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On The Record: Marcia Ball, Gary Clark Jr.

Peter Blackstock


Marcia Ball, “The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man” (Alligator). Ball’s fifth studio album for Alligator Records after a similarly long run with Rounder reaffirms her presence as one of the crown jewels of piano-based boogie-woogie rhythm and blues. As the title suggests, this is largely playful stuff, though tracks such as “Just Keep Holding On” and “Human Kindness” show a tender side, emphasizing the soulful richness of Ball’s voice. She also gets refreshingly sociopolitical on “The Squeeze Is On,” in which the squeeze refers not only to guest Terrance Simien’s accordion backing but also the out-of-control gap between the haves and have-nots in America. In-store at 5 p.m. today (Sept. 23) at Waterloo Records, release show Sept. 26 at One-2-One Bar.

Gary Clark Jr., “Gary Clark Jr. Live” (Warner Bros.). The first live album from Austin’s brightest rising star features 15 tracks over two discs recorded during a year and a half of touring. We’re not generally inclined to quote press-release material, but in this case, legendary former Warner Bros. president Lenny Waronker did the honors, and he sums up the set’s appeal well: “The best and most unforgettable way to experience what Gary wants to express is through what happens on stage; this is where he truly shines and defines himself. … There is an inherent magic that occurs when Gary and his band take the stage each night, unlike anything you’ll experience with any other band.”

Jamestown Revival, “Utah” (Republic). Universal affiliate Republic has picked up the promising debut from this folk-rock duo, adding a new version of the single “California (Cast Iron Soul)” to the original 11 tracks. Native Texans Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance left Austin for Los Angeles a couple years ago but recently moved back. Playing Austin City Limits Music Festival Oct. 5.

Will Knaak, “The Only Open Road” (Lounge Side). An engagingly tuneful 12-song set of tasteful guitar-based rock, from the label run out of South Austin live music haven Strange Brew. Echoes of the late Stephen Bruton ring through tracks such as “Lighting My Way Home” and “Fly On.” Release show Sept. 23 at Strange Brew.

Whiskey Shivers, self-titled. The rootsy acoustic ensemble brought rising talent Robert Ellis aboard as producer, and Kelsey Wilson of Wild Child joins in on the traditional “There Is a Time.” But not much about the band’s original material stands out from the wide swath of contemporary acts mining a similar vein. Release show Sept. 26 at Scoot Inn.

The Well, “Samsara” (Riding Easy). Release show Sept. 27 at Hotel Vegas.

Kim Simpson, “Tex-Mex Guitar” vinyl 45 rpm EP. Release show Sept. 25 at Cactus Cafe.

Hard Proof, “Soul Thing” b/w “Lake Tana” cassingle. Playing Oct. 3 at Continental Club and Oct. 5 at Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Spray Paint, “Clean Blood, Regular Acid” (Monofonus).

John Wesley Coleman, “The Love That You Own” (Burger).


OCT. 1: “All ATX: British Invasion,” 19-song compilation to benefit HAAM featuring local artists covering songs by British classic rock acts.

OCT. 7: Hal Ketchum, “I’m the Troubadour” (Music Road), playing Oct. 17 at Gruene Hall.

OCT. 7: Shakey Graves, “And the War Came” (Dulatone), playing Oct. 30 at Stubb’s.

OCT. 14: Timberos Del Norte, self-titled.

OCT. 14: Balmorhea, “Heir.”

OCT. 21: Churchwood, “3: Trickgnosis” (Saustex), LP release of CD issued Sept. 16. Playing Oct. 10 at ABGB; in-store Oct. 24 at Trailer Space.

OCT. 28: Hardin Burns, “Down the Deep Well,” release show Oct. 8 at the Roost.

NOV. 11: Young Tongue, “Death Rattle” (Punctum/Raw Paw), playing Sept. 25 at the Mohawk.

Are you an Austin-area act with a new record coming out? Let us know at