Mood Illusion, “Strangers in the Night and Other Favorites.” In a town that has well more than its fair share of pedal steel guitarists, Bob Hoffnar stands out. Hoffnar moved here around a decade ago from New York, where he played with the exquisite folk-pop band Hem and recorded with singer-songwriters including Lloyd Cole and Amy Allison. Though he can play straight-up country — check him out with Aaron McDonnell’s backing band, the Neon Eagles — his real passion is for pushing the instrument’s boundaries far into jazz and experimental territory. With Mood Illusion, he weaves consistently intriguing steel runs around Michael St. Clair’s trombone, Stephen Bidwell’s drums and Aaron Allen’s bass. The 11 tracks range include several original tunes built around Bert Kaempfert’s classic “Strangers in the Night” (thus the album title). Perhaps most fascinating are variations on universally known melodies both age-old and contemporary, from Stephen Foster’s 19th-century staple “Hard Times” to “People Dancing,” which adapts Abba’s 1970s smash “People Dancing” into something simultaneously familiar and brand new. Playing every Wednesday in August at Stay Gold. Here’s a live video of a Stay Gold performance from last year that covers some of the ground featured on the album:



AUG. 11: Kelsey Arianne, “Light Shines Through,” release show Aug. 11 at Strange Brew.
AUG. 12: Holiday Mountain, “SHIA” (Clean Bill), playing Oct. 29 at Emo’s.
AUG. 12: Kim Simpson, “Songs and Sightings 1992-2014,” release show Aug. 12 at Good Shepherd on the Hill.
AUG. 19: Dale Watson, “Live at the Big T Roadhouse, Chicken S#!+ Bingo Sunday” (Red House/Ameripolitan).
AUG. 19: Tahoma, “Hide Away,” release show Aug. 20 at Sidewinder.
AUG. 20: Eric Bee, self-titled, release show Aug. 20 at One-2-One Bar.
AUG. 22: Beaver Nelson, “Positive,” release show Sept. 16 at Strange Brew.
AUG. 26: Jack Ingram, “Midnight Motel” (Rounder).
AUG. 26: Bill Kirchen & Austin de Lone, “Transatlanticana” (Red House), playing Oct. 28 at El Mercado Backstage.
AUG. 26: Fabulous Thunderbirds, “Strong Like That” (Severn).
AUG. 26: Wildfires, “Aguas Frescas (Part II)” EP.
SEPT. 9: Giulia Millanta, “Moonbeam Parade.”
SEPT. 9: Adam Torres, “Pearls to Swine” (Fat Possum), release show Sept. 10 at Cactus Cafe.
SEPT. 16: Willie Nelson, “For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price” (Legacy), playing Oct. 9 at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
SEPT. 16: Meat Loaf, “Braver Than We Are” (429).
SEPT. 16: Jesse Dayton, “The Revealer” (Blue Elan), playing Nov. 4 at Antone’s.
SEPT. 16: East Cameron Folkcore, “Better Off,” release show Sept. 24 at Empire.
SEPT. 16: Elijah Ford & the Bloom, “As You Were” (Nine Mile).
SEPT. 16: Golden Bear, “Dimensional Place” (C-Side).
SEPT. 17: Henry & the Invisibles, title TBA, release show Sept. 17 at Empire.
SEPT. 23: Reckless Kelly, “Sunset Motel” (Thirty Tigers).
SEPT. 23: Ruby & the Reckless, “In My Head.”
SEPT. 23: Tele Novella, “House of Souls.”
SEPT. 26: Thor & Friends, self-titled (LM Duplication).
SEPT. 30: Survive, “RR7349” (Relapse).
SEPTEMBER: Band of Heathens, title TBA.
OCT. 21: “Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll” (Eight 30), with Hayes Carll, James McMurtry, Slaid Cleaves, Band of Heathens, Jamie Wilson and more.
OCTOBER: Eric Johnson, title TBA.
FALL: Terri Hendrix, “The Slaughterhouse Sessions” (Wilory).
FALL: Jamestown Revival, “The Education of a Wandering Man” (Republic), playing Nov. 4 at Emo’s.
FALL: Jon Dee Graham, “Knoxville Skyline.”