Written by Eddie Ferranti
ImageJanuary is usually a bad month to catch quality gigs in the Houston area, but 2014 has been a reversal of fortune so far. We’ve caught Phoebe Hunt, Libby Koch, Randy Weeks, The Mastersons, Mitch Jacobs, Wendy Colonna and Mike Stinson three weeks into the new year! Then, after a two year hiatus, a slam dunk show popped up at Kenny Pipes’ Almost Austin concert series with the duo of David Olney and Sergio Webb cruisin’ in from Nashville.

These two are seasoned vets to this venue and had just gotten back from the 5th Annual “30A Songwriter Festival” in Northwest Florida. Got to chat it up with Sergio for like 20 minutes right off the bat and the guy treated me like I had seen him yesterday.

The down to earth pros wasted no time in saying HELLO with a triple-shot opener of Rolling Stones’ “This Could Be the Last Time”,  cookin’ hot “Whistle Blow” and tender “Little Sparrow”. Talk about an eye-opener wake-up call to the nice crowd in attendance! The way these two are joined at the hip, they can effortlessly shift gears in manner that remains impressive, even after seeing it a few times.

Webb’s non-stop “scatter fuzz” shredding on multiple guitars, including a ukulele, is a spellbinding experience in the close confines of Almost Austin. It plays well off of the “character” that mild-mannered, insurance salesman, school teacher look-a-like Olney “turns” into at a live gig.

Olney is a distinctive performer on his own terms and a songwriter who seems to love tackling subjects from multiple points of view. His fans seem to be die hards once turned on to the experience that is intense and quite different than most shows. The passion the two bring to the party are both folky and raw like heart tugging tenderness mixed with lightning bolts all rolled into one, if that makes sense.

Stalwart tunes that just came back to me in no particular order were “Covington Girl”, “Titanic”, “Revolution”, “Dillinger”,  killer “Johnson City Blues” and “If I Were You”.

Almost Austin gigs border at times on a roadhouse-type thing in a very good way and this night was no different, especially with the BYOB effect for yours truly! Olney’s been kickin’ it since the 70’s and seems to be finally getting some well deserved recognition now that the ‘Americana’ tag for his scrappy sound has been applied. Dudes had the place rung out for well over two hours and had a blistering stretch drive of foot stompin’ “Girl Up On the Hill”, Webb’s growlin’ guitar backin’ David’s shouting on “Turn This World Upside Down”, always epic “Wait Here For the Cops”, “Jerusalem Tomorrow” and the smokin’ hot “Red Guitar”!!

Summing up a night watching these two would be possibly gripping and thought provoking with a big dash of rock your ass off. Toss in that Mr.Pipes and his partner Daniel cooked up free steaks and it was beyond a winner of an evening of music, good folks and belly filling in more ways than one…Seems like the bar just keeps getting raised for 2014 and we’re just getting started here at Houston Music Review. Come along for the ride…