Houston Jones

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Sixth release:

Queen of Yesterday (2011)

From the San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 2011
Review of Queen of Yesterday by David Wiegand:
RATING: (WILD APPLAUSE) Houston Jones

"You may not think a band with traditional bluegrass instrumentation and guys who've been around the musical block more than a few times could remain fresh, much less grow even better with each new CD. But when it comes to the Bay Area band Houston Jones, think it. I first got turned on to the band with "Calico Heart" two CDs ago, but the group's new one, "Queen of Yesterday," is in a class by itself. The band includes Travis Jones on lead vocals and guitar; Glenn Houston on lead guitar and background vocals; Chris Kee on bass, guitar, cello and background vocals; Peter Tucker, percussion and background vocals; and Henry Salvia, keyboards, accordion and vocals. Houston Jones will celebrate the release of "Queen" on Saturday at Freight & Salvage. And it's a CD worth celebrating.

What's amazing about the band is its incredible versatility, From the bluesy swing of "Angels on the Ridgepole" to the urban jazz sound of the streets of Oakland embodied in "Calamity Jane" to the gentle acoustic ballad "I Found a Heart," the electric and electrifying title track and the bar-at-closing-time sad classicism of "Lost in the Crowd," this is a confluence of sublime talent."

******

Houston Jones is proud to announce its latest Summerhill Records release, Queen of Yesterday. Working once again with five time Grammy nominee Cookie Marenco, Queen of Yesterday was recorded live in the studio on two inch tape with minimal overdubs.

The new CD captures the hotwire energy and telepathic interplay of a live Houston Jones performance in a pristine audio environment that brings the listener almost literally into the studio as the music is being made.

Long time musical shape shifters, with Queen of Yesterday, Houston Jones struts its Americana roots like never before, from grinding blues to post-bop jazz to raw boned country to the most delicate ballads. A varied and nuanced collection of songs exploring the theme of loss with, by turns, wry humor, exhilaration, anger, quiet reflection and anguish, Queen of Yesterday is Houston Jones' most sophisticated and ambitious offering to date.

Although celebrating their newest recording, Houston Jones is no stranger to live performance. They have performed at major festivals from the west coast to the Rockies, to the Midwest. Most of the members of Houston Jones were original members of the internationally acclaimed Waybacks, and they have performed individually in bands with such distinguished artists as Norah Jones, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Peter Rowan, Bo Diddley, Rickie Lee Jones, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and more. Reviews from Billboard.com called Houston Jones "a wonderful gem".

In the words of Cookie Marenco, "Houston Jones brings incredible depth and humanity to their music and performances. If I could join a band, it would be Hojo. They are one big, warm heart of creativity and inspiration."

Technical notes:
All source music was recorded to analog multitrack 2" tape
Mixed down to stereo DSD (direct stream digital)
Mastering was on the Sonoma Super Audio Systems DSD recorder
B&K, Neumann and AKG microphones
Millennia, Manley and Neve preamps
Goddess Labs imported silver cable were used in the recording process.

Fifth release:

Jericho Road (2009)

Houston Jones, the high-octane Americana band based in the San Francisco Bay Area, recorded their fifth release with Grammy-nominated producer and engineer Cookie Marenco of Blue Coast Records. Jericho Road answers the burning question of what happens when a bunch of virtuoso agnostics set out to record a gospel record. Looking at their history, the resulting rich mixture of the sacred and the secular was pre-ordained:

Travis Jones, lead singer and rhythm guitarist, began performing as a child accompanying his mother on gospel tours in the South. He honed his soulful delivery in his years as a child preacher in holiness churches around his native Shreveport, only to throw down his bible when he saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

Chris Kee, who plays bass, cello, and guitar, has a degree in ethnomusicology from Yale, focusing on the music of Pentecostal churches. Balancing his bookishness with Americana street cred, Kee is a regular conscript with Peter RowanÕs Free Mexican Air Force, a long time cohort of Telecaster wizard Jim Campilongo, and has performed as a hired gun with Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller, including a recent appearance at the Kate Wolf festival with Buddy Miller, Emmy Lou Harris, Shawn Colvin, and Patty Griffin.

Glenn Houston (lead guitars) was the original guitarist for and founding member of the Waybacks. Houston, who plays left handed and upside down, was voted 2009 Best Guitarist by the Northern California Bluegrass Society.

Percussionist Peter Tucker, who (along with Kee) was in the original rhythm section of the Waybacks, has deep roots in the Americana world, having performed and recorded with a virtual coffee table book history of American musicians, including, as a partial list, Tim Hardin, Richie Havens, the Beau Brummels, Warren Zevon and Skunk Baxter.

And keyboardist Henry Salvia, a veteran of DetroitÕs club scene, has toured internationally with the fabled Johnny Nocturne Band, and performed with Bo Diddley, Rickie Lee Jones and Big Jay McNeeley, to mention a few.

Fourth release:

Calico Heart (2007)

With its fourth Summerhill Records release, Calico Heart, Houston Jones, the San Francisco based high octane Americana quintet, further solidifies its reputation as an exciting innovative voice on the Americana circuit. Although celebrating their newest recording, Houston Jones is no stranger to live performance. They have performed at large festivals from the west coast to the Rockies. Most of the members of Houston Jones were original members of the internationally acclaimed Waybacks, and they have performed individually in bands with such distinguished artists as Norah Jones, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Peter Rowan, Bo Diddley, Rickie Lee Jones, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and more. Reviews from Billboard.com called Houston Jones "a wonderful gem".

Calico Heart, produced and engineered by Grammy nominee Cookie Marenco, captures the incendiary energy of those legendary live performances while bringing to light in crystalline detail the songwriting and musical dexterity that sets Houston Jones apart from its peers.

Built around the gospel born whiskey cured vocals of Louisiana native Travis Jones and the high wire left handed upside down guitar wizardry of Glenn Houston, Houston Jones continues to pull away from the crowded Americana field. While at home with the high lonesome and the down and dirty, Houston Jones has charted its own path by embracing the whole, glorious pageant of American music.

Written primarily by bassist Chris Kee (who has a degree in ethnomusicology from Yale), the songs of Calico Heart move effortlessly through the American landscape-- the driving bluegrass of Coward’s Game, the achingly romantic country waltz of the title cut, the honky tonk swagger of Born in the Moonshine, the wry Texas swing of keyboardist Henry Salvia’s Sleepy Armadillo, the ghostly psychedelia of Colville, the rollicking New Orleans mambo of Mighty Red, with its musical tour of the trans-Atlantic African musical tradition, and the east meets west mystery of Roads to Dominion, merging Ladino melodies and Arabic scales with a Texas two step stomp. The rich musical mix, performed with Houston Jones’ customary virtuosity, is further distinguished by the thoughtful, literate, deeply layered lyrics, which are profoundly evocative of both the beauty and the darkness of the small towns and hidden worlds of life in America.

Calico Heart is a revelation. In the words of Cookie Marenco, “Houston Jones brings incredible depth and humanity to their music and performances. If I could join a band, it would be Hojo. They are one big, warm heart of creativity and inspiration.”

Third release:

Three Crow Town (2005)

The third CD by Houston Jones, co-released on the Fiddling Cricket and Summerhill Records labels, takes you on a joyful one hour tour of love gone from bad to good, and back again, addictions discarded, traditions re-invented, darkness illuminated, and by the end of the disc, leaving you with the distinct feeling that you have traveled an inspired journey.

Second release:

HoJo Mojo with Chojo (2003)

The HoJo Mojo CD captures the band's energy from recent live performances at Berkeley's FREIGHT & SALVAGE, Hayward's BISTRO, Ben Lomond's HENFLINGS FIREHOUSE TAVERN, and Sleepy John Sandidge's "Please Stand By" radio show on KPIG-FM.

HoJo Mojo with Chojo features one-and-only multi-talented musician extraordinaire (and friend), fiddle and mandolin player Chojo Jacques.

 

 

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
1075 East 20th Street
Chico, CA
At the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., they love live music almost as much as they love great beer. That’s why they designed the Big Room with live music in mind. The 350-seat venue is located right at the brewery, and has been called one of the best live music spaces on the West Coast: “Acoustically brilliant and dripping with elegance, the room is an immaculate environment for the exchange between player and listener.” – Redding Record Searchlight
January 2, 2003

The acoustics are great no matter where you’re sitting —or dancing— thanks to the state-of-the-art system and the fact that every seat has a great view of the stage. Tickets may be available at the door, but shows often sell out early. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

Shows are open to all ages, and the Brewery offers an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages in addition to their line of premium ales and lagers. Hungry? They serve a limited menu in the Big Room during the hour before each concert begins, or enjoy dinner in our Taproom and Restaurant prior to the show.
http://www.sierranevada.com/bigroom/livemusic.html

The Palms Playhouse
13 Main Street
Winters, CA
History
The Palms -- "Old Barn" in Davis The Palms Playhouse was born in an old South Davis barn in the late 70's as a playhouse for local thespians but soon evolved into a cultural oasis for some of the finest live music heard anywhere. The old barn was rickety and full of dust. The winter winds blew through the wooden slats and the summer heat sizzled. It didn't matter. Palms' fans, listeners and musicians alike, swore those wooden slats were magical sounding boards creating top-notch, one-of-a-kind acoustics. In 2002, after 27 years in the "Old Barn," the Palms Playhouse was forced to find a new home . While the old barn can never be replaced, the new venue in the 19th century Opera House in Winters continues to offer the same off-beat intimacy that The Palms was known for and an eclectic setting for some of the world's finest performers and musicians.
Nuts and Bolts
The Palms is located in the Winters Opera House in downtown Winters, California about 75 minutes east of San Francisco, 40 minutes west of Downtown Sacramento and about 15 minutes west of Davis. It seats 220, with first-come-first-served seating and has a dance floor, bar, and unlike the "Old Barn," large modern restrooms, along with heating and air conditioning. Advance Ticket Purchase is recommended but tickets are available at the door if the show isn't sold out.
530-795-1825
http://www.palmsplayhouse.com/

Rancho Nicasio
1 Old Rancheria Road
Nicasio, CA
"Rancho Nicasio is West Marin's finest eatery and musical venue. Located at the exact center of Marin County, Nicasio still retains a vast amount of land that has seen slow and gradual progress. These changes have not disturbed the tranquility that the town still possesses." (Yelp.com)
415-662-2219
http://www.ranchonicasio.com

McGrath's Irish Pub
1539 Lincoln Avenue
Alameda, CA
McGraths Pub is THE small down home bar and the music pub of the neighborhood! The best jams, the best music, the hidden secret of Northern California's Music Scene.
510-522-6263
http://www.mcgrathspub.com

 

See our schedule page for details!
 

 

Houston Jones' Blog is here.

Northern California Bluegrass Society's
"Best Guitarist" award for 2009
goes to Glenn Houston

February 28, 2009

We are proud to announce that Glenn has received the Northern California Bluegrass Society's award for "Best Guitarist", for the year 2009. Glenn was honored at an awards ceremony held in Redwood City, California on February 28, 2009. Here's a photo of Glenn accepting the award.


Michael Gaither's
Interview with
Travis & Chris
May 11, 2008

Background

The Interview: Part One
Chris, Travis, and Michael talk about the origins of the band, the appeal of house concerts, and how changes in the industry (and rising gas prices) have affected touring decisions and even the lineup at folk festivals.

The Interview: Part Two
Chris and Travis play the title track from "Calico Heart", and a new song, "If Not for the Darkness", which will be on Houston Jones' upcoming gospel record.

 

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