Austin musician Rod Gator explores his deep home-state roots in 'For Louisiana'
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Rod Gator, “For Louisiana” (Blue Elan). When last we reviewed an album by this Austin transplant, he went by the name Rod Melancon. His new alias perhaps plays toward his Louisiana-swamp roots, which seems fitting given that this album does the same.
Co-produced by Black Pumas guitarist Adrian Quesada and Gator’s longtime collaborator Will Walden at Quesada’s new Electric Deluxe Recorders studio in Austin, “For Louisiana” features 11 songs that, as Gator puts it in press materials accompanying the album, are “equal parts love letter to the motherland and rallying cry for cultural progress.”
The music traverses from backwoods blues to country-tinged Americana to hard-boiled rootsy rock & roll and beyond, with Black Pumas keyboardist JaRon Marshall and Gator’s longtime drummer Adam Nurre among the key contributors to the sessions.
An unexpectedly timely inclusion is the early single “August 29,” so named because it recalls the day that Hurricane Katrina descended upon Louisiana in 2005, and reflects upon the aftermath of the storm. Amid recent havoc wrought by Hurricane Ida, Gator is donating proceeds from the single to the New Orleans relief network Common Ground Collective.
Gator extends the hurricane theme with the instrumental tracks “Storm Comin’” and “Underwater,” but he also touches upon other topics, such as the military mindset on “Chickenhawk” and youthful memories on “Out Here in Echo Park.” The reflective title track is an ode to the things that draw him back to the “cypress sunsets and cool cool breeze” of his home state.
Release show Sept. 17 at Far Out Lounge. Here’s the video for “August 29”:
Foxtales, “Perfect Landing” EP. These four songs from the local pop outfit led by Jonathan Fox follow up on the quirky melodicism of 2019’s “Crossfade” EP. Release show Sept. 18 at Swan Dive. Here’s the title track:
Pulkingham Layne, “D Shack.” With 11 instrumental tracks of acoustic-guitar adventure and innovation, this latest collaboration between two of Austin’s best guitarists builds upon the turf they staked out with 2014’s “Poison Flower” and the 2017 follow-up “Stringology.” Pulkingham is renowned for his work with Patty Griffin and others, while Layne has been a fixture as a guitar instructor at St. Edward’s University for more than a decade. Together, they create music that’s worldly in its influences, yet often otherworldly in its explorations. Release show Sept. 18 at Parker Jazz Club. Here’s the animated video for the track “Reflection”:
Jimmie Vaughan, “The Jimmie Vaughan Story” (Last Music). With nearly 100 tracks spread across six discs, this exhaustive box set from the London-based roots-music label gathers material from Vaughan’s days in Storm and the Fabulous Thunderbirds as well as his solo ventures and collaborations with fellow travelers ranging from Delbert McClinton to James Cotton to Billy Gibbons (and even the Texas Longhorn Band). A deluxe version available via jimmievaughan.com includes a vinyl edition of Grammy-winning 2001 album “Do You Get the Blues,” a couple of 7-inch singles and more.
SEPT. 24: Jackie Venson, “Love Transcends,” playing Oct. 22 at Old Settler’s Music Festival
SEPT. 24: Tony Kamel, “Back Down Home” (Next Waltz), playing Oct. 22 at Old Settler’s Music Festival
OCT. 1: Various artists, “Mighty Fine: An Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt” (Omnivore), release show with Warren Hood and guests Oct. 1 at Saxon Pub
OCT. 1: Strand of Oaks, “In Heaven” (Thirty Tigers), playing Nov. 12 at Mohawk
OCT. 6: Invincible Czars, “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love” (Van Halen tribute)
OCT. 8: Carolyn Wonderland, “Tempting Fate” (Alligator), playing Oct. 17 at Waterloo Ice House (Capital of Texas Highway location)
OCT. 8: Go Fever, “Velvet Fist” (Nine Mile)
OCT. 14: Buenos Diaz, “Live at Bobo’s”
OCT. 15: Buffalo Nichols, self-titled (Fat Possum)
OCT. 15: David Beck’s Tejano Weekend, “Vol. II”
OCT. 15: Sarah & the Sundays, “The Living End”
OCT. 22: Sue Foley, “Pinky’s Blues”