Fort Worthians

Honky Tonk Country Club Now Seeking Members by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Art by Jackdaw folk art

Art by Jackdaw folk art

It does not require an ethnomusicologist to understand what is known as “Country Music” rarely resembles what it once was. There are populations who have turned away from a genre that seems to have fragmented into product placement and recycled hip-hop and arena rock techniques. Whether it be the high and lonesome sound of train songs, or the beautiful melancholy of a pedal steel crying with heartbreak, from Western Swing to the revolt of Outlaw Country, a long period of musical output ties us to a time before the omnipotent information age. When culture was still passed by hand and many of the best writers in America wrote songs in Nashville.

Back in March, singer L Denison, Andrew Skates and Austin Jenkins, of Niles City Sound were all discussing a potential group of great local players to bring those songs to life. When I caught them up at Lola’s recently, L explained, “Austin, Skates and I have been talking about putting something like this together for a while, we knew we wanted to get Summer involved but weren’t sure of other players.” Once Skates saw Summer Dean perform, something clicked for the skillful multi-instrumentalist. Something about her voice and presence was key for him to see what Honky Tonk Country Club could become. And from what I’ve seen, I’m inclined to agree, especially after hearing her take on Waylon Jennings’, “Waymore Blues,” accentuating the tune’s understated soul. Dean has a knack for finding a song’s bones.

Once the band started to fall into place, they found a good fit with Lola’s and the Country Club took to the metaphorical lonesome highway with regular Thursday nights. Adding Beau Brauer on drums, L explains how he brought a fresh perspective, “Beau didn’t really have honky-tonk experience, but he has jumped into it by doing a great deal of research. I mean down to every element of the sound, he even figured out which sticks work best.” Rounding out an unbelievable rhythm section they have local songmaster Jake Paleschic, who played bass in the brilliantly short-lived Longshots, and also adds the third lead vocal on the stage alongside L Denison and Summer Dean. If you’re lucky, he might sing you something by Roger Miller.

For L Denison, the group offered an opportunity to cut her teeth singing lead alongside a terribly experienced group of folks. She also figured it was as good a time as any to begin learning to play guitar, “I mean who’ll notice if I miss a chord, it feels safer with the group. But, I really feel lucky ‘cause they’ve all been doing it longer. If you want to get good at something, I’ve always thought you should do it with folks who are better than you.” Similarly, the band allows Andrew Skates to work on playing lead guitar because he plays bass on his adventures as an internationally touring musician with Leon Bridges. Skates, who has also performed with Quaker City Night Hawks is an incredibly tasteful player, who can sit back or straight up burn. He’s easy to talk to and the joy music brings him is obvious.

Whether Bob Wills, Faron Young, or Connie Smith, you can see the influences of each player by what songs they bring to the table as L explains, “When we have time to rehearse, we each bring a couple of songs in we’d like to try.” As most of the group are more accustomed to rock and roll, Outlaw Country or 80s and 90s tunes are more straightforward, but she adds, “Those Western Swing tunes require a more precise sense of time, it is a nice challenge to have, because the rhythm section is what makes people dance and that’s what we really want to see.”

Through Denton’s Raised Right Men, Summer Dean first met pedal steel player Chris Schlotzhauer on a lineup opening for The Derailers at The Live Oak. Elevating their sound even further, Chris has recently joined the Country Club. When I asked him about the group, he was quick to explain how important he thought it was,  “Too many of the older players stick to themselves and don’t get out and hear what’s going on in their own town. Honky Tonk Country Club looks forward to welcoming special guests to the stage as they have with glorious accordion player Abel Casillas from Squeezebox Bandits. Five years ago, I tried for a few months to get a Doug Sahm Hoot Night going somewhere in Fort Worth, but I was never able to get traction. As I was getting ready to leave the bar, Honky Tonk Country Club caught fire with the classic Freddy Fender tune, “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” which was eventually recorded alongside Doug Sahm for Sir Douglas Quintet. These are the sounds and songs that live inside us and there will always be a call for us to hear them played with care and energy.  

Come check them out this Sunday, November 12, from 3-7p, at Shipping & Receiving at 201 S. Calhoun as they join the festivities for the monthly Second Sundays event alongside Chicken Shit Bingo.

Show Poster of the Week - Kevin Aldridge, War Party, Joe Savage at The Chat Room Pub by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Once a week FWN features a show poster from the Fort.


This week's featured show poster has that Paul Klee color palette that makes me think of all the sweet ass sherbet flavors this planet has to offer. That's another way to say, "I like this show poster so much I want to lick it to death!"

The poster promotes an exceptional lineup of Fort Worthians in the form of Kevin Aldridge, War Party, and Joe Savage, all set to perform tomorrow night, Saturday, Jan. 28th at The Chat Room Pub

Doors are always open but the music starts at 9:30pm w/ Mr. Savage. As the poster indicates, this show is FREE!!!

Mind-blowing local Ft. Worth artist Devin Selby drew this dream-like image which was co-opted and converted to a show poster for tomorrow night.  

I see a man donning a powdered wig, or what could possibly be his own long white hair. And he's in a bad way, like, straight chaos surrounds him while he chiefs on some super-kill East Asian opium.

Am I wrong? Probably, but that's what makes art, well... art. The patron sees what they see and there's no right or wrong.

Like in a dream, there's no right or wrong. There's no clear path. This guy, if anything, looks to be conflicted.

Or maybe not...

Maybe he's a nihilist and all that chaos buzzing around his head means absolutely nothing to him. He's perhaps comfortable knowing that life is but war and savagery and this portrait, this imagery, it's nothing but a moment of cathartic contemplation on the vastness of nothingness.

Whoa, hold on a sec, "war and savagery" = War Party + Joe Savage. Now where exactly Kevin fits into all this, I'm not sure. Perhaps the dream part; he's pretty dreamy, that Kevin.

Anyhow, the pen work and color work are about as excellent as one could hope for. Big cheers to Devin for creating this visually ruminative piece.

See ye tomorrow at TCRP! 


about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), Prairie Schooner (University of Nebraska Press) and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”