Growing up in the coffee houses of the Boston folk scene, Sean watched his parents playing songs written by Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Shawn Colvin, James Taylor and others of the like. Now an artist in his own right, Sean travels the states performing his own style of music that he describes as “Lyric Driven Roots Rock with Soul.” A live show is truly a dynamic experience. One moment reckless rock, and the next an intimate acoustic pin drop moment. As well as being an artist, Sean also boasts a successful songwriting career. His songs have been recorded by Plain White T’s, Jason Castro, Phil Stacey, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen, Eli Young Band, David Nail and many others. Whether in his Nashville home, in a hotel room, or in the back of his van, Sean is always writing.
Playing upwards of 200 dates a year, giving heartfelt, unrestrained performances, and winning over a loyal audience show-by-show, The Dirty River Boys have notched a number of significant milestones, opening for legend Willie Nelson several times and selling out the famed Gruene Hall. All four members of DRB have a hand in the songwriting, and all four sing as well, while members often switch off instruments during shows. This isn’t just a vehicle for a songwriting front man, with an interchangeable crew of instrumentalists bringing those ideas to life. And so, after a pair of EPs and an album, “Science of Flight,” that served as a tour calling card, the time couldn’t be better for an anthemic, hook-laden declaration of intent, served up to an audience beyond DRB’s Texas diehards. The record is both a cohesive statement and a dizzying testament to the band’s capabilities, as it shifts gears between genres with the skill of a long-haul trucker.
The Gospel Brunch is led by Bret Graham, one of Gruene Hall’s favorite country musicians. Bret sings his cowboy style Gospel tunes and accompanies The Gospel Silvertones, one of Austin’s most uplifting Gospel groups. The New Orleans-style gospel brunch also features a buffet catered by Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar.
In June of 1959, Chubby Checker recorded “The Twist” and by the summer of 1960, the song was a hit. “The Twist” was not only the #1 song but it introduced the concept of “dancing apart to the beat”. In 1961, Chubby recorded “Pony Time” which went to #1. In the fall of 1961, record industry history was made when Checker’s original hit record, “The Twist”, re-entered the charts and by January of 1962, it was back in the #1 position. No other record before or since has accomplished that feat. His success continued for years with the release of one dance record after another. More hit records followed. “Slow Twistin’”, Dancin’ Party”, “Popeye the Hitchhiker” and “The Limbo Rock” all came along in 1962. 1963 saw Checker return to the hit parade with “Birdland” and “Twist It Up”, after which he followed with “Loddy Lo” and a series of other novelty type tunes. In 2007, Chubby returned to the charts yet again with “Knock Down The Walls”, Billboards #1 dance track. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio rewarded Chubby in July of 2008 with a special award presentation.
Shinyribs is the continuation of Kevin Russell’s musical journey that began in Beaumont, TX when, at 14, he found his father’s guitar under his bed, along with a sewing machine, a billy club and a box of comic books. Luckily he chose the guitar. Following his family’s oil boom and bust migratory path he landed in Shreveport, LA where he formed his first band. Picket Line Coyotes was a Husker Du meets Elvis Costello hybrid that lived and died between the “Arklatexabamassippi” borders much like their unfortunate animal namesake. That’s what took him to Austin where The Gourds were born from those Coyote ashes. That storied band of pumpkins came to an end after 18 years of good times and hard travelin’. From that point on Russell, has been riding high on the Shinyribs river of country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle. A Shinyribs show is an exaltation of spirit, truly something not to be missed. It’s a unique musical experience and an original expression of colorful musical heritage.
Alejandro Rose-Garcia is professionally known as Shakey Graves, and with his new record, And the War Came, he extends the ground – emotionally and sonically – broken by his 2011 self-released debut album, Roll the Bones, which brought him national acclaim and, three years later, still ranks near the top of Bandcamp’s digital best-seller charts. Roll the Bones established the powerful, mesmerizing Shakey Graves sound of Rose-Garcia accompanying himself on guitar and a handmade kick drum built out of an old suitcase. Paste included him in a “Best of What’s Next” feature, praising his “gnarly composite of blues and folk,” while The New York Times observed that Shakey Graves “makes the one-man band approach look effortless.” An experienced actor, Rose-Garcia started making music as part of New York City’s “anti-folk” scene.
Hayes Carll hasn’t been resting on his laurels since topping critic’s polls and winning awards for his 2008 album, Trouble in Mind. Instead, he’s been on the road nearly nonstop with his band, “The Poor Choices”, blasting through honky tonks and rock clubs across the US and beyond. Raised a sixth-generation Texan in a Houston suburb, Carll found inspiration early on in Kerouac and Dylan, and hit the road after college. His first two indie albums, Flowers and Liquor (2002) and Little Rock (2004), garnered an enthusiastic and ever-expanding audience, as did his engaging live shows, sparked by Carll’s humorous storytelling and between-song patter. Along the way he has written with some of his songwriting role models, including Guy Clark and Ray Wylie Hubbard, with whom he collaborated on “Drunken Poet’s Dream,” one of the attention-getting tracks on Trouble in Mind.
From early in their childhood in Boulder, CO, Chris and Oliver were steeped in American roots music. Oliver played guitar in cover bands before earning a spot in Tinsley Ellis’s touring act. At Ellis’s behest, Oliver began to sing and then founded King Johnson, a hard-touring group that would release six albums of blues-inflected R&B, funk and country. Chris, meanwhile, studied jazz bass at the New England Conservatory of Music, moved to New York City and formed Medeski Martin & Wood in the early ‘90s, which over the next two decades would become a cornerstone of contemporary jazz and abstract music. After pursuing separate musical careers for some 15 years, the brothers performed together at a show in North Carolina. Oliver sat in with MM&W following King Johnson’s opening set. Soon after, the pair recorded a batch of Oliver’s songs, channeling the shared musical heroes of their youth while seizing on their own individual strengths – Oliver’s classic songwriting, Chris’s forward-thinking musicianship.
Paul Thorn was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and raised among the same spirits (and some of the actual people) who nurtured the young Elvis generations before. Thorn has rambled down back roads and jumped out of airplanes, worked for years in a furniture factory, battled four-time world champion boxer Roberto Durán on national television, signed with and been dropped by a major label, opened for Bonnie Raitt, Mark Knopfler and John Prine among many other headliners, and made some of the most emotionally restless yet fully accessible music of our time.