Singer, Songwriter slash Mom
Congress House All Stars (Day 24)
27th Aug 2014 Posted in: Blog, shopkeeper Comments Off on Congress House All Stars (Day 24)

Welcome to Day 24 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.

Oasis

Wonderwall.

Oh, there’s more? Ok:

Oasis shot from obscurity to stardom in 1994, becoming one of Britain’s most popular and critically acclaimed bands of the decade in the process. Along with Blur and Suede, they were responsible for returning British guitar pop to the top of the charts. Led by guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher, the Manchester quintet adopted the rough, thuggish image of the Stones and the Who, crossed it with “Beatlesque” melodies and hooks, injected distinctly British lyrical themes and song structures like the Jam and the Kinks, and tied it all together with a massive guitar roar, as well as a defiant sneer that drew equally from the Sex Pistols’ rebelliousness and the Stone Roses’ cocksure arrogance. Gallagher’s songs frequently reworked previous hits from T. Rex (“Cigarettes and Alcohol” borrows the riff from “Bang a Gong”) to Wham! (“Fade Away” takes the melody from “Freedom”), yet the group always put the hooks in different settings, updating past hits for a new era.

Omar and the Howlers

The European blues fans all adore Austin, TX-based guitarist and singer/songwriter Omar Kent Dykes. That’s because he fits the stereotypical image many of them have of the American musician: he’s tall, wears cowboy boots and has a deep voice with a Southern accent. However, Dykes does not carry a gun, and though he looks rough and tough, he’s actually an incredibly peaceful and intelligent musician, and a veteran at working a crowd in a blues club or a festival. While Dykes still has a sizeable American audience owing to his albums for Columbia Records, he still spends a good portion of his touring year at festivals and clubs around Europe. Omar Kent Dykes was born in 1950, in McComb, MS, the same town from which Bo Diddley hails. He first set foot into neighborhood juke joints at age 12 and after he’d been playing guitar for a while, he went back into the juke joint. After graduating from high school, Dykes lived in Hattiesburg and Jackson, MS, for a few years before relocating to Austin in 1976. He’d heard the blues scene in Texas was heating up. At that time, Stevie Ray Vaughan was still playing with Paul Ray & the Cobras. By the early ’80s, Omar & the Howlers had gained a solid reputation for their invigorating live shows. They also released two albums on independent labels, Big Leg Beat (1980), followed four years later by I Told You So. Among white blues musicians, Dykes is truly one of a kind, a fact Columbia Records recognized in the mid-’80s when they signed Omar & the Howlers. Unfortunately, it was a fleeting relationship at best. After releasing Hard Times in the Land of Plenty (1987) and Wall of Pride (1988) the band was dropped when the company was bought by Sony. While it was inconvenient, it didn’t stop Dykes. His post-1990 output has been nothing short of extraordinary. Starting in 1991, Omar & the Howlers recorded three discs for Rounder/Bullseye Blues: Live at Paradiso (1991), followed by Blues Bag and Courts of Lulu (both in 1992). In 1995, they switched to the Austin, TX-based Watermelon Records and released Muddy Springs Road (1995), World Wide Open (1996), and Southern Style (1997). After 15 years of dealing with record contracts, Dykes needed a break from being tied down to one particular label for any length of time. Since then, he and the Howlers have released excellent discs on Discovery (Monkey Land) (1997) Black Top (Swing Land) (1999), Blind Pig (Big Delta) (2002), and Ruf Records (Boogie Man) (2004). A live set recorded in Germany, Bamboozled, appeared from Ruf Records in 2006.

Patrice Pike

Austin, Texas is known for its laid back, bohemian yet ultra committed music scene–something Austin native Patrice Pike immediately conveys. She’s been a professional musician and songwriter since she was sixteen, but has maintained such a raw, down-to-earth quality and irrepressible talent that Billboard magazine proclaimed her “one of the finest up and coming contemporary rock singers in America”. On the surface you may hear about these things but there’s more than meets the eye and the music biz spins…
Pike is known to many as the electric front woman for the seminal Austin jam band Sister Seven which she co-founded when she was barely out of The High School for the performing and visual arts at Booker T. Washington in Dallas Texas. Their first major label album was a rare and unique live recording which at that time was unheard of in the music industry for a new breaking band. Patrice wrote and sang Sister Seven’s top 10 Billboard hit “Know What You Mean’. She was the USA Songwriting Competition Grand Prize Winner overall for the song “My Three Wishes”, co-written with her Sister Seven band members. In this contest she also garnered top prize for Pop category for “Nobody Knows” written with famed songwriter/producer John Shanks. And then, before stardom ever fully materialized, it evaporated. The band lost its label affiliation in the much publicized Arista shakeup that culminated in the firing of music industry legend Clive Davis. Patrice’s band mates needed to be with their families after being on the road incessantly for 9 years. They disbanded in 2000.  Even as the band was flaming out, Pike was already in the process of being reenergized as a songwriter.
Her solo material has taken an increasingly narrative turn. Over the past decade, she has independently released four acclaimed solo records, showcasing her socially astute, literate lyrics alongside her powerful vocals. She has toured relentlessly, both in the U.S. and overseas, building an impressive grassroots fan base. She has co-created numerous records and musical groups, toured all over the United States and Western Europe and just plain impressed those who’ve seen, heard and watched her. The resilient Pike has been able to adapt repeatedly to a rapidly changing music landscape that bears no resemblance to the one she entered as a 16 year old. Patrice was the youngest musician inducted into the Austin/Texas Music Hall of Fame. Along with that honor she was also named Musician of the Year, Best Female Vocalist, and Song of the year in Austin for her song Beautiful Thing, which she debuted on CBS in the Summer of 2006
She has continued to grow and evolve as both a songwriter and a performer, and is currently producing arguably the finest work of her music career even as she confronts the uncertainty of an industry in steep decline. She has performed in every possible live scenario from shed tours of traveling festivals like Lilith and HORDE tour to music festival institutions like Austin City Limit’s, High Sierra, Strawberry, and Kerrville festivals as well as community theaters, clubs and house concerts. She is known to her dedicated fans from diverse communities as a phenomenal and sincere live performer who is willing and grateful to play for them wherever they need and want her to be. Long a respected social and environmental activist, she is also the co-founder and now executive director of the Grace Foundation of Texas, an organization that provides services for young adult survivors of homelessness. An accomplished snowboarder and avid runner and surfer, she continues to travel the globe extensively. She has a disciplined meditation and Yoga practice.
In short, she leads a rich, full, varied life that looks absolutely nothing like what she was aiming for when she embarked on her journey in music at 16. If you listen well, you will hear it in her voice and her music. She is as passionate as they come and in one of her own fans words, “Patrice is truly unforgettable. I listen to her as much as I can. I love the love she sings. I know it’s real.”

 

Plainsong

Plainsong was originally a British country rock/folk rock band, formed in early 1972 by Ian (later Iain) Matthews, formerly of Fairport Convention; Andy Roberts, previously of The Liverpool Scene; Dave Richards; and Bob Ronga. The original group split up before the end of 1972 but, since the early 1990s, Matthews and Roberts intermittently performed and recorded together, with other musicians, as Plainsong.