Above: Walter Barnes and the Royal Creolians, the first kings of the Chitlin' Circuit Most music critics, writers, historians, and aficianados in Houston don't think this city has ever gotten enough credit for its contributions to blues, soul, and, the Holy Grail, the birth of rock and roll. Well, ... More >>
The further one digs into the second edition of The Encyclopedia of Country Music, the deeper one's appreciation of the contributions of Houston's country-music pioneers becomes. Yeah, just check out the black circles under the eyes and drunk-ass grins on Leon Payne's band above. That photo alone sp ... More >>
Whether it's rye or bourbon, straight or blended, Irish, Scotch or Canadian, rock, country or classical, whiskey and warblers go way back. Even Stravinsky was quoted as saying "My God, so much I like to drink Scotch that sometimes I think my name is Igor Stra-whiskey." In whiskey-related weird news ... More >>
Your guide to the bands and venues.
Photo by Brittanie SheyLittle Joe WashingtonIn the movie Adventures in Babysitting, Houston native bluesman Albert Collins inadvertently assists the getaway of young Elizabeth Shue (meow) and her charges from a gang of thugs, but only after she sings. Collins blocks the attackers with the sam ... More >>
Rocks Off contributor William Michael Smith just called in to regretfully inform us that Houston blues musician Earl Gilliam has passed away. Gilliam's manager, Sheri Goodman, told Smith that Gilliam died at his home near Tomball of advanced lung disease. The piano player was famous for host ... More >>
Another of Houston's unique blues treasures, the effusive, ebullient and always stylish pianist Earl Gilliam, has moved on to the big juke joint in the sky. Gilliam, 81, died peacefully this morning at his home in Tomball of advanced lung disease.
Lightnin' Hopkins marker photo by Matthew KeeverIt was a real pleasure for Rocks Off and Lonesome Onry and Mean to bring you this week's Houston Press cover story, "Old School," but it was also bittersweet. Not to put too fine a point on it, but none of these people are getting any younger - ... More >>
The year isn't quite half over, but as of today, "summer" is officially here - even if the calendar needs a few weeks to catch up - and by the time summer is over, so will 2011. Or close enough. So Rocks Off asked our staff to give us their favorite two albums of the year so far, plus one out ... More >>
Black History Month is always a great time to recall some of Houston's greatest musical innovators and leaders. Rocks Off will highlight some of them during the remainder of February. Jody PerryTexas Johnny Brown, one of the few Houston musicians who remembers "Mrs. Cullum"At a local blues j ... More >>
Black History Month is always a great time to recall some of Houston's greatest musical innovators and leaders. Rocks Off will highlight some of them during the remainder of February. Born in Third Ward on April 1, 1927, self-taught pianist Amos Milburn was one of the true godfathers of roc ... More >>
Just when Rocks Off was wondering how we were going to spend one of our last work-free days before SXSW, Cactus Music's weekly email circular showed up in our inbox. So now we know: We're going to be watching music. Shocker, huh? So much for laundry and shit. Here's what's going down: News on the M ... More >>
The final installment of our Five States of Texas project brings it all back home, to the new state of Brazoria, encompassing all of Southeast Texas from the Brazos Valley to Sabine Pass. Patron Saint: Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. A master of rock and roll, country, Cajun/Creole, blues and jazz, n ... More >>
Ideas toward a Houston-style musical Day of the Dead
On "lost" artists, found money and the murder of free enterprise
A former king of the Texas metal world unites Houston's warring rock tribes and wins a passel of Music Awards
The Press Music Awards Showcase brings a category-five storm of tunes
The proposed Museum of American Music History could be the solution to our "image problem"
Blues Defender (Choctaw Creek Records)
South Park Mexican carves out his place in history with the 2001 Music Awards
The Complete Blue Note Sessions (Blue Note)
Still a bluesman after all these years, Texas Johnny Brown returns to Houston
Pete Mayes, Houston blues' premier nice guy, finally gets busy
Jerry Ragavoy and the ghost of Janis Joplin