It’s time for our annual holiday shopping edition of Backstage Pass, where we look at albums from Austin artists that might make excellent holiday presents.
We begin with Gary Clark Jr.'s Live album. The set documents not just where he's been, but just how far he's come. You'll find a band at the peak of their powers and a guitar player who not just represents the blues tradition in a deep, soulful way, but might just be a singular, once-in-a-generation talent.
At two CDs, it' s a lot to digest and a lot to get lost in. It'll also make you wonder what the new studio record due sometime next year might sound like.
Kat Edmonson may live in New York these days, but her sophomore album, The Big Picture, finds her honing the sound she developed. Her distinctive voice has never sounded as distinctive, or confident, and there are some terrific songs that'll play well in the winter.
Austin-born and raised, Shakey Graves is poised to be one of 2015's real breakthroughs. His latest, And The War Came, finds him expanding his sound from one-man-band to full-blown bandleader.
First single "Dearly Departed" has over 4 million Spotify streams and it's arguably not even the strongest song on the CD. Plus, there's still a chance here to give this one to friends who'll thank you later for turning them on to him first.
And finally, there's one I work on producing, Broadcasts Vol. 22. The two-CD, 36-song collection features live tracks recorded on KGSR from folks like The 1975, Vance Joy and Tori Amos, plus a bunch of Austinites from Bob Schneider to Saints Of Valory, Shakey Graves to The Wind And The Wave, Max Frost to Aaaron Behrens.
Every track is exclusive to the set and all of it benefits the SIMS Foundation and Seton Medical center.