Music News – April 9, 2020

Well, here we are again, another week of staying home. Another week of endless Netflix bingeing, ordering food to go, HEB curbside service and no live music, except for the artists doing live streaming on their Facebook pages. These acoustic shows are cool, not quite the same as watching in a crowded hall, but still better than nothing. For this week’s column, I decided to reach out to our local musicians and some not so local and see how they are doing during this unexpected time at home. I’ll continue doing this until things get back to normal. Also, starting next week, in place of the concert calendar I’ll start listing as many of the online streaming schedules as I can. Some are following a set schedules while others seem to be more spontaneous.

 

Merle Haggard’s Birthday

Merle Haggard was born on April 6, 1937 and just as he predicted, he passed away on his birthday, April 6, 2016. To celebrate his amazing legacy, Courtney Patton started a cool event on her Facebook page called Hag You’re It. Americana artists like Randy Rogers, Willy Braun, Max Stalling, Adam Hood, Cody Canada, Wade Bowen, Jamie Lin Wilson, Walt Wilkins and Zack Walther joined in from their Facebook pages to perform their favorite Merle Haggard song. It’s cool to see our local musicians coming together in these tough times to participate in these types of virtual events.

 

Alex Meixner, Palm City, Florida

Alex is spending his time with his wife Paula and their dog Banjo at their home in Florida. I asked him how the shutdown was affecting him. “My schedule since March 6 has been completely cancelled well into May. I am working with venues to reschedule, but obviously we’re not able to confirm anything yet. I’m doing my best to stay positive and work forward. I’m lucky in that I’m quarantined with my wife Paula and she actually likes me! A lot of people are alone or in not very good places. I’m trying to get videos out and keep people in a good state of mind. That said, It’s important to get some time away from social media and figure your own lives and  priorities out. In that way, this time has been invaluable. I’m reading, listening to a lot of music, writing, cleaning and organizing stuff in my house. I’m practicing music that I’ve been meaning to work on for years, plus I’m working on a new CD/EP.”

 

Willy Braun of Reckless Kelly, Challis, Idaho

Willy and his brother Cody formed Reckless Kelly in 1996 and have been staples on the Americana scene ever since. Willy lives in Austin but is hanging out at his home place in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Cell phone service is sparse up in the mountains so Willy emailed his answers to my many questions. “We’ve cancelled or rescheduled all our shows until at least June. It was horrible timing for us because we have a double album scheduled for a May 22nd release date. We can release digital copies but the physical copies will have to wait until the manufacturing plants reopen and we have enough money to press copies. While we are off the road, I’ve been playing a lot, learning new songs and brushing up on old ones. Doing some writing and filming a weekly show for our social media called ‘Music From The Mountains’. It’s just me playing songs on the guitar in the mountains. It’s been fun and is keeping me busy. Lately I’ve been listening to stuff I tend to forget about in my collection like Ry Cooder, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Leon Russell, Woody Guthrie and Frankie Miller. This is a direct contradiction to what I just said but I’ve also been listening to Traveling Wilburys and Tom Petty. We haven’t applied for any government help yet, just doing the live streams to raise money in the virtual tip jar. We’re just trying to keep the ship afloat and pay our guys as much as we can while we’re all out of work.” On a side note, during one of his acoustic performances in the mountains, Idaho experienced a major earthquake. The epicenter was about 20 miles from where Willy sat performing, ironically, the song ‘Volcano.’

 

Jonathan Tyler, singer songwriter, Nashville, TN.

I met Jonathan several years ago when he was touring with his band, Northern Lights. Jonathan and his girlfriend Nikki Lane, also a singer songwriter, are hanging out at their home in Nashville. “Luckily I was at the end of a record cycle so my touring had slowed down a lot but I still lost 7 shows. Every week this goes on just adds more cancellations to the list. I have a home studio and I’m producing albums for Desure, a Los Angeles band and a guy from Kentucky named Jeremy Pinnel. I just recorded some music for a Jack Daniels commercial too. Nikki and I are just hanging out, doing yoga, some gardening, meditation, just anything to stay positive. We’ve been listening to a lot of music, like the new Nathaniel Ratteliffe record, the new Terry Allen album and Baxter Dury’s album, The Night Chancers. Sometimes I pull out the classics like George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, the Rolling Stone’s Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out or Van Morrison’s Angry Young Them album. So far me or my band haven’t filed for any government aid. We all live very frugal lives. Two of my friends have gotten the virus, Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) and Thomas Mooney, a writer from Lubbock. They both say it’s tough and a real punisher. We are just hanging in there and saying our prayers.”

 

Ted Russell Kamp, singer, songwriter, bass player for Shooter Jennings, Los Angeles

Ted has played bass for Shooter Jennings for many years. Before that, he played for the California pop band Wilson Phillips and was part of the band on Tanya Tucker’s Grammy winning album in 2019. He’s a regular performer in our area, often doing solo gigs at Gruene Hall and Riley’s Tavern. Ted checked in from his house in Los Angeles where he’s staying home with his family. “We are staying home, being safe. Yes, I lost a lot of work and I’m trying to not stress about it too much. At least I have some records I’m producing plus I have some mixing and overdub projects to keep some money coming in. I’m doing Facebook shows on Sunday’s at 2pm in case anyone wants to tune in. It helps to keep in touch with friends as well as playing.”

 

Stewart Mann, Singer for Statesboro Revue, New Braunfels

Stewart lives here in New Braunfels and fronts his band, Statesboro Revue. Besides being a great guy and talented songwriter, he has one of the best voices in the music business. Stewart is at home with his wife Carrie and their two boys, Conlee and Everett. “This virus has completely devastated us. It has eliminated our ability to tour and play live shows, which is our main source of income. We just released a new song to try to raise money for Texas musicians that are out of work. I’m spending a lot of quality time with my family, cleaning house, donating old clothes, writing songs, drinking too much and trying not to lose my mind. I’ve been listening to all kinds of music, from Bellamy Brothers to Marvin Gaye to Ray Price to Don Williams and of course, the Allman Brothers.”

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