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Jason Boland takes country into the realm of aliens and time travel on new album

Nori, from left: Aaron Allen, Erik Telford, Akina Adderley, Nick Litterski, Andy Beaudoin.

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

Out this week

Jason Boland & the Stragglers, “The Light Saw Me” (Thirty Tigers). An Oklahoma native now based in Austin who’s been playing the Texas roadhouse circuit for more than two decades, Boland takes an unusual turn here in terms of subject matter. A press release announcing the album boils it down: “Boland recounts the tale of a cowboy living in Texas in the late 1890s who is abducted by aliens and thrust into the future by a century, returning in the 1990s with no perception that any time has passed, searching for his wife who is no longer of this world.”

That’s a far cry from the beer-and-whiskey fare that dominates Nashville mainstream country, but then the Texas-based roots bands have a history of approaching the music from left of center. It helps that renowned producer Shooter Jennings — whose father, Waylon, made some daring moves in his outlaw-country heyday — is onboard as producer of “The Light Saw Me.”

Waylon’s not a bad touchstone for where the Stragglers are coming from musically. As a singer, Boland sounds a bit like Waylon at times, and his band — A.J. Slaughter on guitar and pedal steel, Nick Worley on fiddle and mandolin, Grant Tracy on bass and Brad Rice on drums and percussion — digs into beefy, twangy grooves throughout “The Light Saw Me.”

A December tour includes a stop at Nashville’s hallowed Grand Ole Opry; the band will be back in the Austin area next month for a Jan. 21 show at Coupland Inn & Dancehall. Here’s the video for the title track:

Nori, self-titled. A vinyl and digital release that supplements highlights from two previous albums with recent singles and a Nina Simone cover, this 10-song set further documents Nori’s pursuit of jazz-tinged world music. Singer Akina Adderley provides warm and mellifluous vocals atop the adventurous instrumental backing of trumpeter Erik Telford, keyboardist Nick Litterski, acoustic bassist Aaron Allen and drummer/percussionist Andy Beaudoin.

The album draws three songs each from 2016’s “World Anew” and 2018’s “Bruise Blood,” plus the 2018 single “Tumbao” and last year’s single “I See You.” Opening track “The Garden” also appeared on “World Anew” but is rendered in a new version here that includes a string trio. Also fresh for this project is the closing track, a splendid cover of jazz legend Nina Simone’s “Four Women.” 

Release show Dec. 10 at Central Market North. Here’s the video for “I See You”:

Walter Daniels & the Del Valle Trustees, “Have a Coffee Break With.” Known for his work with local bands Bigfoot Chester and Jack O’Fire, Daniels’ first album with the five-piece Trustees mines a similar punk-blues-country vein. Daniels’ lively harmonica playing is front and center, along with his rough-edged vocals. Most of the material here is original, but a notable cover is Townes Van Zandt’s harrowing “Marie.” Here’s the opening track, “No One to Talk to (But the Blues)”:

Rick Furst, “The Riddle.” A singer-songwriter who recently relocated to Austin after playing everything from jazz to blues to classical music on the East Coast and beyond, Furst follows his recent five-song EP with a 12-song set recorded at 512 Studios. Here’s the EP track “Down to Austin”:

Coming soon

DEC. 10: Bill Callahan & Bonnie Prince Billy, “Blind Date Party” (Drag City)

DEC. 18: Ben Brown, “Sayonara Sorrow,” and Jefferson Brown, “The French King Was Decapitated” (Shire), dual release show Dec. 18 at Sam’s Town Point

JAN. 14: Jamestown Revival, “Young Man” (Thirty Tigers), release show Jan. 14 at Gruene Hall

JAN. 21: Whitmore Sisters, “Ghost Stories” (Red House)

JAN. 21: Bruce Hughes, “Late Night Polaroids”

FEB. 11: Spoon, “Lucifer on the Sofa” (Matador)

MARCH: Robin Mordecai, “Portraits”

MAY: Lyle Lovett, title TBA

More from Austin360 On The Record:

NOV. 26:Charley Crockett, Patricia Vonne, Hovvdy

NOV. 19:Willie Nelson Family, Wade Bowen, Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band

NOV. 12:Buffalo Nichols, David Beck's Tejano Weekend, Jenn Hartmann Luck