Robby Amonett on the Road with the Hard Working Banditos
Robby Amonett who to most, is known for his art and paintings of musicians as they perform their shows. He has done hundreds of bands/artists; (ie. Alabama Shakes, Hurray for The Riff Raff, Jason Isbell, Soul Asylum, Willie Sugarcapps and more.) One such band that Robby has painted on many occasions has been the hard working and constantly traveling band known as Banditos.
When I asked Robby to describe Banditos in simple terms, he said the following: “Banditos are like, if The Rollin Stones were from Tennessee.” The Southland Music Line has written about Banditos in the past, including listing them as one of the bands to watch in 2014. Looking at their schedule, it easy to call them ‘hard working’ from the abundance of shows performed night after night. Most recently during SXSW in Austin, they performed around a dozen shows within a few day period. Many were part of the actual festival within the Austin City Limits, but this band, who doesn’t like to be confined to one place or setting, were more than willing to venture out beyond to the outer fringes to play a gig at some of the most real and honest clubs around. Places that are “Real Texas!”
Robby is the kind of guy that fits in with this cool sort of originality possessed by the band, Banditos. Robby, a former Rodeo bull rider, who has toured across North America, knows a thing or two about the road. So when the opportunity arose for him to travel along with Banditos, he saw it as a great one.
A Banditos painting by Robby Amonett
Robby’s adventures with the band would start in Mobile, AL and head on to places like Hattiesburg and Jackson, MS, Lafayette and New Orleans, LA, then on into Texas. While in Austin, Robby said the band performed show after show all over town. Wherever they went, a good time was sure to happen.
Following a long day and night in Austin, Stephen Anderson and I were invited by Robby to come out to a place called Sam’s Town Point. He really didn’t give any directions, so we left it to GPS, which actually led us exactly to where we had to go. Though we made it, we sure were confused and for a time thought, Robby had sent us on a ‘wild goose chase’. We drove several miles from where we had been for most of SXSW into an area that didn’t seem like we were going to find any kind of music venue. Well, on arrival, tucked down a little winding road, was Sam’s’ Town Point and it wasn’t just any venue. This place was just what the doctor had ordered to escape the corporate sponsorship shows of SXSW. This was obviously a typical “Good Time Saturday Night” at Sam’s.
A live performance at Sam’s Home Point; while on the road with Banditos, Robby considered this venue as his favorite. Besides seeing Banditos each night, he was able to see many others bands like the one above fronted by the talented Ramsay Midwood. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
Another Banditos painting by Robby Amonett
Stephen and I had missed the set from Banditos, but were able to check out some of the good music that followed. Robby, of course, was doing what he always does when a band is performing…..He’s painting and enjoying every moment of it. It was refreshing to check out some music where nothing was corporate sponsored and people were just people having a great time. Robby has since expressed that this was one of the highlights of the trip with Banditos and he looks forward to spending more time in the future with the band.
From a recent article written by “The Line” highlighting Banditos as one of the bands to watch in 2014: There are times when searching for great music, that a band comes along thats easy to become a fan of. That’s what happened the first time I saw one of the hardest working, traveling bands around. Banditos are originally from Birmingham, AL, but now are based out of Nashville. The first time I had the privilege of seeing them was at The East Bank Pub in Pascagoula, MS. This small, but lively, venue is a Banditos favorite and a regular stop when passing through the area. They are a band that seems to use all their middle names in most bios, so here goes: Timothy Steven Corey Parsons (Vocals, Guitar), Stephen Alan Pierce II (Vocals, Banjo), Mary Beth Richardson (Vocals, Tambourine), Randy Taylor Wade (Percussion), Jeffery Daniel Vines (Upright Bass) and Jeffery David Salter (Electric Guitar, Lap Steel) are all members of the band, Banditos. One hears a wide range of influences in their music, but they create something very much their own. Mary’s vocals are exactly what you would want from such a great Southern band. I’m not going to compare her to singers that shes likely compared to often, but I will say she is a ‘secret weapon’ when it comes to her great voice. It perfectly fits in with the band’s great music, which can blow off any tin roof across the South. (by J.G. Cole; Dec. 2013)
Austin Locals Prove Why Austin is “The Real Deal”
Austin, Texas is considered by many as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and with good reason. The South By Southwest Festival, which this year featured more than 2,100 bands/artists (slightly down from last year, but nearly twice of what it was ten years ago), is only a part of why it can be called such. Besides that fact, there are other festivals throughout the year that provide a wide host of music (ie. Austin City Limits Music Festival); plus, there are more places to see great music on a nightly basis than probably most anywhere you’ll ever visit. Some 250+ places present live music regularly representing all styles of music. The music scene extends far wider than just on 6th Street. It spreads throughout the city, so there is no problem with finding a place to hear music.
The overwhelming number of places to see and hear incredible music is a dream for those of us who enjoy it. Some of the more notable places are: The Broken Spoke, the Mohawk, Stubb’s BBQ, Antone’s, Lucky Lounge, The Continental Club, Elmo’s Austin, Cactus Cafe; and to help prove my point, let me add the Elephant Room, Rattle In, Saxon Pub, The White Horse, Hotel Vegas….and of course downtown’s Moody Theatre, the home of Austin City Limits. Yes, the list is really staggering which makes it one of my favorite places in U.S. to see live music.
When I bring up the city of Austin, Tx to many longtime musicians from around the Country, I always get some quite colorful responses about it’s live music scene and, at times, crazy music history. Following this year’s SXSW, I ran into Mississippi Coast musician, Truitt Williams and he too, quickly spoke of some good memories of Austin. This is so common and I never grow tired of hearing the comments from musicians like Truitt.
Austin has the privilege of having such a diverse group of great musicians perform at it’s many venues. Some may not be household names in other parts of the Country, but in Austin and to those who love “Real Music”, know exactly what I mean with that statement.
James McMurtry is one such artist. He is what The Southland Music Line’s Stephen Anderson calls the “Real Deal” a term he uses to describe the very best in pure, raw and honest-to-goodness music. We were fortunate enough to see James McMurtry near the end of this year’s SXSW at an outdoor venue spotlighting Austin’s best. The crowd of many obvious fans seemed to know every song as they gathered tightly and close to the stage with the Austin downtown city lights behind it.
James McMurtry, the son of author, Larry McMurtry (“Lomesone Dove” & “Terms of Endearment”) performs regularly, when in Austin, at the famous Continental Club. Along with bandmates, Daren Hess and Mike “Cornbread” Traylor, you can’t go wrong by seeing him perform live. Good friend, Jimmy Lee Hannaford, a writer/musician and one-time Austin resident, said McMurtry is one of the best to see while in Austin. Together our advice is, if you get the chance to see him perform live, you should!
Another great artist who performs the Austin scene is Carolyn Wonderland (mentioned earlier), whom we had the privilege to see perform with the exciting band from the West Coast and rising stars, Vintage Trouble. Wonderland, who has won countless Awards in the Austin area (Best Female Vocalist – Austin Music Awards in 2009 & 2012) entertains crowds around the World, and has been embraced to the fullest by the Austin Music Scene for her incredible talent. I’m already making plans for seeing her in New Orleans at The Maple Leaf on April 5th.
One of the coolest and most interesting artist we got to see at SXSW was Lincoln Durham. He sparked my interest a lot and to describe him, I have to quote what was posted at his Facebook page:
(Quote) “Armed with old bastardized mid-century guitars, hand-me-down fiddles and banjos, home-made contraptions with just enough tension on a string to be considered an instrument and any random percussive item he can get his hands or feet on, Lincoln Durham is a Obnoxious Southern-Gothic-Gospel-Revival-Punk One-Man-Band with a heavy amped edge, preaching the gospel of some new kind of depraved music. With driving guttural beats backboning various growling stringed instruments, Lincoln gives birth to a sound that transcends genres with his dark, poetic and raw writing style telling tales that E.A. Poe would have been proud of.” (Unquote).
I had to take that from his page, because it’s about as good as it gets to describe such an original artist. That term “Real Deal” has never been more true than when it comes to describing the Texas born Lincoln Durham. One of the bios, I ran across, says he began playing the fiddle at age four and by the time he was ten, won the Texas State Youth Fiddle Championship. Reminding me of some of music’s most darkest artists, its hard not being totally absorbed into his music. Since SXSW, I have been listening to both his albums: “The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones” and his most recent, “Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous”.
Lincoln Durham backstage at one of SXSW’s many events. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
A couple years ago, when I became a fan of the band, Escondido, I mentioned often how their music reminded me of a David Lynch movie or at times one of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns; now with Lincoln Durham, I’m thinking of the films “There Will Be Blood” or “No Country for Old Men”. His music delivers on many levels and feeds the mind as if it’s a Day of Reckoning.
Lincoln is presently touring the country and he is someone I plan on seeing again as soon as possible.
We could discuss many more bands and artists that are so closely connected to the Austin music scene. In future months, we will highlight more who are and hopefully encourage others to check them out. But finally, we here at The Southland Music Line want to discuss one more that performed at the SXSW Rock The Lot Show, which featured several popular bands and artists that have made a mark around Austin and in many cases far beyond. One such band is Alpha Rev, fronted by Casey McPherson. They have received a wide range of honors and national attention including appearances on “VH1’s Top 20 Countdown” and the VH1 program, “You Oughta Know, Artist on the Rise.” Also, “American Songwriter Magazine named McPherson one of the best new and upcoming songwriters a few years ago. Alpha Rev’s most recent album, “Bloom” was released in 2013 and the single “Sing Loud” found success. Alpha Rev has had some measure of success, but they really should have more recognition. Last year following the release of “Bloom” they did an interview with the *D Magazine (a Dallas city news and lifestyles magazine) where McPherson was asked about music pirating and what would he say to someone who pirated Alpha Rev’s music. His response to briefly quote: “Hey dude! You better email all those stolen mp3s to everyone of your friends and make us some new freakin’ fans!” Alpha Rev’s honest approach to music is one we can appreciate and they’re most definitely a band to follow.
Alpha Rev performing at SXSW 2014 (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
Yes, the music from Austin, Texas has an unlimited variety. There really is something for everyone in more venues than one can count. As with every place, it has it’s drawbacks and things don’t always work out for musicians in certain areas. Relocating sometimes does the trick and it’s surely the case with the musicians who come to Austin too, but if they ever catch on and become part of it’s unbelievable scene, then they become part of what can clearly be called “The Real Deal”.
Click Here For: AUSTIN BOUND: SXSW ’14, PART FOUR –
Our Final Thoughts of South By Southwest ’14
Click Here For: AUSTIN BOUND: SXSW ’14, PART FIVE –
A PHOTO RETROSPECTIVE
© The Southland Music Line. 2014. All rights reserved