Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
OUT THIS WEEK
Jackie Venson, "Vintage Machine." Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has been an extraordinarily active year for Venson, who turned 30 in early February. The Austin native released this album’s first single, "Make Me Feel," in late February, just before the pandemic largely shut down the city. She pivoted quickly and became Austin’s most prolific livestream artist, doing nightly streams for weeks in the spring. She kept the records coming, too, issuing a double-disc live album as well as a two-volume "Jackie the Robot" EP via Bandcamp. Then came this summer’s "Blues on the Screen" controversy, when Venson initially was dropped from the virtual version of ACL Radio’s popular concert series but stuck to her demands for a more diverse lineup and ultimately ended up curating the entire bill. When the "Austin City Limits" TV show announced its first-ever no-audience tapings this fall, Venson was the first local act added, making her debut on the legendary show Oct. 1. It’s all been leading up to the release of "Vintage Machine," Venson’s first full-length studio record since last year’s acclaimed "Joy." She’s been selling physical copies on CD and vinyl via Bandcamp for a few weeks, but Friday marks its wide release on streaming services. Venson has described the album as "an exciting departure for me in terms of the style of music. Instead of a full band, I am experimenting with the help of my fantastic drummer Rodney Hyder." Indeed, "Vintage Machine" finds Venson pushing out in new directions, essentially inventing her own style after years of performances on local stages refining her blend of blues, folk, soul, hip-hop, jazz and more. "Vintage Machine" is first and foremost a pop record, shaped in part by explorations into electronic music while still drawing heavily upon her creative guitar work. Lyrically, she accentuates the positive on these eight tunes, from the uplifting message of the soaring opener "Awake" to the adventurous spirit of the funky "Vintage Machine" to the romantic euphoria of "Make Me Feel" to the "crazy things we do for love" mantra in "Go My Way." Someday the pandemic era will be over, and Venson will be poised to launch into the stratosphere, thanks to all the progress she’s made in the meantime. Release show Nov. 20 at ACL Live (as part of the venue’s limited-capacity Lounge Series). Here’s the track "Make Me Feel":
Make Me Feel by Jackie Venson
Sideshow Tragedy, "After the Fall" (Spaceflight). The third record that Nathan Singleton and Jeremy Harrell have made at producer Kenny Siegal’s Old Soul studio in upstate New York builds upon the work they did on 2018’s "The View From Nowhere" and 2015’s "Capital." This is lively blues-rock with a prominent Lou Reed sneer, chronicling a tumultuous couple of years that saw the dissolution of Singleton’s marriage. On the title track, when Singleton sings that "I wore the mask so long it became my face," he’s not talking about the pandemic — the song was written before that — but it nevertheless resonates with a timeliness for the era. The closing track "Young Forever" is a bittersweet cathartic release, perhaps answering Bob Dylan’s classic tune "Forever Young" with a question: "Is this what it feels like to be forever young?" Joining Singleton (guitars, bass) and Harrell (drums, programming) on the sessions were horn player Ben Senerfit and backing vocalists Storey Littleton, Casey Ramos and Cally Mansfield. Album-release livestream 7:05 p.m. Oct. 30 via facebook.com/budsrecording. Here’s the track "Hold on It," which features an instrumental cameo from guitar great Marc Ribot:
After The Fall by The Sideshow Tragedy
Jimmie Vaughan, "The Pleasure’s All Mine" (Last). Combining Vaughan’s 2010 and 2011 albums "Blues, Ballads and Favorites" and "More Blues, Ballads and Favorites," this triple-LP, two-CD set showcases the Austin blues legend at the top of his game, reeling off 31 tracks of American music classics that mine the common ground between blues, R&B and country. Surveying material by everyone from Jimmy Reed and Lloyd Price to Charlie Rich and Webb Pierce to Willie Nelson and Doug Sahm, Vaughan erases genre boundaries with help from an ace cast of locals including drummer George Rains, horn players Ephraim Owens and Kaz Kazanoff and soulful singer Lou Ann Barton. Here’s the title track, originally a 1957 Vee-Jay Records single for Billy "The Kid" Emerson:
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James McMurtry, "Blasted From the Past" EP. Recorded live at the Continental Club in 2006, this previously unreleased five-song set offers a welcome reminder of what it’s like to be at the South Austin music hub for the Wednesday-night shows McMurtry has been playing there for a couple of decades. The Continental has been closed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic; McMurtry offered up this EP via Bandcamp to benefit the club during this difficult stretch. Here’s his version of his Continental residency-mate Jon Dee Graham’s song "Laredo":
Blasted from the Past by James McMurtry
NOV. 6: Honey Made, "Brand New"
NOV. 6: Andrea Magee, "Only Love"
NOV. 6: Alan Moe Monsarrat, "Agriculture"
NOV. 13: Nané, self-titled
NOV. 13: Josh Abbott Band, "The Highway Kind"
NOV. 13: Sour Bridges, "Roll Us Up Something Good" EP
NOV. 20: Desure, "Pollen" EP
DEC. 4: Alex Maas, "Luca" (Innovative Leisure)
DEC. 4: Mark Willenborg, "Cold Beer and Country Music"
DECEMBER: James Steinle, "Cold German Mornings"
FEBRUARY: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, "Hunter & the Dog Star"