Written by Michael Pittman
Sep 24, 2010 at 08:00 PM
I’ve been meaning to write this review for a while now, but life and a Catfish Festival happens. No way does this change the fact that it was another great installment of the Heights Live Concert Series with Graham Wilkinson. It’s testimony unto itself that yours truly can remember it this long! Uhhh…what did I just say??

 

I know My partners in crime (and you know who you are!) have already given you a look at this venue, but in case you’re just coming online I’ll say a few words. The shows are held every Friday night at the Heights Presbyterian Church. Gasp*..a church?? Don’t worry, you can still bring your own wine, beer etc. and the sharing option applies here too. Having a gander at http://www.nhtagency.net will fill in the details, but if you enjoy the intimate environment of a house concert you’ll enjoy these shows. While you’re there, put your name on the email list and you’ll get schedules and news to keep you up to date.

 

Ok, having tuned you in to that, let’s turn to Graham Wilkinson. He’s a born Texan, but moved around a lot in his early years. Having graduated high school in Wichita Falls, he went to Hendrix College in Arkansas in pursuit of a fine arts and music degree. Before he graduated he decided to take a break, so he headed to the Greek Islands and took a job that gave him time to take to the streets to mingle, and play music. Coming back to finish his degree in 2002, he headed out this time to Micronesia and teach, but a death in the family brought him back to Texas and to eventually to settle in Austin.

 

Using these experiences he usually leads a band made up of a group of interchangeable musicians he calls the Underground Township. During his first few years in Austin, depending on which one of his styles he’s playing whether it be punk, bluegrass or folk he’d pull from this group a set of players he’d need. With players moving in and out, he began to create a lineup that allowed him to settle on a style he liked. This lineup recorded his new album called Yearbook which has gotten a lot of airplay in Austin and around the country. Graham brings in the talents of people such as Alejandro Escovedo, Hayes Carll, Lloyd Maines, Trisha Keefer and a host of great musicians for a record that ranges from high energy ska and rock, to Honky Tonk country and folk. Graham makes this range of powerful styles work together with unpredictable lyric, music and style. His powerful gravelly and sometimes understated voice manage to tie the album together convincingly.

 

This night, he brought his acoustic guitar and played many of the songs from Yearbook without the band. It was only after the show that I heard the record and I was amazed at the talent he has to make the shift so effortlessly. We heard songs from the high energy ‘Water Towers and Windmills’ thru the humorous Americana style ‘Personality Disorder’ to the up-tempo Country ‘Let it Go’ to the Honky Tonk ‘Ragamuffin’. Star Blue is a soft love ballad dedicated to his wife that has that air one of those songs you’d sing in the middle of the night.

I don’t really know when Graham is coming back, but I do know I won’t be missing that show. Check www.grahamwilkinsonmusic.com for show times and how to purchase Yearbook which I guarantee is one you’ll have in your rotation a long time. It’ll grow on you each time you hear it and I’ll see you at the show!