This Week at the Cactus Cafe

Cactus Cafe

This Week at the Cactus Cafe

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017

Wednesday, November 8th Iris Dement w/ Peita Brown @ 8:00pm [SOLD OUT]

It was by pure chance that Iris DeMent opened the book of Russian poetry sitting on her piano bench to Anna Akhmatova’s “Like A White Stone.” She’d never heard of the poet before, and didn’t even consider herself much of a poetry buff, but a friend had leant her the anthology and it only seemed polite that she skim it enough to have something interesting to say when she returned it. As she read, though, a curious sensation swept over her. “I didn’t feel like I was alone anymore,” remembers DeMent. “I felt as if somebody walked in the room and said to me, ‘Set that to music.’” So she did. The melody just poured out of her almost instantly. She turned the page and it happened again, and again after that, and before she even fully understood it, she was already deep into writing what would become ‘The Trackless Woods,’ an album which sets Akhmatova’s poetry to music for the first time ever.

‘The Trackless Woods,’ DeMent’s sixth studio album, is unlike anything else in her illustrious career. Beginning with her 1992 debut, ‘Infamous Angel,’ which was hailed as “an essential album of the 1990’s” by Rolling Stone, DeMent released a series of stellar records that established her as “one of the finest singer-songwriters in America” according to The Guardian.

The music earned her multiple Grammy nominations, as well as the respect of peers like John Prine, Steve Earle, and Emmylou Harris, who all invited her to collaborate. Merle Haggard dubbed her “the best singer I’ve ever heard” and asked her to join his touring band, and David Byrne and Natalie Merchant famously covered her “Let The Mystery Be” as a duet on MTVUnplugged. DeMent returned in 2012 with her most recent album, ‘Sing The Delta,’ which prompted NPR to call her “one of the great voices in contemporary popular music” and The Boston Globe to hail the collection as “a work of rare, unvarnished grace and power.”


Thursday, November 9th Ramblin’ Jack Elliott @ 7:30pm [$30 Advance, $35 Door]

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is considered one of the country’s legendary foundations of folk music.

Long before every kid in America wanted to play guitar — before Elvis, Dylan, the Beatles or Led Zeppelin — Ramblin’ Jack had picked it up and was passing it along. From Johnny Cash to Tom Waits, Beck to Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder to Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead to The Rolling Stones, they all pay homage to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

In the tradition of roving troubadours Jack has carried the seeds and pollens of story and song for decades from one place to another, from one generation to the next. They are timeless songs that outlast whatever current musical fashion strikes today’s fancy.


Friday, November 10th Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen w/ John Jorgenson @ 7:00pm [$40 Advance, $45 Door]

THIS SHOW IS IN THE TEXAS UNION THEATER. Located in the North Part of the Texas Union just north of the Cactus Cafe (at the 24th & Guadalupe entrance of the building).

Chris Hillman and two former members of the Desert Rose Band will appear in an intimate acoustic concert. Joining Chris Hillman in this acoustic appearance are Herb Pedersen on guitar and John Jorgenson on guitar and mandolin.

Chris Hillman was one of the original members of The Byrds, which also included Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Michael Clarke. The Byrds and were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. After his departure from the Byrds, Hillman, along with collaborator Gram Parsons, was the key figure in the development of country-rock. Hillman virtually defined the genre through his seminal work with the Byrds and later bands, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Manassas with Steven Stills. In addition to his work as a musician, Hillman is also a successful songwriter and has written songs performed by musicians as diverse as Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith, Tom Petty and Dwight Yoakam.

Hillman formed the Desert Rose Band which became one of country music’s most successful acts throughout the 1980s and 1990s, earning numerous Top 10 and Number 1 hits. The band’s success lead to three Country Music Association Awards, and two Grammys. Although the Desert Rose Band disbanded in the early 1990s, they performed a reunion concert in 2008 and have since played a few shows together in select venues.

Herb Pedersen began his career in Berkeley, California in the early 1960?s playing 5 string banjo and acoustic guitar with people like Jerry Garcia, David Grisman and David Nelson. His recording discography is diverse and reflects the singer/songwriter era, of the 1970s and 1980s. Pedersen is highly respected among musicians and music aficionados, as demonstrated by his work with artists as varied as Earl Scruggs, Old and in the Way, Peter Rowan, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Jackson Browne and John Denver.

John Jorgenson is known as a pioneer of the American gypsy jazz movement. Jorgenson first came to national prominence with The Desert Rose Band, when he was honored as the ACM’s “Guitarist of the Year” award three consecutive times. Following the Desert Rose Band, John formed another award-winning group, the virtuosic guitar trio The Hellecasters. Originally conceived as a “one off” gig for fun, the group went on to produce three acclaimed CDs and a live video, winning both “Album of the Year” and “Country Album of the Year” from the readers of Guitar Player Magazine for the stunning debut effort “Return of the Hellecasters”. The Washington Post recently wrote: “If there were a Summer Olympics for guitarists, Jorgenson would be a sure-fire gold medalist.”


Saturday, November 11th Seth Glier @ 8:00pm [$12 Advance, $15 Door]

Like Jenny Lewis, Neko Case & Nicole Atkins, Ariel’s got a thang; mostly it’s that voice and with her wide-eyed (just look at those eyes!) confidence. There’s no pretention in these songs; just emotionally felt, straight forward songs from the heart not a research chart! She’s bound for some glory. BRUCE WARREN (Some Velvet Blog)

Seth Glier (pronounced “Gleer”) recorded his new album,Birds, in an airy loft in western Massachusetts outfitted with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows. Birds roost just outside those windows, on the roof of the converted mill building where he lives, and they became his sympathetic audience while Glier madethe album. “I felt a tremendous amount of comfort talking to the birds,” he says “I’d check in with them regularly to see how they thought things were going so far.”Birdsis steeped in conflict and contradiction; there’s grief and loss, but also strength and resilience; doubt and dismay, but also a sense of optimism as Glier confronts heavy topics and wrestles them into the daylight. The album began taking shape after Glier lost his brother, Jamie, who died in October 2015, and inspired a TED Talk performance that Glier gave in 2016.The songs range from personal to political, and are bound together by the awareness that our world is a fragile place.Birdsis Glier’s latest album in a burgeoning career that has included a Grammy nomination and touring with artists such as Ani DiFranco and Ryan Adams.


Sunday, November 12th Colter Wall @ 7:00pm [SOLD OUT]

Colter Wall is a prairie-born songwriter from Saskatchewan, Canada. Wall’s inaugural EP, Imaginary Appalachia, continues to keep him a non-stop, buzzed-about young artist and has evoked visceral reactions from industry veterans, his musical heroes and peers, as well as a loyal and quickly-growing grassroots fan base. His signature baritone vocal is paired with sparse, beautiful old-soul songwriting inspired by artists like Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley, Emmylou Harris & Waylon Jennings.