Dancing About Architecture
KUT gets a facelift; the Flatlanders resurrect.
New Waves at KUT
Brace yourselves, KUT fans -- it's happening. The changes you may have suspected were coming down the line are heading this way with their headlights blazing, the station's management announcing this week that, "The time is right to add ... two popular programs that deal with the most relevant issues of our time -- the economy and world affairs." Since September 11, the station has been putting more emphasis on news, and further expansion of that idea is clearly the driving force behind the renovations at the popular public radio station. Unfortunately, when you add major new programming like The World and Marketplace to your afternoon schedule, other programming has to move out of the way. It's impossible to adequately cover the entire schedule switcheroo here (go to www.kut.org for the charts and such), but among the most notable alterations, All Things Considered is moving up an hour (and gaining an extra hour Monday-Thursday), Soundsight has been dropped due to problems with broadcast rights, and Car Talk and The Grateful Dead Hour are moving to new time slots. Most notable perhaps is that freeform overnight shows by Jeff Johnston, Jim Caligiuri, Tom Pittman, Carter York, etc. are history. Official notice from the station says that the aforementioned hosts will do fill-in work on other KUT shows, while veterans Paul Ray and Larry Monroe will have their roles expanded to pretty much take over the majority of night/overnight slots Monday-Thursday, 8pm-3am. Note also that Hayes McCauley's World Music Show, over which quite a ruckus was raised when it disappeared, will return on Sunday nights, 8-10pm (sorry, no word on whether Dan del Santo will be returning as well ...). For more on the KUT story, including interviews with program director Hawk Mendenhall and station manager Stewart Vanderwilt, see our News section.
The Flatlanders Go West
No, the Flatlanders aren't moving to California in hopes of striking gold records. Neither are they remaking an old Marx Brothers flick. Nope, what the Flatlanders are doing is answering the question issued in this column a few weeks ago of who would be the next act signed to New West. It's the trio from Lubbock, indeed, and an album of new material is due out on the label sometime around mid-March (the fact that they're headlining the New West showcase at SXSW was a bit of a giveaway). Cameron Strang, president of New West, beams, "We couldn't be prouder to have the Flatlanders on New West Records, and we're very excited about the new album. In my book, they're three of the greatest Texas songwriters -- all in one band." The album in question is a long time coming; Joe Ely reports it's been in the works for three years! "We started with the Horse Whisperer movie," he recalls, taking a break out at his home studio while partners Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock continue working. "They talked to me about doing a track on the record and I said, 'You know what would be great? To do a Flatlanders thing.' Apparently either Robert Redford or somebody in his camp was a real Flatlanders fan, so they went gung-ho and had us write a song. We actually wrote three songs at that time, which kinda set the whole thing in motion because we had never actually written together. We had played together but always written separately." Hancock concurs, adding, "It was pretty astounding to all of us that we could even do it, and that we would be so good about it!" So far the group has recorded some 20 songs, 12 of which they wrote together, and guests on the recordings have included Rafael O'Malley, Gary Herman from Ely's band, and Robbie Gjerso from Gilmore's, with original Flatlanders sideman Lloyd Maines expected to put in an appearance any day now. Ely says the band will tour when the new album comes out, but how much depends on how the three longtime friends feel towards the project; they're pursuing this as a bunch of old friends, not as a business deal. And for anyone who might be expecting a clone of the one and only Flatlanders record, Gilmore warns, "It's not like that! We've all been experimental in our own ways, and when we get together, it just brings out the strangest in all of us."
Today, Thursday, in San Antonio, Freddy Fender is slated for his kidney transplant (his daughter is the brave donor). Buena suerte Sr. Baldemar. Hope you have a speedy recovery... The Flatlanders ain't the only ones out there working on a record. La Tribu have just hitched up with the Fuel 2000 subsidiary of Universal Records, which will be issuing the band's self-released local CD ¡Ataca! in April. The band is in the studio recording new material as we speak... There's changes afoot in the SXSW showcase list, as expected. Sadly, the Dictators won't be able to make it after all due to scheduling conflicts, but will you accept the Damned in their place? I thought you might. Also added this week: Atmosphere, Rhymesayers, Electric Eel Shock, Grupo Fantasma, Imperial Teen, Big Jack Johnson & Kim Wilson, the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Bruce Robison, Sindicato Argentino del Hip Hop, and They Might Be Giants... Instro-surfites 3 Balls of Fire are back with a vengeance this week with a Hole in the Wall gig tonight (Thursday), an Antone's Records in-store Saturday at 3pm, and an appearance at Central Market North Sunday at 6pm. All that's in support of their new FirePower CD. As their press release states, "The Balls are loaded and cocked and have a big rocket in their pocket in '02." Which takes us to our special box feature for the week...