Sign up for newsletter
 

Stone River Boys map debut

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 – Austin's Stone River Boys will issue their debut CD, "Love on the Dial," on June 1 on Cow Island Music.

The Texas-based quintet features guitarist Dave Gonzalez, formerly a driving force in the Hacienda Brothers and The Paladins, and vocalist Mike Barfield, onetime leader of The Hollisters. Together, Barfield and Gonzalez created a crossbreed of country and R&B they've labeled "country funk."

The disc features 10 original songs written or co-written by Gonzalez, Barfield, Esbeck, and Biller, plus four musically diverse covers - the late Stephen Bruton's Bluebonnet Blue; a cover of Tyrone Davis' 1968 hit Can I Change My Mind; Gerry Goffin and Carole King's Take a Giant Step (recorded by The Monkees, the Rising Sons, and Taj Mahal); and Nashville hitmakers Jerry Foster and Bill Rice's Special.

Gonzalez said of the new group, "I feel really refreshed. We have a different take on the country side of things. Mike is a Gulf Coast country Texas boy, and at the same time, he's got this funky up-tempo R&B thing going. I'm working a new style of guitar that I've always loved, but I've never had the opportunity to play it. People are saying they love the new band, and they're glad to hear me playing a lot of guitar again."

"This is the first band where I've had a full-time steel player," said Barfield. "That's something in this band I like - there are so many voicings. It gives you what a horn section might do or an organ might do."

Gonzalez, Barfield, and Esbeck are joined in the current edition of the Stone River Boys by pedal steel guitarist Gary Newcomb and drummer Mark Patterson, who both played with Esbeck in Austin singer-songwriter Bruce Robison's group. The band will support the release of "Love on the Dial" with a summer 2010 tour of the Southwest and the West Coast.

The Stone River Boys' sound extends the direction of Gonzalez' previous band, the Hacienda Brothers, who recorded three studio albums with producer and country-soul legend Dan Penn. Gonzalez was partnered in the Haciendas with Southern California-bred singer Chris Gaffney.

After Gaffney was diagnosed with liver cancer in early 2008, Gonzalez organized a benefit tour for his ailing band mate, drawing musicians from Austin's fertile talent pool. One of the principal members of the touring group was Barfield, whom Gonzalez had known since the early '80s, when he fronted the top Southern California rockabilly band The Paladins and Barfield led the Houston bands The Rounders and The Hollisters.

Gaffney succumbed to cancer in April 2008, but the tour went on. "We went and did it anyway, and sent the money home to his wife Julie," said Gonzalez. "A buddy of mine had a recording studio up in Nebraska, and while we were out on tour, he invited us to come over there. We went in and cut a couple. I said to Barfield, 'If you want to do a record, I'd love to, man.' And we just started making a record."

Barfield said, "We really naturally just started keeping it going. The name of the band came from the first place we rehearsed for that trip, in this little subdivision in deep South Austin, on a street called Stone River."

"When I hooked up with Barfield, he had a whole pocket full of tunes," said Gonzalez. "I felt, 'We need to record these things right away.' We wrote a couple right on the spot together. He had a few that were unfinished I kind of helped him with. But he wrote the majority of the material on the record."

Produced by Gonzalez, the album was recorded during several sessions in 2008-09 with a band that included bassists Scott Esbeck (formerly of instrumental combo Los Straitjackets), Hank Maninger (Hacienda Brothers) and Kevin Smith (Dwight Yoakam), pedal steel whiz Dave Biller and drummers Justin Jones and Damien Llanes.

"Chris Gaffney was a great Western singer," Gonzalez said, "but he also had a knack for singing R&B and soul tunes, too. When I hooked up with Barfield, it was the same thing. He's a country bro', but he's a funky soul bro', too. In that sense, it does lean toward the way the Hacienda Brothers were. Dan Penn called our music 'Western soul.' Mike is real funky; I was telling everybody it's more country soul. Lately we've been calling it 'country funk,' because we've got a little more funk and a little more up-tempo material in this new band than we did with The Haciendas."

Barfield saw a natural connection between the sounds of country and R&B: "There's a picture of Solomon Burke and Joe Tex, and maybe James Brown, and they all had cowboy hats on. A lot of those soul performers will talk about how they used to listen to the Grand Ole Opry. Some R&B songs, especially the ballads, are very close to some of the honky-tonk ballads. To me, it's all very similar."

More news for Stone River Boys

CD reviews for Stone River Boys

Love on the Dial CD review - Love on the Dial
Fueled by Dave Gonzales's taut leads and baritone rhythm along with the fluid drive of Dave Biller and Fuzzy Blazek's pedal steel, the Stone River Boys push the old Hacienda Brothers message that the genres of country and soul are basically the same thing. They're not, of course, but sometimes it's fun to hear the band's sonic argument. Former Paladins member, Gonzales once again takes a backseat to a cat whose voice embraces both c&w and r&b a la the late Hacienda »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: These Eagles keep songs alive and well – The newly reconfigured Eagles lineup, which now includes Vince Gill and Deacon Frey in place of the late Glenn Frey, hasn't changed its set much since this modified grouping's debut at Dodger Stadium in 2017. Don Henley announced from the outset, though, how the group continues to tour primarily so it can keep the Eagles' many great songs alive.... »»»
Concert Review: Lovett could not have scripted it any better – Cerritos is a fair distance from Hollywood, but Lyle Lovett, who has accumulated a long list of acting credits, sometimes seemed like he was giving a company town performance this night. Maybe it was because Paul Reiser, the "Mad About You" star, introduced Lovett with a funny bit about what some of the man's songs mean (or don't mean).... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Tyminski goes dark Dan Tyminski (known simply as "Tyminski" on his 2017 release "Southern Gothic") has traditional music roots and unassailable bluegrass street cred especially given his membership in Alison Krauss' Union Station. He is also a powerful songwriter and has been writing songs for himself and others for years now.... »»»
Washburn, Fleck create "Echoes" Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have powerhouse individual talents; each has followed an estimable career path to where they find themselves today: making complex, but spare, records, writing music together and touring with their son Juno. Their new release, "Echoes In The Valley" features mostly songs written by Fleck and Washburn, banjos, Washburn's strong vocals and very little else.... »»»
Hillman bides his time Legends don't come any more legendary than Chris Hillman. The roll call of bands that comprises Hillman's half century in music reads like a wing exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, the Desert Rose Band,... »»»
The Cadillac Three creates its "Legacy" William Shakespeare noted a few centuries back that a rose by any other name would be equally aromatic, and that general idea has musical implications as well. The Cadillac Three knows a thing or two about maintaining a sonic identity after a name change;... »»»
With Stanley and Watson, sound isn't elementary Those aware of the late Owsley "Bear" Stanley likely know him for one of two reasons - his pioneering work manufacturing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in San Francisco during the mid-to-late 1960s and his role as an innovative sound engineer. Most notably, Bear worked...... »»»
May shifts gears, directions Headed into 2015, Imelda May was on a hit streak. Her rockabilly career was in full swing, nurtured by the likes of former Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland and guitar icon Jeff Beck. Her albums routinely topped the charts in her native Ireland.... »»»
Cry Pretty CD review - Cry Pretty
Carrie Underwood's life was reading straight from the storybooks: one of the few American Idol Winners with ongoing success; a professional athlete for a husband; a beautiful baby boy. The string of great fortune turned sharply in 2017, »»»
My Way CD review - My Way
Not one to rest on his laurels, Willie Nelson's second studio release of the calendar year finds the artist dipping back into the Great American Songbook. Previous collections, including 1978's stellar Stardust, 2009's "American Classic" and 2016's "Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin," established Nelson as one of the finest modern interpreters of American standards.  »»»
Let It Pass CD review - Let It Pass
This is the swan song for The Stray Birds unfortunately, but at least they are parting with another musical triumph. This record barely got made as founding members, fiddler/guitarist/banjoist/vocalist Maya de Vitry and fiddle/guitarist/ »»»
Pretty Bird CD review - Pretty Bird
"Pretty Bird" is Kathy Mattea's first studio album in six years, following 2012's "Follow Me Home." The major reason for this gap was Mattea's realization that her voice was changing so much, she felt as if she was losing it altogether.  »»»
The Keep CD review - The Keep
New Reveille, a talented quintet from North Carolina, can boast the finest harmonies that any kind of music can offer. On their debut, New Reveille mine the early American sounds and make them sound fresh. It's a unique sound that embraces »»»
Cactus CD review - Cactus
Elise Davis tells stories and brings relatable, realistic lyrics rather overly relying on imagery, metaphors and symbolism. That was the general take on her widely acclaimed 2016 "The Token." Some of that assessment holds true again here on "Cactus,"  »»»