Archive for Shawn Sahm

Live: Texas Tornados, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by 30daysout

The great Flaco Jiménez

We’ve written about this act before, probably too many times, but there is no way around it: the Texas Tornados are a great live act. Anchored by guitarist/singer Shawn Sahm (son of the late, very great Doug Sahm), keyboardist Augie Meyers and the very, very great accordionist Flaco Jiménez, the Tornados bring some Texas thunder every place they play.

Thursday night under a perfect sky, and with Houston’s gleaming skyline in the background, the Tornados played a free show in Discovery Green park that drew one of the season’s biggest and most enthusiastic crowds. Of course, the ladies gravitated to Jiménez – even though he’s 72 years old, he gets his fair share of flirtatious notes and greetings from women. He got his own spotlight, with the favorite “In Heaven There Is No Beer,” the polka warhorse given some Mexican spice by Flaco’s deft accordion work.

Shawn Sahm

One lady held up a sign “Flaco for President,” and Sahm mused how great that would be … peace talks could be held at a Miller Lite brewery somewhere, he said.

Much of the band’s set was dedicated of course to the late Sir Douglas Sahm and Freddy Fender, the powerhouse personalities who founded the Tornados way back in 1989. Singer Nunie Rubio sang Fender’s classic “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and although no one can match Fender’s singular singing style, Rubio did a fine and credible job. Organ player Augie Meyers held his own with “Dinero,” “Velma from Selma” and his own crowd favorite “Hey Baby (Que Pa So).”

The set featured many of the band’s trademark tunes that fuse rock, country and Tex-Mex, including “Who Were You Thinkin’ Of?” and “Adios Mexico.” This time, though, they dipped a little deeper in the Sir Douglas Quintet catalog and pulled out gems like “Nuevo Laredo,” “Texas Tornado” and the stone classic “Mendocino.” They also played crazy accordion-laced versions of “Wooly Bully” and the Southeast Texas classic “Matilda.” And it wouldn’t be Houston if the band didn’t wrap it with “She’s About A Mover,” the Sir Doug anthem first recorded in Houston way back in 1965.

At the end of the show, after the ovations, Jiménez paused to address the crowd. First he reminded everyone to visit the CD/T-shirt table, and plugged his new solo CD … which he said was going to be his last. “It’s time to hang it up,” he said, and although he didn’t seem to rule out playing live Jiménez made it clear he is ready to slow down.

So let’s wish him well – Flaco Jiménez is a five-time Grammy Award winner who’s recorded with everyone from the Mavericks to the Rolling Stones, and he is a classic Texas performer. Hope we can see him play live a few more times before he hangs it up for good.

YouTube: “Mendocino” by the Texas Tornados (from Antone’s in Austin)

Texas Tornados official website

Augie Meyers, with bassist Speedy Sparks and Shawn Sahm.

YouTube: “Who Were You Thinkin’ Of?” (from Texas Music Scene TV)

Nice night under the skyscrapers of Houston.

Live: Texas Tornados, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by 30daysout

Texas Tornados blowin' through Houston's Discovery Green park

No warnings were necessary as the Texas Tornados tore through Houston Thursday night, spawning dance-floor twisters with a raucous Tex-Mex blend of rock and roll.  The Tornados are anchored by Lone Star music legends Augie Meyers (Vox organ) and Flaco Jiménez (accordion), who were among the original members of this band, and guitarist/singer Shawn Sahm, son of the late, great Doug Sahm.

This was a free show in the Bayou City’s beautiful Discovery Green park, and the Tornados attracted a sizable crowd that seemed ready to wash away the work week.  The Tornados obliged with spicy rockers like “Adios Mexico,” Tejano ballads like “Volver” and stomping country rock like “Who Were You Thinkin’ Of?”

Sir Douglas Sahm was the architect of this type of music, and much of the evening was a celebration of his vision.  The Sir Douglas Quintet classic “Anybody Goin’ To San Antone” and Meyers’ “Velma From Selma” are rabble-rousing stompers when the Tornados take a whirl through them.  Singer Nunie Rubio and guitarist Louie Ortega performed beautifully on their tributes to the fallen Freddy Fender (also a Texas Tornados original member), “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and “Before The Next Teardrop Falls.”

Naturally the 71-year-old Jiménez got the lion’s share of the spotlight, because he is a walking Hall of Fame.  Jiménez, who has played with everyone from Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, teamed up with Rubio for the beautiful “Volver” and later, the goofy “In Heaven There Is No Beer.”  And when handwritten notes passed up to the stage weren’t song requests, they were phone numbers or come-ons for Jiménez from various ladies in the audience.  One note said “Will you meet me at the Motel 6?” and Jiménez asked, “What number?”  Rubio was quick to jump in with “69,” to which Jiménez replied, “My favorite number.”

Meyers took the show into its homestretch with his lively “Hey Baby Que-Pa-So?” and the band wound it up with the rocker “Wooly Bully.”  But there was one remaining piece of business, and the Tornados took care of it during the encore: a truly epic version of the Sir Douglas Quintet classic “She’s About A Mover.”  Meyers explained, “This song was recorded in 1965 right here in Houston,” and the rockin’ groove and Sahm’s amazing “freaky guitar” fretwork left the crowd happy and satisfied.  Friday morning’s trip to work was a shock to my system, because the Texas Tornados jukebox put me in a weekend frame of mind one day early.

When these guys come to your town, do yourself a favor and catch ’em.  And if they are not coming to your town, at least pick up the great CD Live From Austin TX, with the original lineup playing the “Austin City Limits” TV show.  It’s one of the finest Texas party albums ever made.

Our review of new album ¡Esta Bueno!

Texas Tornados official website

YouTube: “She’s About A Mover” at Sam’s Burger Joint, San Antonio


YouTube: “Velma From Selma” at Sam’s Burger Joint, San Antonio


SXSW: Texas Tornados, Free and Live!

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , on March 16, 2010 by 30daysout

The Texas Tornados – with Shawn Sahm, Augie Meyer and Flaco Jimenez – will perform in a live, free concert as part of their SXSW experience on Saturday (March 20) at 2 p.m. CDT.

Their show is part of the Global Zone Music Festival happening live in Videoranch3D, a 3D virtual world on the internet, where live musical performances occur in real-time, attended by a virtual audience from all over the world.

To be a part of this concert, you need high speed internet access and a newer computer with Windows on it (Intel Macs work great if Windows is installed).  Go here and click on “Visit Videoranch 3D” in the upper right corner.  Follow the instructions on registering and downloading the software.  Once inside Videoranch3D, you can move around, dance, cheer, see, chat with and meet other members of the audience.  On concert day, the Texas Tornados will be able to see your avatar, talk to you, and read your comments.

If you don’t have Windows or you’re on an old computer you can watch the live feed here.

Read our review of the latest Texas Tornados album, ¡Esta Bueno!

Texas Tornados official website

YouTube: “My Sugar Blue” live at Waterloo Records


Review: “¡Esta Bueno!,” Texas Tornados

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by 30daysout

Springtime in Texas is tornado season, but you better get ready: we are now in Texas Tornado season.   Yes, the legendary Texas Tornados are back, with a new album and mucho appearances around the Lone Star state (including at SXSW).   ¡Esta Bueno! is the new album, featuring original Texas Tornados Augie Meyer and Flaco Jiménez and Shawn Sahm, son of the late great Doug Sahm.

The original Texas Tornados were, of course, the Tex-Mex supergroup formed in 1989 by legendary musician Doug Sahm, singer Freddy Fender, keyboardist Augie Meyer and the great norteño accordionist Flaco Jiménez.  Sahm died in 1999 and Fender passed in 2006, so when the two great voices of the Tornados left the planet, nobody thought a reunion was possible.

Nobody, except for Sahm’s son Shawn, who looks and sounds an awful lot like his dad.  He always says, “the Sahm family makes music – that is what we do,” and to honor the fallen Tornados Shawn Sahm instigated the reunion of the surviving Tornados for this new record.  And what a great album it is – ¡Esta Bueno! is not only a great party album, it’s a moving tribute to the late Sahm and Fender.

“Who’s To Blame, Señorita,” the joyous rocker that kicks off the album, not only manages to recreate the Texas Tornados sound, but also reminds us that the roots of that great sound were planted in the Sir Douglas Quintet.  Written by Shawn and his dad, the song demonstrates happily that the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree.  “If I Could Only” resurrects Freddy Fender – literally – he sings on one of the last songs he ever wrote.  Fender reappears on “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like I Like,” and “Ahora Yo Voy,” as well as the countrified “Another Shot of Ambition.”

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A Lot Of Soul: Austin’s Tribute to Doug Sahm

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by 30daysout

Doug Sahm hill sign

On a foggy morning recently, I climbed to the top of Doug Sahm Hill.  It was just a few days after a bunch of Austin musicians gathered at Antone’s to pay respect to the late, great Douglas Wayne Sahm.  I didn’t go to the concert but I did drop by Austin’s new Lady Bird Lake park and took the winding path up to the top of the hill named after this legendary Texas musician.

sahm_pearl.66185156

Doug Sahm

Not much to see from the top – especially with the fog and all – and the only thing up there is a concrete bench circling a Texas map inlaid in concrete.  The only clue that the hill is related to anything about music is the sign you see as you are about to climb the hill (see above).  That’s why they had this big show the other night at Antone’s: to raise money for a plaque, a statue or something.

Climb to the top and take a look around.  You should have some Doug Sahm music playing in your portable player, because there’s no music to be heard up here.  At the right time of year you can certainly hear live music coming from just across the street at Auditorium Shores; a number of live shows happen there, including the big SXSW free shows in the spring.

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