Shows of the Week: One of Houston's Favorite Sons, Now a Free Agent
LYLE LOVETT & HIS LARGE BAND
Hobby Center, August 24
Free agency suits Lyle Lovett. It’s been more than four years since he released a new album and the title of that one, Release Me, was a not-so-veiled reference that his deal with UMG/Curb was finis. Since then the 58-year-old Klein native has done some acting in FX’s narcodrama The Bridge and raced a few dirt bikes (a lifelong passion), but Lovett has spent the balance of that time on the road, both with his Large Band and in more intimate settings paired with other ace singer-songwriters like onetime College Station porchmate Robert Earl Keen. With Lovett unencumbered by any new material to promote, Wednesday’s Large Band date at the Hobby Center should allow one of Houston’s favorite sons to wind from his wry Anderson Fair folkie days through the debonair Tonight Show era, demonstrating along the way why few Texas musicians of any stripe have ever shown more wit and charm onstage.
Raven Tower, August 26
Over the past year or so, Dollie Barnes — and front woman Haley Barnes in particular — has begun asserting itself as one of the most promising bands in town. Barnes, the woman (Dollie is a family nickname), was already well-known to Houston audiences from her work in Buxton and Ancient Cat Society; a detour to Baylor University gave her the time and space to develop as a songwriter skilled at mingling mystery and melancholy a la Stevie Nicks. Barnes, the local indie-pop band, also includes two members of Buxton and two guys from Robert Ellis’ band, plus Barnes’ fiance Tom Lynch, whom she and several bandmates join in aesthetically similar Houston outfit Vodi. (Must make putting together shows a lot easier.) Earlier this month, the band — Dollie Barnes, just to keep you on track — released the single “Taking All Day,” a wistful and hummable track that prefaces their forthcoming debut album Caught In a Phase. Come catch this no-cover preview. With The Sour Notes and El Lago.
Warehouse Live, August 26
Atlanta rap is currently in a weird place. There's traditional trap music crafted through pounding 808 drums and spooky horror-film synths. There are the authoritative, eccentric high-profile voices of Gucci Mane, his understudy 21 Savage, Future and Young Thug. Somewhere in all of that fits Lil Yachty, the bright-haired teenager who confounds his own weird, gooey rap style into an impressive following. Along with a slew of others in his age bracket (Philly's Lil Uzi Vert comes to mind), he could unabashedly care less what old-guard rap heads think. Yatchy is mostly a hyperactive blob of a rapper, willing to bend an Autotuned singing voice around airy trap beats. Determining whether he's actually good has become one of 2016's more intriguing rap conversations. Right now, the big draw is that he has something, as heard on the catchy video-game sounds of “1 Night” and impressive actual rapping of “Mixtape” from Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book. With Jayaire Woods. BRANDON CALDWELL
House of Blues, August 26
After 50 years in the music business and with more than 30 million records sold, trombonist/bandleader/composer/producer Willie Colón can be considered an elder statesman of salsa. With 15 gold and five platinum records along with a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a slew of Grammy nominations to his credit, Colón has been a major force in popularizing salsa music and bringing it onto the world stage. Over his career, the Bronx-born Colón was closely involved with dozens of major salsa artists including Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe and Ruben Blades. His recordings with Lavoe were considered groundbreaking at the time, and his 1978 album with Blades, Siembra, is universally viewed as a landmark in the genre. Colón’s powerful yet melodic style is wonderfully raw and makes excellent use of the horn section, especially the trombones. One of the earliest and most successful artists with the legendary Fania Records, Colón will celebrate 50 years in music with a concert in Puerto Rico later this year. His Houston stop is a must-see for salsa fans. OLIVIA FLORES ALVAREZ
RUDYARD'S 28TH ANNIVERSARY
Rudyard’s, August 26 & Saturday, August 27
Rudyard’s recipe of friendliness, musical smarts and great food and drink (plus a badass sound system) would probably be a hit in any city, but in Houston it’s created a real music-scene landmark in a town that doesn’t have that many. A booking at Rudz, especially the first, is a milestone for any local artist, the proverbial invitation to eat at the cool-kids’ table. All kinds of acts have played here in the bar’s nearly four decades as “Montrose’s Living Room,” but the ones who shine brightest seem to be loud, raucous, and always loath to utter the dreaded words "last call." Bear that in mind as Rudz celebrates its 38th anniversary this weekend with a pair of endurance-taxing no-cover shows: The rootsy explosion of The Grizzly Band, Blackgrass Gospel and Mike Stinson on Friday; and Saturday’s freeway-worthy pileup of punk, metal and classic rock starring the Satanic Overlords of Rock N Roll, HogLeg, Baron Von Bomblast and Die Fast. There’s simply no place like Rudz; may it never change.
DEEP CUTS, HEARTS OF ANIMALS
Galveston Artist Residency (2521 Ship’s Mechanic, Galveston), August 27
An inspired match to the bold social experiment that is the Galveston Artist Residency and the derelict paradise that is Galveston in general. Quickly put, the GAR is a spot for artists to hang near the beach for an extended stay, with a fine courtyard for bands to drop in from time to time. And such bands on this occasion — beachy throughout, whether in linens or half-drowned by seaweed ropes. Deep Cuts are making some of best pop music ever born of the Houston mountains, their songs casually intimate with the kind of high-class hooks once popularized by Tears for Fears, Haircut 100, Bruce Hornsby, and Paul Simon. Their songs are easy breezy, basted in tropicalia, while concise and free of indulgence, likely assembled by elves in a little Swiss workshop. Hearts of Animals, Houston’s OG pure pop songwriter, has recently pressganged a full rock band and gone a little over to ‘90s rock, but she’s never been a slouch on tuneage. She has a sweet, clear voice, and there’s a little quinine in her cocktails. She sings about the ocean like one born to drown and, sooner or later, most of her songs about helpless creatures suggest these same dissected on a plate. To paraphrase the Shadow Ring, you’d better watch the water. With Karima Walker; see galvestonartistresidency.org for details. TEX KERSCHEN