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First Friday feat. Two Tons of Steel w/ Rob Baird & Friendly Savages with a FREE show by Larynx and Taz & Co.

May 3, 2013 @ 6:00 pm - 1:00 am

Grand Stafford Theater presents
as part of downtown Bryan’s First Fridays
Friday May 3rd, 2013
Doors at 6:00 PM
FREE show at 7:00 PM
Cover starting at 8pm
Tickets $8 presale / $10 at the door


If there’s one thing Texans love, it’s a good party. But if you ask self-respecting Lone Star carousers what turns a bash into a blast, they won’t say beer or barbecue. They know it all comes down to the music. And there’s one band that can rouse revelers like no other: Two Tons of Steel.

Two Tons’ rambunctious brand of country-rooted rock has been inspiring listeners in the great republic — and far beyond — for more than two decades, and with its 10th album, NOT THAT LUCKY, the band is ready to throw its weight around even more.

NOT THAT LUCKY, the band’s first studio album since 2005’s VEGAS (which ranked among the top 20 Americana albums for 2006) is its fourth helmed by Lloyd Maines, Texas’ most in-demand producer (the Flatlanders, Dixie Chicks, Pat Green, James McMurtry). Explaining why he always clears his schedule for Two Tons of Steel, Maines simply declares, “They’re one of the best bands in Texas.”

And beyond. Already familiar to fans of the Grand Ole Opry, where Two Tons has performed some eight times, and to visitors at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, where it appears in a documentary about country music, Two Tons tours Europe regularly and in 1997, became the first U.S. act in 37 years to perform in the national theater of Havana, Cuba. It’s so beloved in its home state that Two Tons of Steel is featured in the IMAX film, “Texas: The Big Picture,” and is considered an institution at the state’s oldest, most revered dance hall, Gruene Hall, where its annual Two Ton Tuesdays summer series has been selling out for 14 years (and can be witnessed via the 2006 CD/DVD release, TWO TON TUESDAY LIVE!).

Lead singer-acoustic guitarist Kevin Geil does the heavy lifting when it comes to describing the San Antonio-based band’s sound. “Two Tons is two tons of steel,” he says. “We’re kind of in your face, almost punk rock at times.”

It’s high-energy, that’s for sure. Inspired equally by Elvis Presley and the Ramones, Two Tons combines the talents of the kinetic Geil with Dennis Fallon on electric guitar, Chris Dodds on drums and harmony vocals, and Chris Rhoades on upright and electric bass, joined in the studio by regular contributor Danny Mathis on pedal and straight steel. B3 player Riley Osborne, fiddler Brian Beken, acoustic guitarist/vocalist Tom Gillam and vocalist Drew Womack also played on NOT THAT LUCKY along with producer Maines, who added some acoustic guitar. Gillam, in fact, wrote the closing track, “Bottom of the Bottle,” and sings the second verse.

The album was recorded over the course of a month at The Zone in Dripping Springs, outside of Austin.

“It was really nice, because VEGAS was done in six days straight, including mixing, so there wasn’t a lot of chance to sit back and listen,” Geil says. Recording a few days at a time gave the band the luxury to change a line here and there, or try new approaches — often based on Maines’ suggestions.

“Lloyd is a master at taking what you have and making it better, but it’s still the same,” says Geil with a laugh, “like on ‘Alcohol and Pills,’ which is a Fred Eaglesmith song. When we went in, we were doing it as almost a train beat, and when Lloyd listened to it, he said, ‘Try this. Boom-chi-chi-dom.’ So that right there changed the whole feel of the song. The train beat was just too busy. It would have been a good song, but when you listen to it — when we listen to it — it’s like, that’s right. It’s all about the feel.

“We push the envelope of our abilities every album,” says Geil, “and this album, Lloyd just really did a great job pushing us even further.”

The new disc also contains the debut recording of “Without Your Love,” a song by hit-making tunesmith Monte Warden (co-writer of George Strait’s “Desperately”) penned with Two Tons of Steel in mind.

Geil, who wrote the other cuts on NOT THAT LUCKY, until recently had a second career as the San Antonio Express-News’ award-winning senior photographer. A massive round of layoffs gave him the opportunity to concentrate on the band fulltime. With the kind of work ethic that already has the band performing 200 dates a year, consistently earning top honors in San Antonio music polls and backing by its new label, Smith Entertainment Records, Two Tons is chomping at the bit. The band is itching to get out and pump up new audiences with its Two Tons cheer and its now-classic countrified version of the Ramones'”I Wanna Be Sedated” (a take so popular, other bands have covered it), not to mention its new tunes.

“We’re primed right now,” says Geil. “We’re ready to go.” Ready to ladle out some hot molten steel, that is.

Two Tons of Steel on Facebook | Two Tons of Steel on Twitter | Official Website


Rob Baird will be the first one to tell you that he hasn’t always been 100%, shall we say, forthright as a songwriter. Back in college (not too terribly long ago), he recorded an album that he has since “completely buried” — primarily, he says, because back then, “I just wasn’t writing about anything that really meant anything to me.” His next album, 2010’s Blue Eyed Angels (which he considers his proper debut), was a fair deal closer to his heart, but even then he was still an artist in search of himself. Songs like “Could Have Been My Baby,” “Blue Eyed Angels” and especially “Fade Away” all demonstrated that he was ultra-confident in the hooks department and talented enough to sound like he knew what he was doing, but Baird himself was still not entirely convinced.

By striking contrast, one listen to his new album, the aptly titled I Swear It’s the Truth, and it’s clear that Baird has not only found his sincere artistic identity, but grabbed his sense of purpose by the wheel and pushed pedal to the metal. “I’m moving like the wind through the trees, like a train on a track, there ain’t no stopping me,” he declares on the opening “Dreams and Gasoline. “Let the wheels spin free.”

“I just think it’s a really honest record, and it’s kind of the only record that I knew how to make at this point,” says Baird. “‘I’ll swear it’s the truth’ is how I feel about all of these songs. I’ve definitely felt this way in the past three or four years, and I feel like this is a pretty strong collection of songs representing where I am now and what I’m trying to do, whether it’s for better or worse.

“I’ve really spent a lot of time trying to perfect my writing, or at least trying to figure out who I am and convey that better in my songs, and trying to perfect the live show, because I want to be around for awhile,” he continues. “I just want longevity. If it takes a long time to figure out how to get enough fans to be able to tour the country and stay out there, then that’s fine. Because if it’s just going to be a flash-in-the-pan kind of deal, it doesn’t seem like it’s worth doing.”

Rob Baird on Facebook | Rob Baird on Twitter | Official Website


Friendly Savages is a young, up and coming folk/rock band based in Austin, TX. Over the last year and a half, the group has made big waves in the Austin music scene with their catchy melodies, haunting lyrics, and high-flying vocals. In 2012 they were called “Austin’s newest folk rock buzz band” by the Austin Chronicle. Friendly Savages is on the road to support their debut album, “O, Joshua!”.

Friendly Savages on Facebook | Friendly Savages on Twitter | Official Website


After humble beginnings in the small town of College Station, Texas the Band now known as “Larynx Music” began what they thought would be a slow and steady growing process. Playing their original music at various open mic nights, and other events in the college town home of Texas A&M University, Larynx’s music went viral and made it way across the map… On Monday August 20, 2012 Larynx Music recorded their first single “The One” along with “Circles” for their First EP ” Cosmic Love ” at ” New Fiction Studios” in Dallas, Texas with Producer Bryan David. This platform propelled their music off the ground like never before… Larynx Music seeks to inspire and to make the listener feel the pleading vocals, and thoughtful arrangements of every song. Their music will surely tap at you heart until you let them in.

Larynx on Facebook | Larynx on Twitter | Official Website


Taz is no newcomer to the Bryan/College Station music culture as he’s performed shows and open mics since he began his college career at A&M. As a multi-instrumentalist, Taz’s lush harmonies and unique instrumentation have, over time, created a signature sound; a concoction of suave jazz, r&b, and almost anything else that can be played on six strings. His music can be described as electric and innovative, a blue fire pirouetting to be witnessed. This Friday he will be joined by fellow musicians Amy Westwick, David Johnson, and Brenton Kim to reinvent the craft of the acoustic experience. Using a wide variety of songs and instruments, this group will have you singing along to the classics.

Official Website


May 3, 2013
6:00 pm - 1:00 am


106 S Main St
Bryan, TX 77803 United States