With all the young blues players spilling out of Austin these days, each one trying just a little too hard to expand the venerable tradition into something modern (i.e., something that won't sound so out of place on the radio), it does a heart good to hear a young act like Teddy Morgan and the Sevilles playing it by the book. Like most things seamless, Morgan's seemingly effortless breeze through traditional blues, swing and swamp rock is probably harder than it looks, but you'd never know it from the evidence of Ridin' in Style, Morgan and the Sevilles' recently released debut disc on Antone's Records. You've got your chugging Texas shuffles sidled up next to gumbo-flavored romps, rockabilly ballads and jazzy swing steppers for an album that touches most of the traditional bluesy bases -- not in a sense of blind homage or improvement, but simply because the stuff, done right, is good clean fun.
Morgan himself is a fresh-faced kid from Minneapolis who moved to Austin and took up with the Antone's gang after turning down an offer to join the James Harman Band. The Sevilles comprises drummer Esten Cooke and standup bassist Eric Mathew, both formerly of Harman's band, and they keep a tight and breezy rhythm churning behind Morgan's bright, upbeat picking. For the disc, Morgan recruited pianist Gene Taylor and producer Derek O'Brien to flesh out the sound, and what you get is a good approximation of the band's jumpy live energy.
I realize that even the hardest of hard-core Texas music fans may well be burnt after a week that saw Soulhat, Jimmie Vaughan, Ian Moore, Chris Duarte and Storyville playing local gigs, but if you've got any energy left for a Texas take that's geared toward the clubs where it belongs, check this CD release party out.
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Teddy Morgan and the Sevilles play at 9 p.m., Thursday, January 5 at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge. Tickets cost $4. Call 869-COOL for info.
*Shakin' Apostles at Rockefeller's, Thursday, January 5
*Spunk at Fitzgerald's, Saturday, January 7
*Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Rockefeller's, Saturday, January 7
*The Ex-Idols at Urban Art Bar, Tuesday, January 10
*Marilyn Manson at The Abyss, Wednesday, January 11