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St. Cloud (Shane Walker from the Gougers) CD Release Show w/ Elijah Ford and the Bloom & Kristy Krueger
March 30, 2013 @ 8:00 pm - 12:00 am
St. Cloud (Shane Walker from the Gougers)
St. Cloud is the name of the musical partnership of Brian Beken (Milkdrive, South Austin Jug Band) and Shane Walker (The Gougers). Coming off alternately as indie/alt country and modern experimental rock (sometimes within the same song), St. Cloud has parlayed big sonic ambitions and acute attention to lyrics into a sound that speaks to hillbilly hipsters and the NPR crowd alike.
“This project is the culmination of an idea that started with a record called JUAREZ by Terry Allen,” says Shane Walker, the band’s lead singer, speaking about the concept record originally released by the Lubbock artist/songwriter in 1975. “The idea was to put a band together as a side project to perform the songs from JUAREZ live, while we hired our friends to interpret the action on stage. Like a play. We got together a few times to practice and ended up writing a few songs together. It snowballed from there and St. Cloud was born.”
Snowball, indeed. Branching off from their acoustic and folkie roots (Beken is a fiddle/flatpicking champion, while Walker is a Kerrville Folk Festival winner with a Top- 10 Americana record in 2008), St. Cloud wraps its ruminative lyrics in a blanket of volatile guitar tones and driving rhythmic compositions that channel bands like My Morning Jacket and Wilco.
“Being creative is all about starting over,” says Walker. “We came up from the acoustic country/bluegrass/Americana world. And while we could never escape those roots – we would never want to – somewhere along the line we wanted to get beyond some of the restrictions that you find in the traditional styles.”
The result is a sophisticated new indie release, Tilting at Windmills, produced by Beken and set to release in March 2013. What began as a nod to a true Texas artist has culminated in a band intent on charting new ground for itself and making interesting and unique rock ‘n roll along the way.
Elijah Ford and the Bloom
Elijah Ford is a California native turned Austin based musician who began his solo career after breaking from touring with Oscar & Grammy winner Ryan Bingham. Ford put out his first solo record Upon Waking in 2011 and his new EP Ashes in October of 2012.
No stranger to the industry, Ford is the son of former Black Crowes’ guitar heavyweight Marc Ford, and toured as part of Ford Sr’s Fuzz Machine at the age of 17 before getting the gig with Bingham, where he stayed until 2012. The younger Ford has surely taken some valuable rock n’ roll notes from his father, but has also put together a pop rock vibe that’s completely his own.
Ford’s unique vocals and dynamic melodies are immediately reminiscent of Canadian crooner-Rufus Wainwright, while the honest and poetic, say-more-with-less approach to lyrics comes from one of his biggest musical influences, David Bazan. In addition to Wainwright and Bazan, Ford’s songs draw inspiration from The Shins, St. Vincent and The Strokes, all packaged into a cohesive, melodic and cinematic sound that he carries throughout both of his solo records.
Songwriter and artist Kristy Krüger has an extensive history in music that spans classical, jazz, folk, and rock genres. Throughout the course of her career as a pianist and composer, Krüger won a multitude of state, national, and international awards for jazz and classical composition and performance. When she shifted gears into the world of the singer/songwriter, she brought a broad spectrum of influences with her, ranging from Hank Williams, Sr. to Miles Davis as she criss-crossed the country, touring alone for over six years. Her untraditional jazz-influenced approach to folk music has carried her throughout the United States, and secured her status as a favorite in her hometown of Dallas, Texas. The Dallas Morning News says she has grown into one of the most eclectic singers in the area, citing her as a “female Tom Waits.” Krüger has also received two nominations for Best Acoustic Act and recently won the 2006 Dallas Observer Music Award from Dallas’ leading entertainment weekly for Best Female Vocalist.
After six years of touring the country alone, Krüger recently released her fourth album, Songs From a Dead Man’s Couch, a title which came about from her writing songs on the second-hand couch of a dead man. The title suits this collection of dark and deliberate songs and her voice sounds of a lone, well-traveled woman. She gives a nod to her Texas roots, offering up a sullen, classic country influence on several numbers. There is also a definite hint of New Orleans in her writing, inspired by the traditional jazz she heard while living there. Other tracks offer a fusion of dark Americana and electronics, a sound Krüger is calling “Ameritronica.” Engineer Ethan Allen, who has worked with countless artists, including Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, and more recently Gram Rabbit and the 88s, put the finishing touches on the record. Krüger produced the record, leaving some tracks raw and layering others with ambient electric guitars, keyboards and her latest instrumental endeavor, the pedal steel.