White Elephant Saloon contest, Rd 1 Wk 4

| March 13, 2015 | Reply
Big Joe Walker 1

Big Joe Walker Band

Click on the links below for many photos

After having been iced out and postponed the previous week, the White Elephant Saloon Texas Music Showdown finalized its first round this Wednesday (3.11.15) with three judges selecting Big Joe Walker and his big band to move into Round 2.

This contest was between Big Joe’s band, the Keith Owens Band, and the Molotov Dogs. Three powerful bands, all of which brought their No. 1 game to the contest.

Each band had three original songs and one cover song to perform for grading, plus they got a full song as a sound check. Usually, these songs get the judges’ attention, too, although they don’t score anything on it.

Judges this week were James Dunning, who leads the Lost Immigrants band; Frank Jackson with Smith Music; and KHYI’s Brett Dillon, who also organizes the contest for the White Elephant Saloon. After each band’s songs, the judges offered some words of constructive critique. Then, when all three had performed, they adjourned to deliberate and make their selection.

Keith Owens Band

Keith Owens Band

The Keith Owens Band opened up. Their sound check song was a good execution of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” and their cover was a Keith Whitley hit. At critique, Dillon said he liked the band from the sound check. Dunning commented he especially liked an AC/DC riff in t he band’s last original song, and Jackson mentioned that he really liked their original songs and said, “you are a musically really tight band.”

Members of the Keith Owens Band are: Owens on lead vocals and guitar; “Captain” Kirk Richardson on bass; Trace Bivens on lead guitar and backup vocals; Dwayne “Gummi Bear” Berry on drums; and Kim Danforth on harmony and backup vocals.

Next up were the Molotov Dogs, led by Blake Brownlee on vocals and guitar. Others in this group are Matt Hall on bass; Lucas Albano on drums; Poppy Xander on keyboard; and Jesse Thompson on electric banjo. At critique, Dillon gave the Zoolander Award to

Molotov Dogs

Molotov Dogs

Thompson, and commented that musicians Mark Shelton and Big Joe were really jammin’ to the band. Their cover song was Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.” Shelton said later, “That was one of the most original covers of that (heavy metal) song I’ve ever heard.” Judge Dunning liked it to, plus, he said, he liked the variety of instrumentation. “It was a great balance, even when the guitar crapped out on you in the end. The band went on and carried the song.”

Jackson commented on that little snag, too. “It was a good move, not to focus on it and just keep going.” He added good comments about Xander’s keyboard work.

Big Joe Walker band covered George Strait’s “Run.” With Big Joe, who plays both guitar and keyboards, were Chris Johnson on drums and background vocals; Adam Carrillo on bass and background vocals; Casey Green on lead guitar; and Michael Poole on fiddle.

Judges reversed their deliveries, with Jackson starting the critique by saying, “Your songs are strong, your smile is so infectious, and it all sounds so good.”

Dunning commented on the band’s dynamics and diverse song selection, plus their musicianship. And Dillon added “You are hit-maker band. You come alive on the keys, Big Joe.” He closed it off saying, “This is a competition and all these bands are amazing.”

Blake Brownlee, Keith Owens, and Big Joe Walker sharing a song

Blake Brownlee, Keith Owens, and Big Joe Walker sharing a song

Big Joe, after the announcement, and his band performed two more songs for the crowd. The first was a Zac Brown cover. On the second, he invited Brownlee and Owens back onto the stage to sing along with his band, and that was a great conclusion to the night’s events, with everyone remaining friends and admirers of one another’s music.

This next Wednesday (March 18), Round 2 begins with Josh Halverson Band taking on Twisted Pistols. Then, on March 25, it will be the Matt Nix Band against Big Joe Walker. Until, finally, on April 1, it will come to a close with the winners of those two weeks coming together for the grand prizes. Music starts at 8 p.m., and singer/songwriter Brad Hines performs solo each night from 7-8 and again after the night’s contest ends. No cover charge.

Big Joe Walker photos, click here

Molotov Dogs photos, click here

The Keith Owens Band photos, click here

For other photos, click here




Category: *- Features, 2015, Other venues

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