Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.


James Hyland, "Western." If you’re a train-song buff, this one’s definitely for you. Hyland, best-known for his years fronting the South Austin Jug Band, spent seven years on this 20-song concept record, exploring the 18th-century construction of the Transcontinental Railroad and how it changed the United States. Hyland had some intriguing inspirations for the project; he says he "wanted to write something between Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’ and Willie Nelson’s ‘Red Headed Stranger,’ with a touch of the ‘South Park’ guys’ ‘Book of Mormon’ and Tom Waits’ ‘Big Time.’ So I ultimately wrote a play about a musician driving through the night, switching between two satellite radio stations. On one, a DJ is hosting a Western novella-themed show, and on another, the DJ is playing more modern Americana. This album is the music from that play." Characters range from gunfighters ("Ballad of Eddie Mullet") to lawmen ("Texas Ranger") to Native Americans ("White Men in the Black Hills") to Chinese laborers ("You’ve Come to the Right Place"). Helping Hyland flesh out his visions in the songs are guitarist Johnny Moeller, bassist Kevin Smith, drummer Robb Kidd and his former Jug Band mate, Warren Hood, on fiddle and mandolin. Here’s the video for the track "I Was Never Lost":

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David Grissom, "Trio Live 2020." Have you missed the Saxon Pub during the pandemic? If so, guitar star Grissom’s new album will be a welcome arrival. Culled from recent shows at his long-running Tuesday happy hour residency there, "Trio Live 2020" is, in Grissom’s own words, "a full-blown electric guitar record." This is mostly an instrumental album, putting the focus on the intense and inventive musicianship that has made Grissom one of Austin’s most accomplished and respected players across the past four decades. Drummer Bryan Austin pairs with bassists Chris Maresh (on five tracks) and Glenn Fukunaga (the other three) for tunes that Grissom says were partly intended to highlight "the rapport we’ve built up over the last several years." Most of the tunes here are Grissom originals, filled out with covers of Albert Collins’ "Don’t Lose Your Cool," Freddie King & Sonny Thompson’s "In the Open" and the public domain blues classic "Crosscut Saw" (popularized largely by Albert King). Produced and mixed by Grissom from Saxon sound engineeer Richard Vannoy’s recordings, "Trio Live 2020" captures the energy and spirit that has made Grissom’s gig one of Austin’s top residencies for nearly a decade. Here’s the track "Way Jose":

Trio Live 2020 by David Grissom


Whitney Rose, "We Still Go to Rodeos" (MCG). A fixture at the Continental Club on Tuesday evenings since she moved here from Canada five years ago, Rose fit right into Austin’s hallowed Americana scene with songs that draw upon country twang, pop balladry and rock ’n’ roll energy. On "We Still Go to Rodeos," Rose’s fifth release since her 2012 debut, she worked primarily at Austin’s Estuary Recording Studio with noted Boston producer Paul Kolderie (Uncle Tupelo, Pixies, Morphine) to capture 12 original tunes that showcase the full range of her talents. A first-class cast of local musicians joins her, including guitarists Gurf Morlix, Rich Brotherton and Dave Biller, keyboardist Matt Hubbard, and the ace rhythm section of drummer Lisa Pankratz and bassist Brad Fordham. Here’s the title track:

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Leeann Atherton, "Fallen Angel." Working with producer Mac McNabb, who also leads the way on guitar, longtime Austin singer-songwriter Atherton serves up a dozen original songs that showcase her organic balance of soul, folk, blues and other styles. The album is notable in part for the presence on three tracks of renowned drummer Barry "Frosty" Smith, in what likely was one of his last sessions before his death in April 2017. The spiritual closing track, "Motherless Children’s Club," was recorded live at the memorial service for Atherton’s mother. Here’s a recent live version of the album track "Straight From the Heart":

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MAY 5: Wheatsfield, "Some People"

MAY 8: Jeff Hortillosa, "The Horticulture Vol. 1"

MAY 15: Ruthie Foster Big Band, "Live at the Paramount" (Blue Corn)

MAY 22: Reckless Kelly, "American Girls" and "American Jackpot" (Thirty Tigers)

MAY 29: Sweet Spirit, "Trinidad" (Merge)

JUNE 19: Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few, self-titled

JULY 3: Willie Nelson, "First Rose of Spring" (Legacy), moved from April 24

JULY 10: Nobody’s Girl (self-titled)

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