By Al Kaufman
It is a human trait to attempt to make order amongst chaos, hence our need to label. A band used to be known as a rock band. That same band today could be Americana, hard rock, thrash, pop, Southern rock, blues . . . the list does not end. Most bands today, the good ones anyway, usually could fall under four of five different labels. One way to help clear this up is to create a new label; Austin music. Bands from Austin usually offer up rock, country, blues and Texas pride all rolled into one. One of those bands is Ghosts Along the Brazos. Getting their name from a 1977 book of Texas ghost stories by Catherine Munson, the quintet recently finished second in the Austin Chronicle reader’s poll for best new band.
And for good reason. On their sophomore album, When It Rains It Pours (Big Bend Records), keyboardist Connor Forsyth can call up his inner Dr. John on “Corndog Shuffle,” or his poppier Ben Folds on “I’ll Get Home.” Guitarist Greg Harkins helps bring a bluesy feel to the title track, whereas “Part of the Past” sounds like something out of the Patsy Cline songbook. Then there’s “Fool, Fool, Fool,” which has that old timey swing feel, but is bursting with joy and attitude. It’s an Austin song, and When It Rains It Pours is the epitome of an Austin album.
The band recently brought fiddler and singer Katie Holmes into the band. And although Warren Hood (of The Waybacks and son of Austin fiddle legend Champ Hood) handles some of the fiddle solos on the album, Katie will be tackling them live.
Bass player Kris Wade answered some questions about the new album, the new member, and what could possibly be his criminal background.
So now that Katie Holmes is in the band, do you hear a lot of Tom Cruise or Scientology jokes?
When it comes to that topic there ain’t nothing we haven’t heard! We call her “The Real Katie Holmes.”
You finished second in the Austin Chronicle poll for best new band. Second best band in Austin has got to be as good as finishing first for most any other city. How did you feel about finishing second?
Just being amongst such good company was an honor, hopefully we’ll see some more love from the awards (which are entirely voted on by readers) next year. You can vote from anywhere. . .
When It Rains It Pours has a lot of break-up songs on it written by different people in the band. We’re you all going through hard times at once?
Those songs were mostly written over the course of a year or two (from 2010-2012) although “Beaver Stew” was actually written about 10 years ago. We had to make Greg play it after all these years! That said, I guess breakups are a universal thing. Even though these songs were written over a period of years, they all still feel relevant.
Big Bend Records signed you as one of its inaugural acts. Does that put added pressure on you to sell your album?
Not particularly. It’s just nice to feel supported. We were ready to record a new album with Katie already! They have given us a great opportunity to record and hopefully to be heard. We’re stoked.
How old are your cowboy boots and tell me a story about them.
One day a guy on a buffalo was roaming around, ya’ know, trying to make his way in this life. In one of his adventures we encountered him and hung out one night in Austin and he got crazy! When he awoke, he was alone, his boots were gone, and we were 200 miles closer to Albuquerque.