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Monday, February 10, 2014

Prevue: Texoma

Texoma front man Zach Terry getting horizontal in mid air

Being sixteen in the dust blown hills of the lower Midwest you'll find no shortage of crop fields that needed five-dollar an hour day laborers, nor will you find a shortage of country music drifting from the AM radios of pick up trucks that drive you to them. Those long afternoons walking rows and pulling weeds or breathing diesel atop a rolling iron monstrosity were antagonized by a sun that seemed to perch itself in the apex of the sky and then burn for hours without moving.

Aside from the fifty bucks that was going to be made for a summer day's worth of sweating, the thought that kept the heads up and the legs moving was of the honky tonk which that fifty bucks would likely be blown at later that night. Honky tonk is a work-hard play-hard culture which is a creed in rural blue collar America and its songs are acted out every day in the lives of its subjects. They take it with them to the country bars, VFW parties, and anywhere else that the reveling in one-upmanship stories of the days hardships could be shared while the floor rumbled with swing dancing and the ceiling shook with joyous laughter.

The name Texoma is instantly recognizable in this setting. In the 1930's, the Corps of Engineers built Lake Texoma in the geometric center of honky tonk country...North of Texas, South of Oklahoma City. Given the imagery that can be derived from the people of this land, their culture, and their music, this Chapel Hill alt-country/folk rock band who plays their brand of boot stompin' good-time country under the same name made an exquisite choice.

Its the new project of ex-Whiskey Smugglers frontman Zach Terry, with Jon Ackley of Slingshot Cash riding shotgun. Texoma swings with an inspired blend of guitar rock and thumping bass riffs that could form a room into a line dancing party within a song's first few notes. The traits of this being a passion project are evident. Today is less than two months since their first show and Texoma's facebook profile is already glittered with videos and photos taken by a quickly arranging group of followers. Their first show was at Local 506, one of the areas most important rock venues, and a five-song EP was recorded and ready to be shared before anyone even knew that a dance was being planned. Indeed, Texoma is taking "working hard and playing hard" seriously.

February 22nd, the honky tonking will be at Motorco in Durham as Texoma and Raleigh alt. country rockers Buckshot Betty walk the rows and breathe the diesel. -- @carrboroninja

Texoma "Riverside"

Feburary 22nd @ Motorco in Durham - Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/567194883370917

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Current Favorite Concert Poster: The Manimals @ Kings 1/30

The Manimals

The beauty of punk is that you don't have to apologize for ripping off someones art...and I don't mean The Manimals cleverly inking show details on an old comic book cover, moreover, and old comic book cover borrowing heavily from Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights for an updated version of everything we dream so sweetly about.

Thursday 1/30 at Kings Barcade in Raleigh, The Manimals will make sense of the extraordinary by interpreting it with head-strong guitar riffs and melodic shouts. A newly re-commissioned The Hell No and Wilmington's Virgin Lung round out the billing of rock rock.

Facebook Event Page

Video - Tall Tall Trees

Tall Tall Trees

I was introduced to the looping pedal in the same broke down college rent district living room where I learned to play my first "A" chord. That lesson went something like, "Here, press down all the strings on the second fret and strum. See, you can play guitar." The subsequent jam sessions revolved heavily around the A major chord and months later had expanded to G major, then to D major, and then we were a band. Like my guitar playing, this ensemble's adaptations of the looping pedal adhered to our stringent standard of "close enough" and we weren't bashful about looping anything. The pedal, operated by our complex lead guitar player Steve, had the tendency to go wildly awry, often taking center stage half way into a song with sonic hysteria that made the cat leave the room and everyone else to ask Steve if he was alright. We owe many cigarette breaks to Steve's looping pedal.

These impressions of making music as a group left me mystified and filled with wonder. I entrenched myself with rock and roll, but gave looping pedals a wide berth. Some took to it wholeheartedly however and I am a willing admirer when I see a band punch a neat riff into a live performance with a loop...and I'm downright in awe when I see a performer who makes looping the entire act.

Tall Tall Trees is that performer. This gentleman could contend for the heavy weight title of interesting and unique things to do with a looping pedal. Tall Tall Trees, aka Mike Savino is a NYC banjo player who loops up just about every percussive or pluckable sound that can be conceived with a banjo and sums it into smart folk pop. This video from his fund raiser campaign is the perfect example, and the good news is that the project is funded! So watch with impunity. -- @carrboroninja

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