Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Glover Gill, “A Ponzi Scheme.” Last month marked a farewell tour of live performance for Gill, as an Esquina Tango performance in early December preceded his final appearances with long-running Austin cosmopolitan outfit 8½ Souvenirs at C-Boy’s and the Continental Club. But while Gill says that “joint pain in my fingers and elbows” will keep him from the stage, he’s continuing to compose and arrange music. And then there’s this new record, a fascinating, largely instrumental journey that might be considered classical music despite offbeat song titles such as “Cecil the Hunchback” and “A Screw You.” No less than Charlie Sexton took this on as producer, and the results easily measure up to his Sexton’s standards, thanks in part to way that the Tosca String Quartet, longtime Gill collaborators, bring Gill’s compositions to life. Clarinet, recorder, harp, pedal steel, bass and piano further flesh out the soundscape. When vocals do come in, it’s with masterful touches of personality from a broad range of singers including choral group Panoramic Voices, Shinyribs Soul Sister Alice Spencer, the omnipresent Bob Schneider, and growler extraordinaire Jon Dee Graham, whose gruffness is perfect on “Dreamhouse: Cantus Firmus.” If the massive creativity involved here sounds a bit weighty, a thrice-revisited refrain of “Who do you think you are, Pablo Casals?” (in reference to the renowned early-20th-century cellist/composer) affirms that Gill doesn’t take himself too seriously. Everyone else should, though. ("A Ponzi Scheme" is not yet streamable or downloadable, but the CD is available for purchase online, and at Waterloo Records in Austin.)
OUT THIS WEEK
Madisons, “Country Music Sunday!!!” EP. An eight-piece outskirts-of-Americana outfit with four albums released this decade, the Madisons go for a quick-hit five-song EP here, venturing more directly into country territory than they have on previous records. “The Willie Song” (written by Fort Worth songwriter Jaz Lee Short) tips a hat to Austin’s No. 1 citizen at the outset, but it’s the original tunes of co-leaders Dominic Solis and Cass Brostad that leave a more lasting impression. Brostad’s vocals bring sweet sadness to the waltz “Vidalia” and the banjo ballad “Johnny and Jamie.” The folksy Solis romp “Sometimes I Get Drunk All Day” is playful if a little too lightweight; the EP’s concluding track, “Makin’ It on My Own,” feels more fully formed, awash in accents of pedal steel, banjo and fiddle. Playing Jan. 5 at the Parish (part of Free Week). Here’s “The Willie Song”:
JAN. 11: Rob Baird, “After All” (Hard Luck), release show Jan. 12 at Antone’s.
JAN. 15: Nagavalli, “Immersion,” release show Jan. 20 at One World Theatre.
JAN. 25: Hunt Sales Memorial, “Get Your (Expletive) Together” (Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum).
JAN. 25: Terry Klein, “Tex.”
FEB. 1: A. Sinclair, “Catpaws” (Nine Mile).
FEB. 1: Quiet Company, “On Corners & Shapes,” release show Feb. 1 at Mohawk.
FEB. 5: George Ensle, “Home” (Berkalin), release show Feb. 9 at Threadgill’s.
FEB. 8: Gurf Morlix, “Impossible Blue” (Rootball).
FEB. 8: Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, “The Whole Shebang.”
FEB. 15: Hayes Carll, “What It Is” (Dualtone).
APRIL 5: Brandon Wayne DeMaris, “Brave Bones,” release show April 10 at Antone’s.