“My job is to show you how much fun drinking is” — Whitey Morgan
We’re all very excited to be opening up for Whitey at Lee’s this Friday, and rightfully so. This guy is the living embodiment of outlaw music, and Lee’s Liquor Lounge is still the premier Minneapolis venue for real country music. Come on out and have a good time. It’s right in front of you!
SO… It’s been a while since my last post, and I wanted to provide a quick update on what the hell we’ve been up to.
Calamity & The Owl has been slaving away in the studio tracking their forthcoming masterpiece full-length album, all the while keeping up appearances with their weekly spot at the Nomad World Pub where they continue to perform every Sunday night with the venerable Cadillac Kolstad.
The Union Suits have been gigging away, and working up new material for their next album “FORWARD” which they plan to record with Mike Wisti at Albatross Studios in the grips of the distant but inevitable winter months. Since abandoning their comrades at the Nomad back in April, “the suits” have been hustling up gigs opening for more touring artists, and I’d like to give a few quick shout outs to the brilliant folks that they’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Wayne is a national treasure. He is the unequivocal embodiment of Hillbilly Swing. The oft repeated quote from Hank III is just as impressive and true today as when it was first stated. Hank said, “Wayne Hancock has more Hank Sr. in him than either I or Hank Williams Jr. He is the real deal.“ It was an honor and a pleasure to open up for Mr. Hancock at Lee’s Liquor Lounge alongside the excellent Jayke Orvis (of the .357 String Band). Wayne is a living legend and a true road warrior, check out his website for a current list of upcoming shows.
Pert’ Near is a staple of the Minnesota roots music scene, and has developed a dedicated following from coast to coast through persistent travel and exceptional showmanship. As they put it, the band has spent the past five years “…paying their dues in smoke filled taverns and roadside juke joints while organically building a dedicated following from coast-to-coast. Their formative years on the road painstakingly paved the Pert Near path as the band traversed from city-to-city winning over audiences the old fashioned way…” The group has risen above these workmanlike roots to appear at a slew of prestigious Americana music festivals, even hosting their own all day concert this summer at the Cabooze in Minneapolis. The Union Suits were delighted to open their CD Release show for their latest album Paradise Hop in November of 2011.
Lydia has definitely been the starlet of the alt-country circuit this past year, garnering much deserved attention for her debut LP “Indestructible Machine”. We had the pleasure of catching her performance at Bloodshot Records’ event at Yard Dog in Austin, TX during SXSW. It was a thrill for the Union Suits to perform at her show July 20th at the Triple Rock Social Club along with Twin Cities country hell-raisers The Huckleberrys (featuring members of Chooglin’ as well as Ol’ Yeller and a slew of other great bands).
I was fortunate to see these guys perform at the same event as Lydia Loveless at Yard Dog during SXSW. They have a unique alt-country sound coupled with stellar musicianship and a great stage presence. The Union Suits recently opened for them at 7th Street Entry, along with Swedish singer-songwriter Sofia Talvik. It was a blast.
PEEWEE MOORE & THE AWFUL DREADFUL SNAKES – 100% Independent!
This guy fucking rules. Peewee Moore is road warrior, a picker, a honky tonk man. He is a phenomenal guitarist, and all things true country. Calamity & The Owl opened a show for him back in July at Lee’s, and despite glowing endorsements from local country fans, his performance went on to exceed all expectations. He’s always on the road, and his bio on ReverbNation accurately proclaims, “He tours around doing an endless string of one night stands from Austin TX to you name it. If you havent saw a show it’s your own fault!“ Don’t miss his next performance in Minneapolis with The Union Suits on 10/25/12 at Lee’s.
I don’t need to tell you who these guys are. They’re famous! Let’s not forget the incredibly entertaining evening that Calamity & The Owl opened for TBT at the University of Minnesota’s Spring Jam Kick-Off Concert. Calamity played their asses off to a crowd of screaming drunken college kids, who ended up breaking down the security fence resulting in the Minneapolis Police Department shutting the show down only a few 20 minutes or so into Trampled By Turtles’ set. That sounds like Jokertown to me…
Other big news includes the new artists that Jokertown will be working with in the coming months including MYSTERY DATE and the EAR STRIPPERS, but we’ll get to that another day. Stay tuned and have fun. As a wise man once told me, “Be good, and if you can’t be good, be careful”.
Jokertown Records Founder, and Flounderer since 2010
The Union Suits loaded up the van last month and made the long trek downstream from Minneapolis to Austin, TX, for their very first South By Southwest. It was delightful. We stayed with K.G. and played at Pete’s Bar on east 6th Street. We ate tacos and beef brisket, stopped by the Bloodshot Records free show to check out Lydia Loveless and say “hi” to Wayne Hancock, busked and shot a short video for NPR affiliate KUT Austin, saw an unexpected and awesome performance by Billy Joe Shaver at the White Horse, chatted with Vermin Supreme, Zach got his picture taken for the New York Times, we grilled some chicken and pushed the limits of our sanity. I lost my voice out of sheer foolishness, and we drove 20 hours straight to get home on time for one of our last performances at the Nomad. Here’s a few photos for now and the video we shot for KUT, we took lots more pics and shot plenty of video. Stay tuned and I will post as soon as I can.
Zach's signature leather jacket (thanks Michael)
Zach performing at Pete's "East Side" Bar - Credit: Ben Sklar for The New York Times
video of Max and Jac, shot by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT Austin
SO, it’s hard to resist the call to travel with the bands. Thus far we’ve made it to Duluth, Eau Claire, Shawano, Milwaukee, Mankato, Grand Forks and Fargo. We’ll be back to all these places, as well as trying to make it down into Iowa and of course more of Wisconsin.
Next week we head down to Texas for South By Southwest. There will inevitably be lots of good stories to share with y’all.
Calamity & The Owl performing at the Hub in Grand Forks, ND (photo courtesy of Manstrom Photography)
The Union Suits performing at the Mousetrap in Eau Claire, WI
note: If you’ve got photos of the Union Suits or Calamity & The Owl, post them directly to our facebook pages or email to firstname.lastname@example.org