Quintet with big name is all Americana

tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 22, 2013 

Bay Area-based Houston Jones played roots music of just about every genre Saturday in Los Banos.

The five-piece band started off its concert at the Ted Falasco Arts Center with the slow blues beat and whining guitar of “Jericho Road,” the title track from the group’s 2009 album.

“I’ve never been to Los Banos,” said Travis Jones, the lead vocalist. “It’s a cute little town.”

Houston Jones, the latest musicians in the Los Banos Arts Council’s concert series, fits somewhere in the Americana genre of music, and played a combination of folk, country, blues, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll.

The first set consisted of a number of album title tracks, like waltzy “Calico Heart” and “Queen of Yesterday,” a melancholy song with crisp guitar notes.

The band tours regularly and its members are accustomed to joining popular artists. Individually, the members have played with or opened for Waylon Jennings, Bo Diddley, Warren Zevon, Norah Jones and Earl Scruggs.

A couple of the songs on the set list were odes to the wives of bassist Chris Kee and piano player Henry Salvia. The band stopped frequently for solos from Salvia and lead guitarist Glenn Houston, and one from drummer Peter Tucker, all of which drew applause.

The second set was dedicated solely to cuts from a yet-to-be-recorded album.

“We’re going to go into the recording studio in a month or so,” Kee said. “You’re about the first people to hear this music outside of us.”

The newest music from the group carried evident influences of Flamenco, Chicago blues, classic country and sea shanties.

One of the band’s new songs told the story of a scorned lover.

“You can count on me, baby, like an old jalopy / I’ll be at your door as fast as fourth-class mail,” Jones sang. “I’m running to you like a dead man walking / I’ll be as easy to find as the Holy Grail.”

The Arts Council’s next event, Big Irish Night, is planned March 17 at the Ted Falasco Arts Center, 1105 Fifth St. The auction begins at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and traditional Irish music from the Gas Men. For tickets, which are $65, call (209) 826-6022 or (209) 826-6132.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanosenterprise.com.

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