Ray Wylie Hubbard Main Street Crossing, September 3
Ray Wylie Hubbard likes to live by words he eventually set to music in the song "Mother Blues" from his 2012 album The Grifters' Hymnal: "The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, well, I have really good days." The 67-year-old iconoclastic singer-songwriter is a holdover from Texas' progressive-country scare of the '70s, and pocketed plenty of mailbox money from writing Jerry Jeff Walker's Viva Terlingua! hit "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother."
But starting with his mid-'90s albums Lost Train of Thought and Loco Gringo's Lament, Hubbard began releasing music at a steady clip that has yielded ten more albums and improbably endeared Hubbard to both the good-timin' Texas Country scene (where he's something of a kindly uncle figure) and Americana aesthetes who can't stand that crowd. CHRIS GRAY
DJ Flash Gordon Parks Alley Kat Lounge, September 3
If you see Flash Gordon Parks around a set of turntables -- which you can every Wednesday at the Big Top's tiny next-door neighbor, the Alley Kat Lounge -- it's better than even money you're in for a funky good time. Parks pours an encyclopedic knowledge of soul, funk, jazz, hip-hop and more into sets that will make you think as much as they make you sweat. That's no easy feat, but he makes it sound that way. CHRIS GRAY
Omotai Fitzgerald's, September 3
Houston sludge monsters Omotai have evolved into one of the city's most creative metal units, without sacrificing any of that devil-horns swagger that exalts in the visceral joys of rocking people's faces off. It seems to be working; earlier this year Decibel magazine showcased the group's track "Throats of Snakes" on its Web site.
After sealing their arrival on 2012's stunning Terrestrial Grief, Omotai's latest full-length offering is the Fresh Hell EP (Treaty Oak Collective), which folds jagged slivers of prog, grindcore and thrash into seven intimidating slabs of artful guitar noise. With Black Cobra, Lo-Pan and Funeral Horse. CHRIS GRAY
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Sucre Fitzgerald's, September 4
Tyler's Eisley is one of the more unusual Texas acts to emerge out of the '00s, a group of school-age siblings from the Piney Woods whose lush, eerie folk-pop was embraced by the indie world all the same. The members are all grown up now, and while Eisley is still very much a going concern, they've reached that stage where musically speaking it's OK to pursue more personal matters.
For keyboardist Stacy King (nee Dupree), that meant recruiting husband Darren King and their friend Jeremy Larson to record Sucre's 2012 debut A Minor Bird, the sort of intricately arranged orchestral pop that prompted MTV.com to swoon, "incredible." After Eisley finished a tour behind last year's Currents, King has reactivated Sucre for this fall club swing engineered in part to distribute her brand-new Loner EP. With the Honey Trees and Merriment, the Southern California dream-pop duo that will serve as Dupree-King's backing band. CHRIS GRAY
Nick Greer The Corkscrew, September 4
"Everybody should be able to relate to these songs and not feel like there's some hidden message," Nick Greer told the audience at the listing party for new album Heart on Fire back in April. "And I hope the album speaks to people, because I can't be the only one who's this angry." Pain and anger notwithstanding, Greer was not lacking in gratitude. Both to his company on on his record, he expressed graciousness and even humility, consistently eschewing any self-flattery and instead acknowledging everyone else's hard work on the album.
Greer described his group's last album as a powerhouse blend of funk, blues, soul and hip-hop. Heart on Fire possesses similar characteristics, but it's bigger; it sounds more grandiose, and combines the disparate elements into a triumphant, unique sound. "We put out a record last March, and it was good," Greer said, "but this one...this is better." MATTHEW KEEVER
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