Playbill: Johnny Falstaff
Johnny Falstaff CD Release
Back when Proletariat was the Blue Iguana, Johnny Falstaff's double bills with Greg Wood's Horseshoe were the stuff of legend. There were nights when it seemed every off-duty topless dancer, bartender, and hepcat in town were crammed into that tiny room and the place just jumped insanely. Wood actually wrote " Tall Texas Trash," an ode to everything low rent, about Falstaff during those years. Sir Falstaff flew under his own name, Johnny Wolfe, back then and his specialty was mashing up hardcore honky tonk, psychedelic riffs, and AC/DC metal ferocity, often all in the same song.
This was all before Blue Iguana folded and the Fabulous Satellite Lounge closed and another guy named Jon Wolfe (no relation) came to town with his neo-George Strait act. Although unconnected to the other Wolfe's arrival, around that time Wolfe-Falstaff pretty much gave up performing on his own, opting instead for steady work he found playing with bro-in-law and fellow honky tonk outlaw Davin James. Falstaff also worked as the front man for a local hillbilly all-star outfit called Ray Priceless that included bassman Cletus Wolensak, fiddler Hillary Sloan, and former Horseshoe bassman Ben Collis. Their thing was genuine cry-in-your-beer honky tonk of the Hank Williams-Bob Wills-Faron Young variety and they played it flawlessly at countless happy hours at the Continental before giving it up.
Falstaff's latest project is a 6-track EP of - you guessed it - hardcore honky tonk, the kind truckers listen to late at night. Filled with regrets and whiskey-soaked lines like "There'll be no angels down below," it sounds like Dwight Yoakam without the studio-slick calculated "looking for a hit" polish. If some guy from Vermont asked you what Texas music is, you could just hand him this one and walk away, 'nuff said. It will be great to see Tall Texas Trash return to the site of the musical mayhem he wrought in the late '90s. -- William Michael Smith
Johnny Falstaff performs Saturday, January 20 at the Proletariat, 903 Richmond, 713-523-1199.
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