Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thrift Store Cowboys - Light Fighter

After four long years of waiting, with only a live recording from the Taos Solar Music Festival and a 7" vinyl split in between, Lubbock-based Thrift Store Cowboys are set to release their fourth LP, entitled Light Fighter. The 12 song effort shows a great deal of growth from TSC since the band's last record, Lay Low While Crawling or Creeping, and clearly indicates to long-time fans that the band's continued touring has done a great deal for them in refining their sound.

Best of all, the band has recently made the album available for digital download now, ahead of the Oct. 12th physical release date. You can go to this link to get a copy on iTunes right this second. In short, I like every song on this album. However, some high points should be pointed out. If there was ever a TSC song that deserves to be a hit, "Bright Fire" is the one. This song is among the best the band has ever done. Additionally, there is the song "Nothing," a tune that has been in the band's live show for years now, but which the recording brings a whole new life to. Amanda's two songs "Scary Weeds" and "Lean Into the Sway" will each stay with you as well, and they exhibit her continued progression as a songwriter both as a member of TSC and as a solo act.

The album artwork above is by Dirk Fowler, Lubbock's renowned concert poster artist who was recently featured on Texas Country Reporter. Fowler designed the band's last record as well, and continues to support local West Texas music even when he is doing work for national acts.

If you're new to the TSC game, then check out the free track "One Gentle Inch to Nine Violent Miles," a song that displays how far the band has come from their roots rock origins. It's also the lead track on Light Fighter.

TSC are going to be on tour all fall supporting the release of the album, but to highlight a few shows, they'll be doing a short run through Texas right around the album release.

All shows below are with These United States:

Oct. 12 - The Blue Light - Lubbock
Oct. 13 - The Golden Light - Amarillo
Oct. 15 - Hole in the Wall - Austin
Oct. 16 - Fitzgerald's - Houston
Oct. 17 - Hailey's - Denton

These are but a sampling of the band's upcoming tour dates. I encourage my old Denver friends to check the band out next week (Sept. 30) at the Hi-Dive. Otherwise, keep an eye on their tour dates for a show near you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Turnpike Troubadours

Sadly, a good deal of "urban" West Texas is pretty suburbanized and not as much Wild West as some would like to think or believe. It's a place where people go to Olive Garden for Italian food instead of a mom and pop place that's much better. Similarly, radio is mostly Top 40 country.

However, the nice thing about the strength of the Texas music scene is that because of the strong live music circuit, sometimes independent artists actually make it onto the radio here. I credit 96.1 in Midland with breaking away from the Top 40 mold just enough to introduce me to Oklahoma-based band Turnpike Troubadours. It took a bit of searching to figure out who it was singing the song I kept hearing on the station, but I finally turned up that it was these guys.

The sound of this band is a little country, a little bluegrass, and a little rock, but the most important characteristic I hear in their sound is potential. They've got something really good going with their song "Every Girl," which you can hear on their Web site or their myspace. Personally it gets stuck in my head for the better part of a day after I've heard it.

The band looks like they tour pretty consistently around Oklahoma and Texas. Check out their latest album Diamonds and Gasoline if you like what you hear. I'm just getting acquainted with their material myself.

West Texas folks you can check out Turnpike Troubadours:

Oct. 9th at Hoot's Pub in Amarillo
Oct. 23 at the Blue Light in Lubbock

(Image credit Justin Voight from

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nathaniel Rateliff - "Shroud"

My favorite song thus far from Denver-based Nathaniel Rateliff for some reason didn't make it onto their debut record, although even more oddly, "Shroud" was included on their U.K. release of In Memory of Loss. I tried to download the track through Amazon MP3 U.K., but apparently they put regional restrictions on the download, so you can't get it in the U.S.

All that said, Rateliff's Web site indicates that the song will be released in some form in the relatively near future, although no official date has been established. In the meantime, you can hear the new version of the song in the video below:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dirk Fowler - Texas Country Reporter

Texas Tech professor Dirk Fowler has been making concert posters for close to a decade now, at least as well as I remember, and during that time, he has come to be quite popular, making posters for national acts like Wilco, No Doubt, DeVotchKa, and the Raconteurs. Perhaps more importantly, he continues to support local music in West Texas and has brought a good deal of attention to many area artists through his poster art. Check out his Web site, or his profile to see his amazing work. I was especially excited to see this recent clip featuring Fowler and his letter press printing on Texas Country Reporter. (It is no secret how well-liked he is on account of the fact that 106 people have already shared the link to this video on facebook.)