This promising Midwest foursome is proficient, albeit not precise, in their synthesis of the vogue '60s garage- rock sound. Their 2001 release, Take Off on Orange Recordings earned them a fair amount of press chatter and heavy college radio airplay — achievements their somewhat muddled demo could never foster.

I am, however, willing to give these boys a break. They are recording a new album for Telstar Records, and have a fairly good collective head for the music business. And we San Antonians are a bit spoiled by the virtuosity of musically like-minded locals the Sons of Hercules and the Dropouts.

Shams singer Zach Gabbard channels a mixed posture of Van Morrison and Mick Jagger. His voice intermittently swoons and struts, perhaps stylistically conforming to whichever muse has him by the short hairs at any moment. His emissions are set against a solid, blues-influenced backdrop. A lilting, slightly psychedelic organ provides a welcome counterpoint to the rhythm and lead guitar's overtly (and effectively) testosterone-driven simplicity.

Gabbard's vocals are too emulative, and therefore not totally trashy like good garage- rock. But this criticism, like any I could muster about this band, emanates from youth, not lack of talent.
— Anjali Gupta

Thee Shams
With Stinky Del Negro
Sunday, October 13
Taco Land
103 W. Grayson

Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez.

He Makes Everything Groovy
Although oldies radio overcooks to mush all great rock 'n' roll songs (a term also stripped of meaning by VH1), the Troggs' "Wild Thing" is one cut of which I can't get enough: a sultry tale about one boy-man's urgency to get a girl into bed (obviously, this song was written before Roofies): "Wild thing I think I love you, but I wanna know for sure," he pleads. Then comes the purring: "Come on hold me tight ... you mooove me." And then comes the cigarette.

The author of this '60s anthem is Chip Taylor, whose progeny also includes a tender Troggs' cut, "Anyway That You Want Me;" "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," made famous by Janis Joplin; and "Angel of the Morning," covered by Merilee Rush and Juice Newton (as snotty teens we bastardized the lyrics and sang the chorus as, "just brush your teeth before you leave me.")

Taylor, 58, is more famous for others' renditions of his songs — Bonnie Raitt recorded "Poppa Come Quick" on Luck of the Draw — than his own albums; the royalties from his gazillion hits allowed him to become a wiz-bang at playing the horses, winning at blackjack, and counting cards.

Yet, Taylor's records stand well on their own, without more famous names attached to them: Among the dozen country and roots albums he's released in the past 25 years, the coyly named The Living Room Tapes, and 1999's Seven Days in May — which features duets with Lucinda Williams — are considered masterpieces. Expect to hear new material from Hole in the Midnight, released September 3, when he performs at Casbeers next week. And maybe catch him after the show for a lesson on card-counting.
— Lisa Sorg

Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez Saturday, October 12
1719 Blanco Road
Sunday, October 13
Gruene Hall
1281 Gruene Road,
New Braunfels
(830) 606-1281

Aaron Neville.

Heavenly Neville
When Aaron Neville walks onto the Gruene Hall stage on Saturday, October 12, he will most likely be wearing a gold medallion of Saint Jude in his left ear. Neville is a spiritual man, with a voice that should only be described as a gift from God, possessing the power to rise up through the Sunday spires of a French cathedral, or reach into the dark hearts of a Saturday night bar in the French Quarter.

While the Neville Brothers developed a distinctive musical style with their New Orleans-styled rock-funk, Aaron Neville has approached his solo work with an even more eclectic musical taste. "Tell It Like It Is," his first hit, charted at Number 2 back in 1966, and began a journey of musical exploration including gospel, do-wop, rhythm & blues, funk, and country Western ballads such as George Jones' "Grand Tour." Neville's gift, his incomparable voice, is what makes these explorations worthwhile. Neville gives thanks to Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, for rescuing him when he was at his lowest point in life. The falling, and the grace of redemption, will fill Gruene Hall Saturday night.
— Dennis Scoville

Saturday, October 12
Gruene Hall
1281 Gruene Road, New Braunfels,
(830) 606-1281

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