Wear A Smile In New Braunfels.

Spring Break Music for the Week!!

Happy Spring Break Music Lovers…Lots of cool little diddy’s going on this week, let’s get to it!

My picks for the week begin tomorrow night with 2 Ton Tuesday Spring Break Show at Gruene Hall.
2 Tons of Steel have a new record out and it is a solid release…
Gone, the new album from San Antonio mainstays Two Tons Of Steel, combines the finest elements of multiple musical worlds and once again pushes the envelope of the ‘Texas sound’ with some of their finest songs to date. “Our last album, Unraveled, was pretty much a rock and roll record,” says frontman / guitarist Kevin Geil. “It was really loose. This time around we’ve really come full circle, very much like the way it was when we recorded Vegas” (the band’s 2006 breakthrough album that reached #7 on the Americana charts and brought them their first taste of national recognition). “Everything is very tight; the writing, the performances, all of it.”
Gone is the ninth studio album in a 20+ year career that’s seen everything from multiple tours of the US and Europe, to performances at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville and the National Theater in Havana, Cuba, multiple awards, an appearance in the IMAX film, Texas: The Big Picture, and even showing up as supporting characters in Karen Kendall’s romance novel, “First Date.” For this release the band once again teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Lloyd Maines, who worked with them on both Vegas and its celebrated follow-up, Not That Lucky (2009). From the vintage Music Row-inspired strains of the opening track, “Shoulda Known Better,” through the slow-burn boogie of “Runaway Baby,” with stops along the way for rockabilly, cowpunk, the Bakersfield sound and modern roots, Gone is an inspired and mature album that reveals more and more with each listen without losing any of the fun.

On Thursday, a relatively new artist to the area Lucas Jack will take on the hits of Elton John and Billy Joel. I’ve heard Lucas only once, but the show has stuck in my mind since and the reason is this guy is the whole package. A real performer and stellar musician and I know he will kill it with this tribute! doors at 6:30 show at 7:30 and all for only 5 bucks! and while I’m on The Brauntex, this Saturday another new comer will take the stage, Mandy Barnett!!
Mandy Barnett, a native of Crossville, Tennessee, started singing at five years-old. She has been singing since. Mandy’s style is rooted in the classic country and pop crooning of iconic singers and enduring sounds. She delves into a song with a keen interpretative sense, studying the intricacies of its emotional content and rendering a powerful performance through her full-bodied voice.
As a teenager, Mandy starred as country music legend Patsy Cline in the stage show “Always . . . Patsy Cline” at the celebrated Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. The performances sold out nightly and received rave reviews across the country. Mandy, in role as Patsy, appears on the Decca Records cast recording.
Mandy soon signed with Asylum Records where she released her first album as herself, appropriately entitled, “Mandy Barnett.” The album received glowing reviews in major trade publications and magazines, including “Time” magazine, as well as praise from veteran country artists and fans.
In due course, Seymour Stein, who introduced the world to Madonna, Seal, the Barenaked Ladies, and k.d. lang, heard Mandy’s voice and was, he said, “spellbound.” When Stein launched Sire Records within Warner Music Group, Mandy was the first artist he signed. Mandy’s Sire Records project paired her with the undisputed pioneer of the Nashville Sound, producer Owen Bradley. The album that they made together, “I’ve Got A Right To Cry,” would be his final contribution to the community who knew him through his work with legends Ernest Tubb, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and Kitty Wells. Owen passed away four songs into the project, but not before leaving his unmistakable mark on the album. His brother and longtime partner, Harold Bradley, inherited the delicate task of finishing the album with Mandy. A legal pad filled with Owen’s handwritten notes for each song guided the two through the rest of the sessions, and what was to be Owen’s farewell to the world was poised to propel Mandy and her remarkable vocal talent once again into the national limelight.
“I’ve Got A Right To Cry” was a huge critical success. “Rolling Stone” magazine named it the top country album of 1999. Other stellar reviews appeared in “People,” “Newsweek,” “Interview,” and multiple national newspapers. Mandy appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” and PBS’s “Sessions at West 54th” as a result of her acclaim.
In addition to her own albums, Mandy has been featured on movie soundtracks, including “A Walk On the Moon,” “Traveller,” “Space Cowboys,” “Election,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” and “Crazy.” Mandy also sang on the SpongeBob SquarePants album “The Best Day Ever,” sharing the spotlight with the likes of Brian Wilson, Tommy Ramone, Flaco Jimenez, and NRBQ. In 2012, Mandy’s rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” was prominently showcased in “Political Animals,” the USA Network television series starring Sigourney Weaver and Ellen Burstyn.
Mandy tours regularly, nationally and internationally, and is a frequent guest on the Grand Ole Opry. She reprised her role as “Patsy Cline” in the acclaimed production “Always . . . Patsy Cline” at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee during 2009, in honor of the 15th anniversary of the celebrated venue’s extensive renovations and re-opening. Back by popular demand, Mandy again hit the Ryman stage in “Always . . . Patsy Cline” in June and July 2011.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Rounder Records teamed up for the 2010 exclusive Cracker Barrel store release of Mandy’s Christmas album “Winter Wonderland,” which distinguished music historian and critic Robert K. Oermann called “an instant classic.” Among other publications praising “Winter Wonderland,” the “L.A. Times” lauded Mandy’s “pipes of steel,” “big” voice and “glorious echo” harkening back to the likes of all-time great female singers like Cline and timeless sounds. “All Music” proclaimed “Winter Wonderland” as “timeless,” as Mandy captures the nostalgic holiday mood “perfectly and wonderfully.” Rounder continues to distribute “Winter Wonderland” wherever music is sold.
Mandy’s “Sweet Dreams” album, released in 2011 on the Opry Music label and Warner Bros. digital, features Mandy’s renditions of songs previously recorded by Patsy Cline. Along with Cline hits like “Crazy,” “I Fall To Pieces,” “Faded Love,” and the album title track, Mandy offers stunning versions of Irving Berlin’s pop standard “Always” and the Mel Tillis-penned “Strange.” Reviewing “Sweet Dreams,” DigitalRodeo.com applauded Mandy’s talents as “one of the most beautiful ‘classic country’ female voices of all time. She has total control of her voice and sings effortlessly. Barnett is a true master of her craft.” “Country Weekly” magazine affirmed this view, noting how Mandy embodies “the emotional torch-and-twang style of Patsy Cline with authority” with her captivating “effortless and emotional performances.”
Mandy’s latest album, “I Can’t Stop Loving You: The Songs of Don Gibson,” debuted in November 2013. It’s a salute to the iconic songs penned by Country Music Hall of Fame member Gibson, whom Mandy befriended a few years prior to his passing in 2003. Among Gibson’s most famous compositions on Mandy’s project are “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Oh Lonesome Me.” With this release, Mandy fulfills her long-ago promise to Gibson to record a collection of his songs. Covering the album’s debut, “USA Today” called Mandy one of the “finest classic country and torch singers” to come out of Nashville. Other reviewers heralded “I Can’t Stop Loving You: The Songs of Don Gibson” as “a riveting album” that showcases Mandy’s “exquisite,” “powerful and spellbinding,” “soaring country torch” voice. She takes the Stage at The Brauntex at 7:30, some seats still available, this will be a good one!

Jumping back to Friday March 17th St Paddy’s Day!! Oma’s will present yet another fine show with Chris Duarte!! The Chris Duarte Group emerged on the scene out of Austin, Texas in the early 90’s and gained notoriety after wowing a packed room of industry insiders at the South X Southwest convention. In the wake of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s passing, Duarte quickly gained a National reputation as young man imbued with a playing style comparable at times to the late guitarist. After fielding interest from a number of labels, Duarte signed to Silvertone Records and his debut album “Texas Sugar/Strat Magik” reportedly sold in excess of 100,000 units in the United States, no small feat for a blues/rock guitarist. This coupled with Duarte’s strong commitment to touring, was the impetus for Chris’ winning the “Best New Talent” in Guitar Player’s 1995 Reader’s Poll. He also finished fourth in the magazine’s “Best Blues Guitarist” category that year behind legends Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King. He is a real favorite of mine and the show as always at Oma’s in FREE!

Also on St Daddy’s Day ‘yours truly’ will be playing with my band Phantom 46 at Tavern in the Gruene!! Come on out and say hi!!

And finally, to wrap up Spring Break Week, my buddy Monty ‘Guitar’ Tyler will be bluesin’ up the joint at Oma’s Secret Garden as well!! at 7pm!!

Saturday night will bring back another favorite of mine…Blue Water Highway Band to River Road Icehouse!!

Blue Water Highway runs just outside of Freeport up towards Galveston along the Texas Gulf Coast. This is the part of the world where the cultures of Texas and Louisiana collide in a unique melting pot steeped in the traditions of the people of both states. It is here, in the town of Lake Jackson, TX, that Zack Kibodeaux and Greg Essington became high school friends after Zack witnessed Greg playing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” and immediately enrolled in piano lessons himself. Their partnership included performing in musicals and local coffee shops, until the friends went their separate ways after high school. Greg headed to New York City to pursue a degree in music technology. Zack went to Texas State in San Marcos to study vocal performance, specifically opera. Soon, Zack was writing songs and sending them to his friend in New York. Finally, he coaxed Greg back to Texas to form the band he had been hearing in his head. Although they had landed in their adopted hometown of San Marcos, when it came time to name the band the first thing that came to mind was the landmark back home on the coast. The two dubbed the band, Blue Water Highway Band, and began to create a sound as unique as the region they came from.
Finding the right group of people to complete the band came with its own set of challenges. Zack turned to Catherine Clark, a fellow opera singer, to complete the three part harmonies that the band would soon to be known for. Kyle James Smith was enlisted as the bassist and Zach Landreneau joined on keyboards, lap steel, guitar, accordion, and pretty much any other instrument you can think of. The band released a self-titled, six song, EP in 2013 and then followed that up with the full length LP “Things We Carry” in 2015. This album featured the single “Medicine Man” that quickly became the closing song in an increasingly popular live show.
The band began touring across the United States in 2015 and continues to define themselves as a live act built on excellent musicianship, great songs, and that signature three part harmony that sets the band apart from their peers. They continue to explore new sounds and musical landscapes while remaining true to their roots along the Blue Water Highway. Show begins at 9pm.

Thats a full week folks!! Go get ya some live music in BEAUTIFUL New Braunfels Texas!!!!

Until next time

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