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2023 TEXAS MUSIC SERIES LINEUP

Cultural Activities Center officials have released the concert lineup for the 2023 Texas Music Series, and the list includes several big names such as Radney Foster, Marc Cohn and Shinyribs.

CAC to host 8 big concerts in the coming year

DAVID STONE | OUR TOWN TEMPLE

You might want to get that 2023 calendar a bit early — some big concerts are coming to the Cultural Activities Center.

The CAC’s 2023 Texas Music Series will feature eight popular bands, including Texas legend Radney Foster, crowd favorite Shinyribs and Marc Cohn, who hit it big in 1991 with Walking in Memphis.

“We are very excited about the 2023 Texas Music Series lineup,” said Mary Black Pearson, executive director of the Cultural Activities Center. “The selected artists will bring a variety of music to the CAC stage beginning in March.”

“Every performance offers a great opportunity for a night out with family and friends. Purchase season tickets and get reserved seats for every performance.”

Music series organizer Ken Kushnick agrees.

“2023 will be a great year for the CAC’s Texas Music Series,” he said. “We have some returning favorites and some exciting artists that we’re thrilled to have for the first time.”

Tickets for the 2023 series will be available to current sponsors and season ticket holders in early December, and new season tickets will be available for purchase by mid-December, Pearson said. Individual concert tickets go on sale in January. Exact dates will be announced in the near future.

Foster burst onto the Texas music scene in 1992 with the release of his first album, Del Rio, TX 1959. That iconic album produced five Billboard Country hits; Just Call Me Lonesome, Nobody Wins, Easier Said Than Done, Hammer and Nails, and Closing Time. Nobody Wins peaked the highest at No. 2.

It’s been 30 years since the album debuted, and it’s still making waves in the music industry.

Del Rio, TX 1959 is what inspired me to sing country music,” Darius Rucker, formerly Hootie of Hootie & The Blowfish fame, said in a statement sent to Our Town Temple. “It’s the ultimate album.”

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album, Radney will perform the entire album from top to bottom during his April 22 visit to the CAC. An accomplished songwriter, he will also perform hits he wrote for other performers, including Godspeed (The Chicks), I Knew You That Way (Luke Bryan), One Good Love (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), This Too Will Pass (Kenny Loggins), Somebody Take Me Home (Kenny Chesney) and Raining on a Sunday (Keith Urban).

In addition to producing hits for himself and others, Foster also has appeared in film, and on TV and stage. He has served as host of CMT Crossroads and appeared in the feature film Beauty Mark. He also was in the acclaimed musical, Troubadour.

Cohn stormed the music scene with his crossover hit Walking in Memphis in the early 90s and won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1992. He released a string of country songs during that decade, but his career nearly ended in 2005 when he was shot in the head in Denver by a would-be carjacker while touring with Suzanne Vega. The bullet barely missed one of his eyes and lodged in his skull. 

While Cohn hasn’t matched the success of Walking in Memphis, he has continued to produce quality music and tour the country with a lively show.

While Radney Foster and Marc Cohn are two of the biggest names on the 2023 Texas Music Series lineup, several other bands are sure to put on great shows.

Alejandro Escovedo, former frontman for the punk rock band The Nuns, will open the series on March 4.

It seems Escovedo re-invents himself every few years. As lead singer for The Nuns, he developed a huge following and the band often opened for the Sex Pistols. He switched gears and became a roots rock favorite with The True Believers, then went country with Rank & File. 

Now he has a solo career that has seen him work with stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Tony Visconti. 

Escovedo has deep roots in music. The San Antonio native’s dad played in mariachi bands and swing combos, and two brothers were accomplished jazz musicians.

Expect Escovedo’s Temple show to run the gamut, mixing powerful rock ’n’ roll with punk sounds and gentler songs with a Hispanic twist.

Austin singer/songwriter Carrie Rodriguez will bring her fiery fiddle-playing skills and electric vocals to the CAC stage on June 3. Carrie, host of the popular YouTube video series From Texas with Love, began playing violin when she was 5 and by age 10 she was performing at Carnegie Hall. 

She stayed on a classical course until she attended Berklee College of Music, where that violin became a fiddle and Texas music became her thing.

A collaboration with Chip Taylor, author of Wild Thing (made famous by The Troggs) and Angel of the Morning, resulted in four highly acclaimed duet albums. A following solo career produced hits such as Seven Angels on a Bicycle and Give Me All You Got, which reached No. 1 on Americana Music Charts.

Carrie’s career has included performances with Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, John Prine, Patty Griffin, Los Lobos, Alejandro Escovedo and Los Lonely Boys. She has appeared on Austin City Limits and The Tonight Show.

Another big name comes to Temple as Dale Watson brings his powerful, honky-tonk country sound to the CAC on July 22. Based in Marshall, Texas, Watson calls himself “a tattooed, stubbornly independent outsider only interested in recording authentic country music. He has traded becoming a major star for a loyal fan base.

Watson hit the Texas and US country scene in 1995 with Cheatin’ Heart Attack, followed by The Truckin’ Sessions, the first of a series of albums celebrating the American truck driver. He is still actively recording and touring.

Go ahead and mark Aug. 19 on the calendar — that’s the date Shinyribs returns to Temple.

The band — known for the antics of ukulele-playing frontman Kevin Russell — blends Texas blues, New Orleans funk, and horn-driven Memphis soul with country twang, Tejano and big band swing. Shinyribs throws in some good ol’ rock ’n’ roll for good measure.

The band has played Temple on several occasions, including past performances in the CAC’s Texas Music Series.

Sweetening, one of the band’s latest singles, features a topic Russell doesn’t tackle often — romance.

“I don’t write a lot of love songs, but when I do they are sweet as hell,” he said. “This one came pure from the spigot of my stupid romantic heart.The golden rays of light shining down through the wet magnolias onto a plate of peaches; the first rain after a long drought. There’s nothing like falling in love. If they could bottle it, I’m sure we would make laws against it.”

Shinyribs concerts are a little left-of-center and full of surprises. The band was named Best Austin Band in 2017 and 2018. Their latest album, Late Night TV Gold, was released in late 2021.

“That record reminds me of the tortoise from the old story with the hare,” Russell said. “It has this sort of stout, relentless march to it. It’s hopeful and resolute but pushing through resistance. (During the pandemic) the world went from all hare to all tortoise, so it’s less than surprising that you can feel the reflection of that in the songs.”

On Sept. 23, BoDeans comes to the CAC with a catalog of songs you will know from the first note.

The band, formed in Wisconsin back in 1986, is led by frontman Kurt Neumann. They will be performing original works such as Good Things, Idaho, You Don’t Get Much and Closer to Free.

“The music of BoDean has defined much of my life,” Neumann said. “I consider myself fortunate to be able to do what I enjoy. I wanted to creatively do something positive for the world instead of just taking from it. So, this is what I’ve chosen to do — the music was always about the blue-collar dream of a better life, and it still is.”

Over the years, BoDean has opened for bands such as U2, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, The Pretenders and David Bowie. They have performed at Farm Aid, Summerfest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

The Netflix show The Ranch has used more than 70 BoDean songs during its run.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, BoDean members spent their time in an Austin recording studio working on new music. One of those songs was A Little More Time.

“On the day Tom Petty died I was really sad,” Neumann said. “I’ve always been astounded by how good he was — from the time I discovered him at 15 until now. This is my little nod to Tom and the Heartbreakers for what they gave me.”

The final concert of the 2023 Texas Music Series is a Nov. 4 (2023) performance by Austin-based Jeff Plankenhorn, a world-class songwriter and session musician who eventually decided to launch a solo career.

For 16 years, Plankenhorn recorded and toured with the likes of Joe Ely, Ruthie Foster and Ray Wylie Hubbard. When he decided to go solo, he hardly did it along. His debut album, SoulSlide, features performances with Foster, Rami Jaffe of the Foo Fighters, and The Resentments. 

Plankenhorn is incredibly talented and plays many instruments, including a steel lap guitar he designed himself and dubbed The Plank. 

His second album, Sleeping Dogs,  featured guest performances by Hubbard, Patty Griffin and others. Plankenhorn was awarded an Austin Music Award in 2017.

Some information used in this report was obtained through agents representing the performers and event organizers.

2023 TEXAS MUSIC SERIES AT-A-GLANCE

All concerts will be at the Cultural Activities Center

March 4 — Alejandro Escovedo

April 22 — Radney Foster

May 6 — Marc Cohn

June 3 — Carrie Rodriguez

July 22 — Dale Watson

Aug. 19 — Shinyribs

Sept. 23 — BoDeans

Nov. 4 — Jeff Plankenhorn

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