David Ramirez We’re Not Going Anywhere: At a historical moment of immense political, social, and ecological uncertainty, those four simple words comprise both a promise and a protest, a comforting reassurance of inclusion as well as a hearty cry of defiance. It’s a statement that offers no small sense of hope, in that sense matching the music contained on the album.
On these vividly imagined and passionately performed songs David Ramirez takes in the world from his unique perspective: “Being half white and half Mexican has made this current political climate especially interesting. So many cultures in this country are being viewed as un-American and it breaks my heart. My family have raised children here, created successful businesseshere, and are proud to be a part of this country. Most of what I’ve seen as of late is misplaced fear. I wanted to write about that fear and how, instead of benefiting us, it sends us spiraling out control.
”Thealbum that bears that title marks a departure for Ramirez, whobuilds on the rootsy sound of his early albums to create something new, something bold, something anchored in the here and now. Scouting out unexplored music territory, these songs bounce around energetically, toying with new ideas and experimenting with new sounds, as barbed-wire guitars and retro-futuristic synths grindagainst his anguished vocals and evocative lyrics.
“We flipped script a little bit and went in with a pretty specific vision: lots of keyboards and some out-of-the-box guitar sounds. I took a lot of notes from the indie bands I’ve been listening to and from the bands I loved growing up in the ‘80s, like the Cars and Journey. Let’s just live in this spacy world for a while and see what comes out of it.”What came out of it isn’t just Ramirez’s most adventurous album to date, but arecord that captures the mood of the country in its music as well as in its lyrics. While he does tackle some new subjects, Ramirez grounds these songs in his own perspective, which means every song remains bothhuman and humane, outraged and generous. There are some break-up songs on here, sober and self-castigating: first single “Watching from a Distance” thrums with iridescent synths and a tight backbeat that sounds like lines on the highway measuring the widening rift between lovers. “People Call Who They Wanna Talk To” is Ramirez at his catchiest, marrying a playful earworm hook to a somber realization about romantic irreconcilability: “Don’t blame it on the distance, don’t blame it on the booze… people call who they wanna talk to.” A simple line, but completely devastating.
“This is the first album I’ve had properly produced,” says Ramirez, who either produced or co-produced all of his previous efforts. For We’re Not Going Anywhere, he hired Sam Kassirer, who has helmed albums by Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Bhi
Bhiman, and many other artists. “I needed to evolve and change things up a bit, which is why I chose Sam. He pushed me in a way I hadn’t been pushed before.” Kassirer challenged Ramirez to simultaneously simplify and complicate his songwriting, to find new ways to tell his stories. “He said, I want you to try to tell a story but use fewer words and more space. In other words, let’s not make a singer-songwriter record. Let’s make a band record. Once he said that, my mind just opened up in a way it never had before. It was fun to just be more straightforward lyrically. It left a lot of space for the music.
”In January 2017 Ramirez and his band decamped to the Great North Sound Society, an eighteenth-century farmhouse in rural Maine that serves as Kassirer’s studio. Especially in the winter, when the trees are bare and snow blankets the ground, the setting proved inspiring. “It’s very secluded, which was part of the appeal. We were able to get out of ourtouring headspace and stay completely involved with the record and what we were doing.” That allowed the band to concentrate on the music, to pursue ideas without distractions and misgivings, but it also removed them from the world during a momentous event.
We’re Not Going Anywhereturns that distance into a big-picture perspective—engaged and informed, compassionately political but not necessarily partisan. “We’d take breaks during the day and watch the news and see all the rallies and marches and the disruption and the out-of-control feeling that was everywhere then—and, frankly, still is now. We were looking around and no one was around us. The closest house was a mile away, so it was just us. We were grateful just to retreat from that social tornado for a while and create something that we hoped would be very beautiful.”
Looming over every song is the ghost of Ramirez’s great-grandmother, who inspired “Eliza Jane,” a deeply poignant and personal tune near the album’s conclusion. In gracefully plainspoken lyrics, Ramirez describes how she and her brothers left Oklahoma during the Great Depression, heading northwest to Oregon, where she played piano in a country band. “My mom was telling me this story and the song was writing itself. I wish I had knownher, because I’m curious what drove her. I know what drives a lot of my musician friends, but I really want to ask a family member: Why did you do this? Was it just for fun? Was it a passion so deep-rooted that you couldn’t not do it?”
While he may describe the creative process as fun, Ramirez obviously has inherited a deep-rooted passion—one that will continue to drive him well into the future. “I’m not going to be so afraid to take risks in the future, like I have been in the past. I’ve been so stressed and concerned with every detail, but I learned to let that go. Let’s just have fun. Let’s get weird. I’ve never felt that way about my work. I still respect my older stuff, but I just didn’t want to be afraid anymore. That’s what I learned on this one.”
Gio Chamba is a musical duo from Houston Texas, consisting of guitarist & singer Giovanny Alejandro and percussionist Coffee Guzman. Their live shows are as dynamic as their music in that they span many genres and moods. They are musical chameleons, blending in and connecting effortlessly with music fans of all kinds.
2015-16 were great years for them, as they performed along acts such as Natalia Lafourcade twice, Los Lonely Boys, Deltatron, Dengue Dengue Dengue, Ozomatli, Las Cafeteras, Making Movies, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and The Suffers, to name a few.
They kicked off 2017 with a Super Bowl Live performance in downtown Houston and have released their first single “High Rider” in late February, along with an official music video for it. They also released another single called “Flamin’ Hot Chido”, which featured Corpus Christi producer, Principe Q, with a music video to go along with it. They released their first album as a duo, entitled “TEJAS”, on August 4th, 2017.
Blending live and electronic dance performanances all in one, they are the only Houston based artists who bring an array of genres together to deliver some original, tropical fusion that will make even the most introverted listener/attendee find a groove. Chamba’s music is a wave of diversity with an overall message of love, peace and acceptance.
Almost every Saturday of the year, we present a program of free in-store events and performances. This has been at the core of Cactus Music culture for decades and it is about more than business for us. Our in-stores are where kindred spirits congregate to catch up, discuss music that they love and have an experience. We feel it puts great record store peace and love out there which we know is a powerful thing.
This Saturday, September 2nd, maybe more than any Saturday ever, we feel compelled to put some great music on the Cactus Music stage and not have our tradition interrupted by prolonged Hurricane nastiness. We’ve asked some very talented friends to perform and we know that it will lift spirits. All artists have fine releases available and they are staff favorites.
We will, as always, be serving delicious Saint Arnold Brewing Company beverages. This Saturday we are asking for a suggested donation which we will donate directly to our good friend, Bun B‘s wife Queenie’s GoFundMe efforts, Trill Funds for Victims of Harvey. As always, our events are free, open to the public and kid friendly. Please join us for an afternoon of great music and camaraderie. We hope to see you there.
As a young musician straight out of Texas, Radney Foster spent the lengthy drives in between tour stops reading the likes of John Steinbeck, Larry McMurtry, and Harper Lee. Over 30 years of artist cuts later, there is no question that he himself is an established storyteller. Whether it’s navigating the ever-changing music industry or battling a sudden, terrifying illness – Foster definitely has a story to tell.
In late Fall 2015, the legendary songwriter got the diagnosis every musician fears– a severe case of pneumonia and laryngitis. However, for someone who’s been producing songs for almost 40 years, the desire to write doesn’t fade along with the voice. During a grueling six week period of vocal constraint, Foster’s creative side emerged in the form of a short story inspired by the song, titled “Sycamore Creek,” and the idea for Foster’s newest endeavor was born.
For You To See The Stars is a project comprised of two parts – a book and a CD. The book is a collection of short stories published by Working Title Farm. Though the stories are fiction, they are informed by Foster’s upbringing on the Mexican border in Del Rio, TX. The story that most closely resembles memoir, “Bridge Club,” is a humorous and poignant retelling of the song “Greatest Show on Earth,” a recollection of playing music with family and friends on the back porch on a Saturday night.
While it’s evident that Texas has always been an inspiration for his music, in For You To See The Stars, Foster explores various landscapes, both physical and emotional, from the story of a retired spy in New Orleans to the tale of a Dallas lawyer wandering the Rocky Mountains in search of redemption to a post-apocalyptic parable of a world in endless war.
The beauty of this CD/book combo lives within Foster’s extensive imagery, which not only further expands the meaning behind Foster’s songs, but gives the reader a look at the thought process behind his songwriting. “For me, the goal of writing is always to touch that one person so much that they wonder how I got a peek into their living room–how I understood exactly what they felt. More than just rhyming or having a pretty melody, I try to express a part of the human condition that can make someone want to laugh, cry, make love, or all of the above.”
Although the literature can be enjoyed independently, each story is uniquely coupled with a song. The 10-track album, also titled For You To See The Stars, features nine new songs and a special re-recording of “Raining on Sunday,” the song Foster co-wrote with Darrell Brown, which became one of Keith Urban’s top Billboard singles. The album was recorded at the historic Nashville studio Sound Emporium and was produced by award-winning Will Kimbrough, who also plays multiple instruments and sings on the record. For You To See The Stars is Radney Foster’s eleventh album. Foster has written eight number one hit singles, including his own “Nobody Wins,” and “Crazy Over You” with duo Foster & Lloyd. His discography contains countless cuts by artists ranging anywhere from
For You To See The Stars is Radney Foster’s eleventh album. Foster has written eight number one hit singles, including his own “Nobody Wins,” and “Crazy Over You” with duo Foster & Lloyd. His discography contains countless cuts by artists ranging anywhere from country (Keith Urban, The Dixie Chicks, Luke Bryan, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) to contemporary (Marc Broussard, Hootie & The Blowfish, Kenny Loggins, Los Lonely Boys). Although highly recognized and accomplished in the music world, Foster is a true renaissance man. In addition to For You To See The Stars being his first book, Foster recently starred in the world premiere of “Troubadour,” at Atlanta’s Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre. He also appears in the upcoming feature film, Beauty Mark.
For You To See The Stars is Foster at his classic storytelling best, both as a seasoned singer/songwriter and a soulful writer of prose. Although both components stand-alone as separate pieces of art– they are meant to be enjoyed together for a reason. When coupled, the book and CD give fans a deeper insight into the subconscious of Foster’s storytelling. Journalist Peter Cooper puts it best, “Radney Foster writes with an uncommon depth of emotion, humor, empathy, and clarity. I’m going to ask him how he does it, and if he tells me I’ll let you in on his secret. Until then, it’s best that we read, wonder, and revel.”
The Never Understood EP was written in Austin, Texas throughout 2015, mostly in my garage (honorable mention to my living room). Without my iPhone Voice Memo app, lots of performing around the country to half empty rooms, the Nick Cave ACL taping, Adderall, Tecate, and The Savage Detectives, none of these songs would have come about.
Jim Eno produced and recorded these songs at his studio, Public Hi Fi. I met Jim at a bar (Austin! what a town!) and now we’ve recorded an entire album’s worth of songs (and then some!). The plan had been to Beyonce-drop a double album sometime in the next 13 years and call it Chinese Democracy Revisited or Chinese Democracy II. But, frankly, my hair isn’t that red nor can my bank account handle so much anticipation. Hence, the Never Understood EP.
The songs were performed and arranged by my favorite band of sweet and tender hooligans, The Side Arms (We’ll be touring for infinity so be on the lookout!). I take some pride in the fact that I got Eno to play keyboards on the song ‘Never Understood’ since he’s a drummer.
I hope when people listen to this record they think, ‘damn, this guy is hungry. He sounds like he’s been fasting for months, meditating on his songs. He’s somewhere passed hangry. He could use a steak. He’s pumping and thumping in time. The green light flashes, the flags go up. Churning and burning, he yearns for the cup.’ I hope that you people put our tour dates on your Gcal cos I need to pay my band and Jim.
With Love & Squalor,
Multicultural poet and musician Robert Kuhn was born in Houston, Texas and moved back in 2010 after bouncing around the world for twelve years. Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua all played home for him as different doors, jobs, occupations and art forms opened and led him on from an Academic All-American Line Backer to a vagabond fisherman farmer writing the critically acclaimed songs he has carried throughout the Americas. Broken hearts, broken backs, failed marriages, violence, riches, drugs, labor, poverty, music, poetry, dirt and salt; so it goes and continues.
Back in Houston, Robert joined forces with like-minded musicians (including extraterrestrial ancient bluesman Little Joe Washington) and recorded the album “Everybody Knows”. It was Little Joe’s last studio work and recognized by the press as one of Houston’s Top Releases of 2014. The latest album, “Maria the Gun” is scheduled for release in September 2017.
Robert currently lives in Galveston, Houston and on the road through the Americas where he is still sharing the unique and philosophical independent folk, blues and multilingual psyche-rock and roll Americana music that he writes and finds. It is honest at the least and esoteric at its best.
Houston Songwriter, producer, and author Andrew Karnavas is collaborating with Cactus Music, his favorite record store, to record a live in-store performance EP of new songs on Saturday, August 26th at 1:00 pm. The Andrew Karnavas Live at Cactus Music EP will be available first as a free digital download to Cactus Music newsletter subscribers and show attendees as a thank you for supporting local music and your record store. This new collection of love songs paints a bright, intimate, soulful picture in contrast to his moody 2010 debut album Film Noir and the “Delta Rock” sounds of the Runaway Sun catalog.
Featuring Screech of Death, No Love Less (with half of Mydolls), and Mel Hell and the Texas Mod Crushers, with special guests too!
For four decades, women have often been ignored or marginalized in the history of punk despite being an intrinsic and vital part of the movement since the very first whispers of ‘year zero.’ This book attempts to shed light on their varied and vibrant involvement, honor their musical legacies, and balance the views of Ensminger, a music writer since the mid-1980s, using both critical thinking and pop culture journalism, with the first-person point of view of the women themselves, including local punk luminaries Mel Hell (Texas Mod Crushers, Zipperneck), Lisafer (45 Grave, DI, Nina Hagen, Screech of Death) and Linda Younger (Mydolls).
Vol 1 presents a varied, democratic, and inclusive perspective unlike anything currently available that will explore the issues at stake, from social and gender politics to issues of violence, reproductive rights, feminism, genre categories, sexual norms, war and technology, record industry and tour network biases, DIY and humanitarian values, media narratives, street level power struggles, and much more.
At 104 pages, the book also surveys a wide-range, from classic three-chord punk and grunge/garage/gunk to Riot Grrrl, post-hardcore, and emo. Plus, it represents a multicultural input by focusing on global participants and minority communities in the U.S., including trans/nonbinary, Hispanic, African American, Asian, and other participants.
Started in 1995, and named after Graham Guest’s fifth-generation grandfather, Moses Guest is a Texas-based southern rock band that has just enough pop, jazz, funk, jam, and country in its veins to appeal to audiences of all stripes. The current line-up, formed in 1997, was voted Best Rock/Pop in the 2001 Houston Press Music Awards (“HPMA”). At the 2003 HPMA, Moses Guest and its members were nominated in three categories: Best Guitarist, Best Keyboardist, and Best CD.
Moses Guest has shared the stage with many great acts over the years, including Moe., Steve Miller Band, JGB, Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise, David Nelson Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Jayhawks, Lisa Loeb, Colonel Bruce Hampton & the Fiji Mariners, and it played a HORDE Tour date in 1998 in Antioch, TN.
Nowadays, Moses Guest plays live shows every few months in Texas and in California and would be happy to play the larger summer festival circuit, but the band has largely been committed to working in the studio.
That studio focus is in evidence on their new album, Light, which marks the lineup’s twentieth anniversary and is their first album release since 2007’s Best Laid Plans. The super-tight, super-polished performances, and arrangements hearken back to Moses Guest’s 2002 self-titled double-cd release. And the fact that Light was mastered by none other than Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios, London, does not hurt.
Light contains nine songs and features “Light” (the title-track), “Dawn,” “Emily,” “Free,” “Black Road,” and a ripping Allman-esque revision of “California,” which revives the great southern rock anthem for us in epic fashion.
Light evokes a certain sophistication that can only come with twenty years of playing together, but the heart of the Moses Guest sound remains the same: it’s southern, it’s classic, it rocks, and it jams.
Rick Thompson: keys, vocals
Jeremy Horton: bass
James Edwards: drums, vocals
Graham Guest: guitar, vocals