Girl Guitar Showcase

Girl Guitar Showcase
Austin Texas

Created by Mandy Rowden in 2007, Girl Guitar started off as a small, independent group of women aged 21 and over who combined their love of music and guitar to satisfy their never-ending thirst for fun. Today, the group has blossomed into an institute with six teachers that dedicate their time and effort into molding the members of Girl Guitar into accomplished musicians.

And accomplished musicians they have become. With only eight months of guitar lessons, one songwriting and voice student was able to write an entire song complete with chord variations and lyrics in time to perform it at legendary blues club Antone’s on Mother’s Day. Other students were also showcased on a multitude of instruments from the acoustic guitar to the mandolin, during the club performance.

Though each student’s level of experience was obvious by the musicality they produced in their performances, the overall atmosphere of the blues club was anything but blue. The women of Girl Guitar brought vivacity and spirit to the stage with original songs such as “Sexy Scientist,” dedicated to and about a student’s “dorky” husband, and “Masterpiece,” dedicated to another student’s long-time friend. However, not all of the songs performed were original, as some women instead chose to bring their own style to already popular songs such as “Umbrella” by Rihanna and “Rhythm of Love” by Plain White T’s.

Regardless of what Girl Guitar had to offer, the crowd full of family and friends laughed and cheered them on, many even moving onto the dance floor as the girls strummed on through the night.

by Michelle Marie Garcia

Dandy Warhols

Dandy Warhols
Ausin, Texas

Portland, Oregon-founded alternative rock band The Dandy Warhols (singer-guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor, guitarist Peter Holmstrom, keyboardist Zia McCabem, and drummer Brent DeBoer) are noted for their classics “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth” and their most famous “Bohemian Like You,” and have found success with their music featured in films, television shows, and commercials such as The Replacements, MythBusters, and a Ford Focus car range commercial.

Austin’s casual nightclub Emo’s was an appropriate fit for the band’s brand of psychedelic alternative that meshes The Velvet Underground, Primal Scream, and the Pixies. Hypnotic and free-flowing as their music, the band seemed to undergo a lull that kept them concentrated on what they needed to deliver to their audience. A number of musical techniques were employed: long instrumental passages, charging guitar-driven rock, and screeching electronic effects alongside angst, words of redemption, and hallucinatory vocalizing. “I Am Free,” from their latest album This Machine (2012), had regular cadence, while the entrancing “I Love You,” from the 1997 outing …The Dandy Warhols Come Down, featured a building, lyric-less coda.

While other songs such as their staple “We Used to Be Friends” and “Everyday Should Be a Holiday” were spotlighted, “Holding Me Up,” from 2005’s Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, became the centerpiece: screeching guitars and electronic effects, red-orange lights flashing down to give the impression of fire, a rotating disco ball projecting white circles against the black backdrop of the curtains, and audience participation through clapping.

One might call their music “psychedelic-tinged alterna-cool”: they exuded a cool vibe and remained focused, seemingly undisturbed by their surroundings; it was just them and their music, lost in the high of their performance.

by Jeff Boyce

Tracy Lawrence

Tracy Lawrence
Pharr Events Center
Pharr, Texas

Celebrating its first anniversary since being remodeled, the Pharr Events Center opened its doors to renowned American country artist Tracy Lawrence. Lawrence, whose voice touched the hearts of young and more mature fans alike, seemed eager to jump on stage and greet old friends as he recounted with the audience the numerous times he had played in South Texas.

“I used to come down and play out in Hillbilly Heaven,” Lawrence said with a nostalgic grin. “I’ve been playing in South Texas for about 20 years now.”

As a Texas native himself, Lawrence seems to know exactly how to play to southern Texan. With lyrical ballads full of heartfelt sentiments and some more free spirited classics as well, the old-fashioned country boy was greeted with screaming, cheering women at the onset of every top-charted song he played. Some of these crowd favorites included “Texas Tornado,” “Lessons Learned” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” Not long after his first few songs, there were couples filling the dance floor.
The performance brought both laughter and tears to the eyes of many in the audience, and after a brief intermission, Lawrence switched the mood to play purely acoustic songs. Songs that made the audience sing along to their meaningful lyrics included “Paint Me A Birmingham” and “Till I Was A Daddy Too.”

It’s obvious that Lawrence is able to connect with his audience through his music in a more personal way than most. His lyrics are diverse in that many could relate to at least one of his songs and enjoy it thoroughly, while Lawrence maintains his musical standards of rhythm that are staples in most country music.

by Michelle Marie Garcia