All right, fine. So it’s been awhile.
Shawn Jones has been on an extended hiatus from music-making, although his CV boasts an impressive catalogue that shows the break was well-deserved. The journey of his band The Lovely Sparrows began with the 2005 7″ release of Take Your Hats Off You Godless Bastards, featuring “Glad Rangers” and “I Have A Need You See.” The vinyl has long been out-of-print, but remains an absolute treasure for Sparrows fans who got to experience the evolution of Jones’ songwriting dynamic through the years, from a kind of Guided By Voices/Sonic Youth-influenced reckoning to a more provocative composition style, playing with language, enigmatic imagery, and a wry humor. Tracks from the 2006 EP Pulling Up Floors, Pouring On (New) Paint were a regular feature on your AMM host’s previous late-night show on KUT back in the day, along with Bury the Cynics (2008) and Tall Cedars of Lebanon (2011).
It’s been seven years since a new Lovely Sparrows release, due mostly to Jones returning to grad school to pursue musical composition studies, along with a big move from Austin to Lockhart, and development of a video game. How time flies, but the music never really goes away. It was merely on pause. And now, we enter a realm of duality with Shake the Shadow, in which Jones poses a question often met with no definitive answer: “Is there any real magic?” One can present that query on so many levels – literally or figuratively. But what it boils down to is this: What is the magic for you? What is the connection?
It’s a beautiful thing to see The Lovely Sparrows in action again. Their album release show is tonight at Barracuda, 611 E. 7th St., with a bill that includes Linen Closet and Dead Recipe. Doors open at 8 p.m. And here’s to another wonderful album. Very recommended.
-Photography by Julia Reihs for KUTX.