Written by Devonie Baker
Mar 18, 2005 at 03:00 PM
ImageAUSTIN – This year, a local Houston musician, Mando Saenz, enjoyed playing a prime time-slot during SXSW at Mother Egan’s Pub, on Friday, March 18th. Along with Mando, the SXSW showcase featured other artists on Carnival Records, such as Dan Colehour, Don Schlitz (credited for writing The Gambler!, among many other country music hits), and The Eli Young Band.Mando’s plaintive songwriting, beautiful melodies, and smooth voice pervaded the crisp Austin air, amidst throngs of music-lovers congesting 6th street. Oftentimes Mando goes it alone, gigging around the States, popping up doing live performances on radio stations and most recently on Austin’s Fox Morning News, but typically when he plays either Houston or Austin, he had an assortment of local friends/musicians accompanying him, lending more depth and atmosphere to his soothing rootsy goodness. For the SXSW showcase, he shared the stage with drummer Paul Valdez (the “Falcon” in Houston’s Tody & The Falcon), Phil “Alarmo” McJunkins (King Coal, Speedy Colt, Just Guns) on pedal steel, and the multi-talented singing, guitar playing, mandolin shredding rock goddess Chris Nine (King Coal, Speedy Colt etc…), who strapped on the bass for this gig.

Mando’s voice and style performing live is as unmistakably sweet, as he consistently delivers his songs with the same soulful melancholy found on his record Watertown. He performed these older songs as well as a few newer ones that we should expect on his next record. Mando’s soothing vocals during this performance were even further highlighted by Chris Nine’s beautiful, complimentary harmonies, and the haunting whine of Alarmo’s pedal steel. It was a solid, gorgeous performance, consistent with every other time I’ve seen Mando play. He is a tremendous performer and has rightfully earned his place (since the release of Watertown) on the Americana Music Association airplay charts top 20, where he shares space with artists like Kathleen Edwards, Alison Krauss, Kasey Chambers and John Fogerty.

Mando Saenz will be playing in Houston at the Continental Club on Thursday, April 7, so mark your calendars and treat yourself to a night of beautiful music from one of Americana’s most promising artists.

Visit Mando’s website and listen to some samples of his melodious offerings. http://mandosaenz.com/music.html