Support Cactus Music by pre-ordering a copy of the Ghosts of West Virginia on CD, LP or Limited Edition Indie Only Vinyl (***While supplies last). Each pre-order guarantees you a record on your purchased format that will be shipped to your door to arrive on or before May 22, 2020. Each order also includes a ticket to a virtual in-store that will go live on May 15th. Visit this link (bit.ly/GOWVCACTUSMUSICTX) to pre-order and get a ticket to the in-store. A link and password to the in-store will be sent to you on May 14th from New West Records.
Jason Kane & The Jive is a high voltage boogie rock n’ roll band from San Antonio, TX built on soul, blues, groove, and funk. Formed in 2014 by Jason Kane and Nick Jive, they derive influences from acts such as Grand Funk, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Johnny Winter, and Ted Nugent.
The band has released two full-length studio albums (‘Jason Kane & The Jive’ in 2017 and ‘Hellacious Boogie’ in 2018), and is currently working on their third, ‘Soggy Noggin’, which is slated for release in early 2020.
The Peterson Brothers combine infectious energy and modern grooves with soul, funk, blues & jazz to a create their own unique sound.
For a decade, the Texas natives have been building a fan base across America, playing both classic funk and soul, and their original music that includes jam-band style improvisation by Glenn Jr. on vocals and guitar, and Alex on bass, vocals and violin.
The brothers’ love for classic Funk, Soul, and Blues music was born when their mother and grandmother brought home a crate of assorted albums and turntable from a garage sale. The Peterson Brothers learned to play by listening to artists like The Isley Brothers, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Brothers Johnson, and B.B King; from then, they created their own stage show. Some of their first consistent gigs included regular performances at Antone’s, The Saxon Pub and other renowned venues in Austin.
The duo have since traveled the U.S. performing for crowds at Chicago Blues Festival, Minnesota State Fair, Texas State Fair, Riverbend Festival, Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival and many others. They’ve also opened for legendary artists including Gary Clark, Jr., Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jesse Johnson (The Time), Willie Nelson, B.B. King, New Power Generation (Prince’s longtime band), Buddy Guy and more.
“It’s important to point out the ages of these young cats, as they’ve become one of the most popular festival fixtures in the US, in just 10 years,” writes American Blues Scene. Minneapolis Star Tribune named them the band likely to earn the biggest fest buzz after performing at the Roots, Rock and Deep Blues Festival.
In 2018, they performed with the University of Texas Longhorn Pep Band for a special halftime show during the UT vs Baylor game. They’ve also held a packed weekly residency at Austin’s Continental Club for seven years.
In 2019, Gary Clark, Jr. told PBS News Hour that The Peterson Brothers are “some of the baddest cats in the world.” He included them in his finale super-jams at both weekends of Austin City Limits Festival, and they’ve opened for him across the country.
In November of 2019, they followed it with a single from their upcoming EP, and Buddy Magazine (Texas’ original music monthly) writes: “”Give Me Your Love” delivers the sound, feel, warmth, immediacy and fun of their stage show.”
The Peterson Brothers ushered in 2020 performing at The City of Austin’s official New Year’s Eve countdown. Their EP “The Intro” is set to debut with release parties across Texas and beyond in early 2020.
They are featured on the cover Buddy Magazine’s January 2020 issue. In the feature story, Chuck Flores writes, “To witness the Peterson Brothers’ live show is to witness sheer joy. There’s the constant eye contact and electric smiles that pass between them, the undeniable ebullience. And then there’s the way they move together on stage, stepping and twisting, swaying together, then suddenly freezing (but only for a beat or so, but then again you never know — they never play anything the same way twice), then it’s right back into the groove.”
The Skatastrophics are an amalgamation of two Houston ska/punk bands, Always Guilty and Fuska, formed in 2014 when members of both bands wanted to start playing ska and reggae, in more of a traditional form.
We’re dreamy rockers (alternative – shoegaze) from Houston, TX.
There is deep soul in the music of Devon Gilfillian—but for the talented Nashville-based singer-songwriter and bandleader, that descriptor goes way beyond a mere genre classification.
Growing up in Philadelphia on a steady diet of R&B, hip-hop, rock, blues, and soul music, Gilfillian gravitated to records that ignited his mind while making his body move. For him, listening to the towering icons of his musician father’s era—Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, The Temptations—was just as formative and exciting as discovering the new sounds of his own generation, and the beats and rhymes made by rising rap stars like Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye West, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z inspired him in new ways. He began to recognize a connective thread in the sounds he loved best: from the golden throwbacks sampled by the hip-hop beat makers to the raw, emotional vocal deliveries of the Motown greats, for Gilfillian the key ingredient seemed to be the “soul”—not simply the genre, but the feeling and vibe.
Following his electrifying 2016 debut EP with upbeat singles like “High” and “Troublemaker” in 2018, Gilfillian signed to Capitol Records and hit the road––performing with the likes of Anderson East, Keith Urban, Gladys Knight, Kaleo, The Fray, Mavis Staples, and more. In early 2019, Gilfillian traveled to Africa to find healing and inspiration before headlining a tour in Scandinavia and opening for Brothers Osborne on their spring tour. His debut album, “Black Hole Rainbow,” is available now.
Rachel Ammons Music is half of the beloved “psychedelta” duo Tyrannosaurus Chicken and toured the past few years with the internationally in-demand Ben Miller Band, which mixes folk, blues, bluegrass, country and other odds and ends to make what the band calls “Mudstomp.” Ammons sings and plays violin, cello, guitar and electric cactus. “Smilin’ ” Bob Lewis, her godfather and Tyrannosaurus Chicken bandmate, was the luthier who kept a shop in the back of Musicians Exchange in Van Buren. Ammons apprenticed under him for years, and the electric cactus was her doing.
“I was messing with a cactus at a friend’s house and noticed that the different spines made different tones. Not only that but some of the intervals were actually on a musical scale,” she explained. “I started with some combinations of 3 or 4 notes, almost arpeggios that sounded kinda classical. It blew me away. The connection makes sense, though, if you look at the link between math, biology and music.” She put a pickup on the cactus and likes to run it through effects pedals. She thinks it sounds just like a “kalimba mixed with a guitar.”
“Born of the gutters and raised by acid, the three that are Thyroids have been digesting the urban leftovers that is Garland, Tx since 2015. Post apple-pipe smoke sesh, ground work began for the fizzy and blown-out 5 song EP Gnarlands, an homage to their gnarly proving grounds. Soon after, word of this cultural psuedo-phenomenon reached the upper echelons of the Dream Life Record Syndicate, who extended a generous and welcoming hand to the band.
Having simmered in a broth of Southern Hospitality, self-loathing and chicken bones, Thyroids were ready to be plated and shoved through the expo window of the rest of the U.S. The 2016 Heat Tour included a stint of Midwest and East Coast presentations that invoked the good, the bad, and the hideous.
Upon their return, ensuing bouts of heart-breaking, street-sleeping, and job-working left Thyroids beaten and battered. Not to mention the war waged on the good folk of the surface by the horrid subterranean reptilian-people on the 20th of January at 11am Central Standard Time. Who could forget? And furthermore, who could focus on a lively music career? But as anyone must at least try to, they rebuilt and reinvigorated. Shows were played, eyebrows were raised, and Dallas based BarfWave Records reached out to the group to begin the production of Compact Discs.
On gear borrowed from their newfound label mates, Thyroids returned to their self-produced roots with the inception of what would become Gelatinous Happiness; a 13 minute and 41 second blazer designed with only their own listening pleasure in mind. And now, a year after its deliverance, the salad trio have set out to bring you the good word contained within. Hail Shrek! Wash Your Brain.”
Don’t bother asking The Mastersons where they’re from. Brooklyn, Austin, Los Angeles, Terlingua; they’ve called each home in just the last few years alone. If you really want to get to know this husband-and-wife duo, the better question to ask is where they’re going. Perhaps more than any other band playing today, The Mastersons live on the road, perpetually in motion and always creating. Movement is their muse. On tour, in the unpredictable adventures and characters they cross, in the endless blur of skylines and rest stops and dressing rooms and hotels, that’s where they find their greatest inspiration, where they hone their art, and where they crafted their brilliant new album, Transient Lullaby.
“When you travel like we do, if your antenna is up, there’s always something going on around you,” reflects guitarist/singer Chris Masterson. “Ideas can be found everywhere. The hardest thing to find is time.”
For the last seven years, The Mastersons have kept up a supremely inexorable touring schedule, performing as both the openers for Steve Earle and as members of his band, The Dukes, in addition to playing their own relentless slate of headline shows and festivals. It was Earle, in fact, who pushed the duo to record their acclaimed debut, Birds Fly South, in the first place.
“Before we hit the road with him in 2010, Steve said, ‘You’d better have a record ready because I’m going to feature you guys during the show,'” remembers fiddler/tenor guitarist/singer Eleanor Whitmore. “We didn’t even have a band name at the time. We were going through all these ideas and Steve suggested, ‘Why don’t you just be The Mastersons, and that was that.”
Upon its release in 2012, Birds Fly South was a breakout critical hit on both sides of the pond, with Uncut awarding the album 9/10 stars and Esquire dubbing The Mastersons one of the “Bands You Need To Know Right Now”. Two years later, they followed it up with Good Luck Charm, premiered by the NY Times and praised by Mother Jones for its “big-hearted lyrics, tight song structures, and sweetly intertwined harmonies.” Pop Matters ranked it “among the top Americana releases of 2014,” while American Songwriter called it “a perfect soundtrack for a summer of warm nights and hot, lazy days,” and the Austin Chronicle praised the band’s “spunky wit and rare measure of emotional maturity.” The album earned The Mastersons slots on NPR’s Mountain Stage and at festivals around the world, from San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Australia’s Byron Bay Bluesfest.
With endless touring came new levels of comfort and confidence, and when it was time to record Transient Lullaby, The Mastersons knew they wanted to take a different approach than their first two releases. The band set up shop at Arlyn Studios in Austin, TX, where Chris shared production duties with longtime friend and collaborator George Reiff (Ray Wylie Hubbard, Band of Heathens). Together, they chased a sound that was subtler and more evocative, deeper and more contemplative.
“A lot of what we listen to when we have some rare time off is what we consider late night music,” explains Chris, who previously played guitar with Son Volt and Jack Ingram among others. “The last record was bright and jangly and we wanted this one to be vibey and dark. A lot of the stuff is very performance-based and not at all fussed with. We’ve grown so much more comfortable in our skin that we really weren’t trying to sound like anyone other than ourselves this time around.”
“We’ve had a lot of time and a lot of miles to refine our sound and our style of singing,” adds Eleanor, whose resume includes work with Regina Spektor and Angus & Julia Stone. “I think the depth of our songwriting has really grown, too. Part of the time we’re writing on a tour bus with Steve Earle, and the bar for poetry is pretty high when you’re within earshot of one of the greatest songwriters alive.”
Rich with Eleanor’s stirring string arrangements and Chris’s masterful guitar work, the songs on Transient Lullaby more than live up to the challenge. The album opens with “Perfect,” a loping duet written partially in Washington, DC, and partially in Newcastle, England, that paints a portrait of two broken lovers who still manage to find a strange optimism in this challenging world. Spare and affecting, the song puts the spotlight on the duo’s intoxicating vocal harmonies and makes for an ideal entry point into an album full of characters facing down difficulty and darkness with all the grit and humility they can muster. “Fight,” written in a downtown Cleveland hotel, is a wry wink at the battlefield of marriage (“I don’t wanna fight with anyone else but you”), while the fingerpicked “Highway 1” twists and turns on a California road trip through an emotional breakup.
“Life’s not easy,” reflects Chris. “It’s hard for everybody, and I don’t see it getting any easier. All you can hope for yourself is grace when walking through it, and someone to prop you up when you need a little help.”
Though it’s a deeply personal album, Transient Lullaby is not without its political moments. The Mastersons found themselves on tour in Lexington, KY, during the height of Kim Davis’ obstinate stand against the Supreme Court’s same sex marriage decision, and so they penned the infectious “You Could Be Wrong” in a dressing room before taking the stage with “Love Wins” draped across their guitars. “This Isn’t How It Was Supposed To Go”—a cosmic country duet written in Cologne, Germany—has taken on new layers of political meaning in 2017, while “Don’t Tell Me To Smile” is a tongue-in-cheek feminist anthem, and the gorgeous, slow-burning “Fire Escape”—which came to life in a hockey rink locker room in Alberta, Canada—suggests that the only solution to a polarized world of fear and distrust is to find strength and guidance in our loved ones.
“As we look at the world political landscape, global warming, a refugee crisis and the uncertain times we’re all living in, rather than lose hope, we look to each other,” Chris says. “It’s a little brighter than Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but not much.”
Ultimately, the road is at the core of everything The Mastersons do. “Happy When I’m Movin'” reflects their constant need for forward momentum, both physically and emotionally, and the title track paints the pair as “pilgrims of the interstate” on an endless voyage. “No I don’t unpack my bag / Traveling from town to town,” they sing in beautiful harmony. “Set ’em up and knock ’em down / Where there’s work and songs to sing / You’ll know the place where I’ll be found / If you don’t want to be alone / Then come along.”
For The Mastersons, all that matters is where they’re headed, and the songs they’ll write when they get there.