Playing ‘She’s About A Mover’ With Shawn Sahm

Here is the Shinyribs band playing the Sir Douglas Quintet’s She’s About A Mover with Doug Sahm’s son Shawn Sahm.  Cheryl Sahm posted this on Facebook earlier today and it was actually the first time I have seen the footage.  It was a great night of fun.  Just thought I’d share it with all of you.

Shows, Recording, Joe, Stephen King, Voltaire, and Other Musings

It’s been another busy week here in Texas.  Last weekend was four show, this weekend there are four shows, and two of my three days off I have been recording.  Going on the road this week with the Shinyribs band:

Shinyribs Show Dates

I’m hoping to get a book worth discussing before I hit the highway.  Musically I have been living exclusively in the world of Jamaica.

Recording just a few songs with my good friend Mick Flowers who, aside from being an excellent drummer and producer, is also a prop master, and an amazing one at that.  I just saw the last movie that he did, Joe starring Nicholas Cage, and it was fantastic.  A gritty southern grotesque with a dark heart and an even darker sense of humor.  It’s on Netflix right now and it is worth seeking out if you like your movies jet black or if you are a fan of southern writers like Harry Crews and Flannery O’Connor.  It was filmed around Austin and apparently many of the people in the film, although excellent, are not trained actors, but regular people recruited for the film.

In Austin we went from last year, where you couldn’t swim because all of the swimming holes were dry, to not being able to swim this year because the creeks are overflowing due to an abundance of rain.  I know better than to substitute weather for climate, but the weather sure has been strange down here the last few years.

The more I think about it the more I am extremely happy that I read Voltaire’s Candide.  It is a satire of the human condition of the highest order.  You will never hear anyone say, “All is for the best”, or “Everything happens for a reason”, again the same way.

Been reading Stephen King short stories the last couple of weeks.  It is amazing how prolific he is.  I know there are some critics that criticize his writing style, but he has an ability to tap into the uncanny in a way that few other writers can.  I like genre fiction, or songwriting, or movies, as long as they are done well.  There is something interesting about taking a certain genre, trying to work within its limits, and deliver surprises along the way that is appealing.  I always believed that a lot of creativity comes out of limitations.

Anyway, I am off to enjoy some rare sunshine before I head into the studio.

In the future, when all’s well…

Jeff

NPR’s Wits Behind the Scenes and The Comedic Genius of Fred Willard

I did a taping of the NPR show Wits last night, playing bass with Shinyribs.  The other guests on the show were Carrie Rodriguez and legendary comedian Fred Willard.  There were two things that really surprised me:

1.  The first was how much work went into the show.  The show was supposed to begin at 8pm.  We showed up at 1:30 to soundcheck.  Now, that is pretty common in the musical world, to soundcheck hours before a gig.  However, we were the first of many things that needed checking and the staff that was there worked from before we got there to after we had left the theater.  (11pmish)  Now again, for sound guys, roadies, this kind of long hours is normal.  I had never seen it done for a radio show though, just the insanely long hours put in for a one off taping.  Also, once we were done sound checking Carrie Rodriguez had to sound check and then they did a two hour script run-through.  The script run-through was the thing that really surprised me.  Every radio show I’ve been on we show up, set up our gear, right before we play the radio personality enters, and we do the thing.  However, everyone that was on the air got up and did parts of all the script, at times doing whole skits. It again took close to two hours.  Even Fred Willard, who could probably do whatever in his sleep, was game and did the whole run through.  I’m not saying that one could not deduce that an NPR show would be professional, but actually seeing the amount of work put into it was surprising to me for some reason.  This was show business in the sense that it was entertaining and fun, but people were clearly putting in a lot of work to make something as good as they could.

2.  The other thing was how fucking funny Fred Willard is saying just about anything.  I’ve seen stand-up comedy shows, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this, which is partly scripted and partly off the cuff.  He could say just about anything and the crowd laughed.  This wasn’t because he was famous, or because he had writers who gave him part of the script, or because he had spent weeks and months crafting his material like many stand-ups do; he just had great instincts, impeccable timing, and a quick mind.  There is a clearly a reason someone like that has gotten so many roles in comedies.  I’m not saying that when he is in a movie or TV show that good editing might not help him be even funnier, but in the flesh, just shooting things off the top of his head, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

On Tour This Week

Tonight I’ll be in Lubbock with Shinyribs.  We play Amarillo tomorrow night and Wichita Falls on Friday.  Saturday and Sunday we’ll be at Old Settlers Festival right outside of Austin.  If you want the full details go here.  That will take you to the Shinyribs show page.

Our new album Okra Candy is coming out this week.  We should have physical copies this weekend and it is available online on the 21st.

Old School Austin Groove Premiere

Today the video for Old School Austin Groove premiered.  It’s a song that is part of the soundtrack for the movie Crazy Carl And His Man-Boobs: An Austin Love Story.  Both were filmed by Beef & Pie Productions and you can stream the movie in full for free here.  The song was written and performed by Shawn Sahm and Kevin “Shinyribs” Russell.  That is Keith Langford, of Shinyribs and the Gourds, holding down the rhythm with myself.  The Crazy Carl movie is actually a really great documentary about Austin, despite its seemingly bizarre subject matter, though the title character himself is an interesting character study with a lot of heart for anyone interested in the strange thing we call humanity in general.  A must see for anyone that has any interest in the city of Austin past, present, or future.

The recording session and the filming of the video were great fun.  If I said any more someone would kill me…

Shinyribs New Album Release

Shinyribs Album Cover

The new Shinyribs album Okra Candy is now officially coming out April 14th.  I played bass on 7 of the 10 tracks and cowrote one of them.  I think this is the best Shinyribs album yet, due to Kev’s writing, great performances, and production that makes the most out of each track.  Stay tuned!