Carolyn Wonderland brings the Texas heat on new album 'Tempting Fate'
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Out this week
Carolyn Wonderland, “Tempting Fate” (Alligator). One of Texas’ finest Americana guitar-slingers for the past three decades, Wonderland returns with her first album since 2017’s acclaimed “Moon Goes Missing.” Two auspicious developments: She’s now on renowned independent blues label Alligator Records, and she enlisted Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Dave Alvin as producer.
The result is arguably the best of her dozen releases. Wonderland traverses from blues to country to rock & roll and beyond on these 10 songs, which include six originals alongside choice covers by the likes of Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia and Billy Joe Shaver.
Wonderland also serves up “The Laws Must Change” from legendary British blues master John Mayall, in whose band she played for the past three years. It’s one of two pointed political numbers here, along with Wonderland’s own “Fragile Peace and Certain War,” which opens the album with a fiery slide-guitar punch.
Perhaps because of Alvin’s recent collaborations with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the Flatlanders troubadour turns up as a duet partner on a deeply soulful rendition of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.” Other contributors include Wonderland’s close companions Marcia Ball, Shelley King and Cindy Cashdollar; organist Red Young, known for his work with Delbert McClinton and others; and the spot-on rhythm section of bassist Bobby Perkins and Kevin Lance.
Playing Oct. 23 at Old Settler’s Music Festival. Here’s the track “Texas Girl and Her Boots”:
Go Fever, “Velvet Fist” (Nine Mile). Recorded at White Denim’s Radio Milk Studios with producer-engineer Jim Vollentine, these nine songs extend the hard-edged yet poppy sound Go Fever has honed for the past decade as one of the standard-bearers of Austin’s indie scene. Aussie-transplant singer Acey Monaro and bassist Ben Burdick remain the band’s core, this time supported by guitarists Keith Lough and Josh Merry plus drummer Stijn Dubbledare.
Album-release block party Oct. 9 outside Blk Vinyl (2506 E. Sixth St.). Here’s the video for “NYE15”:
Invincible Czars, “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love” EP. Timed to the one-year anniversary of Eddie Van Halen’s death, this four-song set features inventive covers of Van Halen tunes “Dance the Night Away,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” and “Little Guitars” plus an original track from band member Josh Robins titled “126” as a tribute to the late guitar hero. Here’s the video for “Little Guitars”:
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. 15: Ben Balmer, “Honky-Tonk Macbeth,” release show Oct. 15 at Saxon Pub
OCT. 22: Sue Foley, “Pinky’s Blues,” pre-release show Oct. 15 at Antone’s
OCT. 29: Natalie Jane Hill, “Solely” (Dear Life)
NOV. 5: Matt the Electrician, “We Imagined an Ending”
NOV. 19: Willie Nelson Family, self-titled (Legacy)
NOVEMBER: Walter Daniels & the Del Valle Trustees, “Have a Coffee Break With”
DEC. 3: Jason Boland & the Stragglers, “The Light Saw Me” (Thirty Tigers)