Written by Daniel Barker
Mar 25, 2011
Image     It was nice to head out again on a Friday night for some live music at The Heights Presbyterian Church. On tonight’s bill at HeightsLive all the way from Austin was Deadman. HMR had this date on our calendar for some time based on Senior Eddietor’s recommendation after catching them earlier this year.  On a hot tip from local musician Randy Hill, The Edge was blown away at The Duck by the six piece reformation led by Steven Collins. I was ready for a great time on a wonderful Texas night.

Deadman originated in Dallas and was destined for greatness at the turn of century. After the band disintegrated, Steven Collins held on and continued to write songs as he pulled together some talent from the rich Austin scene. The new line up soon scored a residency at The Saxon Pub which grew and grew. Now Deadman seems to be headed in the right direction again. Tonight would be a chance to catch the guys up close and personal in a way you can only get from a house concert atmosphere.

Deadman consist of Steven Collins-Lead Vocal, Guitar; Jacob Hildebrand-Lead Guitar; Kevin McCollough-Acoustic Guitar; Kyle Schneider-Drums; Lonnie Trevino, Jr.-Bass Guitar and Matt Mollica-B3 Organ. Tonight would be the basketball team size version of the group as the organ player had to sit this one out. All I had to hear was that he had seven kids and I did not ask any more questions.

Upon arrival it was very apparent that it was going to be a small crowd tonight. I think there was 20-25 paid attendees at final count. However, that small audience was a tight group of local live lovers that knew they were getting a steal tonight for $15. As things settled in the guys made it out and Steven set the mood with an extremely comfortable and at ease introduction before kicking it off into “Brother John”.

Image     The guys jammed from the get go for the people that had made it out. What a treat!! Collins is a thoughtful songwriter and took time between songs to explain in detail the origin of each song.  At one point he even explained the band’s name taken from a Jim Jarmusch movie where Neil Young wrote and performed the score. The soundtrack tonight was perfect and the famed back screen was once again subtle and poignant. The lighting always tends to be odd, tonight leaving the outlaying players in the dark at times. Kevin McCollough was stage right to the point that he seemed to be out of place. Honestly, who cares about the lighting but a photographer right? These guys extended jams left goosebumps and being absent the B3 just seemed to give Jacob Hildebrand miles of space to unleash long amazing solos.

What impressed me most about this group was the depth and range. One song they would sound like The Band and the next U2. The ability to squeeze in musical tributes to Bob Marley, The Talking Heads and Sam Cooke with inspirational references that included Hannibal Lector, Edgar Allan Poe, William Faulkner and Johnny Cash. It was fun AND educational!!

The band has a live disc out currently with a full studio album due out later this year. Steven Collins in seasoned and appears to be strong and producing some of his best work yet. He has surrounded himself with solid, egoless talent – a great combination that will continue to work well. Unfortunately, the band had zero merch tonight. Little hard to believe but proving that these guys are not in it for fortune or fame.  The treasure is looking around at the smiling faces standing up clapping you back on stage for an encore of “Mankind”.

The Set List Tonight:
1. Brother John
2. Gilead
3. Rough God Goes Riding – Van Morrison Cover
4. Oh Delilah
5. Holy Place
6. This Old World’s Not Going To Change
7. All Need Love
8. Don’t Do This To Me
9. If I Lay Down In  The River
10. Ain’t No Music
11. Absalom! Absalom!
12. When The Music’s Not Forgotten
13. Mankind

If you missed this one look for these guys back at The Mucky Duck in the coming months. It is one hell of a show that will leave you feeling good. Deadman is alive and well. Look for more from these guys down the road. Until next time, I will see you out supporting live music.