The Gourds

Hard to believe it's been more than a decade since the Gourds crawled out of a squalid rehearsal shack in North Austin dubbed the Steamy Bowl, "a crooked little hothouse where music and words germinate and flower into song — or wilt, crumple and dissolve back into the Earth," wrote the Austin Chronicle's Christopher Hess in 2000. Bassist Jimmy Smith, who splits songwriting and singing duties with guitarist Kevin Russell, eventually fixed up the Steamy Bowl for his new family, but little else about the Gourds has changed. They may be about to make their Austin City Limits debut this November, but the quintet's true home remains about five miles south: onstage at neighborhood cantina Jovita's, serenading a packed Saturday-night house with a dizzying array of covers — "If I Should Fall from Grace With God," "The Weight," a "Gin & Juice" approved by Snoop Dogg himself — that only accentuate the uniqueness of Smith and Russell's originals. Latest album Noble Creatures, their ninth in ten years, finds the pair reckoning with the onset of middle age and augmenting their rootsy cornucopia with horns for an aura of ragged Southern soul. Houston's own Fried Ice Cream guest at this CD release show.


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