Dancing About Architecture
Back From the Castle ...
"Life-changing, career-changing -- the best week of my life" is how Kacy Crowley calmly describes her week at Miles Copeland's Paris castle, where songwriters meet annually and pair up to write a song a day while soaking in the beautiful sights. Parasites abound everywhere in the music industry, but Crowley says her days at the castle produced no less than five songs that she intends to use on her next recording. The local chanteuse says she got to write with Pat McDonald (okay, so she could've done that here), Josh Leo, Wayne Kirkpatrick (who penned Eric Clapton's "Change the World"), Jane Wiedlin (Crowley calls their pairing "a match made in heaven"), and Mark Eitzel. Coming up next, she says, is more co-writing with several of her castle co-horts during June and July -- some here and some in Nashville -- with recording to follow this fall and a new album in early 2000.
... And Off to the Fair
Monte Warden is heading for Nashville as well, though his writing plans involve scribbling the words "Monte Warden" until his hand cramps up. Warden, whose recent A Stranger to Me Now is riding high at #3 on the Gavin Americana chart, will be promoting the album at Nashville's Fan Fair (June 14-19), a humongous combination country Woodstock and autograph hound convention. Every country musician "from Garth [Brooks] down to li'l ol' me" attends the massive yearly get-together, says Warden, who first attended with the Wagoneers in 1990 and this year is sandwiched in between Bryan White and George Jones in his musical slot for the weeklong festival. With a new single, "It's Only Love," out as of yesterday, and the Austin-made video for the same already in "high middle" rotation on Country Music Television (meaning that CMT runs it 4-5 times daily), Warden may well find himself wishing that the cramps he ends up getting were indeed from songwriting!
Land of Cream and Jelly
Did you happen to catch Doyle Bramhall II performing with Randy Newman on the Tonight Show on Tuesday? If so, you probably admire Newman even more than before for his generosity in letting the guitarist share so much of the spotlight. If not, you might start shopping for tickets to Bramhall's shows as part of Roger Waters' touring band. The rare live trek by Waters starts at the end of July, but unfortunately there's nothing even resembling a Texas date therein. It's when that tour ends -- or his role in it, anyway -- that Bramhall will be seen on these streets again. In what's gotta be some damn good timing, Bramhall returns from being introduced to hordes of rabid Pink Floyd fans from July 23 through August 21, just in time for the release of his own new album, Jellycream, which comes out August 24. Bramhall will be playing Texas dates that week with his own band, plugging the disc, which features Charlie Sexton, Wendy & Lisa, Susannah Melvoin, Charlie Drayton, and others. The timing resembles that of the David Bowie /Stevie Ray VaughanLet's Dance tour, though Bowie was a bit more in his prime then than Waters is now. We'll have to wait and see how Bramhall's results compare.
The Boys (and Girl) in the Bubble
Sixteen Deluxe have finished up work on a new EP and have handed it over to their manager to find a label for it, says Chris "Frenchie" Smith, adding that the band is continuing to take full advantage of their South Austin studio "The Bubble" to record as much and as often as possible. In what he calls a "slow world take-over program" for the former Warner Bros. act, Smith says nothing's firm yet except the band is "going strong and having the best time we've ever had," explaining that the group's current strategy centers on getting the best deal they can by presenting a label up front with the best album they can make. The Bubble also sees good use even when the kids in 16D aren't holed up therein; ... And They Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, SXIP, Madrid, Kathy Zeigler, (who's already got a five-song demo from her Bubble sessions circulating), Secret Lovers, 99 Pounds, and even the beloved Breeders, who laid down some tunes during a recent visit, have all recorded at the South Austin studio. If you've never heard of the Bubble, there's a good reason for that: "We're keeping it low-key, though a lot of people know about it from the party we had here during South by Southwest," says Smith. By limiting the workload at the Bubble to those who already know the band and/or how to find the studio, Smith explains that the band, who can be seen and heard at Carlos 'n Charlie's next Wednesday, manage to have work going on there most days, yet avoid the pitfalls of having people "coming by and bringing us six-packs instead of letting us work."
If the hustle and bustle of the modern world has been getting you down, don't forget the Kerrville Folk Festival is still going on for another week or so. You can get away from it all, say, this Friday for instance, when the KFF features Ballad Tree Song Sharing with Mary Coppin, a Texas & Tennessee Song Circle with Steve Gillette, and performances from Willy Porter, Shug Mauldin, Don Henry, David Wilcox, and er, a Folk on the Internet Session with Alan Rowoth. Some things (almost) never change... Not sure why he's in town (something to do with that famous quote about Austin being his favorite town or some such?), but one of my Dancing elite staffers reports that he sat 10 feet away from former sitcom star Jerry Seinfeld upstairs at Antone's for the Scabs' regular appearance there this week. Scabs/Lonelyland groupie Sandra Bullock wasn't there (although she was at Lonelyland's Saxon gig on Memorial Day), but both Seinfeld and that other Jerry by the last name of Harrison were in attendance at last Tuesday's show. Not a bad two-day stint for Bob Schneider and company on the hardcore super-famous celeb front. And wouldn't "Show About Nothing" be a good name for a Talking Heads song?... Been wondering what happened to the Prima Donnas but were afraid to ask? Well, according to an update included in the trio's new 7-inch on Kill Rock Stars Records (and keeping in mind that you can never believe anything you hear or read about the band): "Julius Seizure has fled back to Sussex, UK after being busted for drugs in Texas. Nikki Holiday has not, repeat not adopted a small child with eccentric gay billionaire Sigourney St James [and] Otto Matik is still very busy collecting mermaids and reading detective stories." The update further states that the record label is actively soliciting funds to help pay for Seizure's legal fees, which have placed "the future of the band in America in jeopardy"... Singer/ songwriter /stuff-other-than-songs-writer Michael Hall recently called to grill me for some phone numbers to aid him in setting up a series of rock-oriented acoustic nights at Shaggy's, where I've been afraid to return since the night I walked in just as Hall was starting his 40-minute epic "Frank Slade's 29th Dream." Looks like he's set to go now, with the no-cover "Goat Night" series running every Sunday in June (and beyond), starting this week with Troy Young Campbell, Sixteen Deluxe's Carrie Clark, and special guests. Upcoming weeks will feature Lisa Mednick and Barbara K (6/13), Brian Beattie and Craig Ross (6/20), and Jo Carol Pierce and Michael Fracasso (6/27).Hall attempted to explain the evening's title by pointing out that goats are like songwriters in that they are "cantankerous and like to eat garbage. No, it's because they like to butt heads. Wait, it's because cheese is made from them." Finally, after wondering aloud whether goats and songwriters both "pee in their own beards," he admitted that the name meant nothing. Hall's current band, the Brooders, featuring Randy Franklin, Steve McCarthy, and Brian Zoric, is currently playing sporadically, with a Continental Club gig due later this month and enough songs to make an album, which they might just do. Then again, they may just go pee in their own beards... Following confusion over whether or not their opening night concert featuring the Duke Ellington Orchestra was supposed be open to the public -- as well as what one could or could not wear to the concert -- new upscale Red River nightclub Spiros has fired their publicist, and at press time was preparing for a major meeting to discuss if they will indeed be booking big-name jazz talent like the previously reported Tito Puente, who returns to Austin this weekend out at that Backyard (see Music Listings). Pending that assembly, general manager and current publicist Jim Leverett assures me that Spiros will continue to offer live music in some form... Congrats to W.C. Clark, who shares more than just initials with W.C.Handy; Clark received the Handy award for "Blues Artist Deserving Wider Recognition" at this year's Handy Awards, where Marcia Ball & Tracy Nelson and Kenny Wayne Shepard with Double Trouble were among the performers. See "Live Shots" for more details on the evening's festivities... Blues-rock prodigy Widgeon is currently in exile on the Isle of Man (between England & Ireland), according to manager Chesley Millikin, as he was deported from Ireland for not having a valid work permit. Apparently, Widge's permit expired and nothing was done about it until too late. "I've moved political mountains both here and in Ireland," Millikin exclaims, "and I expect him to receive clearance this coming week at which time he will return to Dublin" ... Richard Buckner's 1994 debut Bloomed, which you may remember from the heyday of Austin/San Marcos label Dejadisc, is being reissued on ravenous Rykodisc as a special low-priced disc with five live, solo bonus tracks, and what, no video? What a gyp!... Former Rykoholic Alejandro Escovedo is among those playing in-stores at Waterloo Records this week. Darcie Deaville fetes Slo Mo Tornadothere this Friday, Escovedo plugs his new Bloodshot release Bourbonitis Blues next Thursday, and Shades of Pearl play stuff from West of Free next Friday (all appearances 5pm). Meanwhile, at Thirty Three Degrees, Zulu as Kono play tonight (Thursday), 8pm, to celebrate the release of their new 7-inch before they go on tour... And because it's still a cool idea, don't forget to check out the Alamo Drafthouse's latest in the series of silent movies with live accompaniment. This time Tod Browning's The Unknown gets musical treatment from the Gypsies, tonight at 7 & 9:45pm...
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser