Tag Archives: Outlaw Country

Concert Review: Wagons / Dirt Daubers / Heelsplitter – Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH – 09/11/2011

Well Cleveland, I hate to say it, but you all missed out Sunday night on one hell of a show.  I am not one to usually say things like that, but Sunday night was an amazing night of music and chances are, you were not there.  For those of you who were though, I am sure you can all agree that Wagons, The Dirt Daubers, and Heelsplitter all put on a memorable show.

Sunday night was all about Americana, folk, and outlaw country inside the Beachland Tavern.  Making a triumphant return to the best little venue in Cleveland, Henry Wagons and his band Wagons traveled all the way from Melbourne, Australia making sure that Cleveland was one of their stops.  About a year ago, Henry Wagons came to the states without his band and played a solo set at the Beachland Tavern.  Later that night Wagons told me that he would bring the rest of his band back soon and play Cleveland again.  The man kept his word.

Local openers Heelsplitter wowed me instantly with their “Frankenbass”, a homemade upright bass with the body being a drum and one string bolted to neck of the instrument.  The two bearded males and cute female act played some awesome songs and had me actually question myself at one time, “are these guys really from Cleveland?”  The band reminded me of Split Lip Rayfield, a band I really adore, but did not completely rip them off.  Frankenbass, banjos, washboard, and no drums provided for a great start to the night.   I loved it when the trio all switched up their instruments and played more tunes.  I witnessed various Frankenbass playing styles  from plucking to beating the hell out of and must say, marveled at its creation.

Up next was the husband / wife act The Dirt Daubers.  Featuring JD Wilkes of the Legendary Shack Shakers, the duo, normally a threesome, admitted that they were missing their bass player and Jess would be filling in on the kick drum.  Their set was full of rockabilly, blues, country goodness and it was just two people on the stage playing the music.  Never mind the fact that Jess was dressed in quite the adorable dress, she kicked that drum all through their set in high heels as if she had done it many times prior.  Laughs were shared by the duo and crowd she Jess admitted a couple songs in that “this is fucking hard” and soon said that if she kept playing the kick drum she was going to have one Popeye leg.

JD looked like Buddy Holly in a way with his banjo and harmonicas strapped to him.  Throughout their set, they played songs from their upcoming new album titled Wake Up Sinners. I could not help but be amazed when JD would rip a harmonica out of one of the holsters attached to him and would play it.  I was more impressed when JD grabbed his washboard and showed the crowd his secret to not using a strap to secure the washboard – he stuck the legs in his front pockets.

The duo played a few more songs and covered Elvis as well as Gene Autry.  Towards the end of their set played a fast paced jam featuring a kazoo.  It was the best kazoo playing I have ever heard.

I wanted to hear more from the couple, and I think they wanted to play more, but had to kindly exit the stage and make way for the headliners.

It turned out a lot of people came to see The Dirt Daubers over Wagons and I thought for a moment some people might pick up and leave before the main act, but Jess told the crowd how amazing and fun they were the other night.  She even stated that Henry dedicated each of the seven songs on his set to each of the seven people that were in the bar the night before.  I would estimate that there were about 20 people in the tavern by the time Wagons took stage.

Opening with “Shake & Tumble” off the bands brand new release, Wagons turned the heads of anyone who was not looking at the stage.  It was not all business for the band as Henry talked to the crowd throughout songs confessing he knows “what a big deal primetime television is” and admitted that he has been powered by buttered vegetables for the last couple of days.

Henry mentioned Cracker Barrel quite a few times.  The man loves his American cuisine.  He even took a moment to ask the crowd where he could get some bacon ice cream and seemed disappointed when someone screamed back IHOP.

While playing “Save Me”, Henry left his band behind and jumped into the crowd headband and all.  Masking the best of his surroundings, he joked with the crowd how the band was probably sick of him and soon returned to his brethren and played “Never Been To Spain”.  I heard Henry play this song last year at his solo performance, but when the band backed him up this time, I was just floored with how awesome it sounded.  The band then moved into Wagons’ version of “The Gambler”, where Henry told the crowd that he wanted to be the next Kenny Rogers.

Before the band broke into “Driving Home” Henry asked for tips on getting to Chicago.  Someone mentioned toll booths and, of course, Henry found humor and asked “tall boobs?”

The rest of the band was included in discussions as well and props were given to This Way Out, the sweet shop that lies below the Beachland.  Once of the band members actually bought a shirt there prior to the show.  They did not say why, but after the show I found out he did that because he was wearing a Cincinnati Bangles shirt.  He was not trying to be crude, he seriously had no idea.  Apparently someone yelled at him before the show started.

Hoping to hear more songs by Wagons, they played more personal “Moon Into The Sun” and then closed the night with “Willie Nelson”, a track about, you guessed it…  The soon crowd was all singing along “he likes some salt and pepper with his evening meal” with the band and soon after the set came to an end.

There could have been two people or two hundred in the tavern Sunday night.  The band did not care one bit and played their hearts out to all those who attended.  The people that were lucky enough to witness that which is Wagons showed their approval throughout the entire set.  Ironically one of the guitarists told everyone that he had played a ton of shows and Cleveland was one of the best shows he ever played.  He was dead serious too.  After everything was said and done I was chatting with the band and it was either Mark or Chad that told me he was dead serious about what he said.  He loved the tavern that he just played in and was glad to have been able to do so.  They all told me they would be back again one day to rock out.  I know that is not a lie either.  I see big things coming from this Aussie outlaw county band.

Dale Watson Is A Friend Of Mine – A Recap Of The 01/19/2010 Beachland Tavern Show

A couple of weeks back I had the pleasure of seeing Austin’s very own Dale Watson & His Lone Stars at the Beachland Tavern with my pal Dale, not Watson. It was a cold January Tuesday night but once inside the tavern full of real country music lovers one would think they were in Texas with the atmosphere and fun attitude spread about during the performance. Cowboy hats were optional and I only saw a couple during the evening to be quite honest.

A brief history how Dale Watson’s music and I came to be before I even go on… I was working at the record store I once managed with my pal Dale, not Watson. Dale picked up a CD one day with a guy on the cover who had a couple tattoos and almost looked rockabilly mixed with some Chris Isaak appeal (here is a link to the album we had in our hands). I honestly thought once the CD began we were going to listen to some rock act that never made it but the moment Dale Watson’s voice came across the speakers both our mouths dropped open.

It was country music, not that crappy pop country music, but honest and wholesome country with some outlaw attitude added. His voice was baritone and ever so comforting. I was instantly reminded of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and even Waylon Jennings while listening to the CD. Dale was more astounded than I and he became a huge fan in moments time. Sometimes picking up a random CD out of a pile of what looks like nothing just to check out the sound is worth it.

I later on would learn that Dale Watson was more of an underground DIY type of artist who preferred to do things his way even if it meant he would not gain immediate popularity. He is friends with Jackass star Johnny Knoxville, and has released 18 albums (live & studio) over the past 15 years. Many of the songs are about being on the road doing his thing, truck stops, and life.  Not all is cheerful though as some songs are written around the love of his life who he lost to a car accident in 2000 as well as how Dale Watson coped through the ordeal.  His downward spiral of abuse and depression from the tragedy luckily ended in time for the artist to continue going through with his passion.

Dale Watson has come through town a couple of times now over the years but for whatever reason I missed out.  Dale, not Watson, though made it to a prior show and had nothing but good things to say.   I always was curious to see him live so the moment I found out Dale Watson was coming back to Cleveland I owed it to myself to make an appearance and thanks to Dale, not Watson, I was able to set aside time to ensure I would be there.  There was no way in hell I was going to miss this opportunity as seeing someone as charismatic as Dale Watson.

Upon walking into the tavern that night I was shocked to see that I was actually one of the younger fans in house but I did not let that bother me at all. Before I knew it some older gentleman sitting at the bar was telling me stories about his tattoos and a Bic pen (don’t ask). He was beyond entertaining and I think was more than half in the bag before the show even started. I never did catch his name.  A couple other folk there I actually knew so prior to the show we hung out and talked Watson.

With no opening act Dale Watson & His Lone Stars took the tiny stage and delivered an amazing show. Having been the first time I witnessed them live I made sure to plant my feet right next to the stage and held my ground until the last song was played.  I also was equipped with my trusty camera so I may have taken a photo or two.

Having the fans provide the set list during the evening proved Dale Watson and crew were all about putting on the best show possible. A couple of times Watson would acknowledge the shouted out song and tell the fans he was going to save that for later but for the most part when some one shouted out a track the band played it. Playing tracks new and old I got a better taste of his material that evening than I ever imagined. Still learning his catalog I was most excited to hear “Country My Ass” and “Exit 109”.

After the show my pal Dale, not Watson, and I struck up a conversation with the drummer of the band as well as their road manager. Both gents were very cool people and after a little time passed we learned that Watson likes to drive the tour bus himself amongst other things. We even all shared a shot and toasted to my birthday that was happening in just a couple hours.

The shot you ask? A Jagerbomb…  Yeah I know, not too country.

Soon they introduced us to Dale Watson who was just hanging out at the bar drinking a beer and chatting with a couple other fans. Needless to say Dale Watson was just as cool as the other members. He kindly chatted to the both of us and Dale, not Watson, told Dale Watson that he “felt like a little kid meeting Hanna Montana.” Laughs were shared about but I know how Dale, not Watson, felt. Even if Dale Watson is not at the top of the charts we both see him as a musical icon and to meet him and talk to him was a big deal.  I could not have asked for a better evening of music that night and thanks to Dale Watson & His Lone Stars I also have some memories to accompany my most recent birthday.

Here’s a little snippet of the show thanks to Dale, not Watson, who filmed it with one of my cameras:

Have you found yourself interested in Dale Watson?  Here are a couple of my recommendations:

Bonnaroo 2009 – Day 1 In Review

Still feeling good and excited for today’s second installment of Bonnaroo I thought I would share the link of the review I did for Blogcritics.Org on my day one experience.

Concert Review: Bonnaroo 2009 – 06/11/2009 – Day 1

The first day was insane.  It was just Adam and I as Matt decided to go to see the B-52’s play in Chattanooga.  (To each their own my friends…)  Being the nice guy that I am I dropped his ass off down by the river in Chattanooga and then headed to Bonnaroo with Adam for our first day of the four day weekend.

Bonnaroo is just as great as I remember it.  Tons of people all sharing the same vibe.  Music playing all over the place full of different genres.  Vendors selling their crafts as well as food and taking donations for various causes including something called “Mountain Top Removal“.

It was a little scattered on the farm as many people would not be arriving until Friday. People would actually be piling in all night long as some were not as fortunate as myself in having an extended weekend.

There are plenty more booths that need to be checked out and I will be doing some more of that today.

I saw some great acts I have never seen before as well as some favorites like Those Darlins.  Yes, I am aware that I talk about them entirely too much but once you see them live you will understand my liken for the bunch.  Not only is their music fun and catchy but the girls are super cool too.  After their set Kelly Darlin spotted me and recognized me from her last show in Cleveland.  She gave me a huge hug and chatted for a moment.  I’m not starstruck or anything, but how cool is that?  I know I am an unforgettable guy and all but for someone who has been non-stop touring for months and seen millions of faces, to remember one is pretty rad

John and Katie from Thirty Tigers were there too.  I seriously love those two, they are great.  Where I would have liked to have hung with them more after Those Darlins rocked out it was thunderstorming way too much and they had to help get the girl’s gear to their van.  I’m hoping to run into them today.

So I leave you here with some photos I took with my little camera yesterday.  I am not sure that I want to take in the good camera with the threat of storms and whatnot.  I prefer to come home with no damaged equipment.  We are prepared though.  I purchased a rain jacket and waterproof box and Adam and Matt both got ponchos.

Bonnaroo Day 2, here I come.

Those Darlins + BluBlocker Sunglasses + First Vinyl Saturday

As if I don’t talk about these lovely ladies enough, I have some more Those Darlins news…



Those Darlins and drummer Sheriff Lin are hitting the road in support of Those Darlins debut album release.  Release shows include special guests The Black Lips, Heavy Trash (Jon Spencer), The So So Glos and We Are Country Mice (details below).  Other performances include a KCRW sponsored event, Bonnaroo, Mountain Aid, and Bristol Rhythm n Roots Festival.

This release tour is in part sponsored by BluBlocker Sunglasses.

(You remember Blublockers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHM-hWYuVS4) Not since the Oak Ridge Boys has Blublockers supported a musical act.

Whether fishing, trying to imagine what the 70’s looked like (from behind the glasses), or playing state trooper; Blublockers are affordable sunglasses that provide a one of a kind visual experience and role-playing fun…!

Those Darlins and Blublockers first endeavor together is to provide fans who buy the vinyl at select indie retailers a free pair of the sunglasses.  This offer begins on the first Record Store Day Presents Vinyl Saturday happening June 20th.

The Darlins during their recording of the album with Kelley and Nikki Darlins wearing Blublockers:


5/29: Los Angeles, CA @ House of Campari $$
6/5: Florence, AL @ Mobile St.
6/11: Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo
6/16: Columbus, OH @ The Basement *
6/17: Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café  *
6/18: Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar  *
6/19: Bristol, VA @ Border Bash
6/20: Pittsboro, NC @ Mountain Aid
6/20: Asheville, NC @ BOBO Gallery
6/25: Atlanta @ Drunken Unicorn
6/26: Athens, GA @ AthFest
6/27: Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge $
7/7: Arlington, VA @ Iota Club & Cafe
7/9: NYC @ Mercury Lounge +
7/10: Brooklyn @ Southpaw  **, ++
7/11: Philadelphia @ Johnny Brenda’s
7/13: Pittsburgh @ Club Café
7/14: Cleveland @ Beach Land Tavern
7/15: Pontiac, MI @ The Pike Room
7/16: Indianapolis @ Radio Radio
7/17: Chicago @ Schubas
7/18: Minneapolis @ 7th St. Entry
7/20: Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Company
7/21: Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Front Room
7/22: Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
7/23: Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar
7/24: St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
7/25: Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone
9/18 & 19: Bristol, VA @ Bristol Roots & Reunion Festival

*  W/Elvis Perkins
+  W/Heavy Trash (Jon Spencer) CD RELEASE PARTY
$$ W/Jason Eldredge of KCRW, Paper Magazine, and MOCA Contemporaries (RSVP)




Record Store Day presents Vinyl release date: June 20th
Official Vinyl Release Date: June 23rd
CD: July 7th

Suburban Home Records + The Takers = Free MP3

If you have not heard of Suburban Home Records yet you really need to, it might just make you a better person.  The music label is home to a slew of great indie, punk, and even country/folk artists and has been putting out some great releases by, just to name a couple, Tim Barry of Avail, Joey Cape of Lagwagon, Ninja Gun, and even Austin Lucas.

Just today I received an email from Tony @ No Idea Records that I thought I should share with everyone out there about a pretty sweet offer:

Gainesville’s newest outlaw country band, The Takers, have just posted a free downloadable MP3 from their upcoming debut album, entitled Taker Easy, that will be released by Suburban Home Records on LP/CD July 21st.

You can download an MP3 of the title track “Taker Easy” on the Suburban Home Records website HERE.

The band recently leaked three other tracks from the album. You can stream “Curse of a Drunk,” “Drift,” and “Friends in Bottles” on the band’s MySpace page.

The band describes their sound as being “influenced by 70’s outlaw country and honky-tonk classics made standard at the time by legends like Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr.”

Members have been playing in various Gainesville bands for years, with two members currently pulling double duty in No Idea Record’s Whiskey & Co.

The Takers released a 7” version of “Curse of a Drunk” on Suburban Home Records this past fall and have plans to release a collaborative split 7” with Austin Lucas in the near future

Take advantage of this opportunity.  As a fan of outlaw country I really got a kick out of this song and can not wait till the full release of the album.

If you liked what you heard here are a following options you have if you would like to order a copy:

If you want to be ahead of the game and would like to pre-order a CD copy of Taker Easy you should click HERE.

If you want to be a little cooler, pre-order a copy of the Taker Easy beer colored LP by clicking HERE.

If you want to one up everyone else and be the coolest, click HERE and pre-order the deluxe set that includes the LP, CD, T-Shirt, Beer Cozie, Shot Glass, Poster, and Button.  Now that is DELUXE.

Finally if you are the ultimate vinyl collector in the world, click HERE to order a hand-numbered and hand-written test pressing copy of The Taker’s Curse Of A Drunk 7″.  Keep in mind though that only 5 to 20 pressings are created each time a test pressing is created so supplies are extremely limited.

I can not be held responsible for empty wallets so order at your own risk.  I know I am seriously contemplating pre-ordering the LP because I know I am going to listen to it over and over.  The CD and LP will be released on 07/21/2009.

The Takers Tour Dates:
Jun 23 – The Atlantic-Gainesville, Florida
Jun 24 – TBA-Daytona Beach , Florida
Jun 25 – Tobacco Road -Miami, Florida
Jun 26 – Propaganda -Lake Worth, Florida
Jun 27 – New World Brewery, Ybor City, Florida
Jun 28 – Wills Pub , Orlando, Florida

(Hopefully one day they will make it up to Cleveland…hint hint)