May 27, 2010

Week 38: Terri Hendrix - Cry Till You Laugh

(This is week 38 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project)  

I’m outside the inbox / I dance on my stopwatch / I’ve got tattoos and dreadlocks / In another universe” – Slow Down

Terri Hendrix
Cry Till You Laugh
Wilory Records

Since 1996 Terri Hendrix has been releasing independent music via her own label Wilory Records. I’ve been a fan about that long as well. She’s got a way to get you to lose yourself in her music, smile, reflect, and feel good. A few times a year my wife and I try catch one of her shows to recharge our batteries and rediscover our love for music and fellow man. That may be stretching it a bit but it’s pretty close to the truth. So, when Hendrix’s new album, Cry Till You Laugh (CTYL) hit my hands, I was understandably excited.

Those who have been “lifers” to Terri’s sound are going to be very pleased with this recording (which will be released June 22, 2010). It showcases both where she’s been and where she is currently in her musical career.  Hendrix is a folk singer with a jazz influence who writes and records on her own terms.

The music on CTYL is stellar, with a great mixture of horns, mandolin, piano, and strings. Joining the core band of Hendrix, Lloyd Maines (who also produced this release), and Glenn Fukunaga are an impressive gang of guest players that include Stanley Smith, Drew Womack, Richard Bowden, John Mills, Riley Osbourn, Mark Gonzalez, John Silva Pat Manske, and others.  It’s the most “full” I’ve ever heard a Terri Hendrix album, and the music elevates the lyrics.

The album kicks off with the harmonica-driven “Wail Theory” where she combines two poems by Dorothy Parker into a stunning two-minute ditty. Her stop-and-smell-the-roses track “Slow Down” follows.  An uppity blues track called “Hand Me Down Blues” is a great edition. As is the wonderful word-play of “Berlin Wall.” The harmony vocals of Womack are fantastic on the road-warrior track “Roll On.”

A restructured version of “Take Me Places,” an Ike Eichenberg cover, is an early live staple that originally appeared on her 1999 release Terri Hendrix Live. It really gives you a taste of the past, while another Eichenberg song “You Belong In New Orleans” is a fantastic jazzy new edition to her repertoire.

The best thing about being an independent musician is you don’t have to have a “single” for radio, but if I had to choose one, the beautiful ballad “1000 Times” would be my pick. “If you could see inside my soul / you’d find your name in stone. The world may take you far away / but you are not alone.”

But, as far as favorites on the album, I’ve got to say “Hula Mary” does it for me. It’s reminiscent of Places In Between’s “Goodtime Van.” It’s the track about Celebrating and embracing those who make life interesting. It also encompasses the fun and original lyrics that make Hendrix’s music such a treat album after album. “Hula Mary / She got nothin’ to hide / She’s tie-dyed on the inside.” Plus, Hula Mary is a real person. Check this out. -

While I didn’t get a chance to see it yet, Hendrix has also created a memoir/book to accompany the album. It’s a gathering of essays about the business of music, her plights with health issues, family, stories of being on the road and ultimately about finding a purpose in life. I’m guessing the book will be as uplifting as her catalog of music.

Terri Hendrix’s recordings are among the most cherished in my personal collection, and this one is a wonderful addition. And I’ve got to say, some of her older albums I wasn’t thrilled with upon first listen, but they grew on me and became favorites. This one was instantly great to me. Pick it up, you’ll agree.

This Sunday May 29, Terri Hendrix will open for the Indigo Girls at La Zona Rosa and next Saturday she is going to be inducted into the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi. As luck has it, my wife and I will be there. Learn more about Terri Hendrix at

May 26, 2010

Books R Fun - Inappropriate Golden Books

Artist Josh Cooley has worked as a storyboard artist on such great childrens movies as Cars, Ratatouille, and Up (he was also the voice of Omega in Up). But that's not why I chose to blog about him today. Seems he's been having fun with adult movies as childrens books as well. For the last 2 years he's taken scenes from great flicks like Terminator, Léon, The Godfather and others and "comic'd" them up in the classic Little Golden Book style.

Here's a few:

Léon - The Professional

Terminator II

The Godfather


These are awesome. What's more awesome is, he recently announced that he's compiled many of the comics he's done for an actual book. He announced vis his blog that  Books R Fun - Inappropriate Golden Books is currently in production.

Here's a book I'm interested in purchasing.

May 20, 2010

Week 37: Righteous Brisket - Butcher’s Brew

(This is week 37 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project) 
“Is there a second chance deep in your heart baby look and see / ‘cause being alone at 3 a.m. is killing me.” – It’s 3a.m.

Righteous Brisket
Butcher’s Brew
Big Beard Records

If you prefer your beer from a can, your music southern-fried, and your Skynyrd and ZZ Top cranked up to eleven, you’re going to enjoy Righteous Brisket’s debut release Butcher’s Brew.

The album kicks off with the pop-top of a beer opening… and then goes into the mullet-and-Skoal anthem “Redneck SOB” which showcases lead singer Aaron Seymour’s imperfect-but-fitting outlaw country voice.  

The ablum continues though 40 minutes of southern rock spanning 10 tracks.  There’s the yeah-she’s-basically-a-bitch-but –I-love-her song “Christine.” Bassist John Duer takes the lead vocal duties on the road-warrior track, “White Lines,” that scores big points by mentioning my hometown of Laredo. “Tennessee Wiskey” is a rock driven blues track that would get Billy Gibbons to smile approvingly. If you’ve ever been in that position where you’re not sure if the relationship is over or not, “It’s 3a.m.” will speak to you.

Other than “Redneck SOB” my favorite track on Butcher’s Brew has got to be “Rusty and Bent.” It’s one of those songs about embracing the negatives and hoping love will still prevail. “Maybe she’ll see, I’m not the best she’s had / I’m not so bad / need a chance / to prove to her / that I can be / better than / the worst man she knows.”

A bonus on the album is the closer. Their cover of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”  is pretty darn awesome.

These four guys aren’t looking to make it big, they all seem pretty happy with their lives. They’ve all run the gamut of bands throughout their career thus far from The Men From Nantucket to Nooner to Shelli Coe to bySaturday.  They’ve pretty much settled down but when there’s an itch it needs to be scratched.

And singer/guitarist Aaron Seymour, bassist John Duer, lead guitarist Waco Jake Spelman, and drummer Tim Brown chose to scratch that itch by jamming together which led to the formation of Righteous Brisket (named after Seymour’s claim to make amazing brisket… and I only say “claim” because he’s not invited ME to a BBQ) and that led to the recording of Butcher’s Brew.

Check them out online at their Myspace page or their Facebook page. They released Butcher’s Brew earlier this month. They will play next in June at Austin’s Red Shed Tavern (6/18) and then a benefit show at Cedar Creek’s Cindy’s Gone Hog Wild (6/19).

May 19, 2010

Is Full Service Moving on?

Is it true? is Austin's Full Service moving on?
If the Friday June 4 show at Stubb's in Austin their last show?
Perhaps this video explains all.
Or none.
Either way... I think I'm going to be there.

May 18, 2010

Summer Fun for Kiddos - Kyle/Austin area

A friend of mine (Thanks Larissa B.) sent me this list of things to do with kids over Summer 2010. 
I found it to be a pretty solid list of cheap and free things. Cheap and free are two of my favorite things...  

Credit for this list goes to someone in the Hometown Kyle Neighborhood. I believe it was sent out to the neighborhood...

Movies (free and discounted):

Alamo Drafthouse FREE Alamo Kids Club 
CIty of Kyle movies in the park Gregg Clarke Park - Free

City of San Marcos -  Movies in YOUR Park - FREE

Reading Programs:

Kyle Library Brochure w/ June & July Calendar (PDF) - (Main Website here)

Buda Library Summer Brochure (PDF) - free  (Main Website here)
San Marcos Library Summer Calendar (June/July) - (Main Website here)

Austin libraries and Austin Public Libraries Youth Services - Summer (PDF)

Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program - great reading program with weekly gift card rewards

Fazoli's Restaurant -  Friendly Reader Program - get a free meal. They've also got kid's nights on Tuesday's from 5-8 w/ crafts.

Austin American Statesman/Round Rock Express - reading program

HEB - Summer Reading Club - It's under the "Clubs and Contests" area.

Other fun things:

Austin's Symphony's Children's Day Art Park - 50 cents/child

Austin's Symphony's Concerts in the Park / - free

Cabela's Kids Day - June 19 - 2010 Kid's Fest

City of San Marcos Activities and Events 
Tons of fun ideas for around the Austin area

Free crafts for kids (Lakeshore Learning) - every Saturday - free

Home Depot - free building activities for kids  - free

Lowe's - free building activities for kids

ZIlker Summer Musical - Annie - July 9 - August 14, 2010 Thursdays-Sundays approx. 8:30pm - free

McKenna Children's Museum (New Braunfels) - summer activities & camps (PDF)

Austin Parks and Rec - Summer Playground Program

Free breakfast and lunch at certain Hays CISD schools (children do not need to qualify--available to everyone)

May 13, 2010

Week 36 - The Banner Year - What You Won't Get

(This is week 36 of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project)

“If I go to you by plane / will you be there / to unpack this baggage that I’m bringing. And if I call you on the phone / will you answer / to stop me from this selfish thing I’m thinking.” – The Barrier

The Banner Year
What You Won’t Get
Rock Army Records

“I need a new direction / I need to find which way to go” is how What You Won’t Get, the third offering from Austin’s The Banner Year begins. But I’d have to say, they’ve not gone a new direction on this offering. They’ve stayed the same course they’ve been on since their inception in 2004. It’s just gotten better with time.

These guys have been one of my favorite bands coming out of Austin for the last few years. I even interviewed them for the April issue of INsite Magazine. They’ve got that sound that is kind of a Green Day thing. Brilliant lyrics and music that is too rock to be punk and too punk to be rock. Plus, a vocalist who has a unique and quality voice.

What You Won’t Get offers up Jason Small’s jaded view on life in 14-tracks. Songs about losing love, leaving, about truing to find direction in life, and songs exploring his inability or lack of desire to care.  The clincher is, this isn’t full of simplistic lyrics over predictable music.

“Godsend” is a ballad that turns angry. “Where’s the Donut Palace”  is one of my favorite new tracks to hear live and they capture is well for this album. “Instrumental” has audio from a November 1998 X-Files episode. It leads nicely into the not-ready-to-settle-down track “Misfire.” The epic track “The Barrier” could be a shoe-in for radio play… if radio stations were tipped off to it.

My favorite track on What You Won’t Get is “Phase 3.” I think this could be the calling card of the band as well. It’s kind of a 3-part song that begins slow… speeds up… and then gets heavy. It’s the type of track that gets stuck in your head… in a good way. “Living it up in the same old guise / and we’re letting our lives just pass us by / we’ll have a beer and sleep away the winter.”

“At A Loss” completes the album on a high note with all the screaming and energy that encompasses the band.

The Banner Year released What You Won’t Get in April at an INsite Night at Red Eyed Fly.  You can purchase the album online @ or at a show. They are one of the few local bands that are bent on making sure their performance on stage is as good as the music they produce. I’d highly recommend catching them live. The play in Austin next on June 25 at Red Eyed Fly.  To learn more about them, visit

The Banner Year includes Small (vocals), Josh Smith (Bass), Facundo LaRocca – (Drums), Michael Murray (Guitar), and Charlie Fisher (Guitar).

May 6, 2010

Week 35 (b) - DC Bloom - Cinco de Star-oh

 This is week 35b of my 52 Austin CD Reviews in 52 Weeks Project)

D.C. Bloom
Cinco De Star O EP

This Texas-based singer-songwriter is a gem. I’ve known of him since his time in the band The Dog Waggers, and ever since DC Bloom moved to the area a few years ago I’ve gotten to know him. He’s even written for INsite. He’s got a bent view on life and a way with words both unconventional and entertaining (which is why he interviewed Kathy Griffin for INsite). His one-liner updates on his Facebook are enough to keep you in stitches, and his songs are both a hoot and make you think. With his second solo release, the EP Cinco de Star-oh! He serves up five tracks of tongue-in-cheek Americana music.

The album begins with the been-there-done-that song about being downsized “I Used To Live In Comfort in Comfort.” It then kicks into a Elizabeth Wills duet “Luby’s Sweet Tease” about an interesting flirtation exchange between a plumber and a waitress. In “Crew Cabbin’ Fever” Bloom mentioned just about every type of truck in the world.

Of course, a Texas-based country CD wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the women of the Lone Star State. In “A Texas Woman Like You” he covers that, while taking you on a little tour of the US. “California’s got the starlets, it’s Hollywood and Vine / Take a drive along the coast, stop at vineyards, drink the wine / It’s silicon and silicone in valleys, yes, it’s true / But I prefer those natural Texas women, with Lone Star flag tattoos”

Most of the CD is comical, but the last track, a lost-love track entitled “Abilene Blues,” gets serious. It’s a live offering that comes off good but not polished.

In fact, none of these songs are perfectly polished, but it’s a nice taste of what DC Bloom offers. Some good-ol humor-infused Americana country music. It reminds me of the stuff that I’ve heard from Al Barlow (“Peanut Butter Jar”) and some of Terri Hendrix’s early tracks (“Dana Blues”). 

He's also got a nice sample of whos-who in area music as players on this album.Folks like Lloyd Maines, Chip Dolan, Warren Hood, Chrissy Flatt and the aforementioned Wills also lend a voice or instrument.

You should do youself a favor and take a listen to Bloom sometime. He’s playing tonight at Poodiefest tonight in Spicewood, the Whip-In Beer Garden in Austin on May 15, and again on May 18 at Gig on the Strip in San Antonio. To check him out online, check

Week 35 (a) - Kyle Park - Spring 2010 EP

Spring 2010 EP

Austin-based singer-songwriter Kyle Park has just released a four-song EP to bring in the Spring appropriately, Spring 2010.

His EP offers up four perfectly-polished for country radio tracks splitting the themes between lost love and moving on.

If you’re on the “breaking up was a mistake” side, the first and last songs are for you. The EP leads off with “Missing You” the stuck-in-the-past lament for a love lost. “And did you know that every night when I fall asleep / Every one of my dreams involve missing you / and every day that I’m awake I’m missing you.” And Spring 2010 ends on a somber note with the regretful “Any Day or Night.”

Perhaps you subscribe to the “better off without her” side of the story. Well, the middle two tracks have your name all over them. There’s the temporary lover replacement plan of “Prove It To You” (which is the single) and the nothing-was-real track entitled “Fake Smile.”

It almost seems therapy for the broken hearted. I don’t know if Park went through a break-up recently but these four offerings penned all or partly by him would make a good case for it. They are well written and a good listen. If you’ve found yourself on either side of a break-up you may see a little part of you in it as well.

I actually had a chance to interview Kyle Park a few years back (October 2009) before he played a gig in my hometown of Kyle at Gregg-Clarke Park (Kyle Park at the Park). If you’d like to read that interview go here.

For more information on Park and where he’s playing next visit