After a quick dinner at the ever-delicious Woodland on hoppin’ South Congress, we cruised across the street to the greatest live music venue in all of history, The Continental Club. Venerable Austin musicians Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison (who are husband and wife in case you aren’t familiar) were playing a show as the CD release party for their new album CHEATERS GAME which is fan-tab-u-lous. If I could make up more words and add more nonsensical punctuation to convey my enthusiasm, I would. No kidding, it’s good, like listen to it and like it the first time good. It’s even #1 on the Americana charts and the charts don’t lie yall.
Okay so those sketchy charts are known to lead us astray now and again but in this case, they nailed it.
CHEATERS GAME is the first album that this musical powerhouse has ever released together. Understandably they’ve aimed to keep their individual careers in tact, but the world is lucky they’ve made an exception here because this is a rare case of 1+1=3. Kelly Willis’ voice is as off the charts as ever. And her voice pairs so beautifully with Bruce’s, it’s really hard to explain. I’m not musically informed enough to know how to describe it. I think they might be like the Louvin Brothers where one sings melody and one sings harmony and then they switch and the other sings melody and then the other sings harmony. I don’t know…it just blows my mind how cool they sound together.
And the songs…nothing less than you would expect from someone with the Texas songwriting chops like Bruce Robison. And that includes the ones they were keen enough to pick from other songwriters.
The Continental Club was packed with a great energy, the Lone Stars were flowing, and Kelly and Bruce brought it. I was nose-level with the pedal steel guitar player which was fun to watch up close and personal. The new songs sounded great and of course their standard hits are always a hit with me. If you are a Bruce and/or Kelly fan, make sure to get CHEATERS GAME. You won’t be disappointed. Decade after decade these two keep upping the ante. If you’re not yet a Bruce/Kelly fan….a little trust. CHEATERS GAME….go for it.
Just before Bruce and Kelly took the stage last night I was texting with my college roommate, telling her I was at the Continental Club about to see Kelly Willis, whom she heard on permanent rotation while we were roommates way back when. She downloaded CHEATERS GAME this morning as a treat to celebrate her 12th wedding anniversary. She and her husband already love the album and she texted me today to say she was “having a music moment.”
It’s fun spreading good music news.
The following video clips are not from last night but they are songs from CHEATERS GAME that were performed last night. Thought you might enjoy…
Trucker songs are always welcome but this one is above and beyond rollicking rockabilly good times, especially live. Here’s “Born To Roll”:
This song “Border Radio” is getting a lot of radio airplay here in Texas. You may have heard it?
This slow song “Waterfall” showcases Kelly Willis’ incredible torchy voice (sister has pipes) as well as Bruce Robison’s songwriter instincts. It is a sad, aching love song that grabbed me deep. I was so relieved to be there with my husband whom I adore, so thankful I am nowhere close to a heartache because this song was so powerful if I weren’t happily in love I would have been washing down Prozac with tequila shots and a beer back. Then again, I was awfully close to the steel guitar which probably added to the haunting romantic effect. You see what you think…
Big thanks to both Kelly and Bruce for a great night of music…at the Continental Club…with Lone Stars….about as Austin as a Saturday night can get.
(Copyright 2013 by Christine Warren)
Already a Kelly Willis or Bruce Robison fan? Share some of your favorite songs so others can get to know their music!