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Bruce and Kelly's Holiday Shindig 

When: Fri., Dec. 19, 8 p.m. 2014
Phone: 210-812-4355
Price: $25-$32
If Austin’s happily egalitarian music scene suddenly switched to a monarchy, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis might have to learn to perform while balancing hefty crowns. The two already reign as one of Americana music’s coolest couples, and their latest release, Our Year, elevates them closer to the lofty territory once occupied by beloved royals Johnny ’n’ June and George ’n’ Tammy. Not that they would ever seek royal treatment, of course. This duo is way too down-to-earth for Downton Abbey airs. They’re Texans, after all. Robison is a Bandera boy; Oklahoma-born Willis an Army brat, got here as soon as she could. They fell in love while harmonizing together, though it took them until 2013 to release their first officially billed joint effort: Cheater’s Game. Cheaters Game was very well received and Willis and Robison felt the wind at their backs. They were eager to return to the studio. Working again in Nashville with producer Brad Jones, they delivered their musical thoughts in 10 outstanding tracks, from formidable originals to well-honed covers including a knockout version of the Tom T. Hall-penned “Harper Valley PTA.” Jeannie C. Riley’s 1968 hit sounds like a classic all over again in the hands of this pair — and the chicken-pickin’, mandolin-plucking, shaker-grooving players who back them on this tart tale.


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