Thu Sep 16 2021
8:00 PM (Doors 6:00 PM)
925 3rd Ave North Nashville, TN 37201
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Valid photo ID required at door for entry
Valid photo ID required at door for entry
Once you’ve seen Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell on-stage and heard his band’s music, it’s impossible to forget him. Known for his outrageous outfits and antics, Russell is a regular Austin fashion icon, liable to turn up in anything from his lime-green sherbet leisure suit to a flashing LED cloak, which he donned for a soulful performance of “East Texas Rust” on the award-winning PBS show Austin City Limits.Born and raised in Beaumont, East Texas, Russell has been dubbed (mostly by himself) the Baryshnikov of the Big Thicket, the Pavarotti of the Pineywoods, the Shakespeare of Swamp Pop or the Shiniest Man in Showbidniz. Balding with a scraggly beard and an unapologetic gut, Russell boasts the indelible spirit and nudge-nudge, wink-wink playful quality of a man forever young, who points to the likes of Tony Joe White and the Coasters for his rib-tickling, mind-expanding, butt-shaking “is he for real” sense of humor. As a member of The Gourds, Russell took his musical inspiration from the fertile Ark-La-Tex turf and became a pioneer of Americana.Shinyribs is one of the music world’s best-kept secrets, but not for long. The eight-piece outfit was named Best Austin Band for 2017 and 2018 at the Austin Chronicle’s Austin Music Awards and their album, “I Got Your Medicine,” was tapped as Album of the Year. Shinyribs was also nominated by Black Fret in 2015 for a grant and was selected as a recipient.The crack eight-piece band features Russell on lead vocals, uke and electric guitar, as well as keyboardist Winfield Cheek, bassist Jeff Brown and drummer Keith Langford, with the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns (trumpet player Tiger Anaya and Mark Wilson on sax and flute) and the Shiny Soul Sisters (Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee), as well as occasional on-stage appearances by the Riblets, Shinyribs’ very own dance troupe.About his status as a local hero, Russell says, “The competition is pretty serious here in Austin. I don’t know how big a fish I am, but I certainly flop around a lot.”Kevin Russell might not take himself too seriously, but he is dead-serious about the eclectic blend of music he favors, combining Texas blues, New Orleans R&B funk, horn-driven Memphis soul, country twang, border music, big band swing, roots-rock, Tin Pan Alley and even punk into a raucous mix that includes such out-of-the-blue cover nods as David Bowie’s “Golden Years” (a posthumous tribute with an unlikely “On Broadway” groove) or the Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” (interpolated into a live version of “Poor People’s Store,” his populist “jingle” for an imaginary bargain basement outlet).Russell’s Shinyribs have recorded five albums since starting out as his “solo” side project, starting with 2010’s “Well After Awhile,” followed by “Gulf Coast Museum” (2013), “Okra Candy” (2015), 2017’s award-winning “I Got Your Medicine,” and the holiday project “The Kringle Tingle” (2018).The band’s impending release, “Fog & Bling,” set to be released June 14, 2019, came to fruition with demos Kevin started in his backyard studio, with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin providing some of the horn arrangements. The conceptualization of “Fog & Bling” derived from discussions between Russell and beloved Austin bassist and producer George Reiff when the two conceptualized taking Russell’s home recordings and building on top of them to see what would come of it. After Reiff’s passing in 2017, Russell worked with David Boyle of Church House Recording Studios to piece together the various recordings and compile them into an album.When asked to describe the new record, Russell responded in his true, eccentric fashion, “Time capsule opened in the presence of poets leading clergy to a field of wine drunk hippies parading half-nude behind a cattle drive. It’s multiple radios lost in time crossing signal paths. It’s stained pages of books with dead flowers and moths pressed between its pages. It’s grackle’s feathers festooning the hats of dancers sliding slowly across a wooden dance floor. It’s all that and more than I can even begin to conjure.”Russell’s parents were both music lovers, his father teaching him his first guitar chords, “then pretty much letting me go my own way.” As a teenager, he went through a hard-core punk phase, attracted to west coast acts like Minutemen, Hüsker Dü and Gun Club, followed by an alternative college fascination with R.E.M., the dBs and the Replacements.“I was raised in an era where there were no rules, where marketing and specialization hadn’t yet become the status quo,” Russell says of his vast musical canvas. “I think of radio as playing all styles of music; everything is up for grabs. I never wanted to play just one kind of music. Honestly, I don’t know how to do anything else. I love mashing things together you wouldn’t expect, like a donut taco.”The past flows through Russell’s aesthetic sensibility to become something, well, Shiny and new.“On a more linear line I hear it as a move towards the never-ending goal of merging great songs with great performances,” says Russell. “In the world of music there are great songs and great performances. Rarely do the two meet. But, this is the best we can hope for when it does happen. These are the colors I am always working with. I use my own Dr. Suess meets James Joyce personal poetry to give it a structure to live within. These songs are, as I listen back, deeply personal meditations on my life. From my adolescent, disaffected years of angst, angry at the world, through my naive 20s into my depressed 30s into my melancholy, longing 40s I walk with this group of songs gracefully into my 50s a hopefully wiser, gentler, more understanding man. I feel like I have never been better as a songwriter and singer. I cherish my gift as a bringer of song.
Nashville vocalist/guitarist Patrick Sweany doesn’t hold back on his latest studio album, Ancient Noise.
Sweany recorded the new tunes with GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer/producer Matt Ross-Spang after Ross-Spang invited Sweany to check out his new homebase at legendary Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis. The studio that Phillips had custom built in the 70s has been meticulously refurbished by the Phillips family.
“Sam Phillips Recording is the best place on earth to record a rock ‘n’ roll album,” says Sweany. “I live for going into the sessions with no pre-production rehearsals with the band, we just cut the album on the floor of Studio A song-by-song.”
For the sessions, Sweany recruited longtime collaborator Ted Pecchio on bass (Doyle Bramhall II, Col. Bruce Hampton) and ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer both from Nashville. When Sweany needed some organ on a song, Ross-Spang got in touch with Charles Hodges, a veteran Memphis session player best known for playing with Al Green on all of his seminal records.
Hodges fit in so well, he ended up on nearly every track on Ancient Noise. “Charles truly elevated the entire experience,” says Sweany. “In fact, when we met on the first day of recording, Charles led us through a prayer before we had even played a single note together. I’m not particularly religious, but I have to say that was quite the experience and really set the tone of the album. The music is refined, emotional, and I was taken out of my comfort zone many times, which leads to the magic you’re looking for when the tape is rolling.”
The record opens with two tracks (“Old Time Ways” and “Up & Down”) that recall the howling vocals and raw guitar work that first put Sweany on the map over a decade ago.
However, getting out of his comfort zone meant reimagining a lot of the songs Sweany had penned for Ancient Noise, none more so that the third track “Country Loving.” With Hodges’ grand piano front and center, Sweany croons like a young Tom Waits about long-term relationships, the stresses, the simple pleasures, the building of memories. It’s the most vulnerable song he’s ever recorded - and it heralds a new confidence in taking risks.
That confidence pushes through the rest of the record, where Sweany and the band delve deep into Allen Toussaint-style funk on “No Way No How,” the organ fueled “Get Along,” and “Cry Of Amédé,” which touches on the life of Amédé Ardoin, a brilliant, pioneering Creole musician who was brutally beaten in 1934 for accepting a hankerchief from a white woman.
Other tracks recall even wider influences: “Outcast Blues” has a bluesy lurch that recalls The Stones’ Exile On Main Street; “Play Around” has an early 60s do wop feel, and album closer “Victory Lap” ends with a raving coda that would make Bob Seger proud.
Ancient Noise is Patrick Sweany’s eigth full-length album, and it finds Sweany in top form, willing to push himself stylistically to great effect. The record came out on Nine Mile Records on May 11, 2018, and debuted at #3 on the Billboard Blues Chart.