While the title of their 1990 reissue More a Legend Than a Band hasn’t applied since the trio reunited for good in 2002, the panhandle’s three amigos – Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock – haven’t released new music as the Flatlanders since 2009’s superlative Hills and Valleys.
“The group’s been such a family heirloom for us,” says Gilmore. “We don’t have a new record out or tour a lot, but we still like to play together. We have to do it now and then so it doesn’t fade.”
Most recently, Gilmore and Hancock appeared with their sons, songwriter Colin Gilmore and guitarist Rory Hancock, in a show spanning generations. Meanwhile, Ely has been touring last year’s Panhandle Rambler. There’s been little time to write new songs specifically for the threesome, in other words.
“We want to,” promises Gilmore, “but there’s so much other stuff going on. Unless a big record company wants to throw a lot of money our way, it’s hard. We need to sequester ourselves to do it because we’re slow at writing. We always were.
“The nature of the Flatlanders has always been … organic is the word. It happens because of our love, our big friendship, with each other. From the very beginning, the Flatlanders were never really a commercial project, even though there have been times when we turned it into one.”
Gilmore reports one change in the band’s stage lineup: Robert Earl Keen’s longtime lieutenant Rich Brotherton stands in for Rob Gjersoe on lead guitar, the latter having moved to Chicago.
“Rich is a de facto member of the Flatlanders anyway,” says the singer. “Rich and Rob sound very different, but both work well with us and our strange, broad tastes and ways of doing things.”– Jim Caligiuri
Argentinians Los Enanitos Verdes boast a catalog spanning three decades and ranging from the simplistic pop of Contrareloj to traditional tango folkloric on Guerra Gaucha. The Grammy-nominated quartet composes a mélange of arena rock with Latin stylings, coalescing acoustic flourishes, eclectic funk riffs, and Eighties bombast. While their expansive tenure has been marked with hiatuses and suicide, hits like “Guitarras Blancas” always leave room for nostalgia.– Alejandra Ramirez
Sabrina Ellis remains the most exciting frontwoman in Austin. She of the fearless stage presence and inimitable vocal theatrics celebrates 30 laps around the sun Friday, so expect her melodic punk band A Giant Dog – high on recent career-definer Pile – to pack the Red River doghouse where they cut their teeth. Get there early for Big Bill, which makes nasally New Wave for the cough-syrup crowd, and openers Pleasure Venom plying post-punk behind the unrestricted wails of singer Audrey Campbell.– Kevin Curtin