Who is Night Glitter? Night Glitter is a psychedelic combo of Lou Lou from Thievery Corporation & John Michael Schoepf of The Happen-Ins. Lou Lou and John Michael take you for a cosmic musical ride when they perform on the stage together. Below is a little preview vid we love of LouLou singing Sweet Tides. She explains in this interview how because she was so young when she started with Theivery that it really took her some time to really gain clarity of her own space in music. We love her deep lightness, style and mystical poise behind the mic.
John Michael recently played with Chrissie Hynde while she was in town opening for the Stevie Nicks show. Below is a Happen-Ins vid of their song "Be Yer Fool". They are known for their R&B, Rock n Roll, and Blues sounds. According to their facebook page, band members include Sean Faires, Ricky Ray Jackson, John Michael Schoepf, Falcon Valdez, Evan Charles, Baby Jesus, Sportscaster Bill Simmons and yer heart. Now combine John Michael's tone with Lou Lou's vocals and you can begin to get an idea of the mesmerizing effect they have on stage.
Tony Kamel never took formal music lessons growing up in Houston. “I got an electric guitar for my 13th birthday,” he shared with us on the sunny patio of Radio Coffee. “Before that, I was playing an old classical guitar that was my mom’s.” Tony’s first collaboration was playing with his cousin Milhko Bravo in high school. “He and I played together for years after that for fun really, but we also performed a few times.” Tony learned to play the mandolin from Wood & Wire’s current mandolin player, Billy Bright. “Guitars are tuned in fourths. Theoretically, they are laid out strangely. But mandolin and violin are laid out logically,” Tony shared.
His biggest influences, in general, weren’t bluegrass players at first. “I loved Frank Zappa and classic rock,” Tony said. “My mom got me listening to Ozzy Osborne and Led Zeppelin. Eventually, as I got into bluegrass, I loved Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson especially, and of course Bill Monroe.” Tony says one thing he loves about bluegrass is that you can take bluegrass instruments and express any interest.
Wood & Wire is his primary band that formed in October of 2011. The line up has changed over the years and currently includes Trevor Smith on banjo, Billy Bright on mandolin, Dom Fisher on bass, and Tony Kamel on guitar and sometimes banjo. Tony plays a Collings D1-A guitar and an Ome Banjo. The iconic microphone he uses is an Edwina model from Ear Trumpet Labs. He does most of the songwriting and sings lead vocals.
“Mexico” is one of their most popular songs. “I wrote it in 2010/2011,” Tony shares, “I really like to tell story-songs. It’s a prison break song about a guy who leaves prison and tries to make it to Mexico. What I like about the song is that it drives, it’s fun and when we play it, it just has this energy about it. Dom came up with the idea to do a call and response piece in the chorus and now it’s one of the most definitive things we do.
“This next record that Wood & Wire is working on has some cool songs on it. I dug in a little deeper on a personal level using some of my family experiences I had while growing up. There’s more collaboration than before and in my opinion, that makes it better than one person writing alone.”
In terms of his writing process, Tony says he almost always start with the melody. “I record it on my phone, sometimes in the middle of the night. I go into the bathroom so I don’t wake up my girlfriend,” he laughs. “Sometimes they (melodies) come to you in a dream. Most of my songs I write on my phone, sitting on my couch. Artistically I feel obligated to write them in a notebook as well. And I email the notes from my phone to myself so I don’t lose it. If you don’t document them then, you lose it like a fart in the wind.”
What is your favorite place to eat in Austin? Botticelli’s – get the “duck two ways.”
Tips for songwriters starting out: Don’t worry too much about quality at first. Just get used to the writing process. And also ‘rewriting’ is the thing that helps me the most. Write something, let it sit, and then go back and prove it line by line.
The primary difference between the songs Tony writes for Wood & Wire and those he will be playing at Side Project Sundays is a little looser feel. "Wood & Wire is in it for the long haul but musically, the only thing that's 100% certain to be around until the day I die is me performing by myself. That's a skill I want to hone in and develop long term."
Although Tony doesn’t have immediate plans to do a solo record, Wood & Wire is putting out another record next year through the Zone in Dripping Springs. “We have a stripped-down recording process, we basically record live,” said Tony as he packed up his banjo to head out for a SXSW gig.
Come hungry for kebabs to welcome Tony Kamel back to the SPS stage March 19th from 3p-5p at Kebabalicious’ storefront on the corner of east 7th and Navasota.
Originally from San Diego, California, Jesse went to middle school and high school in Dallas/Fort Worth and eventually moved back to San Diego to go to college. “But then I wanted to come back to Texas,” Jesse shared, “so I chose San Marcos to finish up my undergrad and that’s where I met a lot of people I make music with today. I’ve been living in this area off and on since 2002.”
In school at Texas State, Jesse completed a minor in music with a degree in anthropology that combined music ritual with other interests. “Since I was self-taught, I had to go backwards and learn music from an academic point of view,” shared Jesse. “I learned theory, jazz combos, and got the basics behind me.” It was at Texas State where he met Michael McLeod in music literature class. “ We used to play foosball after class during our two-hour break. Now we play music professionally together in the Deer along with Grace Park who I met during college as well.” It was a good time to be in music school, as the Grupo Fantasma horn section and a few musicians from Blue October were in school there at the same time.
Jesse’s main project is The Deer. “Writers always have a hard time trying to explain our genre,” Jesse laughs. “We call ourselves Transcendental Texas and Psychotropic Surfwestern.” Jesse and Grace split most of the writing, but their songs are a collaborative effort. Grace Park is the front woman with lead vocals and plays keyboard and guitar. Michael McLeod plays lead guitar, Noah Jeffries plays mandolin, fiddle and guitar, Alan Eckert plays drums, keyboard and vocals and Jesse plays upright bass and vocals.
Jesse also plays with the indiegrass band Milk Drive. “I don’t have creative input in that band,” he said, “but they taught me how to play on a professional level.” Noah Jeffries plays mandolin, fiddle and guitar and sings and Jesse plays upright bass and does vocals as well. Brian Bekan (their lead singer) got gobbled up by Robert Earl Keen and Dennis Ludiker, the mandolin player, started playing with Asleep at the Wheel. “Dennis comes from four generations of fiddle players,” Jesse said. “He won the Texas State fiddle champion 4-5 times and his sister Kimber has won the national champion. Their Dad Tony has won the national championship several times in the late 70s and late 80s. Milk Drive was full time, but now it’s whenever we can get together since everyone has other projects,” Jesse explained.
Jesse draws from several influences including The Beatles, Animal Collective, Gillian Welch, Roger Sellers, and Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass movement. “I went down the bluegrass rabbit hole for a long time and have incorporated a lot of those sounds in our music,” said Jesse. He plays an Eastman rosewood bass that he has had for twelve years. “It’s definitely been through the ringer,” he said. “TSA in New Orleans dropped it on it’s side one time, and I’ve broken the neck off a couple times. I also have a 1970 D35 Martin. My step dad was the original owner and then he gave it to me. I love that guitar. If there was a fire at my house I would grab the guitar and leave the bass.”
Winter to Pry is a sad song Jesse wrote on the morning he found out one of his good friends passed away. It’s The Deer’s most listened to song on Spotify. “It’s about the human psyche and the depression that followed that morning,” Jesse said. “A lot of people can identify with those sad feelings. You have to have lived the experience to come up with words.”
Tips for songwriters: Find your own voice. “I heard somebody say to learn twenty of your favorite songs: memorize them all, then forget them all. I think that’s an interesting technique. T.S. Elliott said that good poets steal and immature poets imitate. A mature poet will take something that’s already been done and make it different and better. An immature poet will replicate. There are only 12 notes. You’re bound to sound like something that’s already been done before but you can definitely stand out. Hunter S Thompson’s grandma told him to find something that’s never been done and be the best at it. That’s good advice too.”
Favorite Meal in Austin: “My go to is Veracruz because I hang out at Radio so much. I like the Clay Pit too.”
Come hear Jesse’s bluegrass and original tunes at the next Side Project Sundays!
Jesse Ebaugh started playing piano at age eleven where he grew up in Colorado. “I was allowed to quit when I joined a punk rock band when I turned thirteen,” he said, with his rescue dog Scout listening as intently to his story as anyone in the room. “My hippie parents were drag-a-long parents so I went to every party they ever went to. Listening to all the adults playing music is what made me want to play music. The adults pulling out the guitars and playing grateful dead songs was the most vital feature of any social activity or party.
After having graduated high school in Pennsylvania and dropping out of art school in New York, Jesse says he drifted to Kentucky out of circumstance. “When I lived in Kentucky,” he shared, “aside from being in punk bands I played bluegrass six or seven days a week. I supported myself as a bluegrass musician for two years.”
Playing bluegrass for so long, Jesse says his biggest influence is American Folk Song Form in all of it’s permutations: Appalachian mountain tunes, murder ballads, piedmont and delta blues, early country music, etc. “American pop music grew out of those traditions. I can hear those song forms in the songs on the radio,” Jesse said. “I really admire Dan Penn, Gordon Lightfoot and Gene Clark as writers. I admire Aaron Blount and his writing with his band Knife in the Water quite a bit.
“From punk to bluegrass – it’s all folk music – it’s just people playing music about who they are and where they are. Whether it’s zit-faced 14-year-olds playing songs in their parents' basements or anyone else, they are singing songs about their lives. Bluegrass music is about people singing about their lives. Music is a function of the community you want to be involved with.”
Jesse met Erika (Wennerstrom) and all the Heartless Bastards there in Kentucky and eventually made his way to Austin with them. After putting out five albums, the Heartless Bastards are taking a little hiatus so each of the musicians can focus on individual projects. “Ragged From the Road,” is one of Jesse’s newest tracks, which you can hear at KUT’s song of the week.
Jesse plays bass in punk bands and upright bass in bluegrass bands. One of his recent collaborations, The Austin Roots Collective, came together in 2017 exclusively to showcase the different talents of each of the musicians involved. “We formed it in order to attend the Folk Alliance,” he said, “and took different turns being the band leader. If you came to listen, you didn’t necessarily know whose songs you would be hearing.” The Folk Alliance, he shared, is like SXSW for folkies. “Talent buyers go to see who has a new record, who they want to book on their festival this year.
The Austin Roots Collective is comprised of:
- Beth Chrisman (fiddle)
- Silas Lowe (mandolin and guitar)
- Sophia Johnson (guitar)
- Jesse Ebaugh (upright bass)
Jesse Ebaugh and the Tender Things is Jesse’s latest record he has been working on. “For me, I’ve always been a side man,” he said,” Scout now in his lap listening even more intently than before as Letitia shoots their profile. “I started writing songs this time last year. I’ve been home recording this record little by little with fancy players on the record. Elijah Ford has been playing bass, David Colvin has been playing drums and David Pulkingham on guitar. Of Pulkingham, Jesse said David has played with Alejandro Esocvedo, Patty Griffin, Robert Plant and more. Jesse plays acoustic on the record and he says it comes out as soon as it gets done.
The full band will be performing at C-boys heart and soul Tuesday-Saturday during SXSW from 4p-6p. No wristband needed, just an honest free show. “Come drink beer,” Jesse says with a welcoming grin. This version of Jesse Ebaugh and the Tender Things includes David Colvin (drums), Brad Meinerding (electric/vocals), Chris Cosintino (bass/vocals) and of course Jesse.
“In addition to Tender things, I’ve been working on Erika Winnestrom’s latest record too. There will be more Heartless Bastards stuff in the future,” Jesse said, “it was a decade of relentless touring and we agreed to take a break and circle the wagons. Erika is working hard on getting her stuff out. Patrick Hallihan from My Morning Jacket plays drums on her project.”
What is your song writing process? “I’ve always been an arranger, but never the primary thinker-upper. My technical ability as a songwriter is pretty advanced, but my primary inspiration is still naïve.
“My first step in writing a song is so abstract. It can be any number of things. Sometimes you hear a sound in your imagination and you want to get that sound out. Sometimes there’s an emotion you want to communicate and it starts there. Sometimes you hear a snippet of someone’s conversation and it sticks in your head and you think – that’s a hook.
“I’ve only been writing lyrics for a year and I have notebooks of trash that I hope no one ever sees. I don’t know if I should burn them or what,” Jesse laughed. He recommends “Writing Better Lyrics” as a resource for anyone interested in songwriting. “How much songwriting you do is dependent on the daily ritual of notebooking and journaling, and how much creative thought falls through you. You also have to be ok with throwing your garbage away. The ideas that stick around are the ones you work with.
“Instruments aren’t important in songwriting, it’s just about ideas,” he said. “I love how songwriters metabolize their life through their writing."
Favorite thing to eat in Austin – Quality Seafood: “I get something different every time. The food is great, but what I like about it the most is that it's not part of the “new” Austin food scene. I spent a lot of time working in food service, so I have a strong opinion about what restaurant experiences should be – and it’s more than just food. Quality Seafood is also one of the biggest cross sections of all the population in Austin: you see whatever Austin has to offer diversity wise every time you go.
Article by Tiffany Harelik / Photos by Letitia Smith
Doug Strahan (Stray-Han; two syllables) drove to Austin to join the music scene in 1999. “It was warmer than Illinois and I wanted to learn how to play country,” says Strahan. Upon arrival, he picked up gigs, dug into records, and listened to everyone who was out playing at the time. Wearing a pair of boots he bought with spare change, Doug took off his hat and rolled a cigarette to start our interview.
“No one is untouched by Dylan or Townes,” says Strahan about some of his favorite artists as he takes a pull off his cig, “my guitar playing and song writing influences come from all over.” Inspired by Willie, the Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones, Charlie Rich, Jerry Reed, Tony Joe White, and a list of R&B that would go on for days, his music features a cross section of 70s country and soulful versions of old country songs. In addition to his main project Strahan and the Good Neighbors, Doug plays in three additional bands: Chili Cold Blood, The Memphis Strange and La Tampiquena. The genres he covers include Texas rock, TexMex, cosmic country and beyond.
Doug comes by his guitar talent naturally, as his dad Al plays lead guitar as well. “He (Al) got started in the 60s playing rock and roll and settled into country in the 70s,” says Doug with a genuine grin. “He played every moose lodge, VFW, and anywhere they had long tables and folding chairs where we lived in Illinois.”
Strahan plays a faded Les Paul with a no lacquered finish that he bought at Austin Vintage Guitars. “A buddy of mine that’s always looking for me let me know there was a guitar up there that I might like. I looked around but didn’t see it at first. When I finally saw it, it just looked like me and it belonged together, you know? It was plain, not super flashy… I have played that guitar every single night since then.” He plays the Les Paul in all of his four bands.
“Song writing is about taking phrases, and sayings and flipping them around, thinking of other ways to use it. I like to take a line and change it up,” says Doug. “I’ll Make it Rain” is his most requested song, otherwise he says anything by Gary Stewart are big crowd pleasers. About “I’ll Make it Rain,” he says that he was at point where he wasn’t sure where to take his career. “It’s a song about singing in dingy-ass bars and giving all you got. Between the name and the line “Angels in the Neon come and spread their wings”… people think it’s about a strip club. I’m not above singing about strip clubs but that song is not about strip clubs,” he laughs as he explains the lyrics to Letitia Smith and I in her studio where we are doing his photo shoot. The song is on his album Coal Black Dreams, and Late Night Schemes. You can listen to it here.
Tips for new artists starting out – “Stick with it. Do your goddamn homework.”
Favorite meal in Austin: Evangelines. For lunch get a shrimp po-boy and for dinner everything on the menu is worth your time. I’m not a big sweet tooth guy but they have a killer praline beignet. I also love Kim Fung, Vietnamese place on north Lamar and I get the pho vermicelli.
Favorite beer: Real Ale: Hans Pils
Fun tidbit: Doug was playing a back yard party in his neighborhood with some friends. The band didn’t have a name, but everyone lived close by – so the band name Strahan and the Good neighbors was a logical choice.
February 26, 2017 (Sunday): 3p-5p
Kebabalicious Stage: 1311 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702
Doug says playing in “Tamp” with a bunch of cut ups is a good time. “Every time we get together, the guys have us laughing with good, with deep belly laughs.” Join us 2/26/17 for La Tampiquena to meet the guys, listen to some authentic local music and enjoy a mimosa or two.
DOUG'S MAIN PROJECT:
Strahan and the Good Neighbors (Doug formed in 2013)
Genre: Country R & B – country lyrics with funkier beats
- Listen: www.dougstrahanmusic.com
- Booking: strahanATX@gmail.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DougStrahanMusic/
- Twitter: @DougStrahan
- Doug Strahan – (founder), electric guitar, vocals, songwriting
- Jeff Sanders / Michael Lefkowitz - drums
- Dave Wesselowski / Kris Wade - bass
- Dave “LeRoy” Biller – electric guitar
- Jackie Myers – keys
Chili Cold Blood (Doug joined in 2003)
Genre: Weird ass Texas rock and roll
- Listen: https://chilicoldblood.bandcamp.com/
- Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChiliColdBlood/
- Twitter: #ChiliColdBlood
- Ethan Shaw – pedal steel guitar (founder), vocals, writer
- Matt Puryear – drums
- Doug Strahan - electric guitar, vocals, writer
Memphis Strange (Doug joined in 2010)
Genre: Rock & Roll Folk/Country Boogie Rhythm & Cut-Loose Blues
- Listen: www.memphisstrange.com
- Booking: email@example.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/memphis.strange/
- Twitter: @MemphisStrange
- Johnny Dango, (founder), electric, songwriting
- Jeff Sanders - drums
- Dave Wesselowski - bass
- Doug Strahan – electric guitar, songwriting
- Todd Thompson – keys, songwriting
La Tampiquena (joined in 2010)
Genre: Texmex and cosmic country mixed in with that 70s Austin scene
- Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNVD9aDucJc
- Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/latampiqeuna/
- Twitter @latampiquena
- Will Dupuy - upright, co-founder
- Matt Lara - harp and accordion, co-founder
- Michael “Lefty” Lefkowitz (not LEFTkowitz) - drums
- Fletcher Murchison - mandolin
- Doug Strahan - electric
Eric Burton was born in Los Angeles, California October 7, 1990 into a family that inspired musicians and was very much into the arts. I’m talking with him as he’s driving down 71, with the sun low in the sky overlooking the city skyline. “My mom was a dancer and aunt was a singer,” Eric said. “I definitely have been surrounded by the love of entertaining and the arts from a young age,” he shares as he’s driving to his next practice session.
His first experience singing was in the church choir. I could hear Eric’s smile shining through on the other end of the line as shared some of those first memories of singing for an audience. “I saw my brother was getting candy from this older lady for singing in the choir,” he said, “and I wanted some candy for singing too! I ended up joining the choir thanks to my grandmother’s encouraging words.” During choir performance, he learned about stage fright and the various other things that come with performing. But most importantly in his words, he “caught the bug.”
“I try to do my best to have something that speaks straight to the soul,” Eric says about songwriting. He says gospel and blues and music that goes back further than slavery comes from this yearning of the soul to be liberated and free. He is inspired by that vibe of liberation found in legends like Jimi Hendrix, Al Green and Otis Redding. “I like the artists from the 60s and 70s. I like their way of emoting a certain thing. I love the visceral feeling you get from old gospel music.”
You can listen to Eric’s music on soundcloud, where he has four songs available to the public. https://soundcloud.com/ericburtonmusic. “Colors” is the first song you’ll see when you go to the soundcloud. It came to him while he was in his upstairs bedroom in a two-story house in New Mexico where he used to play music on the rooftop. “It used to be really peaceful up there,” he says. “I would take my guitar up, play, fall asleep, wake up and play again. I cultivated this relationship with the space. I remember waking up to this baby blue warm sky and just taking the exterior of my surroundings in when I was writing my first songs and getting those feelings organized with visuals to commemorate how good it felt to be in that specific place.“
Eric came to Austin with a couple of musicians he met in Los Angeles California from the Santa Monica beach. “I was out there trying to make it and see how I could move forward, and learn from other starving artists,” Eric said. “A lot of them would be in places where there were a lot of tourists, and would get invited to do paid gigs at restaurants and other places.” He has since toured over four thousand miles with those musicians from Santa Monica up to Portland then back down to New Mexico and ultimately Austin where he was destined to meet his girlfriend.
Favorite meal in Austin: BBQ chicken tacos at The White Horse – with the green sauce. “I go crazy for it,” says Eric.
Eric Burton Music is an experimental project with various sounds and instruments from friends that Eric comes in contact with on his travels and now where he lives here in Austin. “It’s a cumulative product of the fellowship that I’m having with close friends. Most people might call it soul-folk with a little bit of rock.” Eric recently got an electric guitar so he says the sound is changing a little bit.
Catch him at Side Project Sundays this year February 19th from 3p-5p.
by Tiffany Harelik; photography by Letitia Smith
Devon McDermott (featured in the photo to the left) and her husband Drew Schlegel decided to move to Austin from Baltimore, Maryland in 2008. “We were just dating at the time,” Devon shares, “but we had a good friend here who needed a room mate and we decided it was a good chance, so we moved down here nine years ago."
In Austin Drew began working with Tinnarose bandmate Morris Ramos (featured in photograph above). “Tinnarose formed organically over time,” says Devon of her band that started playing together in 2014. Their genre is hard to pinpoint under a broad subgenre. “Our music relates to classic 70s hop and rock, but we also play some psychedelic folk and Irish ballads,” says Devon who is eating some delectable looking meatballs at the Quickie Pickie where we are holding the interview. She is wearing rose-colored glasses and her long blonde hair is tied in a side pony-bun.
Devon learned classical music at a young age. “I took guitar, was always in choir and took proper voice lessons outside of public school,” she says. She applies the techniques she learned in classical music in their folk music. “That’s what worked really well for me, that’s what I really love,” she says. Her music influences include English folksinger Ann Briggs, and Karen Carpenter but she also loves Bob Weir and Jerry Garica and enjoys singing with a Grateful Dead tribute band.
Meanwhile her guitar player Morris Ramos grew up playing French horn through grade school and ultimately picked up his first guitar in high school. “I knew music was it,” he shares. Originally from San Antonio, Texas he put together a band during his senior year of high school and joined Falcon Buddies upon moving to San Marcos. The latter made two records in four years. Eventually he moved to Austin to continue to pursue music. Two of his main influences in music are the Allman Brothers band and Terry Calf (the guitarist for Chicago). “The Beatles also go without saying,” says Morris.
Tinnarose has an interesting collaboration with a small dance company called Blip Switch. The dancers perform with the live band, and they have been an integral part in all of Tinnarose’s music videos. The project is called Wynd Palace and is curated around Irish, English, and Scottish ballads.
Their favorite burger in Austin is at Casino el Camino (or P Terry’s, Justine’s).
Their favorite beers are Brooklyn Brewery's Russian Ace and Hops and Grain's Pale Mosaic.
You can find new music videos, tour schedules and SXSW show dates at www.tinnarose.com. Tinnarose is comprised of:
- Devon McDermott - vocals
- Morris Ramos – lead guitar
- Drew Schlegel – bass
- Dillon Randolph – electric
- Stijn Dobbelaere – drums