Great news for country music fans: a real band is coming to town this weekend. No hats, tinted hair or $200 jeans, just straight-forward guitar-infused country.
And it's long overdue for Americana junkies like me.
Austin's Micky and the Motorcars will be playing Saturday night at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. The Motorcars are one of those high-octane Austin bands that rarely venture outside of Texas. Like a lot of bands from the Americana scene, it's just not in their financial best interest to play shows out West.
I've seen them play here in front of 100 people, and in Texas in front of 2,000. Do the math. Lucky for us, their management team does send them out here from time to time, and I suggest you take advantage of the opportunity.
Micky and the Motorcars became a band when Micky Braun and his brother Gary realized that their folks had too many boys with too much talent. The Braun family grew up in Stanley, Idaho, with no TV and since their dad, Muzzie Braun, was a well-respected musician, it followed that they'd all learn to play music at a very young age, and they did. So here they are, a whole brood of prodigies all living together in Idaho.
Eventually it was time to form a band, and they all played together as youngsters as the Braun Brothers. But too many brothers that sound alike can get tiresome and creepy. Like the Osmonds. So the brothers split up into two bands: the oldest, Cody and Willy, formed Reckless Kelly, and they've also played the Palace. Micky and Gary formed Micky and the Motorcars, and the rest, as they say, is history. Both bands are outstanding, and both are staples on Americana radio.
You might think that the Braun brothers simply divided up by age, but it turns out that it was more about musical direction. While neither band does the whole generic, overproduced cookie-cutter country thing, the Motorcars seem like more of a roots-rock band. Their songs are well crafted, and the musicianship is top-notch. All these guys learned multiple instruments, and it shows. Mix in a high-octane rhythm section, and you get one of the best live bands around.
Like so many talented bands from around the country, Micky and the Motorcars moved to Austin, Texas, the live music capital of the world, where they quickly gained a huge following. Five terrific albums later, they're still picking up steam.
Longtime fans will appreciate the opportunity to see them again, and hopefully a bunch of folks who've never heard them will show up and become fans. After all, it's a free show. So why not take a chance and check out something new?
Sadly, the Braun Brothers' music doesn't fit the Nashville mold, so you'll never hear them on mainstream country radio, but, hey, this is why they tour. So join me Saturday night at the Palace, and see what you've been missing, as Micky and The Motorcars bring a little bit of Austin to Bakersfield.
You'll be glad you did.
Scott Cox is host of a talk radio show that airs from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays on KERN-AM, 1180.