Thursday, February 5, 2009

Roger Wallace Article

Just came across this article I wrote about Roger Wallace several years ago. He no longer plays on Monday nights so don't plan a vacation around that show or something silly like that.

Lookin’ for somethin’ to do on a Monday night? Those who are “in the know” make their way down to the Continental Club where Roger Wallace has held down the Monday night residency for the past two and a half years. If you like real country (i.e. the kind played by Hank Williams, Ray Price and Lefty Frizzell) then you owe it to yourself to drop in and catch Wallace’s act.

Wallace hails from Knoxville, Tennessee, but wasn’t always a honky tonker. “I played in blues and rockabilly bands. The only country bands in Knoxville were goofy country—top-40 cover bands. The alt-country thing was startin’ to happen—the Vice Roys (which became the V-Roys) were around and R.B. Morris was around which isn’t country but that stuff was kind of startin’ to happen. That’s about as close as it got.”

But when Roger heard Hank Williams for the first time he knew he had found his calling. After relocating to Austin in ’94, Roger slowly began making the rounds. He used to sing with Jim Stringer on Sunday nights at The Draught Horse. Then he spent some time with Teri Joyce and the Tag-a-Longs (a band he still sings with on occasion) before putting together his own band. The current Monday night line up is quite an impressive ensemble—guitarist Jim Stringer, bassist Brad Fordham and Lisa Pankratz on the drums.

Roger’s first two albums (“Hillbilly Heights” and “That Kind of Lonely” both released on the Texas Round Up imprint) had critics sitting up and taking notice of Austin’s latest honky tonk sensation. As of this writing, a new record is in the planning stages. “We’re supposed to start recording at the end of the month with Derek O’Brien producing,” says Roger. “We’re recording at Arlyn (Studios)…hopefully. It’s all tentative…penciled in sorta stuff. ”

So what can we expect on the new record? “We’re planning on doing a Mel Torme song…Teri Joyce wrote one…me and Timmy (Campbell, drummer) wrote one together and I’ve got a few more originals, too. It’ll be on TMG/Lone Star—the same label as Justin Trevino and Johnny Bush.”

Roger has no immediate plans to tour so you can catch him every Monday night “until further notice” holding court on South Congress. Did I mention that there’s no cover charge and a Lone Star beer will only set you back a buck and three quarters? Well, it’s true! And don’t forget to throw a tip in the shiny bucket for the band.

Bobby Horton

February, 2002

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