It isn’t very often that bands out of Austin, Texas make the journey up Interstate 35 to Minneapolis. Austin has been churning out incredible musical acts for a long time, but recently people’s eyes (and more importantly, their ears) have turned to Austin for its generous music scene, and one of its standout groups is The Band Of Heathens. No strangers to the road, The Band of Heathens have been making music together for the better part of 10 years, and their presence was well received by Minnesota’s Americana community at the Dakota Jazz Club this past Wednesday night.
Opening for The Band of Heathens on this Midwestern run of shows is Strangetowne, hailing from Amarillo Texas. Their music was well received by the audience at the Dakota, with uptempo and original Americana music that was a great start to the evening. Ben Cargo brought the music to a whole new level with his tasteful lap steel playing, while Lincoln Youree switched between piano and guitar, and whose vocals fit well both as a lead singer, and with the great harmonies of the band. There couldn’t have been more of a perfect opening act. Their debut album Hard Earned Love was released last year, and can be found online and on various streaming services.
After a quick stage turnaround, The Band of Heathens walked onto the stage as the crowd had finished the last of their supper, full and ready to listen. Texas soul is hard to find this far north, and as the band launched into Sugar Queen, we knew we were in for some special music.Ed Jurdi’s creative guitar fills and hearty vocals fused with Gordy Quist’s bright country guitar and vocals, creating a chemistry between them difficult to find in many bands. Their setlist included their popular tunes like Philadelphia, Look at Miss Ohio, and L.A. County Blues, as well as Green Grass Of California, off of their latest EP Green Grass. They also played a fresh track called Cracking the Code, off their upcoming album due out in early 2017. The song, a standout from the evening, focuses on how disconnected people can be in a seemingly more connected world. As the evening began to wind down, the songs became more jam heavy. Ed Jurdi mastering the seemingly lost art of slide guitar, while Trevor Nealon pounded the keys of his piano and threw in bluesy, subtle touches on his organ. Scott Davis provided the thunder needed on bass guitar for the instrumentals, while drummer Richard Millsap gave the band the grooves they needed to bring the crowd their unique southern sound.
After the show, the Band returned to the stage to see a standing ovation, and gave the audience a two song encore, playing Blue and Hurricane. Before tearing down their stage and heading off to the next town, the band came out to talk with the crowd, and thank them for listening to the music. Many audience members already had their albums and are anxiously waiting for their next release. Their latest full album Sunday Morning Record is available online and on various streaming services, and their albums will continue to be a welcome addition to any music collection.