The Relatives

ACL Live Shots

ACL Live Shots
Photo by John Anderson

The Relatives

Zilker Park, Oct. 10

Exactly one year ago, I sat in the pews of the Rev. Tommy West's No Walls Ministry in the back of a Dallas strip mall as the Relatives played their first show in three decades. Since their remarkable rediscovery and resurrection, the world's funkiest gospel group has sold out the Continental Club, stolen the show at Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans, and, on Sunday at ACL, converted a whole new flock while dressed in resplendent matching white suits and orange shirts and busting Temptations-style steps. The title track of their 2009 release on local imprint Heavy Light Records, Don't Let Me Fall (for which I wrote the liner notes), ballooned to an epic 20-minute jam full of righteous guitar solos, call-and-response testifying, and instructions on how to do the gospel groove. Tommy and older brother the Rev. Gean West are the group's only original vocalists, but they've filled the ranks with certified ringers, including Gean's showman of a son Cedric and Tyrone Edwards, whose falsetto could crack stained glass. Concluding the rowdy revival of "Rap On," the Rev. Gean West had a Holy Ghost moment; kneeling and shaking, the gravelly voiced 74-year-old ripped off his sunglasses and heaved them into the crowd, where they landed in my left hand.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More The Relatives
Texas Platters
The Relatives
Goodbye World (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, May 13, 2016

SXSW 2013 Records
The Relatives
The Electric Word (Record Review)

Austin Powell, March 15, 2013

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Guy Forsyth & Jeska Bailey
Conspirators (Record Review)

Reid Jowers, Sept. 27, 2019

Texas Platters
The Texas Horns
Get Here Quick (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Thomas Fawcett
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
Dallas Acid blows some bubbles, KUTX remembers the Armadillo, and more music for the moment

Aug. 14, 2020

Colombian Folkloric Post-Punks Nemegata Drop Four-Star Debut
Colombian Folkloric Post-Punks Nemegata Drop Four-Star Debut
Local trio finds the fire of the jaguar

July 3, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Relatives

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle