Back in the before times (is this what we’re calling it?) a multitude of things were different. On November 23rd, 2019, the KUTX crew headed to the Paramount Theater to capture an intimate soundcheck and a chat between old friends Rufus Wainwright and Jody Denberg ahead of his Oh Solo Wainwright performance that evening.
These songs were to be on the newly announced album prepping for release in April. Wainwright backed by E.B. the Younger – an indie folk-rock band from North Texas with members of Midlake and The Texas Gentleman included Eric Pulido (Vox/Guitar), Mckenzie Smith (Drums), Joey Mclellan (guitar/bgv), Daniel Creamer (Keys/bgv), and Scott Lee (Bass) – ran through each song twice and at one point during the dark pop of “Hatred” the tiny hairs on my arm stood up and yes, I was moved to tears.
For obvious reasons the release was pushed to July 10, 2020, requiring us to keep these beautiful videos under wraps. Today is that day. Unfollow the Rules release day.
It’s been eight years since the yacht-poppy Mark Ronson-produced album, Out of the Game. Pitchfork declared Rufus will never be cool or popular (while also admitting that was the point of the album) and gave it a 6.9. Rufus doesn’t care. Since then he wrote two operas and put out an album of Shakespearean Sonnets, Take All My Loves, featuring a swath of notable guests like Helena Carter Bonham, Carrie Fisher, and Florence Welch.
About his temporary departure from his usual pop he says, “I highly recommend to any musician or artist to have a kind of dual art form or parallel track that they can skip over to because inevitably they end up informing each other. You start to miss the other one when you’re away with a certain lover you’re with at the time. But I think strategically it actually ended up being a wise move because I didn’t get sick of either.”
With Unfollow the Rules, Rufus brings it back to his Californian pop roots for an album of all the things I love about Rufus – piano, harmonies, sweeping strings, and OMG that voice!
“I made the new album in Los Angeles at some of the same studios that I recorded my first album [1998’s self-titled album] and with some of the same musicians. My intention with this was to bookend my first album and, you know, return to the source, which is California for me, for my career for sure.”
Unfollow the Rules, Rufus Wainwright’s eighth album of original works, is out July 10 on BMG.
Listen to Jody Denberg’s full interview and enjoy the four performance videos below.
-Deidre Gott, Live Music producer
Cameras: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, Ashley Landis
Edit: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
Audio Mix: Chris Sorem
Audio Post Production: Jake Perlman
Producer: Deidre Gott
Originally published on September 29, 2014
86-year-old Mexican-American singer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer Manuel “Cowboy” Donley has often been referred to as the “Godfather of Tejano music.” Based in Austin but recognized nationally, Donley led a big band Latin orchestra in the 1950s and assumed the nickname after stepping out from behind the podium and carrying his guitar to the front of the stage “like a cowboy”. Despite only releasing one print recording from his long career, Adios Chiquita, Donley has popularized the trío romántico and orquestra musical styles, which blend Latin rhythms with mainstream American musical genres such as rock and jazz.
Earlier this year Donley received the 2014 National Heritage Fellowship lifetime achievement award, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts by the National Endowment for the Arts. You can hear some of Donley’s recordings from our own Studio 1A and catch live performances some Tuesday evenings at El Gallo restaurant on South Congress Avenue.
Manuel “Cowboy” Donley passed away on June 28, 2020 of natural causes.
– Jack Anderson
Texas country musician and local legend James Hand has been making music for over forty years.
Writing songs since the early age of 11 and performing almost continuously for years, James Hand started releasing music in 1999. However, having released his first nationally distributed album only in 2006, the Waco-native has just recently started garnering widespread attention for his unique and direct style. His last album, Stormclouds in Heaven, a collection of country gospel songs, was released in October 2014 and demonstrates a command of the breadth of the genre. Interestingly, Hand also had a leading role in the film Thank You A Lot about a struggling music-manager and his estranged father, which premiered at SXSW this past year.
photo by Jorge Sanhueza-lyon/KUTX
While some of us are becoming one with our couch and Netflix accounts (and that’s OK!) some musicians are working up all kinds of ways to keep their skills sharp. Walker Lukens has stayed busy creating for his new “ADULTs Only” record subscription club where fans can sign up and get exclusive content created during this downtime. This month’s creation is an instrumental video album with loops and beats by Walker and visuals by friend and photographer Derek Beck. Aptly named Corona Don’t Touch My Baby, Walker will host a live stream event and benefit for Red River venue Cheer Up Charlies Sunday, May 24 to premiere the video album.
Steve Earle & The Dukes are set to release the latest album Ghosts of West Virginia, May 22 on New West Records. The album centers on the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion that killed twenty-nine men in that state in 2010, making it one of the worst mining disasters in American history.
Join us for a live interview on KUTX’s Facebook or Youtube, Monday, May 18 at 1p (central) as KUTX host Jody Denberg spends some quality time with Steve Earle for KUTX at Home. Watch the full interview below.