Houston Jones blend playing ‘historic’ show at Tallac
August 1, 2008
The band hails from Castro Valley but very well might solve any listener’s jones for all kinds of Americana.
Houston Jones will travel up to the lake to make its Tahoe debut. The band plays at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Boathouse Theatre at the Tallac Historic Site.
“Well, we’re always looking forward to playing in different places where we haven’t played before, and meeting people and making new fans, so we’re just hoping to do that,” said Chris Kee, who plays upright bass and adds harmony vocals.
Working with engineer and producer Cookie Morenko, Houston Jones released its second CD, “Calico Heart,” last year. And while that album makes up the bulk of the set list these days, the band is already expanding its horizons beyond that.
“The plan now is to do what we’re calling a gospel record, but it’s not going to be a gospel record in the traditional sense which people might expect,” Kee said.
“When you record a record, you’ve already been working on that material for a year or so before you put it down in the final format, so everybody’s ready for something new.”
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Even something new might take listeners back through time. Kee studied ethnomusicology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., focusing on the Transatlantic African tradition that forms the basis behind both the blues and country, and the root of most Americana music.
Houston Jones takes its name from guitarists Glenn Houston and Travis Jones, who used to play as a duo, but the band members’ roots go deeper. Houston and Jones played in a band named Large and in the Way with percussionist Peter Tucker, and that band eventually morphed into the Waybacks.
“All of us left the Waybacks, and Houston Jones formed with a different bass player, and then I joined, I think it’s three or four years ago now,” Kee said.
Henry Salvia, who plays keyboards and accordion, joined about a year and a half ago, rounding out the lineup.
“We’re all kind of our own mutual admiration society,” Kee said. “Each of us has a different approach to the music we play, so the whole is kind of bigger than the parts.”
“It’s just really always enjoyable to play together because we’ll surprise each other every night.”
Kee encouraged listeners to come hear Houston Jones for the first time as the band gets to know Tahoe.
“Expect the unexpected, I would guess,” Kee said. “We have such a diverse range of stuff, so you’re going to hear everything that can be classified as Americana music. You’re going to hear our whole range of influences. We’re pretty diverse and pretty eclectic, but because we play so much together as a band, it doesn’t sound scattered.”