Jon Langford

Hole in the Wall
Friday, November 15

Jon Langford is a man of many guises: Mekon and Waco Brother, producer and solo artist, cartoonist and painter. It's that last pursuit that brings him to Austin this week with "Hard Country," an exhibition of artworks that opens at Yard Dog this Saturday. Langford will be showing approximately a dozen paintings -- whatever he can carry on the plane from Chicago, basically -- that feature his haunted, sometimes wry, sometimes wistful renderings of country & western and music industry figures (past subjects have included Johnny Cash and Bob Wills). In addition, some of his more recent work offers glimpses of working-class life in Langford's native Wales.

Langford works in oil, acrylic, liquid marker, ink pencil, and mixed media. He usually begins with a drawing, then "fucks it up" via scraping and repainting. This results in a faded look, that, along with the music-related subject matter, allows Langford's more formally sophisticated work to fit in next to Yard Dog's usual folk-art fare. "It's got a sort of grimey, scratched-up look that makes it seem comfortable in here," Yard Dog's Randy Franklin says. "We've got it hanging next to Lammar Sorrento's big paintings of country and blues singers." Yard Dog will host an opening reception for "Hard Country" at 7pm on Saturday; Langford will also be signing copies of Mekons United, a book and CD package that features historical essays, criticism, fiction and dozens of full-color art reproductions.

Of course, Langford will also play some music during his Austin visit, promising a mix of new solo material as well as the odd cover, Mekons chestnut, and Waco Brothers tune. He headlines at Hole in the Wall Friday night; he'll play an acoustic set before being joined by a full band that's been dubbed "The Bouldin Creek Irregulars": drummer Rich Malley, guitarist Bill Anderson, and bassist Angele Cleopatra Stavron from Big Foot Chester, plus Yard Dog's Franklin on mandolin and guitar. "It's going to be like Chuck Berry coming to town," Langford says of the impromptu musicians-for-hire circumstance. "I'm just going to stand there and go `1-2-3-4.'"

-- Jason Cohen

[Big Foot Chester open with two sets, one of which will feature special guests T. Tex Edwards, Texacala Jones, Jo Walston, Brant Bingamon and Jeff Smith. "Hard Country" is on display at Yard Dog through December 6.]

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