Go Groove to the Gourds
Describing the Austin, Texas-based Gourds is no easy task. In short, they are a Louisiana tinged Texas rock band with a little south of the border and Appalachia thrown in for good measure. In long, they are so much more. A live Gourds show is like free beer: it gets better and better as the night goes on and, no matter how late it gets, you're always left wanting more. Their Austin shows are legendary; they regularly play for over three hours with hardly a break, revving the crowd into a sweaty frenzy with countless foot stomping, hip swinging, yahooing original tunes and a wealth of raucous covers, including their now infamous take on Snoop's "Gin and Juice." The Gourds are masters of their instruments--lots of instruments. Four of the five play multiple instruments and trade off between mandolin, dobro, fiddle, accordion, maracas, banjo and guitars, all played with the precision that comes with many years playing together and the energy that comes from doing what you love for a living. Three members contribute to the songwriting, each with styles and harmonies that blend together perfectly to form the sound that, while difficult to describe, is unmistakably theirs. Max Johnston, formally of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco, is brilliant on anything with strings and contributed three songs to their most recent release, Cow Fish Fowl or Pig. In contrast to Johnston's heartfelt traditional Southern and Appalachian sounds, bassist Jimmy Smith sings with fervor and mad genius about a neighbor's evil dogs, the art of making pickles, bug infestations and time traveling fruit vendors. Center stage and spokesperson for the band is Kevin Russell. His deep tenor and classic approach to rock and country provide the foundation for the band's sound. Perhaps the best way to sample their sound is to pick up a CD or download any of the band-approved and -encouraged bootlegs that are widely traded on the Web. Better yet, go see them live. All it takes is one show to realize that the Gourds are a good time--a damn good time. :
The Gourds, Monday, July 19, 9 p.m., $10, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St. Austin honky-tonk crooner legend Dale Watson opens. Tickets at Ticketweb.