Austin360 On The Record: Shelley King, JM Stevens, Ben Ballinger, more
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
OUT THIS WEEK
Shelley King, “Kick Up Your Heels” (Lemonade). A fixture in Austin’s rock-soul-blues community for three decades, King confidently serves up 10 tracks that spotlight her strong vocals on her ninth album. King’s core band of guitarist Marvin Dykhuis, bassist Sarah Brown, keyboardist Chip Dolan and drummer Perry Drake provide solid support throughout, while an impressive range of guests add color to many songs. Especially of note is “Hurricane Party,” a Gulf-Coast groover spiked with co-writer Marcia Ball’s piano runs and a cameo vocal from Delbert McClinton. Fellow local blues great Carolyn Wonderland fires up the hidden-gem cover “Soulville” with hot guitar licks and adds backing vocals on several other songs. Louisiana greats the Subdudes help spark the title track, which King co-wrote with the band’s John Magnie, while her old pal Cindy Cashdollar graces two tracks with slide, lap steel and resonator guitar. The influence of The Band’s late drummer Levon Helm runs deep: The record kicks off with a salute to him titled “Levon’s New Drum Set,” and later she covers the Helm/Henry Glover tune “Blues So Bad.” King wrote six of the 10 tracks herself, including the rapid-fire romp “One Shot at a Time,” which could easily end up in the repertoires of other rock/blues/R&B-styled acts. Playing Nov. 23 at One-2-One Bar. Here’s a solo acoustic live version of the opening track, “Levon’s New Drum Set”:
JM Stevens, “Invisible Lines” (Chicken Ranch). After four albums with Austin indie-rockers Moonlight Towers, noted local producer/engineer Stevens steps out with this nine-song solo debut album. Buoyant horns arranged by saxophonist Russell Haight add a smart pop punch to “Maybe I Love You,” while longtime Robert Earl Keen steel guitarist Marty Muse helps put a sweet country spin on “Further I Run.” Bassist Andrew Duplantis and drummer George Duron lay down steady and creative rhythmic support behind Stevens’ engagingly melodic guitar playing. Release show Nov. 8 at Continental Club. Here’s the video for the track “Anyway”:
Ben Ballinger, “Something to Show for It” (Mr. Pink). The six songs on “Something to Show for It” were completed a couple of years ago and are just now seeing the light of day, but it’s better late than never for a solid batch of indie-folk-rock material from one of Austin’s better singer-songwriters. Especially of note is “Homestead,” which begins with the memorable couplet “Let our legs be locked like Lincoln logs/Let our lips be parted, part of the time” and then shifts into a glorious chorus with fellow local rising-star Carson McHone singing along: “We should homestead forever, in the hearts of each other.” It’s one of the best songs to come out of Austin in years. Supplementing “Something to Show for It,” Ballinger is simultaneously issuing a two-song limited-run cassette featuring recent sociopolitical tunes “Cohen’s Counsel” and “Stick It to the Man Stan.” Release show Nov. 8 at Hole in the Wall. Here’s the track “Homestead”:
Francis McGrath, “Trains in the Night.” The local composer and keyboardist intriguingly compares this record of a dozen instrumentals set to the rhythmic sounds of passing trains to “when an artist paints an image on top of a photograph.” It’s easy to get lost in these melodically appealing soundscapes, while the train sounds provide a grounding thread of consistency that ties everything together. Release show Nov. 7 at North Door includes a showing of 12 works by local artists inspired by the album’s songs. Here’s the opening track, “Reservations”:
Channel, “Multi Goods & Services” (C-Side). The fourth record from siblings Brent Pennington, Colby Pennington and Heather McAllister and their spouses comprises 16 tracks of enjoyably offbeat indie-pop. Here’s the video for “Strollin’”:
NOV. 14: Lend Me Your Ear, “Forbidden,” release show Nov. 14 at Empire.
NOV. 15: Colin Gilmore & Nicolette Good, “Brown Eyes” EP, release show Nov. 17 at Cosmic.
NOV. 15: Jean Caffeine, “Love What Is It” EP, release show Nov. 16 at Barrel of Fun, in-store Nov. 17 at Antone’s Record Shop.
NOV. 29: Various artists, “The Next Waltz, Vol. 2.”
DEC. 8: Don Leady, “Dos Rios,” in-store Dec. 15 at Antone’s Record Shop.
DEC. 13: Cowboy Diplomacy, “Burn Down the Road.”