Bayou City

Shows of the Week: A Gifted Musician Already Showing Others the Ropes

Shows of the Week: A Gifted Musician Already Showing Others the Ropes
Photo by Pooneh Ghana/Courtesy of EI-PR
McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, January 6
Late-night TV audiences may have recently spied Jackie Venson sitting in with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on CBS’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. In her native Austin, the singer, songwriter and guitarist has been known as one of the Live Music Capital’s most talented and versatile young musicians for a while. Daughter of well-known Austin jazz/funk bassist Andrew Venson and a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Venson is already passing along what she’s learned as creator and host of her own Web series How to Become a Musician, where she recently welcomed Texas honky-tonk hero Dale Watson as her second guest. As at ease onstage as in front of a camera, Venson is in her mid-twenties and now a seasoned recording artist who last September released Live at Strange Brew, an effortless and captivating set of jazz, blues and soul.

Heights Theater, January 6
Collectively, Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore represent almost a century of experience as songwriters whose attention to detail and idiosyncratic voices have made them two of America’s leading roots musicians. Alvin’s music welds the observational grit of fellow Westerners Tom Russell and Merle Haggard with a little of the muscular rock of his time as a member of X and the Blasters; last year, he and brother Phil honored R&B greats including Big Joe Turner and James Brown with Lost Time, the followup to their Grammy-nominated Big Bill Broonzy tribute, Common Ground. The distinctive nasal twang of Gilmore, meanwhile, is one of the most recognizable voices in Texas music, while he’s established himself as a master of philosophical country both with longtime Lubbock compadres The Flatlanders and on acclaimed solo albums like Spinning Around the Sun and Come On Back.

House of Blues (Bronze Peacock Room), January 6
Winners of Vocal Duo of the Year at November’s CMA awards, the Brothers Osborne beat out Florida Georgia Line in one of the biggest upsets in recent memory. The duo’s winning streak continued with a Grammy nomination for their biggest hit to date “Stay a Little Longer,” which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart earlier this year. Raised in the Maryland fishing town of Deale, T.J. (voice) and John (guitar) enlisted one of Nashville’s top hands in Jay Joyce (Little Big Town, Eric Church) to produce forthcoming debut LP Pawn Shop, which — to the brothers’ benefit — eschews the pop and R&B influences of most modern country in favor of Aerosmith and the Allman Brothers, and features a duet with Lee Ann Womack on “Loving You Back.” With LANco.

Continental Club/Numbers, January 7
Elvis Presley and David Bowie share much more than a birthday. Last January on The New York Times’ “Popcast” podcast, author and philosopher Simon Critchley flagged the obscure 1960 Elvis song “Black Star” as a possible clue to the origins of Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, released on his 69th birthday (and two days before his death). The creators of Houston’s annual “BowiElvis night” connected the two rock icons eight years ago, growing its mutual tribute into a tradition that now includes costumes, face-painting, games, and the Dem Damn Dames burlesque dancers. Presented by Splice Records, this year’s lineup includes “Pecos” Hank Schyma, John Evans, Hector Ward & the Big Time, Muddy Belle, Chase Hamblin, Spain Colored Orange, Austin’s Nic Armstrong & the Thieves, and more. Make a night of it by starting off the evening at Numbers, which will kick off its own Bowie tribute with a screening of The Man Who Fell to Earth at 7:30 p.m.

Wonky Power Live, January 7
Most couples wait until they get married to have a huge party, but there’s no reason to wait that long for the recently engaged Mario Rodriguez and Elizabeth Salazar, not only bandmates in Bang Bangz but the driving forces behind industrious local label/booking agency Wonky Power. Saturday’s concert at Wonky Power HQ, dubbed “Wonky Love,” features a reunion of Rodriguez’s previous outfit Tax the Wolf, the heavyish psych-rockers who have mostly been dormant since Bang Bangz took off. Also along to toss a few bouquets are a few of their close friends, who happen to be a few of Houston’s hottest bands: high-energy garage-rockers Young Girls; Tom Lynch’s synth-powered Vodi; and Deep Cuts, the indie-pop explorers currently causing a stir with jazz-inflected new single “Take Me Back.” DJ Gio Chamba’s between-set playlist may or may not include the “Chicken Dance.”
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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray