Rocks Off reached out to the artists playing this year's Houston Press Music Awards showcase Sunday, August 5, and asked them to introduce themselves. Here's what they sent back.
Rocks Off: When and where was your first gig in Houston, and how did it go?
Matt Harlan: I'm pretty sure my first gig in Houston was at Dean's Credit Clothing some time in 2006. It went pretty well, probably more uneventful than any I've done since then.
I was already playing open mikes around town, but didn't have a full set of originals so there was some Drive-By Truckers and Townes Van Zandt thrown in. Most significant happening: My then-love interest's ex-boyfriend came out to listen, and he approved of the Truckers cover.
RO: What Houston-area venues do you play most often?
MH: Well, that depends on whether I'm playing solo, with a band or as a sideman in someone else's group. Solo at Anderson Fair, JP Hops House or the Mucky Duck. A full band anywhere that pays enough to bring a band, and a sideman at Blanco's, Firehouse or the Continental Club.
RO: How often do you play in the area?
MH: A lot less these days. I'm trying to get out of town a little more. Still, I play about 3-5 times a month somewhere around town.
RO: Describe your sound in eight words or less.
MH: T.S. Eliot and Norman Blake drinking with McMurtry.
RO: How did you come up with your name?
MH: Born with it (basically... it's actually kind of a long story).
RO: Where would you like yourself or your band to be in one year? Ten years? Forty?
MH: One year: paying my bills with music work. Ten years: Paying a small family's bills with music work. Forty years: Retired, dead, or you know, unable to give it up for the people's sake.
RO: What is one thing you'd like to do (as a musician) before you pack it in?
MH: Stand on Steve Earle's coffee table in my cowboy boots and have no idea how I got there.
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Matt Harlan plays the HPMA showcase 8 p.m. Sunday, August 5 at Reserve 101, 1201 Caroline.