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Barnyard Boogie

Former Houstonian Kev Russell talks about Snoop Dogg and Cow Fish Fowl or Pig

A few years later, the Russells were transferred again, this time to Shreveport, the Beaumont of north Louisiana. Russell launched his musical career there in the now-legendary post-punk group Picket Line Coyotes, who moved en masse first to Dallas and then to Austin, where they broke up. In 1994 Russell joined Smith and Claude Bernard's duo Old Government, and after hiring a drummer, the Gourds were born.

Along the way, Russell and company shed the punk instrumentation if not the fire and anarchic attitude that gives you the huevos to record Snoop Dogg with a mandolin as the lead instrument. Not that the band is all on the same sheet of music when it comes to influences. "The longer we go, the more divergent we are of each other in the music we listen to," Russell says. "The other night we played San Antonio, and Jimmy got kinda drunk on the way back, and me and him and Max were arguing about music. Me and Max are really into late-'70s, early-'80s country music like Don Williams, Gene Watson and George Strait -- there's sort of a guilty pleasure we get out of it. Jimmy just despises it, he just hates it. He was just getting so worked up."

Smith hates it so much, in fact, that Russell eventually had to throw out some of the material the band had been playing live. "I had the Gourds cover 'Amarillo by Morning' for a while," Russell says. "I told 'em at the time, 'Look, guys, I know this is a stretch but just indulge me here.' Max was all over it man, but Jimmy -- he just couldn't do it."

Russell (second from right) says Humble and Marty Racine scuppered his NFL career before it began.
Russell (second from right) says Humble and Marty Racine scuppered his NFL career before it began.

Details

The Gourds plays Friday, August 30, at the Continental Club, 3700 Main Street. For more information, call 713-529-9899. I.J. Gosey appears at happy hour, and Lil' Cap'n Travis opens the late show.

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A twangy Texas group that loves to cover Snoop Dogg but turns up its nose at George Strait? Like the man said, is this a real band?

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