Country Music

Tonight: The Derailers at Goode's Armadillo Palace

Outside Asleep at the Wheel's almost 40-year run, the Derailers are one of Austin's longest-lived retro-country acts. Country bands in Texas don't attain this kind of longevity unless they can find that two-step dance pocket and fill a dance floor. True dancehall pros, the 'Railers have been doing it so long they can probably do it in their sleep. Even the departure of longtime frontman Tony Villanueva a few years back hasn't slowed the Derailers bus down.

I remember how in-the-know I thought I was when the band first started playing the old Satellite Lounge in 1996. I wore out the Live Tracks CD and bought another. My kids didn't much like honky-tonk, but Live Tracks became a favorite of theirs. Then wily Dave Alvin got hold of the band and they delivered Jackpot!, which was a scorcher of a country album and brought the band into the national spotlight.

Seven records later - the latest is last year's Guaranteed to Satisfy - the band continues to march to its own drum beat with, the departure of Villanueva aside, its virtually unchangeable and stellar lineup. The Derailers are like cars from Detroit used to be before engineers started planned obsolescence: They just work, and they don't wear out.

9 p.m. tonight, Goode's Armadillo Palace, 5015 Kirby, 713-526-9700 or

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William Michael Smith