It’s about as Texan as it gets this week, with a passel of Lone Star musicians gracing stages both big and small around Houston. And there’s also an Okie fella in there, but we won’t hold that against him. It’s not his fault that he was born on the wrong side of the Red River.
Texan Leon Bridges has been described as a “throwback,” based on his old-school blend of soul and R&B. Not to mention a fondness for cool vintage clothing and records made with analog equipment, just like back in the day. His style has generated admiration from fellow musicians, leading to an adventurous collaboration with Houston rapper Bun B and Austin guitarist Gary Clark, Jr. (“Gone Away”). Keeping it all in the Lone Star state, Bridges has also recently worked with Houston phenoms Khruangbin on the EP’s Texas Sun and Texas Moon. If you want to see what the fuss is all about, Bridges will return to his Texas stomping grounds with a performance tonight at the White Oak Music Hall. If you dig Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, etc., you’ll dig this guy.
For a double dose of blues from two Texas ladies, head over to the Heights Theater on Friday for Annika Chambers and Sue Foley. Chambers began singing onstage during her two tours of duty in the U.S. Army, entertaining troops in Kosovo and Iraq. More recently, she has been the recipient of multiple prizes, including a Blues Music Award in 2019 for Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year. Inspired by Muddy Waters, Freddie King, and T-Bone Walker, guitarist Sue Foley has been playing and singing the blues since the age of 16, generally accompanied by Pinky, her paisley pink Telecaster. Fittingly, her latest album is called Pinky’s Blues in tribute to her you-can’t-miss-it axe. Though originally from Canada, we’ll claim Foley as an honorary Texan, based on her years of residency at Antone’s in Austin.
Also this weekend, it’s another double shot (a double double shot?) of the blues, this time at the Big Easy. On Friday, reigning Houston blues queen Trudy Lynn will occupy her throne, and on Saturday, harmonicist extraordinaire Steve Krase will take over with an evening of music anchored by his Mississippi saxophone. There is a bit of synergy in the mix here, in that Lynn and Krase have frequently recorded and performed together, not to mention that each artist will be celebrating a birthday this weekend. Since many of the same folks will want to attend both shows / parties, you have to wonder whether Big Easy proprietor Tom McClendon will just set up a bunch of cots so that fans can catch a few winks, wake up refreshed, and then rejoin the festivities. Sort of a blues slumber party. And maybe on Friday night we can make S’mores! Now there's a Wang Dang Doodle.
In 2018, Garth Brooks took his big-ass hat and headset microphone out of the mothballs for the not-so-imaginatively-named Stadium Tour, which makes a stop at NRG Stadium on Saturday. The stadium is truly Brooks’ natural habitat, where he can pull out all the stops and dazzle his fans with an extravaganza incorporating some over-the-top stagecraft. When you consider that Brooks grew up idolizing Kiss, it all makes sense. As Florence and the Machine said, “Too much is never enough.”