The Last Song Swap

The Last Song Swap

Fri, April 28, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Live Oak Music Hall

Fort Worth, TX

$15.00 - $18.00

This event is all ages

Jamie Wilson
Jamie Wilson
If Jamie Wilson tells you something, you can absolutely guarantee it's exactly what she feels. She's not concerned with your feelings if they come at the expense of her honesty. That's not to say she's ungracious or rude, just direct and unflinchingly true.

Wilson sang around the house growing up (when no one else was around the house, that is), but didn't start playing music and writing songs until she was a college sophomore at Texas A&M. "My cousin and I went to go see the Dixie Chicks in Houston during their Fly tour. There was a part in the show where the other girls went off and Natalie stayed on stage and played 'Cold Day in July' on guitar by herself. I was watching her and I told my cousin, 'I just need a guitar; I could do that. I'm musical enough.'," Jamie remembers.

Later that month, Jamie's cousin and mother went in together to buy Jamie her first guitar as a Christmas gift. She first learned to play by printing out lyrics to songs and learning the chords by ear. Wilson quickly learned every song on both Dixie Chicks records, all of Phil Pritchett's Heritage Way album, and all of the tunes on Bruce Robison's Long Way Home From Anywhere. She wrote her first song a couple of months later and was in a band, the Sidehill Gougers, within six months of receiving that first guitar.

"We would have practice every Tuesday at Shane's [Shane Walker, Sidehill Gougers founding member] house, and nobody, except for Shane, knew what they were doing. I could barely even play guitar and Shane had me playing banjo too," Jamie recalls. It didn't take long for the band to get up to speed, and within a year they had released their first CD, Runaway Scrape, with Walker and Wilson sharing the vocals and splitting the songwriting duties. The Gougers (after dropping "Sidehill") would go on to release an EP and another full-length record before musical and personal differences resulted in the band parting ways over the course of 2009. As the Gougers were winding down, Wilson found a side project - originally envisioned as a one-time only performance - taking off.

Early each January, thousands of Texans cross the Red River and make the trek up the Rockies to enjoy MusicFest - five days of Texas music, friendship, and skiing (not to mention hundreds of gallons of Jaegermeister). A staple of recent MusicFests has been a tribute to a Texas artist, with many of the festival's performers doing a song or two of the featured songwriter. In 2009, the artist honored was Kevin Welch. The star of the tribute show was Wilson's new group, the Trishas.

Liz Foster, then of the husband and wife duet Liz & Lincoln, is credited with putting the group together to play two songs for the tribute. A natural for the band was Kevin Welch's daughter Savannah. Foster also enlisted another member of a male-female duo - Kelley Mickwee of Jed and Kelley. Jamie Wilson was the last one to join.

They originally dubbed themselves the Fat Trishas (in jest, each one of these girls could stand a second slice of pie) before shortening the name to the Trishas. The group was the buzz of the five-day festival and before they realized it, this one-night only group was offered gigs that none of its members had been able to score in years of trying with their other efforts. Wilson sums it up. "I guess it's easier to have four chicks in a band than one." The instant attention allowed the group to bypass the usual due-paying three hour gigs. Instead they play 50 minute slots at festivals and high-profile opening sets, and focus on making those 50 minutes as tight as possible. "Having four girls in the band might get people out to see us once," Wilson explains, "but they're not coming back unless the music is really good."

They've also been invited to record backing vocals on songs for artists such as Ray Wylie Hubbard and Raul Malo. They secured management and a booking agent in late 2009, but still approach things with a side project mindset, giving them the freedom to turn down offers that they would have jumped at in the past.

The band plans to ramp up their opportunities and their profile even more by recording a debut album early in 2010. Many producers have already expressed interest in working with the group on the record, but no concrete decisions have been made as the girls finish rounding the material for the sessions into shape.

In January the Trishas returned to the place where their career started one short year ago. They were one of seven female acts playing at MusicFest, which had 38 acts overall. Close to 20% is an impressive number of females for a Texas Music festival; even more impressive though is the fact that Jamie Wilson represents almost half of those acts. Along with performing in the Trishas, Jamie also has a set with Johnny and the Footlights, a county classics cover band that she fronts along with Jason Eady, and one set for an artist she rarely appears as - Jamie Wilson.

After years of only being identified by the band she played with, Wilson has recorded her first solo record, Dirty Blonde Hair, an EP which will be released in early 2010. "I was in a band almost as soon as I got a guitar. Then before the Gougers were even done, this thing with the Trishas was taking off. I wanted to at least get some of my own music out there. Something that's just me," Wilson states. The EP combines the best elements of Wilson's work with the Gougers and the Trishas, but just a touch more - according to Wilson - "Creepy. It seems that death seeps into all of my songs in one way or another."

"The River", the first song on Dirty Blonde Hair, sets the tone, with baritone guitar, banjo, electric guitar, and squeeze box creating the setting for Wilson's rich and distinctive vocals. "Dusty Shoes" showcases Wilson at her lyrical best, singing to a flawed lover: "I'm not the trusting kind, I'm not the answer / I'm not the one to fix your kind of cancer / but I'll do anything that you ask of me / if it'll ease your pain, ease your lonely". "Little Too Rough" sounds like a triple-A hit waiting to happen, and on the title track Wilson combines a waltz and back-masked electric guitar to heartbreaking effect. The biggest hook of the record lands in the chorus of the relentlessly toe-tapping "Ordinary People". The EP concludes with an epic version (7 minutes) of "Whistling", a song that is a Trishas staple and is virtually assured to appear on their full-length record as well, albeit with a far different arrangement. In just six songs, Wilson presents a complete portrait of an artist, leaving none of the colors in her palette unused.

In addition to releasing the EP and recording a full-length album with the Trishas, Jamie has another big project on her plate for 2010 - she and husband Roy are expecting their first child in June of 2010. A near-obsessive planner (She presented Roy with an elaborate travel plan for her gigs along with a detailed list of who could help care for the baby in each city where Wilson has regular gigs. Roy listened patiently before responding, "You know this baby is going to have a dad, right?"), Jamie has scheduled all of her 2010 to fit around the time she'll need to take off. "We're recording in April or May, my baby's due in late June, we can do all of the artwork and publicity through the summer, and then try to release the record in September." Wilson plans to hit the road with the band in support of the record immediately after the release, bringing along a merch person/nanny in tow.

Even if the reality of 2010 doesn't match her exacting plan for it, Wilson will make it through fueled by the excitement over the possibilities the year promises. An excitement unmatched since she had that realization over nine years ago that playing and writing songs was something she could do.

-Michael Devers
Rodney Parker
Rodney Parker
Charlie Shafter
Charlie Shafter
Sometimes you encounter a musical artist for a first time and find yourself experiencing a warm sense of déjà vu – not a feeling that you've heard it all before, but a feeling that you've reunited with a person you've known for ages, someone with whom you share a connection. That's the vibe conjured up by Charlie Shafter, a young singer-songwriter with an old soul – and a knack for forging a connection with just about anyone who crosses paths with his songs.

On his self-titled debut album, the 27-year-old Shafter weaves ten richly-toned tales that recall iconic writers such as Townes Van Zandt and Elliott Smith, songs that range into acoustic blues and the grittier side of country-rock on a panoramic trek through blue-highway Americana. Shafter doesn't write songs that grab you by the lapel and shake you into listening; they're more likely to throw an arm around you and whisper their way into your consciousness.

"I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a songwriter," he says. "When I was a little kid, I'd listen to my parents' records and they were mostly singer-songwriter type things. Those really made me appreciate what a good song was all about and made me want to do that – to write songs people would really be moved by."

He succeeds in a big way on his debut. Buoyed by his affably gritty vocals and his warm, enveloping guitar tone, songs like "Sea Wall" and "Actor" wash over the listener, leaving a strong, sensual imprint long after their last notes resound. He takes a more direct approach on other tracks, like the gently finger-picked "Drunk on Desire" – which underscores the song's hopeful plea for love – and a little bit of lustfulness on the side – with its playful melody.

On the other end of the sonic spectrum, "Dog on a Chain"(co-written with Ray Wylie Hubbard, who also lent his production talents to the project) finds Shafter mining the deeper end of both his vocal and emotive range in order to drive home the dark tones of the slide-and-organ laced bluesiness. That tune, a travelogue of cultural touchstones and sonic landmarks, finds him weaving down the dirt roads of memory, creating a picture that's at once vivid and surreal.

"I hardly ever write an entire song about one thing," he says. "I know what it all means, but when you look at it, it's more like a collage than a picture. I can be writing a love song, but then throw in something that's actually about my grandfather. I guess I like to let people fill in the blanks themselves – sometimes I can't even do that for a couple years after I write a song."

Shafter has had some time to fill in those blanks. While he's lived in Texas for several years, Shafter actually cut his musical teeth in his home state of Illinois, first in cover bands specializing in standard fare like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, then gradually pushing the envelope by exploring the corners of his record collection – artists like Leon Russell and Tom Waits (both of which can be heard lurking in the corners of Shafter's own compositions). He also came to appreciate the sounds of the Lone Star State – particularly smart, hard-scrabble artists like Hubbard, who's emerged as something of a mentor.

"I moved down here after high school because my brother in law had a band down here and it was the only place I'd ever heard of where you could actually make a living playing the music you wanted to play," he says. "I never wrote a song about Texas or being a Texan and I probably never will –– but it's had a profound effect, for sure. Just seeing these guys and how much they know about music, all kinds of music, not just the stuff you might think at first glance, that's been really inspiring."

That inspiration can be heard throughout the disc. Yes, you can feel the rich earth of the hill country rising up through some of its darker grooves, but there's also a sense of light-heartedness that comes with the troubadour's territory – like "Big Debut," which calls to mind "Big Rock Candy Mountain" in its jaunty delivery of a message that's deeper than one might think at first listen. Each of the album's ten tracks, in fact, reveals new facets with repeated spins – something that can probably be attributed to Shafter's stated desire to make a mark more than a paycheck.

"Most of the songs come out of a struggle, really. I think anything hard to do is indicative of something that will last," he says. "I don't necessarily see my songs as something that will make money, but I see them as steps on a road that will last, potentially, my entire life. I want to write songs that I will be happy playing when I am 60, not songs I'll look at in five years and say 'what was I thinking?'"
Surprise Guests
Surprise Guests
Some of our favorite songwriters who have graced our stage over the past few years. Stay tuned for more announcements, and expect to have a few surprises on the night of the show.
Cody Culberson
Cody Culberson
I was born in Fort Worth, Texas on the east side of town where the railroads wind and the neighborhoods are sleepier than their western counterparts. Music was stitched into my upbringing early on, with one of my earliest memories being a passenger with my grandfather in his 1980 Ford F-150 (the truck that I would later call my own), listening to washed up country singers moan about heartbreak and hangovers while the cracked vinyl seats pinched the backs of my legs. As the scent of dipped Skoal snuff hung in the air like a dying balloon, I remember watching my grandfather sing along, hitting each nuance in every verse and chorus as if he wrote the song himself.

"Back in El Paso my life would be worthless.
Everything's gone in life; nothing is left.
It's been so long since I've seen the young maiden
My love is stronger than my fear of death"
-Marty Robbins, "El Paso"

In a sense, I'm still in the gray pickup; fascinated with the art of story, and how the story etches itself into peoples' lives, creating a sense of community and belonging to anyone that lends an ear. I am beyond humbled that you've decided to spend some of your time here, and I am looking forward to seeing you at the next show.
Venue Information:
Live Oak Music Hall
1311 Lipscomb Street
Fort Worth, TX, 76104
http://www.theliveoak.com/