Sometimes Austinites forget how spoiled we are with so much great local talent. That’s why when we talked to music industry types from around the country about which acts they were most excited to see at ACL this year, we were pleasantly surprised to hear people talking about local Austin bands. With some of the world’s best, and most eclectic, artists descending on us in October, it might be tempting to overlook the home team. Don’t do it! These three Austin bands are all creating national and international buzz. These shows will round out your festival experience with a little hometown pride, and you can say you knew them when.
These guys would have fit in nicely with Willie and the boys at Armadillo World Headquarters back in the day. This is real country, y’all, not cutesy, over-produced pop country, but foot stompin’, beer drinkin’ honky tonk music. Ever since their epic residency on Thursday nights at The White Horse in East Austin, Mike & the Moonpies have been earning a name as the hardest working band in honky tonk – with miles and miles on the road and two albums under their collective belt buckle.
Mike & the Moonpies bring their own modern twang to classic country dancehall anthems and barroom ballads with Mike’s raspy, somehow addictive voice, pedal steel that will break your heart and guitar riffs that feel like home. The Austin Chronicle calls the band “Rugged…a stomping rhythm straight out of the Waylon Jennings playbook.”
While on tour in Tennessee, the Moonpies were signed by Austin/Nashville booking agent Red 11, who has taken the band to the next level, playing iconic venues like Luckenbach, TX, the Broken Spoke, Wormy Dog and John T. Flore Country Store. In addition, the band has made a film documenting their rigorous touring schedule as well as the making of a new full length album, the follow up to their 2012 release, The Hard Way.
Put on your boots and come ready to dance. Mike & the Moonies set at ACL is sure to blow you away and score a major one for the home team!
If you’ve been out to see live music in Austin lately, you’ve probably seen or heard Saints of Valory. The band kicked offKGSR’s Blues on the Green this summer, and seems to be on every major local bill lately. Saints of Valory first came together in Rio de Janeiro, where lead vocalist and bass player Gavin Jasper and guitarist Godfrey Thompson met as kids. They began writing and playing together in Rio, and, in need of a space to record, reached out to friend and keyboardist, Steven Buckle, who had a studio in Boerne, TX. When the three came together, it was magic, and the band has called Austin home ever since.
“When we all got together, that’s when I first felt this could work,” Jasper says. “We played Providenceand there was this feeling in the room. It was the same feeling I had when I first heard Where The Streets Have No Name, where things just click chemistry-wise and it lifts you up. You feel happier. And I thought, ‘If I can feel this in this room, then we can actually offer this to people and they will feel it, too.”
On their first EP, Possibilities, every song is more playable than the next. Powerful vocals overlay a full, sometimes anthemic sound. Saints of Valory have a supremely likeable sound, like the soundtrack to a really great story. You’ve probably heard the single, Neon Eyes (Into the Deep) on Austin radio. The new EP, V, features Long Time Coming, a catchy, rhythmic tune you want to put on repeat all day. Check out the EP, and then watch the incredibly fun acoustic cover of Lorde’s Royals, which the band recorded live at Red Rocks.
Saints of Valory’s onstage performance is nothing short of a blast. Whether you’re a fist-pump-in-the-front-row type of fan, ora hang back and take in the music kind of concert goer, you’ll love Saints of Valory.
WOOD & WIRE
This Austin band was founded in 2011 by singer/guitarist Tony Kamel and mandolin player Matt Slusher, who came up playing with acts like Graham Wilkinson, South Austin Jug Band and Rodney Hayden. Wood & Wire’s sound is pure bluegrass at its best with a country soul, tight harmonies and intricate instrumentation. The band is comprised of Tony Kamel on lead vocals and guitar, Dominic Fisher on bass, and Trevor Smith on banjo. If you love bluegrass like we do, these guys will make you weep with joy.
Since the band’s first self-titled album released in 2013, they have been touring their hearts out, playing clubs and huge festivals like Old Settler’s, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and have opened several times for bluegrass legend Yonder Mountain String Band.
The guys are currently working on their second album, set to be released in early 2015. While Kamel pens most of the songs, he says the process is truly collaborative. He comes in with an idea and the band fleshes it out. Wood & Wire’s songs are an organic mix of the old and the new – traditional old-time style with contemporary subject matter and quintessential modern skills. From the raucous, tongue-in-cheek Rollin’ in the Washingtons, a hilarious take on the financial woes of being a touring bluegrass band, to the broken-hearted lament, Setting the World on Fire, Wood & Wire songs always tell a great story.
To put Wood and Wire’s bluegrass talents in the words of a little, old three piece rock and roll band from Texas, these folks “work it from one end to another and all points in between”.
At a Wood & Wire show, it’s hard to say who’s having more fun – the audience or the band. If you’re not sweaty and hoarse from dancing and singing along, you’ve missed the point.
About The Shannon Schmitz Group at Austin Portfolio Real Estate:
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