Matteoli released his solo debut, Hard Luck Hittin' (self-released), in June of last year, then parted ways with The Weary Boys a bit after that. While the Boys are known for their keepin'-it-real traditional country swagger, Matteoli's somewhat bleak (in a good way) solo material falls more in the countryish singer-songwriter realm, and has drawn comparisons to Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young. He's currently on the self-explanatory "Alone With His Guitar" tour.
Matteoli will play just before fellow Austinites The Texas Sapphires, who are touring to support their debut album, Valley So Steep (2006, Stag), produced by the legendary Lloyd Maines (pedal-steel player extraordinaire and father to the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines). The group won Best New Band in the 2006 Austin Chronicle Readers' Poll, and after listening to Valley So Steep, that should come as no surprise.
Co-fronted by former hog farmer Billy Brent Malkus (vocals, guitar, dobro, and piano) and singer Rebecca Lucille Cannon, whose lovely harmonies anchor the proceedings, the quintet veers all over the history of country music. "The Emerald Outlaw" is a winning mandolin-and-pedal steel stop in Bakersfield; "Driftin' In" is an old-timey showcase for Cannon's lovely voice; the slightly sinister-sounding "Ladyfest, TX" is a stomping bluegrass romp; and the updated traditionalism of "Barstow Barstool" wouldn't sound out of place on a Dwight Yoakam album.
The Texas Sapphires and Mario Matteoli perform at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave., on Saturday, Aug. 4. Joshua Butcher opens at 9 p.m. Cover is $5. For more information, call 623-3200.
At The Lovemakers' helm is the duo of Scott Blonde (vocals, guitar) and Lisa Light (vocals, bass, violin). The couple met in 2002; Light was dating Blonde's manager; Blonde stole her away, and she joined his band at the time, Applesaucer. According to the band's bio, the two were booted from that group for making out with each other during band practice, and The Lovemakers were born.
They released a self-titled EP (2003, Weird Eye), which won them a large local fan base and got the attention of Interscope Records, which signed them to a deal soon after. Two weeks before recording their debut full-length, Blonde and Light's romance came to a halt, but they soldiered on with their now somewhat ironically named band. Times of Romance was released on Cherrytree/Interscope in 2005, garnering favorable reviews but getting lost in the shuffle of major labeldom. It would be their first and last release for the big boys.
With a current lineup rounded out by guitarist and synth player Brandon Arnovick and drummer Ken Hard, on July 24, The Lovemakers released a new EP, Misery Loves Company (Fuzz), which contains five songs (plus clean versions of two of them), along with a video for each. The Light-sung title track is straight outta the '80s, an infectiously catchy dance-pop confection that could have come from a Missing Persons record. The only slightly more modern-sounding "Whine and Dine" is synth-pop in a similar vein, this time with Blonde on vocals. "Naturally Lonely" is a piano-and-strings stunner of a ballad in dramatic, '60s girl-group mode, with Light singing what could be the story of her and Blonde's failed romance: "Make time rewind / Fuck all the damn time / I loved you only."
The Lovemakers perform at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The show begins at 9 p.m. with openers Death of a Party and ... Music Video? Admission is $7. For further details, call 798-1298.
Devon Allman's Honeytribe perform at Nimbus Brewing Company, 3850 E. 44th St., at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3. Admission is $10. For more info, call 745-9175.
Touring in advance of their second, self-titled album, due in September, Phoenix-based screamo six-piece Scary Kids Scaring Kids headline a show at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Friday, Aug. 3. The show kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with sets from openers The Dear Hunter and Boys Night Out. Advance tickets are available for $13 at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com or by calling 321-1000. For further details, call 629-9211.
Finally, all you Hootie and the Blowfish fans, take note: The group's appearance at Desert Diamond Casino, originally scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 5, has been pushed back to Sunday, Sept. 30. Tickets purchased for the August date will be honored at the door. For more info, call (866) DDC-WINS.