Excess of Talent: Meet Austin Super-Ensemble the Eightysixxed
If Lonesome, Onry and Mean was a betting man, we'd bet our entire bankroll that while Warehouse Live or Fitz are filled to capacity with folks checking out the latest hyped-up, flash-in-the-pan, cover-of-Paste-magazine band that's been in existence, oh, at least a year or two, Austin's worn and weathered the Eightysixxed will probably play to maybe 100 cognoscenti Wednesday night at Under the Volcano.
courtesy of David Holt A young David Holt and Nick "Mr. Carlene Carter" Lowe in Nashville
None of these Eightysixxed knights of the road, who have thousands of gigs under their belts in bands with legends like Joe Ely, Robert Palmer, Carlene Carter and Jesse "Guitar" Taylor, chases the frenzied admiration of hipsters anymore; that would be demeaning and embarrassing to artists of such stature and ability. They're past the "flavor of the day" hype contests, preferring to let their instruments do the hyping.
But just so everyone knows what they're missing when they don't see the Eightysixxed Wednesday night, here are some short bios of each member. Read 'em and weep.
Dony Wynn (Drums)
Photo courtesy of Dony Wynn Robert Palmer veteran Dony Wynn
A scribbler of short stories and a record producer of note as well as a monster groove driver, Wynn spent 20 years in Robert Palmer's band and probably sees those lookalike models in Palmer's famous "Addicted To Love" video in his sleep. After Palmer's untimely death, Wynn went on to anchor Brooks and Dunn's touring ensemble. He also found time to tour or record with Kenny Mazur, Teo Macero, Gary Numan, Patricia Vonne, Casper Rawls, Steve Poltz, Billy Harvey and dozens of other jazz and pop artists over the years.
Besides the Eightysixxed, these days Wynn works regularly with salty Austin songster Bill Carter and the Blame and is a regular at Casper Rawls's weekly "Planet Casper" gigs at the Austin Continental Club. Within the context of the Eightysixxed, Wynn holds down a pocket that never wavers, with drumming akin to watching a nuclear reactor functioning at 100 percent. Bandmate David Holt calls Wynn "the Groove Guru."
Led Zeppelin front man/current Austin resident Robert Plant has Wynn's number on his speed dial.
Gabe Rhodes (Guitar)
The son of legendary Austin producer, writer, disc jockey Joe Gracey and singer-songwriter/playwright Kimmie Rhodes, at 40 Gabe Rhodes is the young buck of the group. He's made a name for himself as a crackerjack producer and sideman in Austin circles and was singled out in the Austin Chronicle for his work on Willie Nelson's The Rainbow Connection. His production or sideman credits include Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Price, Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Lafave and dozens of others.
LOM recalls seeing Rhodes ten years ago as orchestra conductor for his mother's play Windblown, a collaboration with noted playwright Joe Sears of the Tuna series. Dressed as a campesino, young Rhodes's role called for him to leave the orchestra pit and play his electric guitar as the curtain fell on Act 1. He shredded, as LOM duly reported in his review in No Depression. Rhodes also produced his mom's album Windblown, upon which the play was based, and helped score the popular film Babe: Pig in the City.
In the Eightysixxed, Rhodes gets to turn loose his lead-guitar jones to full effect. The man is a gunslinger.
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