Checking In: A Texas Gentleman Turns to Video
“Reality is the music business has been changing for a long time”
By Raoul Hernandez,
9:09AM, Wed. Sep. 30, 2020
Riding out of Dallas, Butch (Dan Creamer) and Sundance (Nik Lee) – and current Hole in the Wall gang Ryan Ake, Scott Lee Jr., and Paul Grass – rustled a stylistic fusion of Texas country funk for themselves and others. Second album Floor It!!! comes with a board game of the same name in response to the pandemic, a scenario addressed by ATX key(boardist) Creamer.
Austin Chronicle: Where are you sheltering and under what circumstances? Who else is there and how’s that going?
Daniel Creamer: I’m here in Austin with my wife Barbara FG. I think we’ve actually adapted quite well to this new dystopia. Really early on in all this, we started teaming up and making videos for my solo project “Dancey Jenkins” and then ended up also collaborating to make a big video project for the Texas Gents that will come out soon.
Keeping busy has definitely been a big factor in staying sane.
AC: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?
DC: I was on tour with Sir Woman on the day we found out that SXSW was being canceled and we were all pretty shocked. Little did we know how far reaching this whole thing would be. The Gents had a handful of dates booked with the Black Crowes as well as a string of headlining dates in support of our new album and that all got canceled pretty much immediately, which was obviously disappointing.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed spending less time on the road as it’s allowed me to focus more on my relationships and learning more about who I am outside of the work that I do.
AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person?
DC: I know there are a lot of people who are very frustrated that they haven’t been able to have that experience in six months. My hope is that something like this does more to make people change their perspectives and try to understand what it is that they relied on from live music. Ultimately, it’s not going to go back to the way things were probably for a long, long time, so it’s something we have to adjust to.
The reality is the music business has been changing for a long time and people do adapt just like we do when technology changes the way we listen to music.
AC: Everyone’s had to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?
DC: Luckily, I have been able to keep doing some studio projects, including working from home on several things. As I said, my wife and I started collaborating heavily on videos for my solo project, which has been super fun and enlightening. I just bought a reel to reel tape machine as part of my effort to being as productive as possible in my own home.
I’ve taken advantage of as many of the relief programs as possible and that has allowed me to also take time just to work on writing and staying creative.
AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?
DC: I’m always looking for things that hit my ear in just the right way and these days are no different. I do tend to look back to older music a lot when looking for inspiration. I’ve had some recent acquisitions that have been particularly exciting.
Hosono House by Haruomi Hosono has been huge for me. I got a Vinyl Me, Please edition of James Booker’s The Lost Paramount Tapes, which contains some of the finest piano playing I’ve ever heard. A couple of old favorites from my record collection have gotten some extra spins as well, namely Unusual Sounds, which is a really cool compilation of mostly instrumental music from films, and Henry Mancini’s Country Gentleman album, which is a really interesting and more orchestral take on some classic country tunes.
My friend Pat Sansone also turned me onto the radio show Highway 61 Revisited on WUMB, which has been an invaluable source of unfamiliar classics. In my experience, music can actually do more to set the mood than your actual circumstances, so I definitely think in times like these, a great playlist is clutch.
Check out the entire Checking In series.
Doug Freeman, March 17, 2018
Kevin Curtin, Feb. 22, 2018
March 20, 2021
March 19, 2021
Texas Gentlemen, Dan Creamer, Nik Lee, Ryan Ake, Scott Lee Jr., Paul Grass, Barbare FG, Dancey Jenkins, Haruomi Hosono, James Booker, Checking In 2020, Henry Mancini’, Pat Sansone, Bob Dylan, Sir Woman, Black Crowes