Houston’s honky-tonk music scene was front and center on this Friday night in the Heights. The top artist of the genre had come together to celebrate the CD release of The Honky Tonk Blood Soundtrack. This event was five years in the making and the three creators came to HeightsLive ready to let loose and interact with fans within the intimate listening room.
John Evans, Johnny Falstaff and Hank Schyma managed to make a movie in their spare time - a luxury which they are very, very short on.
So what the hell is this Honky Tonk Blood stuff all about anyway?
The official website describes it as this:
“It's a bloodthirsty battle to stay at the top. The stars on Falstaff records are dying for fame. Who or what is trying to make the music stop?
Honky Tonk Blood is an independent horror film. 5 years in the making and starring a veritable Who's Who of the Houston music scene.
The concept began when Hank Schyma, frontman of the indie rock band Southern Backtones, pooled resources with recording artists John Evans and Johnny Falstaff to create a new kind of content vehicle for their music.
Working in-between gigs, heavy touring schedules, recording sessions and storm chasing, Schyma, Falstaff and Evans managed to bring together myriad loose ends to create this chilling, tongue-in-cheek, indie music slasher pic.
Honky Tonk Blood is solid entertainment and a tribute to the city and the music scene that gave it life... and death.”
What is the Honky Tonk Blood Soundtrack all about?
“Honky Tonk Blood is a dark fusion of indie film and indie music. The two media combine to create a bizarre, engaging spaghetti-western horror film.”
As the trio took the stage they got things kicked off by finishing a 5th of Black Jack that Evans had been heavily denting during the pre-show festivities - A prelude of things to come. The guys took time to thank everyone for the support and to explain what this was all about. Hank kicked the song-swap off by playing a Southern Backtones tune. HS was wearing a fantastic leather fringed jacket. He has a border town inspired sound which slides from classic Americana to classic Quinceañera. This was HMR’s first time to catch HS.
HMR favorite John Evans was up next in the order and had come to play the part. JE was coming to town straight from BFE Studios and was hell bent to tie one on. It has been awhile since HMR has caught up with Evans since his move to Austin last year and it is always good to see the songwriting genius. The hair was getting longer but was not as teased out as it was when he appeared on The Tonight Show several weeks back with Ego Brother, Hayes Carll.
Johnny Falstaff was pulling anchor sitting far stage left tonight. JF is a unique personality with one hell of a honky-tonk sound. He is always energetic and a kick ass guitar player. His songs are as great as his get ups and never let you down. HMR saw his band play outdoors in Jefferson, Texas on a wet and cold morning to no more than 20 people and you would have swore he was playing at The Grand ‘Ole Opry. We have been sold ever since.
The place was packed with at least 100 attendees, a really good number for HL. A knowledgeable crowd that seemed to be in on all the inside jokes and bask in the glow of an absolutely stellar night for Houston music. The main act was great but had lost some traction in the first set by being maybe a little too witty. It was hard for JE to sing his sad song when a lady in the front row could not help but laugh…The normally aesthetically complementary screen really proved a distraction at times provoking misplaced laughter and constant looks over the shoulder by the artist playing or not.
To be in the room with all this great local talent was an honor for HMR and to take it to the next level several artists were brought to the stage to treat the audience. Emily Belle, who is John Evans main squeeze right now, joined her man for a duet off her upcoming album.- the same album that JE had been in the middle of the woods recording for the last 3-1/2 weeks at BFE Studios. The Sideshow Tramps’ Craig Kinsey came up and played two songs. Both Emily Belle and Kinsey are in the movie.
The other person who was brought to the stage was another musician that HMR has yet to catch a full set of, Mitch Jacobs. OMG!!! – this guy brought the freaking house down AND had the whikeeee. The man came up and knocked it out of the park with a beautiful song that lead many to stand up and cheer as he left the stage back to the main act.
The entire night was a statement on the closeness of the Houston music scene. A majority of the people here tonight were not just Friday night band fans. Now Hear This! HeightsLive at Heights First Presbyterian Church was hosting the core of the local indie country music scene in a homecoming of sorts. On this evening, this was THEE place to be in Houston for live music. There were moments that gave you goosebumps and others that left you crying from laughter.
With that much love and respect gathered in a single room for a tribute to Houston honky-tonk music it is not surprising that someone would get stupid drunk. It was also no surprise to see that honor go to the notorious drinking madman John Evans. What was a surprise was that it continued for so long on stage after it was time to say goodnight but what can you do. Hank and Emily Belle tried - but again – what can you do – IT’S FUCKING JOHN EVANS!!!!
The night was a microcosm of the life that these artist lead and what inspires their work – songs, friends, movies, drinking, etc. You would have jaw-dropping moments on both ends of the spectrum by the time the last note was played. The wheels kinda just came off at the end with HeightsLive having technical difficulties especially with the lighting & having to turn off Evans microphone in between songs because he was speaking Chinese and all you could understand was the curse words.
After the show was over, all the movie contributors stuck around to sign CDs and posters and chat in the glow of the wild night had by all. Every one of the players here tonight are down-to-earth people with talent as strong as their sense of humor. I know I said it before but it was an honor for HMR to see these guys do what they do best and worst. Take a look at www.honkytonkblood.com to get information about the movie premiere on 2-24-11 at River Oaks Cinema and other viewing/ jamming parties around the area as well. Until next time, we will see you out supporting live music.
Comment by hank on 2011-02-17 17:40:08
hahaha... John was speaking Chinese. Awesome article HMR!!! thank you for the love and support
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