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Austin360 On The Record: Jerry Jeff Walker, Giulia Millanta, more

Peter Blackstock


Jerry Jeff Walker, “It’s About Time” (Tried & True). Walker’s first album in nine years features five new original songs, five tunes by other songwriters, and one track revived from his past (the lovely “But for the Time”). On the new material, Walker sounds reflective. The opening triptych of “That’s Why I Play,” “California Song” and “Because of You” are straightforward reckonings of his own life: Walker celebrates his love for music, wonders what might have happened decades ago if he’d not stopped off in Texas en route west, and reaffirms his devotion to his wife Susan (who’s pictured with him on the cover). The best of his new tunes is tucked away toward the end of the disc: On “Rain Song,” he looks back on his upstate New York childhood, philosophizes about giving up booze, and builds up to an insightful observation: “The hardest thing a man can do/ Is look inside and see the truth about himself.” His cover choices are sentimental favorites. Walker’s son Django co-wrote “Somethin’ Bout a Boat,” an easy-drifting rambler that Jimmy Buffett recorded a few years back. Jerry Jeff ad-libs in Red Foley’s chestnut “Old Shep” about one of his own long-gone beloved dogs. “South Coast,” long a staple of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s repertoire, is one of the great troubadour story-songs and suits Walker well. And it’s fitting that he tackles “My Favorite Picture of You,” one of the last great songs the late Guy Clark wrote, given that Walker helped put Clark on the map with his 1970s recordings of “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” Walker has no local shows on the horizon, but the historical exhibit “Viva Jerry Jeff: The Origins and Wild Times of a Texas Icon” is on display at the Wittliff Collections in San Marcos through July 8. Here’s the track “California Song”:



Giulia Millanta, “Conversation With a Ghost” (Ugly Cat). On her third album since moving to Austin from Italy in 2012, Millanta worked with renowned producer and musician Gabriel Rhodes, who plays guitar, piano, saw, bajo sexto and “glasses,” per the credits. That range of instrumentation signals the musical adventurousness of Millanta’s material. At its root, this is folk music, but the folk of what country or culture is more elusive. Millanta incorporates influences of her native country, but there are Latin and Middle Eastern twinges here too, as well as touches of jazz, blues and other American forms. Ace-in-the-hole accompanists including guitarists Marc Ribot and David Pulkingham, accordionist Joel Guzman, horn player John Mills, steel guitarist Tommy Spurlock and backing singer Kimmy Rhodes add color behind the fluid rhythms of bassist Glenn Fukunaga and drummer Dony Wynn. It all adds up to a worldly, sometimes otherworldly sound that makes Millanta unique among Austin singer-songwriters. Release show June 23 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s the video for the track “Blinded By the Sun”:


Tim Rutili & Craig Ross, “10 Seconds to Collapse” (Jealous Butcher). If you know Austin musician/producer Craig Ross primarily for his long association with singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, this collaboration with Red Red Meat/Califone frontman Tim Rutili might seem way-out-there. But Ross has long pursued musical avenues veering well beyond folk-rock, dating back to his 1980s days with the ingeniously inventive band Stick People. Ross and Rutili teamed up two years ago for a self-described “long-form drone” record titled “Guitars Tuned to Air Conditioners,” and apparently they found the collaboration fulfilling enough to reconvene. There’s plenty of noise on “10 Seconds to Collapse” as well, but the sonic effects work in and around solid melodic structures, resulting in music that’s both challenging and enchanting. Playing July 21 at Beerland. Here’s the video for the track “The Day Before the Peaches Rot”:


Eric Hisaw Band, “Street Lamp.” Known for his guitar work with roots-oriented artists including Zoe Muth, Ron Flynt and Rich Hopkins, Hisaw teams here with Shawn Sahm (who recorded the album at his Boerne studio), Texmaniacs accordionist Josh Baca and others on seven original tunes plus a cover of “Revolutionary Road” by Shawn’s father, Doug Sahm. This is Texas-road-tested rock ’n’ roll: The arrangements aren’t flashy but the songs are consistently tuneful, and Hisaw sings them with earnest, rough-hewn emotion. Playing June 23 at Opal Divine’s Austin Grill; in-store June 24 at Antone’s Record Shop. Here’s the opening track, “Hurry It Up”:


Young Mothers, “Morose” (Self Sabotage). Hip-hop, jazz and more combine in the music of this adventurous group that features Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, trumpeter/rapper Jawwaad Taylor, saxophonist Jason Jackson, drummer Frank Rosaly, percussionist/singer Stefan Gonzalez and guitarist Jonathan Horne. Here’s the opening track, “Attica Black”:

Night Glitter, “Hangin’ on a Dream” EP. Centered on singer/keyboardist LouLou Ghelichkahani, who’s part of Thievery Corporation’s touring ensemble, and in-demand bassist/guitarist John Michael Schoepf, Night Glitter casts mesmerizing moods with music that transcends the indie realm. Release show June 26 at Mohawk. Here’s the track “Le Passage”:


Altamesa, “From the Idol Frontier, Vol. 2: Shadow on Your Heart/The Dawn” EP (Frontera Del Sueno). We can’t quite keep up with the sequence of these EPs that began with Vol. 1 in February. The group’s Bandcamp page shows Vol. 4 being issued in March, then Vol. 3 last week; and now they’re celebrating the release of Vol. 2 on June 22 at the Mohawk. Whatever the order (or lack thereof), these are intriguing slices of melodic, mystical indie-country rock, supplemented with demos and tracks recorded live at the White Horse. Here’s “Crooked Path” from Vol. 4:


  • JUNE 29: Cody Canada & the Departed, “3” (Underground Sound).
  • JULY 3: Kinky Friedman, “Circus of Life.”
  • JULY 6: Dawn & Hawkes, “The Other Side,” release show July 6 at Cactus Cafe.
  • JULY 6: Justin Stewart, “Renaissance,” release shows July 6 and July 19 at Townsend.
  • JULY 13: Jimmy LaFave, “Peace Town” (Music Road).
  • JULY 13: Eliza Gilkyson, “Secularia” (Red House), release show July 27 at Stateside at the Paramount.
  • JULY 13: Nichole Wagner, “And the Sky Caught Fire,” release show July 14 at Townsend.
  • JULY 20: Ume, “Other Nature,” in-store July 17 at Waterloo Records.
  • JULY 20: Belle Sounds, “The Sea Within,” release show July 21 at One-2-One Bar.
  • JULY 27: Israel Nash, “Lifted,” release show July 27 at Scoot Inn.
  • AUG. 3: Kevin Galloway, “The Change” (Nine Mile), release show Aug. 3 at Continental Club.
  • AUG. 17: Joe Ely, “The Lubbock Tapes: Full Circle” (Rack ’Em).
  • AUG. 24: White Denim, “Performance” (City Slang).
  • AUGUST: Saents, self-titled EP.
  • SEPT. 14: Gina Chavez, “Lightbeam” EP, release show Sept. 15 at Antone’s.
  • SEPT. 21: Western Youth, self-titled.
  • SEPT. 21: Jonathon Zemek, “Hillcrest.”
  • SEPTEMBER: Band of Heathens, “A Message From the People Revisited.”