Uncle Walt’s Band, "Anthology: Those Boys From Carolina, They Sure Could Sing" (Omnivore).
Lucinda Williams has a song about things that are "too cool to be forgotten," and the music of Uncle Walt’s Band falls squarely
into that category. South Carolina transplants whose Austin heyday was in the mid-1970s, the trio of Walter Hyatt, Champ Hood
and David Ball never really got famous (though Ball did years later, as a Nashville country singer and writer). Decades down
the line, though, it’s really hard to pinpoint any Austin act, ever, that left behind better music to last for the ages. (Willie
Nelson, I suppose, but I’d argue he’s the only one.) The subtitle of this 21-track anthology — which collects songs from their
two studio albums, a live set and a cassette release, plus five previously unreleased recordings — comes from a line in "That’s
Right, You’re Not From Texas" by the trio’s most celebrated fan/disciple, Lyle Lovett. Texas loved them anyway, and how could
they not: All three had gorgeous voices, were impeccable musicians, and wrote with a distinct style both lyrically and melodically.
Listen to Hood’s achingly beautiful "High Hill," Ball’s letter-perfect "Don’t You Think I Feel It Too" (recorded by Shawn
Colvin, Toni Price and others), and Hyatt’s sweet-sorrow farewell "I’ll Come Knockin’" (revisited by Lovett), just for starters,
and it becomes increasingly hard to fathom how Uncle Walt’s never got their due in the lifetimes of Hyatt and Hood (who passed
in 1996 and 2001, respectively). "Anthology" is a strong step in that direction; some of the group’s music has been sporadically
available in various forms over the years, but this set gathers most of the high points in a well-presented package bonded
by Nashville-via-South-Carolina historian Peter Cooper’s exemplary liner notes. It’s early March, but there’s no way a better
historical album will be released in 2018. Ball teams with Hood’s son and nephew, Warren and Marshall Hood, at the Saxon Pub
on Friday, March 8, for a sold-out show celebrating the release with special guests Kelly Willis, Marcia Ball, Jimmie Dale
Gilmore, Toni Price and Hyatt’s children, Taylor and Rose Hyatt. Ball also will perform with the Hoods on June 2 at the Kerrville
Folk Festival. Here’s a live version of the anthology’s opening track, "Seat of Logic":
Uncle Walt’s Band anthology brings ‘That Carolina Sound’ back to life
OUT THIS WEEK
Progger, "Dystopia" (Ropeadope). The brainchild of Austin composers Brian Donohoe and Matthew Muehling, Progger combines the talents of local and non-local
players to create sophisticated jazz-rock fusion instrumentals. For "Dystopia," their fourth album, all members gathered in
Brooklyn’s Atlantic Sound studios with Grammy-winning engineers Diko Shoturma and Nic Hard. Release show March 8 at One-2-One
Bar. Here’s the video for the track "Housewives":
COMING SOONMARCH 16:
Caroline Says, "No Fool Like an Old Fool" (Western Vinyl).
Sword, "Used Future" (Razor & Tie), release show March 21 at Mohawk.
Erika Wennerstrom, "Sweet Unknown" (Partisan).
Johnny Chops & the Razors, self-titled.
Holy Wave, "Adult Fear" (Reverb Appreciation Society).
Greyhounds, "Cheyenne Valley Drive."
Lagoons, "Escape" EP.
Sideshow Tragedy, "The View From Nowhere" (Hand Drawn).
Wood & Wire, "North of Despair" (Blue Corn).
Josh T. Pearson, "The Straight Hits!" (Mute).
Andy Macintyre, "Melomania" EP, release show April 14 at Antone’s.
Marcia Ball, "Shine Bright" (Alligator), in-store April 24 at Waterloo Records.
Ty Richards, "Welcome to Flat Earth."
Arkansas Dave, self-titled (Big Indie).
Mobley, "Fresh Lies, Vol. 1."
Shakey Graves, "Can’t Wake Up" (Dualtone).
Jeff Plankenhorn, title TBA.
Kelly Willis, "Back Being Blue" (Thirty Tigers).
Patricia Vonne, "Top of the Mountain," release show May 26 at Continental Club.