This Week at the Cactus Cafe

Cactus Cafe

This Week at the Cactus Cafe

Posted by on Nov 13, 2017

Tuesday, November 14th Shannon McNally @ 8:00pm [$15]

Black Irish is McNally’s most personal project yet, which is saying a lot, given the Americana singer-songwriter’s deep catalog. But it speaks to the power of connection, and the power of music to create it and to reflect it. The kick off track “You Made Me Feel For You”, was written by her producer, Americana icon, Rodney Crowell, and serves as a metaphor for their collaboration – how his particular understanding of her unique gifts pulled out the career-defining album many have been waiting for since she came on the scene.


Wednesday, November 15th Austin Classical Guitar: Staff Show @ 7:30pm [$10]

An Austin tradition, join Matt Hinsley and the ACG staff as we entertain you with guitars and other instruments, quiz you with arcane and sometimes embarrassing trivia about each other, laugh together, and celebrate the joy the season. Staff Cactus comes but once a year, let’s be together!


Thursday, November 16th Brian Pounds w/ Grace Pettis @ 8:00pm [$12]

Self-produced and tracked to tape in Nashville, the album is titled “Southern Writer” in honor of Brian’s Texas upbringing. Acoustic guitars and vocals are at the forefront on songs like “Odessa,” which tells of a complicated love affair with a West Texas town and “Death of Me,” a stark and unsuspecting gem, wrestling with coming of age and the loss of a close friend. The production of “Southern Writer” marks a musical as well as a geographic return to roots. Like a classic Ryan Adams or James Taylor record, the spotlight never veers away from the singer and the song. Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, fueled by scores of devout fans from Brian’s near decade of touring, and hard on the heels of this summer’s Kerrville New Folk graduating class, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.


Friday, November 17th Peter Case w/ Beaver Nelson @ 8:00pm [$20-$24]

He was in the Nerves, Plimsouls and has made a mark on his own for over 30 years!

Come join us for an amazing night of songs and stories with this legend!


Saturday, November 18th Billy Crockett & Friends @ 8:00pm [$20-22]

Billy Crockett is enjoying critical acclaim for his new release of RABBIT HOLE on Blue Rock Artists. Crockett is also a music producer and the creative director of Blue Rock Studio in the Texas hill country. He has recorded twelve solo albums and toured internationally. He has been featured on the BMI songwriter panel at SXSW, in the television series Troubadour, TX, and as guitar clinician for Yamaha. Rolling Stone calls his warm sound “coffeehouse folk without pretension.” American Songwriter writes, “He achieves that delicate fusion of refinement and soul…, delivering the essence of the thing with crystalline purity.”  www.billycrockett.com

Roscoe Beck has had a long association with Leonard Cohen as musical director and bassist since 1979.  In 1986 Roscoe and Jennifer Warnes produced her highly acclaimed collection of Leonard Cohen songs, Famous Blue Raincoat.  Roscoe has produced and toured with artists as diverse as Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Oz Noy, and The Dixie Chicks.

Sam Swank is a life-long Dallasite and guitarist who has recorded and performed with Johnny Reno, Olivia Newton-John, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Andy Timmons, and Sara Hickman.  Sam was recently featured in the acclaimed touring musical biography Blind Lemon Blues in which he performed 60 songs of the great Blind Lemmon Jefferson.

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.

This Week at the Cactus Cafe

Cactus Cafe

This Week at the Cactus Cafe

Posted by on Oct 23, 2017

Monday, October 23rd Open Mic Night @ 7:30pm [FREE]

Open Mic is back with Hostess Kacy Crowley!! Sign up is promptly at 7:30pm and performances are from 8pm to 10pm.


Tuesday, October 24th Views & Brews: “What is a Woman?” @ 6:00pm [FREE – Suggested Donations]

Join KUT’s Rebecca McInroy along with Taisia Kitaiskaia and Katy Horan author and illustrator of the new book Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers; and poet Florinda Bryant, to take a look at what poetry, stories, and myths, can teach us about the construction of a woman’s identity today. Views and Brews are free and open to the public.


Wednesday, October 25th Carrie Rodriguez: Laboratorio @ 8:00pm [$20]

Singer-songwriter/violinist Carrie Rodriguez invites you into her own musical laboratorio. With the help of Grammy Award winning bassist/producer Roscoe Beck, acclaimed guitarist/singer-songwriter David Pulkingham, and dynamic percussionist/vocalist Alex Marrero she and the band will be pushing the boundaries of Latin music, creating culturally blended music for a culturally blended world, and asking a different special guest each show to add to the experiment.


Thursday, October 26th Middleman Burr @ 8:00pm [$12 Advance, $15 Door]

Gary Burr is a Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member; ASCAP, Billboard and NSAI Country Songwriter of the Year. He has written fifteen #1 hits and has had songs recorded by Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Carole King, Ringo Starr, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin, Kelly Clarkson and many others. When not playing solo or with Middleman Burr, Gary is also a member of the group Blue Sky Riders with Georgia Middleman and Kenny Loggins.

Georgia Middleman is an award-winning songwriter who has had songs recorded by Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Joe Nichols, Martina McBride, Sheila E., Radney Foster, Maia Sharp, among many others. Recently, Georgia’s song “When The Right One Comes Along” was featured on the ABC television show “Nashville.” When not playing solo or with Middleman Burr, Georgia is also one third of the trio, Blue Sky Riders along with Gary Burr and Kenny Loggins. She has just released a collection of jazz songs she’s written on a new cd called PLUM.

Married for five years, Gary and Georgia perform for audiences all over the country. With harmony and humor, they weave an evening to remember featuring their original songs as well as the stories behind them.


Friday, October 27th American Dreamer w/ Chalkboard Poets @ 7:30pm [$15]

Chalkboard Poets is a fiddle-based Indie folk-rock band out of Austin, Texas. Old Settler’s Youth Talent winner (2012) Kimberly Zielnicki (vocals, fiddle, ukulele, piano, bass) teams up with performer, composer, and arranger Chris E. Peterson (vocals, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, percussion) and Daniel White (upright bass) to perform original material and unique covers ranging from traditional fiddle tunes to pop. Kimberly and Chris have performed in hundreds of shows with various bands, including Austin favorite Lost & Nameless, with whom they toured nationally and recorded several albums. Chalkboard Poets performs as a duo or trio.

American Dreamer is a folk ensemble from Austin, TX. They play original folk music with rich string accompaniment. Their music is an original and lush sound they call ‘orchestral folk’. American Dreamer is comprised of Sasha Klare-Ayvazian (vocals/guitar), Audrey Lee (violin), Courtney Castaneda (cello), Dana Wygmans (vocals, bass), and Rick Palese (drums).


Saturday, October 28th Flamenco Austin: Jose Luis de la Paz @ 7:00pm [$24-45] (Texas Union Theater)

Jose Luis de la Paz is a sensational flamenco talent. We’re thrilled to presenthis Austin debut alongside his virtuoso percussionist in the intimate setting of UT’s Texas Union Theatre.

An Evening With Shovels & Rope

Cactus Cafe

An Evening With Shovels & Rope

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017

THIS SHOW IS IN THE SHIRLEY BIRD PERRY BALLROOM. Located on the 3rd Floor of the Texas Union (directly above the Cactus Cafe)

Doors: 6:30pm Show: 8pm General Admission: $28.00 in advance and $30.00 at the door

TICKETS AVAILABLE Thursday, October 19

SHOW Saturday, February 17

Little Seeds, the electrifying New West Records bow by Shovels and Rope, finds the award-winning South Carolina duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst exploring fresh dimensions in their sound with a brace of bold, candid, highly personal new songs.

The 12-song collection, produced by Trent at the couple’s home studio in Charleston, succeeds 2014’s Swimmin’ Time and 2012’s O’ Be Joyful; the latter title garnered the twosome Americana Music Awards for Song of the Year (for “Birmingham”) and Emerging Artist of the Year. Last year’s Busted Jukebox, Volume 1 was a collaborative collection of covers featuring such top talents as the Milk Carton Kids, Lucius, JD McPherson and Butch Walker.

On the new release, Trent and Hearst as ever play all the instruments and penned the material, which range from stomping rockers to delicate acoustic-based numbers. Many of Little Seeds’ finely crafted and reflective new songs – completed in the late summer of 2015 — are drawn from tumultuous events experienced by the couple over the course of the last two years.

“There were two major changes that happened at the same time,” Hearst says. “We found out we were pregnant, and at the same time Michael’s parents had been living with us, because his father is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Those two things, having the baby and facing the reality that our parents were aging, made this weird, awesome circle of humanity that really just took us out. I guess we were in the crosshairs of human existence.” Trent continues, “We started putting this record together right after the baby was born. Every spare moment I had I was in the studio doing my best to work around the cries, and Cary would have to sneak up and do her parts when the baby was asleep. It’s a funny thing trying to make a rock n roll record with a sleeping baby in the house.”

This Week at the Cactus Cafe

Cactus Cafe

This Week at the Cactus Cafe

Posted by on Oct 16, 2017

Monday, October 16th Open Mic Night @ 7:30pm [FREE]

Open Mic is back with Hostess Kacy Crowley!! Sign up is promptly at 7:30pm and performances are from 8pm to 10pm.


Wednesday, October 18th Robbie Fulks @ 8:00pm [$20]

In 1993, a songwriter banging around the Chicago club scene with a twangy voice and dangerous sense of humor caught our attention. We started making records with him, and as part of the first-generation Bloodshot roster, Robbie Fulks helped us define “Alternative Country.” In 2013, after two decades of playing music everywhere from the taverns of southern Illinois to the honky-tonks of northern Norway, from Austin City Limits’s soundstage to the historic Grand Ole Opry, he reunited with us for the highly acclaimed Gone Away Backward.

Coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s in Virginia and North Carolina, at the edge of the broad “upland” region referenced in the record’s title, also provided depth and detail for Fulks’s songs about the mysteries of memory, the vanishing of cherished things, and the struggles of everyday life. Robbie tries to make songs that offer more than verse-chorus-hook: songs that have space, calmness, unresolved tensions, and the hallmarks of lived experience. This sort of complexity is displayed in “Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals,” an intimate folk song from the perspective of a man who has let life’s possibilities pass him by, and in “Never Come Home,” in which a sick man returns to spend his last days among an unwelcoming clan of pious, hard-bitten East Tennesseans.


Friday, October 20th The Deer w/ Valley Queen @ 8:00pm [$15]

The Deer: The Deer moves fluidly between genres, eliciting emotion as varied and surprising as Tempest & Rapture implies. The Deer have played Austin’s historic Moody Theater and the Legendary Stubb’s, as well as festivals like Kerrville Folk Festival, Old Settler’s Music Festival, Utopiafest, and Oregon Country Fair. Members have shared the stage with Alejandro Escovedo, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, and Dana Falconberry. Their co-bill roster includes Elephant Revival, Trout Steak Revival, Hot Buttered Rum, Jeff Austin, and more.

Valley Queen: Valley Queen front woman Natalie Carol leads a band reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and My Morning Jacket with vocals evocative of Florence Welch. Neil Wogensen (Bass & Vocals), Shawn Morones (Lead Guitar & Vocals) and Gerry Doot (drums), enrich the songs with energy, excitement and emotion.


Saturday, October 21st Maria Muldaur @ 8:00pm [$25 Advance – $30 Door]

Maria Muldaur is best known world-wide for her 1974 mega-hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” which received several Grammy nominations, and enshrined her forever in the hearts of Baby Boomers everywhere; but despite her considerable pop music success, her 52-year career could best be described a long and adventurous odyssey through the various forms of American Roots Music. During the folk revival of the early ’60s, she began exploring and singing early Blues, Bluegrass and Appalachian “Old Timey” Music, beginning her recording career in 1963 with the Even Dozen Jug Band and shortly thereafter, joining the very popular Jim Kweskin Jug Band, touring and recording with them throughout the ’60s. In the 42 years since “Midnight at the Oasis,” Maria has toured extensively worldwide and has recorded 40 solo albums covering all kinds of American Roots Music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Big Band (not to mention several award-winning children’s albums), before settling comfortably into her favorite idiom, the Blues, in recent years. Often joining forces with some of the top names in the business, Maria has recorded and produced on- average an album per year, several of which have been nominated for Grammy and other awards. Her critically acclaimed 2001 Stony Plain Records release, Richland Woman Blues, was nominated for a Grammy and by the Blues Foundation as Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year, as was the follow up to that album, Sweet Lovin’ Ol’ Soul.