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Warren Hood - Kym Warner

Sat, January 19 / 7 PM

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Warren Hood began playing the fiddle at the age of eleven. He attended Berklee School of Music where he was awarded the school's top honor - The String Achievement Award. He has since gone on to win numerous awards for string virtuosity and has been recognized three times as String Player of the Year in the Austin Chronicle Music Poll. 

The son of Austin, TX music legend, Champ Hood (Uncle Walt's Band, Toni Price), Warren has become an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer. He has toured extensively as a member of acclaimed Bay Area band The Waybacks (featured on NPR) who accompanied former Grateful Dead founder Bob Weir and as violinist for world-renowned recording artists, The BoDeans. 

He has also performed and/or recorded with such noteworthy artists as Lyle Lovett, Joan Osborne, Emmylou Harris, Ben Kweller, Little Feet, Elvis Costello, Susan Tedeschi, Gillian Welch, and Alejandro Escovedo.

"The cream always rises to the top, and there are young performers out there who will find their audience [such as] Warren Hood, a terrific songwriter and singer." ~ Lyle Lovett 

"Hood has style to burn, with a knack for composing songs as ageless as they are pleasing to hear." ~ Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle

Kym Warner is a founding member of The Greencards. Originally from Australia, the band formed in Austin, TX and gained national attention when they supported a multi-state tour with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. The Greencards are favorites on the festival circuit with appearances at MerleFest, Grey Fox, Austin City Limits, SXSW, Telluride, Bonnaroo, Telluride, Lollapalooza, and the Cayamo cruise to name just a few. 

Kym has penned many of the tracks on The Greencards five studio albums. Two of his instrumentals have been honored with Grammy nominations. Last summer's release, The Brick Album has become a fan favorite and featured two of the band's musical heroes on separate tracks: Sam Bush and Vince Gill. 

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Mandy Barnett

Sat, January 19 / 930 PM

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Mandy Barnett laughs when she’s asked “What took you so long?” to make Strange Conversation, her progressive take on the postmodern American songbook. Sure, she’s a classicist who’s channeled Patsy Cline in a theatrical musical, recorded classic country songs with legendary producer Owen Bradley, and transfixed known musicos Seymour Stein, Arif Mardin and Ahmet Ertegun with her timeless stylings. But Barnett, who signed her first major label deal at age 12, decided she needed a change.

“I needed to cleanse my palette,” explains the woman with a voice that’s all sultry velour. “I’m a torch singer, somebody who can do a little bit of everything. Pop, blues, gospel, country, soul — songs with emotion are what I do.” And so, she had to decide what to do next. While musical soul-searching, Barnett honed her symphony show (performing with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast) and even reached back to an old passion — visual art — to get her creative juices flowing in a fresh direction. In between touring performing art centers, historic theaters and concert halls, and making gallery-exhibited artwork, Barnett embraced thoughts of finding different material to record. 

She pauses for a moment, weighing the jolt to longtime fans versus the reality of her new music. “But honestly, it’s all me,” says Barnett.  “It’s all aspects of who I am.”  Because for Barnett, a singer who’s captivated Owen Bradley, the idea of her musical future is as compelling as the idea of honoring classic country’s past.

“The truth is every album I’ve made has been Americana, even that first Asylum album with the Jim Lauderdale songs, but the arrangements were more timeless, more to the classic songbook. And Americana’s a broad genre that has elements of pop and retro, soul music. So this time, I leaned away from what people expect from me — and into things that made me reach, and stretch. “

Produced by Marco Giovino and Doug Lancio for Thirty Tigers and Barnett’s own label Dame Productions, and due out September 21, 2018, Strange Conversation places the vocalist between obscure vintage pop and modern progressive songwriting. Think Lee Hazlewood and the Tams meet Tom Waits and Greg Garing with a little Mable John thrown in. If it sounds too good to be true, Hazlewood’s “The Fool,” the Tams’ “It’s All Right (You’re Just in Love),” Waits’ “”Puttin’ on the Dog” and Garing’s “Dream Too Real to Hold” are all part of the conversation, a musky brew of desire, rapture, and discovery.

From the opening slink and slither of Mabel John’s “More Lovin’,” with its subdued track and smoky vocal, to the Farfisa gypsy carnival whirl of “All Night,” darkly seductive and slightly churning, this is a more mysterious Barnett. Even the slightly steamy horns rising on the Ted Hawkins-penned title track bring a true erotic simmer to a boil.

“We went to Muscle Shoals to make the record,” Barnett says. “Which was a big thing, because that environment, all the music that happened there, just seeps in. I was working with all new players, and we were going deeper into some things I’ve always touched on, but never really explored.”

It all started the way the best music-nerd friendships do: trading songs like baseball cards. “Marco sent me hundreds of songs, vintage CDs, tapes, and I poured through all of them. It was listening and listening, and drinking in all this amazing roots music.  Some of the songs are pretty obscure, but that’s why I wanted someone else’s perspective.

“The idea of singing the Tom Waits song, that’s so far out the box for me. I had a ball cutting it. It’s wild, and a little sloppy and erratic. So I could sing with reckless abandon and put my soul into it.”

Barnett laughs again. In a world where people know she’s a world-class vocalist, Strange Conversation opened new avenues for her gifts — whether it was Neil Sedaka’s “My World Keeps Slipping Away,” which was pitched directly to her by the songwriting legend himself, or the McCrary Sisters-embellished version of Andre Williams’ “Put a Chain On It,” which offers a soul-gospel turn on the blues that’s part barrelhouse, part grindhouse, and part church house.

Equally intriguing is the carny Western take on Sonny & Cher’s “A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done,” with the gravel-voiced John Hiatt. The quaver in Barnett’s voice moves from wide-open to resigned; Hiatt is tall in the saddle, equally wry and knowing.

“Marco brought that song in, and it was a natural fit to have John Hiatt on it,” says Barnett. “I’d always loved John. Back when I was signed to Jimmy Bowen, they were bringing me all these songs about quilts and grandmas, and I was like, ‘Please.’ I went over to Bug Music, and found John’s music, and was just so thrilled by the soul and the funkiness.

“This isn’t one of his own songs, but it’s so much what he does. And it’s a wacky arrangement, which John just got right into the spirit of. Talk about a moment!”

Pausing briefly, Barnett smiles. “Doug Lancio has produced John, Patty Griffin, and some of those great Gretchen Peters records; he understands music that blurs the lines, but works because of the soul. That’s what I wanted, what I was ready for.”  Add Doug’s incredible guitar parts and Marco’s unique drumming to the mix, along with the contributions of other great musicians, and Strange Conversation takes shape as a blend of imaginative arrangements and Barnett’s inimitable vocals.

“I’ve come to a place were I didn’t want to be as polished and as lush as before. I’ve always felt like a rebel, because I never did all the flavor-of-the-month stuff, but you can get stuck in that, too. 

“This time, I discovered facets about me I didn’t know. I heard shadings, nuances to bring out. I can still belt, but you know, you don’t have to hit a high C every time.”

Indeed, it’s in the lower ranges that Barnett’s most sultry notes seem to exist. But that’s another conversation, one that’s seemingly just getting started.

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Open Mic

Mon, January 21 / 630 PM

No cover charge.

This little gem might be a bit easily overlooked in Houston’s typical bar scene, but that’s because it’s an entirely different kind of place. McGonigel’s Mucky Ducky is an Irish pub that features a very popular open mic night every Monday at 7 p.m. (sign up by 6:30 p.m.) You’ll hear plenty of folk, country and acoustic renditions by performers that spent their afternoon in classes at Rice or a long day at the office. Not only does the pub feature an impressive array of live music almost every night, but the Mucky Duck has been listed by Billboard Magazine as one of the 20 best acoustic venues in the country. - CBS HOUSTON

The Duck stage is open for you to present your original compositions or a favorite song made famous by someone else. 

Comedians, poets, jugglers and mimes also welcome.

Don't be shy. Come on out ~ It's your turn to be a Mucky Duck Open Mic Star.

Each performer has 3 songs or 15 minutes for their performance. 

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Lizzy D - Brant Croucher - Libby Koch

Tue, January 22 / 730 PM

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“From Austin to Madison to Nashville to Houston to New Orleans to Providence and all the way back to Houston, Lizzy-D has continued to grow as a songwriter; adopting some flavor and style from each place in which she’s lived. 

Formerly just a keys player, she now plays guitar as well. Lizzy-D is happy to return to McGonigel’s Mucky Duck for the first time in over 7 years, and will be joined by famed Houston/Austin musicians Brant Croucher, Libby Koch, Joe Devadanem, and Sam Austin. 

Expect rousing sets of songs from each songwriter and a hootenanny of a final set in which all of the musicians will join one another on stage”. 

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Game Night - Irish Session

Wed, January 23 / 730 PM

Irish Jam Session at 7:30pm. Games are available all evening.

Board games are hot right now — whether it’s the new Euro-style games like Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, 7 Wonders or Power Grid, or you’re kickin’ it old school with traditional games like the Trumpesque, land-grabbing Monopoly. For a great midweek diversion, head on over to the Mucky Duck for a pint and a little tabletop competition; they’ve been at it for almost 25 years. 

We checked in with Stevie Hazlewood, day manager for McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, and she says the club stocks a nice selection of titles for the Wednesday night Game Night and Irish Session.  “It runs the gamut from Connect Four, to Scrabble, Yahtzee, Risk, three different versions of Monopoly, Scattergories, Cards Against Humanity,” says Hazlewood. Play one of those games or bring your own, and scarf down pub snacks like fish and chips, Welsh rarebit and the club’s famous shepherd’s pie." 

Best of all, there’s no cover. 7:30 p.m.- Susie Tommaney - Houston Press
Showing tonight

An Evening with Robyn Hitchcock

Thu, January 24 / 730 PM

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Robyn Hitchcock is one of England's most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. A surrealist poet, talented guitarist, cult artist and musician's musician, Hitchcock is among alternative rock's father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan (not coincidentally his biggest musical inspiration).

Since founding the art-rock band The Soft Boys in 1976, Robyn has recorded more than 20 albums as well as starred in ‘Storefront Hitchcock’ an in concert film recorded in New York and directed by Jonathan Demme. 

Blending folk and psychedelia with a wry British nihilism, Robyn describes his songs as ‘paintings you can listen to’. His most recent album is self-titled and marks his 21st release as a solo artist. Out on April 21 2017, the album is produced by Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs). Hitchcock describes it as a "ecstatic work of negativity with nary a dreary groove." 

It has received rave reviews from UNCUT, Rolling Stone, Paste, Tidal and more. 

"A gifted melodist, Hitchcock nests engaging lyrics in some of the most bracing, rainbow-hued pop this side of Revolver. He wrests inspiration not from ordinary life but from extraordinary imaginings..." - Rolling Stone

"These 10 gems slither, rock, roll, glide and shapeshift, coalescing around Hitchcock’s typically anxious, strained but striking and immediately identifiable vocals." - American Songwriter

"Beloved of everyone from Led Zeppelin to REM, Hitchcock has only enhanced his status with this wonderful outing." - Hot Press

"Witty, moving and seriously catchy, Robyn Hitchcock is a glorious return for a man who wasn’t really gone in the first place." - Paste Magazine

"As a performer, he’s as much a wandering bard as a rock star." —The Believer