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Three local artists dropped albums either recorded at Sugar Hill Studios or with Sugar Hill connections in the past month: Johnny Falstaff's Honky Tonkin' Daddy, John Evans' Lucky 13 and Kanude's Kanude. Produced by John Evans and engineered by Sugar Hill vet Steve Christensen, Honky Tonkin' Daddy is the pick of this litter.
It’s a rough-and-ready beer-joint collection that resonates with Piney Woods hillbilly twang and East Houston dive attitude. Because he picks like his job depends on it, Falstaff doesn’t rely on hired guitar assassins; instead he distinguishes himself lyrically with stone-cold-sawdust-floor lines and a country-crooner voice that leaves no doubt he’s been there.
“Turn down the lights, turn on the wine” and “it’s half past the party, it’s closing time again” are just two hooks that give Honky Tonkin’ Daddy a legitimacy few trying to tonk can even approximate. And Falstaff’s exhilarating south Texas interpretation of the Beatles’ “Rain” is a prime musical example of what makes Houston Houston and Johnny Falstaff Johnny Falstaff. No fancy microbrews in this joint. - William Michael Smith
4 p.m. today at Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth, 713-526-9272. Free.