In unprecedented times, music is solace for many of us.
I’m an avid-bordering-on-rabid music fan and love going to concerts—in normal times. As the social impact of the epidemic took its hold in Texas, I turned to some of my favorites with this all Texas playlist.
“Po’ Boy” from 2019’s “Eric Tessmer 2” and “Untitled” from his 2010 “Green Diamond” album. “Po’ Boy” noodles along to a chop-cut rhythm guitar and Sammy Powell’s escalating keys while Tessmer’s superb tone and fiery leads intercede to ignite this instrumental. “Untitled” is his most painful heartbreak song with the refrain, “Little faith and a little pain, we’re gonna make it through this rain.” Fitting right now.
From “The Intro” produced January 2020, “Give Me Your Love” joins younger brother Alex’s bass line with John Dees’ keys to create this ode to affection sung by Glenn Jr. with heart and refined drumbeats provided by Brannen Temple. “Lose a Good Thing” is co-sung by the brothers, but Glenn Jr. surfs the wave pool with guitar prowess that Dees, Alex and Temple lifeguard for him. Both songs express the common thread from the Peterson Brothers band: love.
“My Way Down” and “Big-Legged Woman” are from his 1994 “Texas Sugar Strat Magik” album that celebrated its 25th year last fall with a live performance at Antone’s. Chris helps us exorcise our own little devils on the first track with speedy, sizzling SRV-like licks and a view into his own tortured soul. “Big-Legged Woman,” a Freddie King remake, is a fun, uplifting groove along the street with catchy, short-stop riffs while celebrating the object of his affection and a fear of getting hurt.
“Simmer” and “Sunny Sails” from the 2016 “Live Beets Vol. One.” For the instrumentalist in you that wants to drift to a faraway place without words clogging your pineal gland, both songs take you on a ride the whole album explores with funky organ, sharp guitar patterns and drums that hit the note you need to piece it all together. Rolf Ordahl on keys and bass, Rydog Johnson on guitar and Doug Leveton on drums provide this journey.
2012’s “Church on Monday” album, first experienced in person at their Monday night set at the Continental Club Gallery, is an album out of a time capsule. It is multi-generational jazz at its finest and brewed up right here in Austin. “Trouble No. 2” is its best example that combines Haslangar’s sweet sax tones, Dr. James Polk’s old-school organ and guitarist Jake Langley’s Grant Green touch. It’s the band’s tiptoe through a day without worries.
Greg Lemen is based in the Live Music Capital of the World — also known as Austin, Texas.