JSJII's Must Have On Vinyl - The Texas Gentlemen's TX Jelly

JSJII's Must Have On Vinyl - The Texas Gentlemen's TX Jelly

I first discovered the Texas Gentlemen through Paul Cauthen, an amazingly talented singer and songwriter, who is also featured on TX Jelly. Beau Bedford, who produced Paul's album My Gospel, (which is unbelievable and will be the subject of my next post) is the leader of the band and after playing many years as a studio band have now ventured out as their own performing entity. 

To my knowledge, the Texas Gentlemen are a fraternal order of musicians dedicated to being the best musicians in Texas. They've performed with Kris Kristofferson and Ed Sheeran as well. I can say that they are certainly living up to their reputation. They immediately reminded me of The Wrecking Crew or The Swampers or Toto, all of which were the invisible sound of all your favorite 60s and 70s records, studio bands who were responsible for some of the greatest albums of all time. Toto is the only group who ventured out on their own as the Texas Gentlemen have done.

Upon first listen I was immediately struck by the garage rock production style and tight, warm, punchy distorted tones. They were already appealing to my sonic senses. The first track Habbie Doobie opens the album and draws you in to what feels like a jam session, with chord changes being called out over the mic and hoots and hollers upon digging into the initial guitar solo on the track. 

Overall this record gave me the sense that all of my favorite influences were being dumped into a funnel, twisted and turned and separated and congealed together again, all the while being seasoned and sugared, amalgamated into what can only be described as a batch of the finest Texas jam, preserves or... jelly that I've ever tastedProps to these guys for a wonderfully and aptly titled album.

You can hear traces of Elton John, Brian Wilson, The Beatles and even Toto on some tunes and don't worry, there's plenty of twang on it too. 

I don't want pigeon hole their sound, because it's diverse and technical and musically rich to the nth degree and even with its classic nods contains a signature sound of originality. The melodies are familiar and catchy at times yet always lead to pleasantly unexpected departures. This record takes you on a raucous ride and I continue to enjoy every minute of it as it is now in heavy listening rotation in my world.

My favorite track on the album is Bondurant Women. It starts out as some kind of Marvin Gaye motown reincarnation and morphs into a more spacey melancholy vibe and ultimately into an almost latin jam that concludes with one of the members remarking "that was incredible..." Yes, I agree.

Another favorite is Superstition. This one's a brilliant track starting out like a nostalgic Billy Joel New York soundscape. It doesn't stay here long. As soon as the vocals enter they pull you suprisingly into a Ben Folds-esque dream world where the track warbles like a vintage cassette deck. Even the vocal melodies sway a bit making you feel floaty in this dream like state. It's even got hints of Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds and pieces of a Chicago song. To top it all off you're left pondering the lyrics of whether or not you "believe in ghosts...do you believe they can give you blow jobs...take your money?" Fair question, with obviously larger metaphorical implications. 

It's really hard to put a finger on what this album is, but that's a great quality, and ultimately what it is is really good music. Plain and simple.

Overall these guys do a great job of pulling you into their world, wowing you with their vast array of sonic possibility, but do it with an effortless quality making you feel as you've been invited over to an impromptu jam session, handed a beer, given a beanbag chair and are asked to simply lay back and enjoy the music. 

It's a nostalgic batch of tunes that'll hit all the classic music sweet spots you could ever want!

Well done boys...you've got my vote...


***Click below to grab a copy on vinyl and do ya self a flava...

Jeffrey JoslinComment