Lonestar Legends: Kinky Friedman & Dale Watson

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Lonestar Legends: Kinky Friedman & Dale Watson

THU MAR 21 8PM
$28, $23 MEMBERS (+$3 At the door) ***SOLD OUT***

 

For the first time ever, two Texas musical legends- the outrageous & though provoking Kinky Friedman, and the stubbornly independent traditionalist Dale Watson, join forces, sharing a night of songs, stories and humor.

This is a seated event. Seats are general admission please let the box office know if you have any accessibility concerns and need special accommodation.

About Kinky:

Where does one go in life, when you wrote your first song at age 11 (‘Ole Ben Lucas’), shortly after nearly playing a chess Grand Master (Samuel Reshevsky) to a draw?  If you’re Kinky Friedman. there was only one way to go: up.

Like so many cool people in the boom generation, Kinky Friedman first saw the world through the Peace Corps in the sixties.  Kinky did his PC time in Borneo as an agriculture extension worker, wherein he introduced the Frisbee to the natives and taught farming techniques to people who had been farming successfully for thousands of years.  But it was in Borneo that Kinky began to write the tunes that would propel the rest of his life.

Kinky had formed his first band, King Arthur & the Carrots while a student at the University of Texas, prior to his Peace Corps stint, but when he returned to the states, he really got serious with his second band, Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys, the unit for which he is most famous, musically.

For his first album, Kinky released ‘Sold American’ in 1973 for Vanguard Records.  His repertoire mixed social commentary (‘We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You’) and maudlin ballads (‘Western Union Wire’) with raucous humor (such as ‘Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed’). His ‘Ride 'Em Jewboy’ was an extended tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, and one of his most famous tunes from this session, ‘They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore,’ is still on many hip playlists.

In the mid-'70s, Friedman and the Jewboys toured with Bob Dylan & the Rolling Thunder Revue. By 1976 he had recorded his third album, ‘Lasso From El Paso,’ featuring appearances by Dylan and Eric Clapton. The Texas Jewboys disbanded less than three years later, and Friedman moved to New York, where he became a Sunday night fixture at the legendary Lone Star Cafe.  His performances, often featuring guests like Robin Williams and John Belushi, were equally legendary.

During the seventies, Kinky set several high water marks in his early performance career.  In 1975, Friedman and the Jewboys taped an Austin City Limits show which was never aired. According to the show's executive producer, Terry Lickona, this was the only time in the show's long history that an episode went unaired. Lickona told the Austin Chronicle "I've seen it many times –  I think it was a great show, and it might be as offensive today as it was back then."

Kinky was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in October 1976, the first year of SNL, and he claims to have been the first full-blooded Jew to take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.  Apparently, this is true.

Starting in the early eighties, Friedman shifted his creative focus to writing detective novels, after a bizarre incident at an ATM machine.  Kinky spotted a woman being robbed and dashed to her rescue using his bank card to gain entry to the locked ATM lobby.  The episode unleashed Kinky Friedman, the private detective, and sparked a series of detective novels that have become world-famous.  Featuring a fictionalized version of himself solving crimes in New York City and dispensing jokes, wisdom, recipes, charm and Jameson's whiskey in equal measure, the books are written in a straightforward style which owes a certain debt to Raymond Chandler, though Kinky has also quite fairly been referred to as the “Mark Twain of Texas.”

Kinky continued to tour throughout the eighties, this time in support of his novels, and a series of international publishing deals took that touring around the globe.  During this period, his musings began appearing in such places as the New York Times, Playboy and Texas Monthly (where he later wrote a regular column).  Ebooks and audio books (read by Kinky, himself) of all his great detective novels are available on line.  

In 1986, Kinky took a break from writing and touring to try something new - politics.  He ran for justice of the peace in his home town of Kerrville, Texas.  Though he lost the race, he did discover a passion for politics.  It would be another eighteen years, but he would revisit that arena.

In the nineties, Kinky began branching out with more personal writings.  Since then he has discussed everything from social mores (‘Kinky Friedman’s Guide To Texas Etiquette:  Or How To Get To Heaven Or Hell Without Going Through Dallas-Fort Worth’) to armadillos (‘The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic:  A “Walk” In Austin’).  He’s even written a hit children’s book (‘The Christmas Pig:  A Fable’).

In 2004, the Kinkster returned to the political field, this time daring the state of Texas to think big and elect him governor in 2006.  Running on a shoestring budget, with help from folks like Jesse Ventura and his Minnesota team of political handlers, Kinky garnered over a half million votes - not good enough to win it, but good enough to influence Texas politics long into the future.  Kinky was the first candidate in the history of the state to make it onto the November ballot as an Independent candidate - astounding, considering his campaign motto:  “Why the hell not?”

A second return to politics in 2014 saw Kinky running for Texas State Agriculture Commissioner on a full-legalization platform that may not have won him an election, but that has been instrumental in Texas now considering both medical use and personal use marijuana legalization in its state legislature, proving once and for all that the Kinkster is truly the “governor of the heart of Texas.”

On July 3rd, he released his first all-new self-penned album in nearly forty years, ‘Circus Of Life.’  He released it on his own terms and on his own Echo Hill Records label.  A monster summer tour followed in June, July, and August.  Yep, Kinky is finally doing it his way.  Harking to his early years, he has chosen to ignore the Nashville ethos, that all must be concertedly “radio friendly,” sweetened, and over-produced.  What he and producer Brian Molnar have delivered is simply one of the most beautiful albums of this year or any other.  The first single, Autographs In The Rain (Song To Willie) hit heavy rotation on SiriusXM Outlaw Country, and there are at least four more top shelf A sides.

With Joe Cirotti on multiple instruments, and Mickey Raphael, Augie Meyers, Original Jewboy Little Jewford, Clay Meyers and Jim Beal providing amazing grace notes, not a single track on the album fails to reach its very high mark.  Kinky may “just have to stick with songwriting” after all.  To verify this, he took it on the road, for one of the longest, most comprehensive tours of his storied career.  After flash mob-style appearances in Galveston, Houston and Nacogdoches, TX, the ‘Circus Of Life Tour’ began in earnest in Pittsburgh, and rumor has it that it will continue on forever.  Yes, the second act has begun.  May it never end.

 

About Dale:

Dale Watson, keeper of the true country music flame, latest album Call Me Insane, was recorded in Austin with veteran producer Lloyd Maines (Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, etc.). The Austin-based honky-tonker carries on in the tradition of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson with his “Ameripolitan” brand of American roots music.

Album highlights include “Jonesin’ For Jones,” a love song to the music of the legendary George Jones, “A Day At A Time,” about “getting by by barely getting by;” “Call Me Insane,” the album’s moody title track; “Bug Ya For Love,” a fun warning to all the single ladies, and “Mamas Don’t Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be Babies.” (Yes, it is an answer song to the Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson hit.) “Crocodile Tears” is a tear-in-your-beer country song that sounds like an instant classic and “Burden Of The Cross” reveals Watson’s serious side.

Call Me Insane was recorded in Austin by Watson and his ace touring band, “His Lone Stars”: Don Pawlak (pedal steel), Mike Bernal (drums & percussion), and Chris Crepps (upright bass & background vocals). Dale plays electric guitar throughout and Lloyd Maines added acoustic guitar. They were joined in the studio by Danny Levin on piano and the Honky Tonk Horns: Jon Blondell (trombone), Joey Colarusso (saxophone), and Ricky White (trumpet).

“Having known Lloyd over 20 years and worked with him as a musician, I knew he was a great guy and picker," Watson says. "But having Lloyd produce your record is like letting your mom in your kitchen. You know you’re gonna like what comes out and it's amazing how such basic ingredients can be made even better. He is an artists' artist.

The admiration is mutual. "I've been a Dale Watson fan since I played steel guitar on some of his early records," Maines says of the sessions. "My early musical influences are the same as Dale's. We both grew up playing real country music. Dale is one of a very short list of today's artists who still keeps it real country. I'm honored that he asked me to produce his new record. I think he knew that I would maintain the integrity of his passion for the music."

Dubbed "the silver pompadoured, baritone beltin', Lone Star beer drinkin', honky-tonk hellraiser" by The Austin Chronicle, Watson sat in with Jimmy Kimmel’s house band as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC) from SXSW 2015. He also emceed the first ever SXSW “Ameripolitan” showcase featuring the best of Honky-tonk, Outlaw Country, Rockabilly and Texas Swing music.

Since the release of El Rancho Azul in 2013, Watson’s profile has risen considerably via appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS), Austin City Limits and The Sun Sessions(PBS) and as a guest on NPR’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me. A veteran touring artist and consummate entertainer, he is on the road more than 300 days a year. He also put his money where his heart is and took over ownership of two struggling Texas honky-tonks, the Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin (home of Chicken $#!+ Bingo) and The Big T Roadhouse in St. Hedwigs (outside San Antonio).  If not on the road, he and His Lone Stars perform at one of them each Sunday.

Dale has flown the flag for classic honky-tonk for over two decades. He’s christened his brand of American roots “Ameripolitan” to differentiate it from current crop of Nashville-based pop country. The Alabama-born, Texas-raised Watson may be the hardest working entertainer today and is rapidly approaching legendary status.  He is a country music maverick, a true outlaw who stands alongside Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and George Strait as one of the finest country singers and songwriters from the Lone Star State.

THU MAR 21 | 8PM | $28, $23 MEMBERS (+$3 At the door)

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