By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Sonya Harvey
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Nathan Smith
By Craig Hlavaty
It was August 1983, and I was an excited 13-year-old on my way to my first concert. Sure, the hipster quotient was low -- it was Simon and Garfunkel at the Astrodome with my parents and little brother, not, say, AC/DC at the Summit with an older stoner friend, but I was still excited. After all, I had thoroughly memorized the duo's Greatest Hits, and could only dream about making love to Cecilia up in my bedroom. But when our van (complete with vinyl seats) pulled up to the Dome gates and we found that the show had been canceled because of Hurricane Alicia, my spirits sunk lower than box-office receipts for The Capeman. More than two decades later, Houston has a chance to hear those crystal harmonies live for the first time since 1968 (and last, given that this tour is probably their final jaunt together). "The Sounds of Silence," "The Boxer," "Bridge over Troubled Water," "Mrs. Robinson," "I Am a Rock" and all the hits will be heard on the ironically titled -- given their famous feuds -- "Old Friends" tour. Opening the show will be the Everly Brothers, another harmonizing duo called out of retirement just for this tour. So provided that Dr. Neil doesn't report a severe weather advisory that night, Houstonians will be able to make good on that long-canceled show. Now, where can I find vinyl seating for a Honda Civic? -- Bob Ruggiero
Wednesday, July 7, at the Toyota Center, 1510 Polk, 1-866-4HOU-TIX.The Greencards
Eamon McLoughlin isn't quite sure how to explain the notion of bluegrass to the Napster-and-Nelly generation. So the Irish-born, classically trained twentysomething Britpop fan lets his fiddle do the talking. "It's difficult to explain it to younger folks," says McLoughlin, one quarter of the Greencards. "The way to understand it is to first realize that like country and blues, it sprang from human emotions. If you go to a gig and see the spirit it creates in people, it's the most convincing argument there is."
It's no fluke that the Greencards were named Best New Band at the 2004 Austin Music Awards in March. McLoughlin and his mates of the past two years -- Australians Kym Warner (mandolin) and the sumptuous Carol Young (bass), and Chicago transplant Robbie Gjersoe (guitar) -- are on the leading edge of a knee-slappin' bluegrass infusion, led by groups with some members who weren't even born when Del McCoury and his peers set the standards for the contemporary genre. -- Greg Barr
Audrey Auld, another green card-totin', roots music-playin' furriner from down under (see above), sounds a lot like her countrywoman Kasey Chambers, with good reason. There's Auld's obvious Aussie twang, sure, but also the similar acoustic country-rock vibe on her new album, Losing Faith, and her upbringing in the back of beyond -- she grew up in the Tasmanian bush, Chambers in the outback's forbidding Nullarbor Plain. And there's more: The women share a fearlessness in songwriting, and both have voices with a rare little heartbreaking catch. To top if off, Auld has a formal connection with Kasey's father, Bill Chambers, who's her former duet partner and current de facto studio bandleader.
The daughter of a jazz pianist, Auld was classically trained in violin in a TV-free home. The statuesque Auld was a teenage punker, and at first she heard only mainstream Aussie country, which is every bit as cornball as its American cousin. Still, after moving to the outback town of Alice Springs, she was intrigued enough by the likes of Slim Dusty to discover the Holy Trinity: Loretta, Lucinda and the Carter Family, a threesome of giants whose spirit infuses her music today.
Two albums, a brace of duets with the likes of Fred Eaglesmith, Dale Watson, Kieran Kane and Mary Gauthier, and one marriage to a Californian into her career, Auld is now bringing her "music with the dirt left on" to a whole new continent. -- John Nova Lomax
Tuesday, July 6, at the Last Concert Cafe, 1403 Nance, 713-226-8563.
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