Written by Jim Bille

Dave Alvin is back on the road after a lengthy recovery from some health issues that sidelined him for a while. Back in form and apparently good shape, Alvin along with his band The Guilty Ones delivered a stellar show last Saturday night at the sold out Heights Theater in Houston.

The show started with the pulsating sound of “Harlan County Line” from Alvin’s 2011 release, Eleven Eleven, which featured guitarist extraordinaire Chris Miller on some really nice slide guitar work. “Johnny Ace is Dead”, from the same album was also featured during the show.

Alvin covered much of his song writing career that included Blaster anthems “American Music”, “Marie Marie” and a slowed down version of “Border Radio”.

Other tunes featured from Alvin’s ever growing catalog included a rarity called “Death of the Last Great Stripper”, “Out of Control”, “Ashgrove”, “Dry River”, “Abilene” and of course “King of California” to name a few.

The show was originally billed with Jimmie Dale Gilmore but Gilmore had to cancel due to a bout with Covid. Fortunately Jimmie Dale’s son, Colin, stepped in and covered his dad’s parts of the show performing alongside Alvin on a few numbers that his dad would normally do.

Young Gilmore’s contributions on classic Jimmie Dale numbers included “Tonight I think I’m Gonna Go Downtown” and “Dallas” were on the mark with Alvin and Guilty Ones backing him up. “Billy the Kid and Geronimo” a duet from the Alvin / Gilmore release, Downey to Lubbock, was also featured during the show with Colin Gilmore adding vocals.

Dave Alvin is no stranger to Houston as was evident when he did a few shout outs to KPFT radio and 80’s Houston party band Dr. Rocket and The Sisters of Mercy.

He also reminisced about his days playing at the now defunct and demolished Houston club Fitzgerald’s, claiming to have lost more than a few brain cells there. Fortunately the brain cells left behind all those years ago were not needed for the show on this night as Alvin again delivered a thoughtful, tasteful and rocking performance for his fans and followers in Houston.