New Austin music: Shawn Colvin's livestream set, jazz from the AltoRays and more
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Shawn Colvin, “Lockdown: Live From Arlyn Studios.” During dark days of the pandemic in October 2020, the Grammy-winning Austin singer-songwriter holed up at Arlyn Studios for a series of solo acoustic livestreams. Eight songs from that occasion are featured on this digital-only exclusive release on Bandcamp. They include the hit single “Sunny Came Home” and two other songs from 1996’s “A Few Small Repairs,” plus five cuts from three other albums. Here’s “Ricochet in Time,” a tune from her 1990 self-titled debut:
Bill Callahan & Bonnie Prince Billy, “Blind Date Party” (Drag City). Released digitally on Dec. 10, with vinyl to follow on Jan. 28, this 19-song collection gathers mostly cover songs that Austin resident Bill Callahan and his lo-fi fellow traveler Bonnie Prince Billy (aka Will Oldham) recorded and released one-by-one earlier in the pandemic as a way to collaborate remotely with some of their favorite fellow musicians. Guests include Matt Sweeney, Sean O’Hagan, Meg Baird, Alasdair Roberts and Cassie Berman, on tracks written by everyone from Billie Eilish to Leonard Cohen to Jerry Jeff Walker to Iggy Pop. Personal favorites include refreshingly creative takes on Lou Reed’s “Rooftop Garden,” Steely Dan’s “Deacon Blues” and Air Supply’s “Lost in Love.” Here’s their version of John Prine’s “She Is My Everything,” with Richard Bishop:
AltoRays, “Back to the Light.” Renowned local jazz musician Mitch Watkins teams here with his wife, singer and KMFA radio personality Dianne Donovan, on an eight-song, 40-minute set of impressionistic soundscapes. Watkins describes the album as primarily “instrumental music with a focus on vocal textures,” though there are exceptions, such as “Swamptalk,” which features a mid-song spoken-word recitation. Mostly, Donovan’s vocals involve layers of harmony that become part of the sonic palette, with Watkins fleshing things out on keyboards, guitars, bass and drum programs. A few tracks feature guest musicians Tom Brechtlein (drums), Rob Lockart (tenor sax), Sean Giddings (piano) and Tom Burritt (percussion). Here’s the opening track, “Lift”:
Various artists, “Rockport Kind of Guy: A Tribute to Guy Clark in Art and Music.” Austin-area artists figure prominently on this 16-song set released in conjunction with the recent monthlong Guy Clark Festival presented by Rockport Center for the Arts. Clark lived in that Texas coastal town as a teenager, and it continued to influence his music throughout his career. There’s some song and artist overlap between “Rockport Kind of Guy” and the 2012 tribute album “This One’s for Him,” but these versions are all new, shepherded by executive producer John Macy and supplemented with a 24-page CD booklet that features Clark-inspired paintings by Steve Russell. Highlights include Lyle Lovett’s “Step Inside This House,” Terri Hendrix’s “That Old Time Feeling,” Bob Livingston’s “The Cape,” Ray Benson’s “Texas Cooking,” John Inmon’s “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” and Gary P. Nunn’s “L.A. Freeway.” The disc is available from guyclarkfestival.com.
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)
FEB. 25: Carson McHone, “Still Life” (Merge)
MARCH: Robin Mordecai, “Portraits” EP (Fable)
MAY: Lyle Lovett, title TBA (Verve)