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Austin360 On The Record: Midland, Nuevo, Mandy Rowden, Golden Roses

Midland, from left, is made up of Jess Carson, Mark Wystrach and Cameron Duddy.

Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists. 

OUT RECENTLY

Midland, “The Sonic Ranch” documentary soundtrack (Big Machine). The Dripping Springs trio had a bumpy rollout when they made their debut in 2016, with one country publication essentially suggesting they were carpetbaggers from California. It didn’t stop them from getting a Grammy nomination for their breakthrough single “Drinkin’ Problem,” but the early misconceptions might have been avoided if they’d released this record first. A couple of years before their debut album surfaced, they’d gathered at acclaimed Tornillo, Texas, studio Sonic Ranch to work out some early tunes and find themselves as musicians. A documentary that premiered March 19 on CMT features footage shot during those sessions by Brian Loschiavo and Cameron Duddy, the latter of whom ended up becoming the band’s bassist. A revelation here is the presence of longtime Austinite David Garza, who now lives in Los Angeles and was a key player on Fiona Apple’s latest Grammy-winning album; he produced these sessions and had a role in helping to shape the trio’s sound. The dozen tracks here are more intimately presented than the music on their subsequent albums, making “The Sonic Ranch” arguably the best document of the band’s musical identity yet. Leadoff track “Fourteen Gears” is the only song here that ended up on a future Midland record, but this early version is better than the 2019 take. Here’s the video for the track “Cowgirl Blues” with lead singer Mark Wystrach out front (an alternate take on the album features a lead vocal by guitarist Jess Carson):

Nuevo, self-titled (Nine Mile). Austin’s David Jimenez and Nashville’s Dante Schwebel both grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, where they soaked in sounds from both sides of the border. Their self-described “Tejano soul” is in full bloom on this joyously multicultural eight-song debut, which features songs sung in both English and Spanish. The album was recorded at Nashville engineer Jeremy Ferguson’s home studio, but most of the band is based in Austin: Joining Jimenez and Schwebel are guitarist Andrew Trube and keyboardist Anthony Ferrell, well-known as the duo behind soulful local outfit the Greyhounds, and drummer Nico Leophonte. Much like Spanish Gold, a one-off project that found Schwebel collaborating with Black Pumas guitarist Adrian Quesada and My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan, Nuevo is a thoroughly enjoyable collaboration that brings out the best in cross-pollinization of regional cultures. As Jimenez puts it in press materials that accompanied the album, “Tejano culture is who Dante and I are: not American, not Mexican, not Texan, but all three. We’re simply incorporating all of those elements into what we do.”  Here’s the track “No Mi De Quenta”:

Mandy Rowden, “Parachute.” Multi-instrumentalist Rowden worked with producer Matt Smith on her fourth full-length release, which further documents her penchant for Americana-based singer-songwriter fare. An East Texas native, Rowden says the sounds of her home state are naturally prominent in her music: ‘Without meaning to, I assume I include it in everything I do,” she notes in press materials accompanying the album. “Parachute” concludes with a sterling solo piano rendition of Neil Young’s 1970s classic “After the Gold Rush.” Rowden is also the founder of Girl Guitar, an Austin rock music school for women. Here’s the track “Sing Hallelujah,” written as part of a project called Songs for the Soul aimed at inspiring health care workers during the pandemic:

Golden Roses, “Devil’s in the Details.” Following their 2019 debut album “Terlingua Graveyard,” this honky-tonk outfit led by John Mutchler serves up a dozen more tracks of twang-heavy country tinged with occasional bluegrass accents. Supporting singer-guitarist Mutchler are fiddler Heather Rae Johnson, bassist Troy Wilson and drummer Shawnee Rose. Recorded at renowned producer Adam Odor’s Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberley, “Devil’s in the Details” features guest appearances from Mike & the Moonpies leader Mike Harmeier, as well as Moonpies pedal steel player Zachary Moulton. Release show March 19 at White Horse. Here’s the track “Sawed Off and Hauled Off”:

COMING SOON

MARCH 24: Leti Garza, “Borderland” EP

MARCH 26: Armadillo Paradox, “Out of Gas in Oil Country”

APRIL 1: Dylan Blackthorn, “Small Flames”

APRIL 2: Zach Person, self-titled (Blackdenim)

APRIL 2: Joe Barksdale, “Omari”

APRIL 2: Shakey Graves, “Roll the Bones X” 10th-anniversary reissue edition (Dualtone)

APRIL 2: Brian Donohoe, “Soundtracks for Trying Times”

APRIL 9: Balmorhea, “The Wind” (Deutsche Grammophon)

APRIL 16: Amigo the Devil, “Born Against”

APRIL 16: Sasha & the Valentines, So You Think You Found Love?” (Ooof)

APRIL 23: Danny Golden, “Changes” EP

JULY 30: Nobody’s Girl, self-titled (Lucky Hound)

OTHER RECENT AUSTIN360 ON THE RECORD ROUNDUPS:

MARCH 12:Blue Water Highway, David Ramirez, Charley Crockett

MARCH 5:Graham Wilkinson, Jaimee Harris, more

FEB. 26:Willie Nelson salutes Frank Sinatra with 'That's Life'