country music “grandpa’s music” while taping an episode of Backstory in Nashville.

Shelton’s words chewed on classic country performers across the state, but it in Austin he really rubbed Watson and others the wrong way. Watson and the late Ray Price before his death in December had spoken out publically about Shelton’s misperceptions.

Over the past six months, Watson drew a following of loyal fans who supported a new genre of music that he together with Price had named “Ameripolitan music.”

Watson ended up spearheading Austin’s own inaugural “Ameripolitan Music Awards”  Feb. 19 – a 100 percent fan-funded event with 400 guests at the Wyndham Garden Hotel to honor the roots of country, western swing, rockabilly and honky-tonk music.  Honorees included Johnny Bush who received the “Founder of the Sound” award. Bush also accepted and a posthumous “master award” given to Price.

Other local performers honored included: Jesse Dayton, James Hand, Ray Benson, Rosie Flores, Dawn Sears, Wayne “the train” Hancock, Whitey Morgan, the Derailers and the Haybales band.

“Some don’t like the roots of country music, so we just took that and named it something different,” Watson said.

The popularity of Ameripolitan music began in Texas with Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and the likes of Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Web Pearce and Faron Young, Ray Price and George Jones, and with female performers like Rose Maddox, Jean Shepard and Jean Shepard Patsy Cline, and later Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Buck Owens, and Merle Haggard, and other honky-tonk heroes like Gary Stewart, continued to produce hits well into the 1970s and ‘80s.

Watson continues to cover the great classic hits of his predecessors in live performances and has recorded his own original music on 21 albums and on Austin City Limits television show dozens of times. His latest November performance aired on KLRU-TV Feb. 8, ironically on the same night that he and his band, the LoneStars, played at the Broken Spoke. Watson shared the ACL episode with Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves. The show re-aired Feb. 13 on the same channel.

“I’m hoping some folks that watch Kacey, will discover me,” Watson says. “She has a totally different type of music. She has a new – ‘girl-bashing-guys’ sound and I’m an old standard country singer.”

He and his band have performed at the Grand Ole Opry 19 times. He plays at the Broken Spoke 3201 S. Lamar once a month and lots of Monday nights at the Continental Club 1315 S. Congress Ave.

Never one to shy away from an enterprise, Watson owns two bars: Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, featuring “Chicken Sh*t Bingo,” every Sunday from 4 until 8 p.m. and Big T Roadhouse in Saint Hedwig just outside San Antonio. He manages the bars when he’s not touring or playing venues throughout Central Texas on weekends.

Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon’s previous owner, Ginny Kalmbach, retired amidst money troubles before Watson bought and refurbished it in November.

“It was going to turn into a used car lot,” Watson says. “Luckily the owner of the property approached me. He says ‘You’re the only one I trust to do this right and keep Ginny’s Little Longhorn the Little Longhorn. We had known each other for 20 years.”

Regardless of wherever he and his LoneStars perform, Watson pretty much sings the same song set – including his original tunes, as well as the classic cover songs of Bob Wills, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Ray Price – a lot of Price, — and Johnny Cash.

Watson’s career has spanned the whole gamut of country and western music from the 1960s to the present, with all of its dips, dives and flows. His quirkiness for flamboyant satin and sequins costumes, a fondness for personal tattoos, and his shocking head full of white hair styled in ‘50s rockabilly pompadour fashion, makes him a standout among his middle-aged peers.

“When I grew up, on the radio there used to be Merle Haggard, George Jones, Ray Price and Gary Stewart – really good music; it was country music without all the other players in there,” Watson says. “In the 1970s country music all changed once they started lettin’ in the Kenny Rogers and the pop bands from LA. It changed drastically. You had these little bands from Texas, like Rascal Flats. Nowadays we’re dealing with the most pop stuff I’ve ever heard in my life, like Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney.”

Texas’ disco years briefly followed the 1980 dramatic western romance movie, Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Deborah Winger. Most club owners hired deejays to spin records and for a time some local clubs quit hiring bands to play, but the Broken Spoke didn’t.

He first performed at the Broken Spoke in 1989, with members of The Wagoneers, before Monte Warden, Brent Wilson and Craig Allen Pettigrew broke up that band.

“It felt good to be playing in such a historical place,” Watson says. It’s (the Broken Spoke) kind of like Austin City Limits; it’s a place you aspire to play if you grew up in Texas and you want to play real dance halls in Austin – it’s the only one left.”

Not long after establishing a name in town, Watson released his first single “One Chair at a Time,” in 1990 on the Curb Records label and he followed by producing a video.

Watson started sitting in on stage with Chris Wall before finally creating The LoneStars in 1992. About that time, he landed a regular Wednesday night gig at the Broken Spoke.

“I’ve worked hard — over 33 years playing,” Watson says.

His career began in his hometown of Pasadena, Texas. Watson began performing in clubs at 14 years old, along with two of his older brothers, Jim Watson, who played guitar, and Donny Watson who at different times played either guitar or bass. The Watson brothers called their band Classic Country, named after the popular PBS television show, The Classic Country Hour.

Watson’s musical passion has always been classic country music, but he says some of his early performances wandered far from his roots. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, in order to find steady work, he played whatever his audiences demanded — the radio hits of the late ‘70s and ‘80s in country music.

“Then music started getting polluted,” he says. “I remember playing some stuff that I didn’t really want to play.”

During the disco era, Watson continued to perform cover songs by George Jones, Gary Stewart and Ray Price. Stewart died in 2003 and Price passed away last December.

Watson says that fans come out to hear him specifically, but the Broken Spoke’s loyal following of dancers will show up regardless of whoever performs on any given night.

Lots of celebrities have shared the stage with Watson over the years at the Broken Spoke: every one from Johnny Knoxville to Amy LaVere, Johnny Rodriguez and Johnny Bush used to sit in regularly too, but not so much recently, Watson says.

As a youngster, Watson says he never intended to become a musician, singer, or songwriter. As a boy he dreamed of joining the military or becoming a doctor, but childhood poverty and an eye injury instead decided his fate.

“It was a blow to me because I really wanted to be a pilot. My folks couldn’t afford college and I was interested in aviation, but I knew my eye wouldn’t let me do that,” Watson says. “So my next interest was to go into medicine. I was going to go as a corps man in the Navy; the military would have allowed me to go to college, but that didn’t work out.”

Watson supported himself by performing gigs in bars every chance he had, week nights and weekends.

“Man, I got lucky. I count my blessings all the time,” Watson says. “My kids are going into acting. I’ve done a lot of acting too – those (Maxwell) commercials play every hour, so much that people are getting sick of them, but I like those commercials.”

His two daughters, Raquel Cain Watson and Dalynn Grace Watson, both work as actresses, even though Watson wishes they wouldn’t, he says.  The music business may be tough, but life for an actor can be even tougher.

“I moved to Austin, then I got job offer at a publishing company in Nashville. I worked there about 10 months and then I said ‘screw this.’ Then I got an offer to be in some movies with River Phoenix, who was going to direct them. Just as I was moving out to LA, he died,” Watson says. “Then I moved straight back to Austin.”

Watson signed with Hightone Records in 1994 and produced his first album, Cheating Heart, in 1995. He recorded two records in Nashville in 2002 and 2008, but since then all of his other albums have been recorded locally at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales studio or Ray Benson’s Austin studio.

Currently, he spends most Tuesdays and Wednesdays working on a new album that will become Volume 3 of the trilogy series, The Trucking Sessions.

Watson’s steel player Don Pollock, has performed with him for the past 11 years.

Watson says in his 50s now, he’s working harder now than he did half a lifetime ago.

“It’s weird being 51 years old, having this stuff happen so late in life,” Watson says. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but that’s ok – I’d rather be busy than not. Once the Ameripolitan awards show is over I’ll be able to breathe again.”

Watson says he feels grateful to the Broken Spoke’s owners, James and Annetta White. The Broken Spoke received “the best venue” trophy at the Ameripolitan Awards for helping to support the roots of country, swing, rockabilly and honky-tonk music across the United States. The nearly 75-year-old James White, spontaneously broke into the song, “Sam’s Place,” when accepting the award on stage and nearly stole the show at the Ameripolitan Music Awards.

“Nobody gets where I am alone,” Watson says. “Having this place as a bi-monthly or monthly gig — whether I’m touring or whatnot — has helped through the years, for me to support my family.  It’s helped me to meet other people through here that have furthered my career. I’ve gotten movie deals, commercials, and record deals through playing here. James is modest about what he brings to the place, but playing at the Broken Spoke gives you some modest stature.”

Watson performs at:  The Broken Spoke, The Little Longhorn Saloon, The Continental Club,  Sengelmann Hall in Schulenburg, TX, The Saxon Pub, 11th Street Cowboy Bar in Bandera, Tomball Honky-Tonk Fest in Tomball, Big T Roadhouse in Saint Hedwig, and Luckenbach Dance Hall in Luckenbach.

Published in Austin Fusion magazine 2/26/14 http://austinfusionmagazine.com/2014/02/25/dale-watson-lies-when-he-drinks/

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