BestFest: Honky Tonk Brothers Draw Blood, Carolyn Wonderland Laps The Field

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Photos by Jason Wolter
The Honky Tonk Blood Brothers
The Home Brew stage served up a buffet of local talent with Johnny Falstaff, John Evans, Southern Backtones' Hank Schyma, and Craig Kinsey of the Sideshow Tramps, otherwise known as the Honky Tonk Blood Brothers. Each member of the quartet turned out three songs from the recently-released Honky Tonk Blood, described to me as "a dark satire with lots of dead rock stars." Bitchin'.

Falstaff and Evans showcased their rockabilly chops, leaving the dirtier, more twisted selections to Schyma and Kinsey. "Dirty as black spit in a Lone Star beer can," to borrow a line from "Bandera," featured in the film as well as on the upcoming Southern Backtones album.

The crowd was peppered with pompadours and shoulder tats, and plenty of lovely ladies toe-tapping along to the beat, and I heard overheard the word "sexy" uttered in the audience more than once. LAUREN MARMADUKE

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Carolyn Wonderland
Carolyn Wonderland has pared her band to a drummer and keys whiz Cole el-Saleh making up the most powerful power trio at the festival. Dressed in a black culotte outfit, she wasted no time reminding us what a talent Houston lost when Wonderland took her bad self to Austin. With the greatest Southern blues voice of all time, part whiskey, part wolf-mother in heat, she wasted no time laying waste to the crowd with some of the stinging-est nastiest guitar of the weekend.

She also previewed songs from her new album, Peace Meal, set for release this Tuesday. The highlight of the set was her wicked lap-steel blues, the obscure Janis Joplin song "What Good Would Drinkin' Do Me," that was probably the steamiest musical moment of the festival so far. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH


Right as Carolyn Wonderland was gearing up to hit the stage, the large screen at stage left was airing a heartbreaking Houston Texans game, where we were steadily losing to the New Orleans Saints. Hearing the assembled crowd booing and cheering as the Honky Tonky Blood Brothers played across the venue, reminded me of so many sports bars I have found ourselves at, with live music soundtracking athletic defeat.

Speaking to Carolyn Wonderland before her set a few minutes ago, I asked her about playing around televisions when you are trying to wrench out a song. At one point, she said, she had a rule about charging venues for having televisions on while her band played. We don't blame her. Thankfully, and mercifully, the big screen was shot off before her band started up.

Currently Buxton is playing in front of a happy and vocal crowd on the C&D Scrap Metal stage, and Hayes Carll's crew is loading in. The new Buxton stuff is great, and the boys are listening to the lacquers of their new album tonight. CRAIG HLAVATY


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