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Return of the Wheel Workers


Greetings, Zenonites!

While you’ve been enjoying the ultimately maddening heat of the Houston summer, the folks at Zenhill Records have been stirring. Boy do we have some treats in store for you!

First up: The Wheel Workers are back at it after some rousing performances at Jones Hall (condolences if you hadn’t heard). Catch them this time at Fitzgerald’s on Friday, August 23, 2013. We feel that The Wheel Workers shows these days are beginning to border on the transcendental . . . . highly recommended if you’ve been in need of escape.

Like their album release for “Past to Present,” this show will feature a synchronized light and video show to accompany the music.  For an early taste of what’s in store for 8/23, check out the sweet video below from their album release last March.

Joining them are The Asteroid Shop and Glass the Sky. On a side note, who’s not into bands with space names? It practically a no-lose situation.

Come out and say “Hi!” to some folks you haven’t seen or heard in a while! Tickets are $5 presale, $7 at the door.

See you next weekend!


Houston Kicks Off LIKE A BOSS

houston kickoff FB (1)

Here we are, gang . . . . May is winding down to a close, mosquitos are back, humidity is back, and breaking a sweat on a five minute car ride is back. Oh, and Free Press Summerfest is back. Familiar with it? Thought so.

FPSF is seeing some massively growing love year after year; naturally, there are bigger and bigger names making the trek down south to rock the bayou for the hundreds of thousands of people that turn out. We still get some local representation across two days of mayhem on six stages, but not quite as much as we used to. Sarah Gregory and Katie Rentfro, two active local music mavens, hatched a plan to put some local talent on display. Thus came the birth of the Houston Kick-off Show!

Friday May 31st at Walter’s on Naylor, you’ll get your chance to take in a cross section of local music in a much more forgiving atmosphere than the swampy summer bayou. The lovely, hilarious Ky Meyer and Dusti Rhodes will MC a night rife with loud, sweaty, sticky local love. The music starts at 6:30p with Electric Attitude, followed by Glass the Sky, Second Lovers, Journey Agents, Craig Kinsey, Hollywood Black, Murder the Stout, Potbelly, and finished off by Knights of the Fire Kingdom.

But wait . . . . THERE’S MORE! A custom playlist is being created to play between sets of yet more beloved Houston bands that just couldn’t be crammed on to the bill. An extra special treat: The Suffers will be making their new album available to purchase for the first time anywhere that night, as they plan on unveiling it to the crowd during their set Sunday morning at FPSF. If you’ve seen The Suffers in action recently, then you know just how spectacular this new album is going to be.

All this for less than a plate of chow mein and spicy beef? HECK YES. Nine bands, tons of local music, a chance to be the first to buy the new record from The Suffers, and more local love than any of us will know what to do with . . . all for $7. Next Friday can’t come fast enough!

See you soon, gang!

Craig Kinsey, Emily Bell, and John Evans Tonight at Fitzgerald’s


Stop what you’re doing:

There’s a show at Fitzgerald’s tonight that might wreck your plans. Craig Kinsey just got back from a quick tour around the south and brought some friends back! Craig and friends will be in rocking form, John Evans will croon like only he can, and Emily Bell . . . . well, she speaks for herself.

Tonight then? As you were.

For Food’s Sake: Haute Wheels Houston 3rd Annual Food Truck Festival


With the weather warming up and springtime muscling in, it’s getting to be festival time. It seems like new traditions are springing up all over town, and each passing year yields bigger and better turnouts. Thankfully music is being infused in every event that’s bringing us together . . . I know that’s what gets me up and out. You know what else gets me out? Food. A ton of it . . . especially having several different kinds, from several different places, all around me. The smells drifting from place to place as I walk through trying to pick my next target . . . oh man. Drop a beer garden in the middle, and I’m done for.

It may sound like a dream my winter-weary friends, but I assure you this is real. The third installment of the Haute Wheels Houston Food Truck Festival is alive and well, and it’s headed straight for us.

Go ahead and clear your weekend of March 23rd and 24th, as you won’t be getting much done (at least I won’t). Meandering among 35 of Houston’s best food trucks can be a daunting task. I have a habit of heading straight for chicken and waffles, then seeing pizza and wanting that. Then usually coming across anything from a wok at the same time as tacos . . . it’s a shame that hunger should be so finite.

Let us not forget the many trips to the beer garden; it will be home to several local and national breweries, vineyards, and the like (Karbach will be on hand, so the forecast on Hopadillo is looking good, folks). You’ll be able to while away the hours near the libations if you prefer, but the call of the stage is difficult to resist. Saturday’s heady lineup begins with Southern Backtones at 12:30, Craig Kinsey at 2:00, and The Wheel Workers at 3:30. Sunday’s no slouch, as the legendary Johnny Falstaff kicks things off at 12:30, followed by the brash folk style of Folk Family Revival at 2:00, and the irresistible grooves of Electric Attitude at 3:30. This year is going out with booty’s shaking.

Save the date and your appetite for everything Houston! On March 23rd and 24th, there’s only one place you need to be: 5601 West Loop South Freeway on the HCC Southwest Campus for the 3rd annual Haute Wheels Houston Food Truck Festival. See you there!

Wheel Workers Space City Rock Review



With Past to Present, The Wheel Workers attempt a truly delicate balancing act, one that’s impressive to witness. See, the album takes a big, big risk, in that it’s essentially two things at the same time: a pitch-perfect orchestral pop-rock album and a strident, intensely political call to arms. There are bands that can do those things, to be sure, but very few can do both at the same time and succeed.

And yet, against the odds, The Wheel Workers pull it off. They’ve managed to craft a dozen tracks that are thoughtful, warm, friendly, melodic, and addictive as all hell (it’s seriously impossible to not sing along to “Chemicals,” for one)…and are married to singer/guitarist Steven Higginbotham’s often-cautionary, sometimes-grim, activism-minded lyrics.


The Weekend In Rock

Hank Live

Another week has come and gone, another weekend looming. Most times, weekends are here before you know it . . . before you’re ready for it. We never know what we’re doing . . . . the week doesn’t often afford much time for figuring out what’s going on in real life (not work life). Then there’s that dangerous gray area where you’re not really sure what’s going on, but you’re really tired. And there are a few things in the Netflix cue you’ve been wanting to get to. And oh yeah you DVR’d that episode from last week so you can finally get caught up on your stories and maybe you should just order some take-out.

No. Stop it. Just . . . stop. There’s awesome stuff going on. Let us help.

For one thing, there’s this show going on at MKT Bar (1001 Austin St, Downtown). It’s Pete and James starting at 5p, followed by Craig Kinsey at 8p. If you haven’t been yet, MKT Bar is an intimate, low key setting with great selections of craft beer and wine. There’s a menu too, should you find yourself a little peckish.

Out on the coast, Hank Schyma will be enthralling the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston. The last time we were there, the Old Quarter seemed to pull everyone in for square blocks. It’s the kind of downtown building with a story to tell, and everyone you meet has one to share. Plus there were dogs, the big cuddly kind that introduce themselves to you.

If you’re going to need to get down a little harder than that, we’ve got some friends called Knights of the Fire Kingdom that will be found mounting up at Rudyard’s a little later on tonight. We haven’t seen them yet ourselves, but we know how those guys roll.

Tomorrow night will be the real spectacle, as The Wheel Workers have a new record coming out and they’ve prepared quite an experience they’d like you to be a part of. You may recall us having a few words to say about it . . . . you will want to be at that show. Well, you will certainly not want to have missed it.

That’s just a small slice of the music that’s waiting out there for you to go devour. So stay off the couch tonight . . . . save the laying around and doing nothing for Sunday like the decent folk.

A Fine Time For The Wheel Workers

Free Press Quarter Page ad

Houston seems thick with talent top to bottom these days; gone are the days of artists contemplating trying to be noticed in the shadow of the live music capital to the west. Here are the days of local artists making strides, reaching more potential, and catching all kinds of attention as they grow. The Wheel Workers seem bent on defining this principle by example.

Never ones to lay in waiting, the tirelessly working band are set to release their second album “Past to Present” on March 2 at Fitzgerald’s. They’ve labored over their craft for over a year and a half on this one, leaving no stone unturned in the quest to find the sounds coming out of lead singer Steven Higginbotham’s head. Taking such a meticulous approach and working with producer Dan Workman at the illustrious Sugarhill Recording Studios can yield a learning experience at every turn. The lesson this time, beyond learning how french pressed coffee can be your best friend, is to trust your initial instinct. Among the tracks fine tuned to perfection, you also hear takes that were improvisations from the writing phase . . . undeniable magic that could not be left behind.  Sounds like these guys have been doing it right.

Just can’t wait to get a copy in your hand? They’ve already released it on iTunes and Amazon. If you’re just looking to massage those eardrums, scoot on over to their bandcamp and have a listen (don’t forget: downloading from bandcamp gets you the best options on highest quality filetypes).

Are they content to just play a few songs for those in attendance? Not likely. The band will  reportedly be unveiling several new songs as well as tracks from the new album. If that weren’t enough, an entirely new visual element of their set will be revealed including reels of found footage, an accompanying light show . . . . I don’t want o give too much away! With all they’re pouring into this release, it’s no surprise the whole thing will be filmed for an upcoming live concert film. Take your place at the front of the stage and you’ll know where to find your face when it comes out!

Visit the Wheel Worker’s website for more information, and join the Facebook event to stay up to date on the release party. These guys have a knack for sounding immaculate live . . . you should definitely be there if you know what’s good for you (and your ears).

Halloween on the Hill


The night is here, boys and girls . . take to the streets and revel how you will.

Have you seen it? There’s a story the Southern Backtones would like to share with you. Go and see for yourself and let them know what you think . . .

Have a Happy Halloween, everyone. And keep your eyes open out there.

Days of the Dead


Tis the season for everything ghoulish and ghastly . . . . . just ask Hank and the Southern Backtones.

Hank’s been a busy boy as of late . . . . he’s come off of a pretty hectic storm season (if you haven’t seen his exploits, familiarize yourself HERE), thrown himself into filming his latest full length feature, and somehow found the time to get some pretty appropriate music videos done.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Southern Backtones proudly present their take on Muddy Waters’ “Diamonds at Her Feet,” in which the illustrious Madame Leveau demonstrates an undertaking of achieving eternal youth. Click here to see it for yourself.

Enjoy friends, and be careful what you wish for. You’ll get more than you bargain for, I assure you.

Burning Down the House


Lookout folks . . . . they’re at it again!

This Friday 19th at Fitzgerald’s will be one of those nights where a song comes on and you think to yourself, “What is that? I know this . . . . ”

“No way . . . that can’t be what I think it is . . . . these guys would never play that . . . ?”

WRONG. They would definitely play that, especially at Burned Out III! Craig Kinsey will once again be in attendance to bring you back to the good old days when these songs used to make you dance, not just change the station. Electric Attitude will bring a groove so pure, you might be shakin’ them hips too hard to notice what they’re playing. Throw in The Soapbox Revolution and you’ve got the rock-out icing on top of the get-down cake. If you will.

Seriously . . . where else are you going to hear Green Day, Queen, The Jackson 5, Rolling Stones, Sublime, and MGMT all in one night at the same place? Nowhere, that’s where (although it would be funny to go into Cactus Music and start making those requests . . . . I’m sure they’re burned out, too).

Put aside your burned out feelings for one night and come act a fool with us . . . there’s always singing and dancing to be had! Besides, the drinks aren’t half bad, and everyone could use a little closure in good company when you put tunes like these to bed.

One more thing . . . do you like pizza? What about incredible, delectable, other-worldly pizza? Get out and find the Pi Pizza Truck, get yourself a killer slice, and save the receipt. Have it with you when you amble up to Fitz on Saturday, and get yourself 50% off your ticket. That’s half off, you guys . . . you know what to do.