Live: Band of Heathens, Houston

Band of Heathens unplugged; from left, Colin Brooks, Gordy Quist and Ed Jurdi.

The Band of Heathens comes from Austin and their sound has been described as the love child between the Band and Little Feat, with a little Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills and Nash tossed in.  When the full band’s roarin’, this is a formidable sound – and I learned on Saturday even unplugged, these boys are pretty darn good.

The band’s three guitar-plucking frontmen and songwriters – Ed Jurdi, Gordy Quist and Colin Brooks – played a short acoustic set at Cactus Music & Record Ranch before their full show later on Saturday. They are touring behind Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son, their latest album, and the trio kicked off their set with “Medicine Man,” a swampy rocker that becomes a little more laid-back than its album counterpart. On the CD, “Medicine Man” bumps along to a drum machine and some bluesy electric guitar – acoustic, it takes on a laid-back Tony Joe White groove.

Ed Jurdi

Jurdi offered “Free Again,”  a summer feel-good song only if it happens to be the summer of 2010 and a “big brown bubbling mess in the Gulf of Mexico” makes you feel good. Quist’s “Gris Gris Satchel” wrapped the trio’s smooth harmonies around a good song and some nice pickin’. Brooks, playing a National Steel, stepped up with “Enough” which has a bluesy feel. And Jurdi wrapped it with the funky “I Ain’t Runnin’,” with Quist offering some high backup singing.

These Texas boys are fine singers and players and excellent songwriters. Their previous album One Foot In The Ether was an ear-opening experience (especially the Hunter S. Thompson tribute “L.A. County Blues”) and they are quite fine live. I heartily recommend you buy a ticket to this show when it comes to your town.

YouTube: “L.A. County Blues” live at Shady Grove

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