Friday, my father’s birthday bash features both acoustic and electric sets with his band, the Fighting Cocks, in what he calls “a full quorum of cocks” – Michael Hardwick, Andrew Duplantis, and Joey Shuffield. He leaves the next day for a tour that will keep him on the road until South by Southwest, then heads to Japan for a month in May. On turning “double nickels,” he just laughs.
“It beats the alternative. Surprisingly, the truth is that each decade that goes by is better and better than the next one. At 55 years old, I’m looking forward to 60. The nasty secret about getting older that no one tells you is that it’s more fun, more satisfying, and more exciting than the previous years.
“I enjoy my life now immeasurably more than when I was younger. I’m just now getting good at living.”
He’s been a paid performer since the age of 13 and has been inducted into the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame for two separate acts. The last few months have seen him reunited with both: True Believers at ACL Fest and the Skunks at the Moody Theater as part of Alejandro Escovedo‘s United Sounds of Austin.
“Looking back [on my career], I had ‘big ideas, fancy plans,’” he says, quoting his song “Big Sweet Life.” “When I look back at what actually happened, I would have to say that I am pretty well satisfied. I am not saying I’m done. I still have a lot of big ideas and fancy plans left, but I’ve cut a pretty wide swath. No one can say that I was never ‘all in.’”
Graham’s a performer who moves easily between loud, ear-bleeding rock shows and intimate, acoustic balladry, each moving his audience to sing, dance, rock out.
“Life gets better and better with each passing year,” he pledges. “I swear it’s true.”– William Harries Graham
After becoming one of country music’s superstars, Vince Gill decided to follow his own path. He joins a long list of contemporaries who no longer play the radio game but still make music that speaks to the heart. Last year’s Moody Theater appearance featured two sets with a great band and his trademark guitar picking. Gill and steel guitarist Paul Franklin celebrated their roots by releasing 2013’s Bakersfield, an adoring tribute to Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.– Jim Caligiuri
Revamped Lone Star metallurgy.
Local stomp kills fascists.
Red River‘s Rev. Horton Heat.
Barrel-chested Josh “the Reverend” Peyton, his wife “Washboard” Breezy Peyton, and Ben “Bird Dog” Bussell on drums drive a freight-train pace, playing more than 250 shows annually and churning out seven albums of raw roots since 2004’s Pork n’ Beans Collection. Growling his sermons, the Indiana workhorse crushes inhibitions under boot-stomping rhythms and squealing harmonica. Dom Flemons, formerly of soulful strings outfit Carolina Chocolate Drops, opens.– Nina Hernandez
The crafty sibling agitators behind the Diamond Smugglers and the Dung Beatles put their considerable pop wits to work this weekend for an all-covers gig dubbed “Cover Your Ass.” Steve and Kevin McCarthy have long augmented original knockouts like 2004’s “Mamadawg” with inspired covers of everything from ABBA to the Everly Brothers, but this show allows audience members to turn the brothers into human jukeboxes by submitting requests to their Facebook event page. Full disclosure: my vote’s for Jay Ferguson’s “Thunder Island.”– Greg Beets