Against all odds, 15 years in, the scruffy, chaotic Gourds are still firing on all cylinders. Over that period, record labels have come and gone, legal hurdles have been leapt, yet still somewhere in the belly of the beast the creative fires have continued to burn, bubble and belch. This year's Haymaker!, which co-front man Kevin Russell predicted would either shoot the Gourds forward with new life or be their swan song, has found its way onto numerous year-end best-of lists and become a commercial success that made 2009 one of the band's busiest touring years yet. They may be hippies from Austin, but the Gourds' music has always been swampadelic enough for Houston and the Gulf Coast. And these guys always work up some surprises for their holiday shows, like last year's encore, the Clash's "Rock the Casbah." Don't be surprised if they play R. Kelly's "Feelin' On Yo Booty" or the TLC classic "Waterfalls," either. Boogie, chillen.
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