Let’s talk about sound. Not the vibrations reaching your ears via the air, but “the sound.” It’s what an artist or band spends a lifetime developing. It can be relative or associative– Muscle Shoals and FAME, Memphis and Stax, Los Angeles and Gold Star, Macon and Capricorn. In the 1960s and 1970s, a certain room and a particular core group of musicians was almost a necessity to move platters across the counter. That dynamic shifted in the 1980s with more synthetic music, and in the 1990s with home studios and independent labels. But nothing matched the formula and resonant mythology of exceptional studio bands like the Little Green Men, the Swampers, the Wrecking Crew, and Booker T & The MG’s. The sound was never lost, though– it just got dropped. It rolled under the couch of pop conformity, and while music lounged and became complacent, the sound underneath collected grit and funk.
These days, if you need a crew that can either keep up or set the pace– you’re after the Texas Gentlemen. Based in Dallas, TX and boasting a rotating personnel of nearly fifty members, you can rest satisfied that there’s a Gent for any project you can dream. The Texas Gentlemen have set the stage and the studio for legends like Kris Kristofferson and Joe Ely, as well as Americana stars Paul Cauthen, Nikki Lane, and Leon Bridges.
The album TX Jelly was recorded at FAME Studios and marks the first original project from the Gents. It’s a massive collection of style and influence that ranges from nightclub pop to Southern country-funk. Bandleader and producer Beau Bedford assembled his hardcore center then put out the all dogs alert for any and every Gent or collaborator available to converge on Muscle Shoals. TX Jelly is what the Gents are and who they can help you be. It’s a record and a resume.
The sound evolves– each instrument, every voice, styles, breaks, bridges, major and minor keys, time moving forward then played back, one more from the top, better the last time, one more time… And one mo’gain. Real musicians. Some of those legendary studios that contributed to the Americana identity have disappeared. Others have been resuscitated. But what of those house bands that spent hours, days, weeks, years developing their identities and contributing to the sound? Because that’s what the sound is– it’s commitment, repetition, sacrifice, skill–and it’s very nearly a lost art. The Texas Gentlemen are a boiling, roiling, constantly evolving entity of hands, hearts, and voices dedicated to that art. Listen to the Gents’ new single “Pain” only on 100.9 The Creek.