James Bookert spent a decade playing banjo and touring forty nine states with Whiskey Shivers, an Austin band that puts its own fiery, fun spin on bluegrass and folk tradition. In 2017, the group appeared in the film Pitch Perfect 3. While recording a handful of songs for the film in a more pop-oriented style, Bookert got a glimpse into a new world of music. He fell in love with layering sounds and building songs with a producer’s ear.
Bookert decided to take a break from the nerve-wracking world of touring but promised himself that he would still release music. San Gabriel, Bookert’s new moniker, is the result of this promise. Working at an East Austin liquor store with a very understanding boss, he dreamed up an EP’s worth of music, using the store’s stock room to record songs after hours. San Gabriel leans towards the pop world that Bookert first flirted with a half decade ago. Synthesizers provide a lush atmosphere for Bookert’s colorful, emotional concoctions. His debut EP will get a spring release, and until then, San Gabriel stays busy. Catch a live version of the project on January 23 at the Far Out Lounge and at High Noon every Friday in February. A new single, “Castles,” comes out January 28.
This week on My KUTX, Bookert is our guest DJ. His playlist is full of musical moments that have led him to San Gabriel: playing Cyndi Lauper repeatedly as a kid; awed by Michael Jackson in concert; learning guitar while listening to Nirvana’s In Utero; and more. Hear San Gabriel’s My KUTX on Saturday, January 22 at 6 p.m. or anytime in the player above.
- Cyndi Lauper – “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”
- Michael Jackson – “Beat It”
- George Harrison – “Got My Mind Set On You”
- Nirvana – “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter”
- Built To Spill – “Carry The Zero”
- Bo Bud Greene – “Clear Yellow Button”
- Saddle Up – “Ex’s And Oh’s”
- Phillip-Michael Scales – “Find A Way”
- Grandaddy – “Way We Won’t”
- Dr. Dog – “Where’d All The Time Go?”
- Spoon – “New York Kiss”
- San Gabriel – “Castles”