Welcome to Day 15 of the Indiegogo Campaign for The Shopkeeper: A Documentary about Mark Hallman and the Congress House. Every day during the campaign I am featuring a few artists who have recorded at the Congress House.
I’ve been featuring three artists a day, but I just realized there are so many that I need to pick up the pace – so from here on out, it’s 4 artists a day!
Johnny Goudie began life as a gypsy. Born in Miami, the 44-year-old musician has lived everywhere from Mexico to Marin County – in tents, shacks, and vans. By his teens, he’d made Texas his home.
Goudie discovered in Austin the one place “you could really go somewhere,” a mindset that eventually led to his own podcast, “How Did I Get Here?” Launched in 2011, the series has fast become an archive of Austin music history.
“I love interviews and I’ve listened to broadcasts since I was kid,” says the local singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer. “I was feeling disconnected from my community, so I started calling my friends and inviting them over for interviews. If you can listen to who musicians are, you’re more likely to go see their shows and find their music.”
Goudie’s inspirational in the way he keeps crafting his voice and next move.
“I go through evolutionary times where I incubate to do the next thing,” he explains. “I write a bunch of songs in one voice and then I get tired of that voice and move on.
“To this day, the best show I’ve ever played was my first show. It was probably the worst show that you can imagine, but I felt liberated. I’ve been around family friends whose actual job was being a musician since I was a kid. A few weeks ago, my 90-year-old grandmother was dancing at one of my shows.”
Goudie’s played in bands since eighth grade. In the Seventies, he soaked up glam rock and fell in line with New Wave the following decade.
“Honestly, I went to see Cheap Trick when I was 14 and realized that being in a band was a great way to meet girls,” he confesses. “I was considering acting, but when I was 16, I met Mark Hallman, who told me that music was something I could always do when I was alone.”
Asked what 14-year-olds today can do to get involved, Goudie tells kids to “dig into it.”
The Gourds are a good-time, honky tonkin’ band with enough quirk and underground appeal to justify the “alternative” tag in “alternative country-rock.” Part of Austin’s vibrant scene and popular performers at SXSW, The Gourds first gained the attention of the No Depression crowd with the drunken porch jam sound of their debut, Dem’s Good Beeble, in 1997. The band’s quirks came out more on its follow-up, 1998’s Stadium Blitzer, with songs of questionable subject matter (not offensive, just truly befuddling) like “Plaid Coat” and the goofy “I Ate the Haggis.”
Later that year, The Gourds broke through to college radio with a couple of covers on the live EP Gogitchershinebox. While their cover of “Ziggy Stardust” may have raised some eyebrows, it was The Gourds’ galloping twang remake of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” that really captured listeners’ imaginations. Unfortunately, the demise of Watermelon Records took their recordings out of print right after the release of their third album, Ghosts of Hallelujah, in 1999. Happily, Sugar Hill Records stepped in, and without missing a beat, The Gourds’ fourth album, Bolsa de Agua, came out the following year. Over the next year, Sugar Hill also reissued the rest of The Gourds’ existing catalog.
Energetic, straight-ahead, and loud. Taking their cues from the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, the Replacements, early Soul Asylum, Uncle Tupelo, and others, Grand Champeen are best listened to at maximum volume. Guitarists and vocalists Channing Lewis and Michael Crow met drummer Ned Stewart [who, by the way, was the engineering assistant on my album Cinderblock Bookshelves].
In high school, the three formed a band, the Frosted Megawheats, with fellow student Will Minor on bass, and specialized in the type of post-punk emanating from Minneapolis throughout the ’80s. After recording a self-produced album, the four graduated in the spring of 1993 and moved on to Boulder, CO, where they continued to play together in the local music scene. The summer of 1994 saw the group, now renamed Mucho Maas, in Chapel Hill, where they recorded a second album featuring fIREHOSE guitarist Ed Crawford. Shortly thereafter, Minor left the band. Lewis and Crow returned to Boulder, but decided to move again to Austin, TX, in the summer of 1997. Soon joined by Stewart and new bassist Rob Hargrove, a University of Texas law student and Crow’s friend from childhood, the group took the name Grand Champeen and began playing local venues. Their first album, Out Front by the Van, was released in January 2000 to positive reviews, and soon the group had a reputation as one of the best live acts in town.
Texas native Pat Green got his start in country music while still attending college in the mid-’90s. As a teenager, Green quickly took to the sounds of several Lone Star State performers like Robert Earl Keen, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Willie Nelson. He started writing songs at age 18 while studying at Texas Tech, and was eager and earnest in making something happen. He convinced his parents to loan him some money to record an album. The independently released Dancehall Dreamer appeared in 1998 just as Green was becoming a hot performer on the local bar scene. A year later, Green wowed an audience of 2,000 people at Willie Nelson’s July 4th picnic, and that magnetic event was captured for his second album, Live at Billy Bob’s Texas. Green continued to write and record as the decade came to a close. Songs We Wish We’d Written was issued in 2001, and in five years’ time, Green had sold over 200,000 copies without major-label support. Republic was so impressed with Green’s grassroots approach that they inked him a deal before Christmas. Three Days marked his first proper release. Two years later, Green joined producer Don Gehman (Hootie & the Blowfish, R.E.M., Nanci Griffith) for Wave on Wave, and in 2004 Lucky Ones came out. In 2006, after a move to RCA imprint BNA, Cannonball was issued, followed by What I’m For in 2009, which found Green working with producer Dann Huff. He revisited some of his favorite songs and songwriters for 2012’s Songs We Wish We’d Written II, a sequel to his 2001 album.