SXSW Song Of The Day: Cedric Burnside – Hard To Stay Cool

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Photo Credit: Abraham Rowe

Cedric Burnside‘s latest album is entitled Benton County Relic, and while he’s been at this for awhile, it’s a pretty safe bet that Burnside himself is not the relic being referenced in the title. At 40, he’s far too young for that, but with eight albums under his belt and getting his start playing drums with his grandfather, legendary Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside, back when he was only 13, he certainly qualifies as a veteran performer.

The video for “Hard To Stay Cool” opens up with Burnside giving a bit of a lesson on the blues and its importance to African American culture before it segues into the song itself, a languid, slow burning blues about the challenges of trying to keep your cool during hard times. Check it out.

Cedric Burnside plays Cooper’s BBQ on March 13 at 10:00pm and on March 15 at 1:00am.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Austin Lucas – Immortal Americans

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Photo Credit: Chad Cochran

Every now and then a song just jumps out at you and demands your attention.

Such was the case with “Immortal Americans”, the title track off of Bloomington, Indiana alt country singer-songwriter Austin Lucas‘ latest album. Upon hearing that tune as part of a playlist, I had to stop what I was doing, listen, and find out exactly who was behind it. And then I listened to the song all over again.

First it was Lucas’ voice that caught my attention, then the melody, and then finally the lyrics: a portrait of American heartland culture and a celebration of the power of rock and roll that elevates it all to a new sort of gospel – “the sound of immortal Americans.” Check it out.

Austin Lucas plays the Continental Club on March 15 at 11:00pm.

Concert Review: High and Mighty Brass Band, Galactic, February 15, 9:30 Club

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

There are some things in life that are just downright unfair:

1) Bringing a knife to a gun fight.
2) The fact that Gwen Stefani doesn’t age.
3) Showing up on a stage with a sousaphone.

Obviously High and Mighty Brass Band killed it when they took to the 9:30 stage in DC Friday night – they showed up with a trumpet, a trombone, a sousaphone, and an incredibly charming frontman to belt out any songs with lyrics. At one point their vocalist yelled out to the crowd, “I have a confession to make. I have a family member in the crowd. And it’s the day after Valentine’s Day. So I apologize for what you’re about to hear.” He then launched into the most brass-filled version of Ginuwine’s “Pony” I’ve ever heard. (Also, which family member is there? You’re gonna make Grammy blush!) The crowd absolutely loved it. And then the band did the only thing that could make the crowd love them more – they jumped down into the audience and played a cover of Mac Miller’s “Come back to Earth.”

A hard act to follow. But if anyone’s going to do it, it’s Galactic, fearlessly led by Ms. Erica Falls. Ms. Falls took to the stage in a sparkly shirt, cut-off shorts, tights, and very cute high-heeled, peep-toe boots. She was backed by a saxophone, a pocket-trumpet, two guitars, and drums, and she immediately captivated the crowd with New Orleans-infused funk, starting with “Heart of Steel” (sung on the band’s previous albums by Cyril Neville and Irma Thomas). Galactic has a groove-infused, feel-good, high-energy vibe that got the crowd moving and jumping in no time. “Heart of Steel” was followed up with “Dolla Diva” and “Going Straight Crazy” (sung by Princess Shaw on the original album).

There are some things that are pretty much universally appealing: chocolate, cookies straight out of the oven, the smell of baking bread. Every once in a while you’ll find the outlier who doesn’t like those things, and you’ll look at them in shock and disgust, shake your head and move on, but for the most part, everyone’s gonna love it. If you haven’t seen these bands before and you want to take a chance on something new, 99.9% chance you’re going to love them.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Robert Ellis – Fucking Crazy

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Photo Credit: Alexandra Valenti

When people talk about Texas singer-songwriters, a certain type of sound comes to mind – the sounds made popular by the likes of Guy Clarke, Steve Earle, or Townes Van Zandt. But Austin’s Robert Ellis brings to mind a different kind of sound with “Fucking Crazy” – the easy, breezy sound of ’70s soft rock.

Yes, with his latest, Texas Piano Man, Ellis doesn’t just dip a toe into the sort of sounds made famous by the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel, and other songwriters of a ’70s/’80s vintage (I detect a hint of Bread’s David Gates in his delivery on this one) – he dives in head first. And the results are fantastic.

And though he’s serious about his music, Ellis also injects a certain sense of humour into his tunes (as you might expect from the man who entitled a previous album The Lights From The Chemical Plant), from “Topo Chico“, his drinking song about Texas’ favourite sparkling mineral water, to the aforementioned “Fucking Crazy”, which is probably the best piano-based pop song to feature the f-word since John Grant’s “GMF.” Check out the video below.

Robert Ellis plays the Mohawk on March 15 at 9:00pm.