Opie Hendrix and the Texas Tallboys (San Marcos, TX)
An Opie Hendrix album is somewhat like the proverbial box of chocolates in that you never know what you’re going to get when you open it. Over the years, Opie has recorded one surprise after another. We’ve experienced Opie’s country side, his rock side, a few ballads, and a blues and pop tune now and then. His ability to work well within each genre makes him a well-rounded performer and his record...ings usually appeal to those with eclectic tastes. Hendrix has narrowed his scope a bit on this album. Not to say that his vast influences aren’t present, but Hendrix has established himself as a big time recording artist with big songs, big arrangements, and an extra large feel to the entire disc. Opie has assembled an outstanding list of pickers for this project and even utilizes horns in a way that you would almost expect from a Hendrix release. The John Evans-like “Hurt Feelings” is a favorite and “Girl From Portland” is an amazing blend of pop, rock, and country influences. “Here Comes A Heartache” and “It’s Raining Somewhere” are the square pegs of the album as Opie offers a country shuffle with enough twang to keep two-steppers busy for a while and a serious ballad worthy of a second listen. Only Opie will offer up a song called “Apesh**t” that is nothing short of classic Opie Hendrix with a southern rock feel and a musical mosh pit ending. This is probably the genre in which Hendrix is most comfortable and I assure you he could play this entire six minute tune with his eyes closed, grooving every second, enjoying the performance as much as the listener enjoys the experience. After experiencing the disc, and seeing the list of friends who showed up to play on this album, I am quick to offer CAMINO ALTO up as Opie’s best work to date. Opie has been known to release an album for himself, leaving out any regard for what commercial fans might want, and he’s been known to record for the fans, leaving behind some things he might have wanted for himself. For the first time, Opie might have found the happy medium. His fans will love this album, and yet, he didn’t sell out on his creativity, his splendor, or his ability to hit the groove. Gordon “Big G” Ames writes the liner notes for this twelve-cut gem and Opie himself painted the portrait appearing on the cover. Even the title is classic Opie. The only thing missing from this box of chocolates is something with a cream-filled center. Oh, wait… nevermind.
John Evans Band (Houston, TX)
Standing at six-foot-five, adorned in polyester, with a smile on his face and sparkle in his eyes, Texas-born musician John Evans is hard to miss when he takes the stage. Big hair, horn-rimmed glasses, bell-bottoms and vintage cowboy boots may be part of his iconic look, but it’s his contagious energy and memorable sound that captures the audience. As a performer, if Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello were to have a love child, John Evans might just be it. But it is also his songwriting that has built his legacy over the past 20 years as a troubadour in the great state of Texas. Music runs deep in this man’s blood, and with just a tiny bit of whiskey to make it flow even better, Evans is embarking on a new album and a new chapter that will go down easy, with or without a shot.
Evans' life journey has revolved around performing, whether on the football fields of Texas in his younger years, or on stage at venues scattered across America. His journey began by earning his keep and his education through athletics, and later by entering the realm of Texas roots rock music as he took to the road. When he isn’t songwriting or touring with the John Evans Band, Emily Bell or El Trio Grande, Evans is an award-winning producer who creates albums with an untouchable southern elegance, ranging from bluesy rock-n-roll to rootsy country music. He has produced albums for Jason James, folk pop singer Ashley Monical, Jesse Dayton and Emily Bell in the past year alone. His production with Corb Lund (Cabin Fever) went to #1 in Canada knocking Justin Bieber out of that position. Evans also has several album writes and co-writes with Hayes Carll including mainstays, Take Me Away and KMAG YOYO. He is a true virtuoso whose sound and musical style cannot be defined by one genre or one project.
His latest endeavor is his new album Polyester, which tells the story of the journey he has led ever since the day he decided the life of a songwriter was the only path for him. He hasn’t looked back since. John has written over 400 original songs that can touch the soul of music fans from all genres, across all spectrums. His songs are delivered as an outpour of emotion rather than merely singing; songs that make you want to get up and dance, or rock out in your convertible in the heat of a Texas summer. But he also offers the listener lyrics that can be transparent and vulnerable, reflecting what is moving him in his everyday life. Each song speaks to his life experiences, every one having a unique sound and revealing the most important aspect of his music - staying true to his artistry. Whether it be a punk song that comes from a place of anger, a tear-bending country song that stems from sadness, or a song that was just inspired by a longneck bottle, John’s music has the ability to connect with his fans and cut to their hearts.
Doors 9pm, 21+, $10