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TJ West: The Statesboro Revue

The Statesboro Revue
By Kim Grant

I first became acquainted with Stewart Mann, several years ago in Los Angeles when he was performing under his own name and I was booking bands in Los Angeles.  Soon after that, he went back to Austin,Texas and formed a band.  When I first heard the music of The Statesboro Revue, it caught my ear before I even knew Mann was involved–A melding of Rock, Blues, with a little country flavor—What you might describe as Southern Rock.  I was hooked.  Full Disclosure:  The Statesboro Revue has played a show I co-produce every year for the past 5 in Austin during SXSW, The Grand Ole Austin. The band consists of Stewart Mann on vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica, his brother Garrett Mann on electric guitar, Justin Lusk on bass, Kris Schoen on drums, Travis Bishop on keys and Cody Luster on fiddle and pedal steel.

What inspired your latest record, Jukehouse Revival

It wasn’t so much what inspired it as much as who inspired it. I had been listening to a lot of Jim Croce, The Eagles, Charlie Daniels, and JJ Cale, and the songs on Jukehouse just sort of naturally came out. The album title was me just trying to establish where we were musically at the time, both as a band and as myself as a songwriter. I’ve always had this obsession with jukehouses and what they represent, a pure unabashed passion for groove, dancing, and all things rowdy. With the current rise of independent music, I feel that mainstream music has finally reached a tipping point, and people are starting to appreciate real emotions and honesty in song again. Not sure if that answered the question but that was the fuel that lit the Jukehouse Revival fire.

So what has prompted this tour and how did you choose where you would be going?

We didn’t necessarily choose where we were going but we definitely had an idea of what markets we wanted to hit, and realized we were LONG overdue for a West coast run. Hopefully this becomes more commonplace for us, and we start coming this way more frequently.

Stewart—is this your first time back to L.A. since leaving many years ago?

Musically it is, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I love LA, and everything it represents. There such diversity, unity, and freedom to live the life you want to live, and I miss having near perfect weather everyday (aside from the crazy rain).

Stewart-How did you get involved with The Buddy Holly Story at the Cameo Theatre in San Antonio?

I had a former agent of mine contact me to let me know they were casting Buddy and thought I might be interested. I had long hair and a beard at the time, and needing to submit a headshot immediately I shaved, pulled my hair back in a ponytail, and popped out the lenses on some thick frame sunglasses I had. Somehow, some way, they liked what they saw, I got the role, and it changed my life. Buddy Holly was such a tremendous, once in a generation type talent, and to have the honor of portraying him was something I will forever cherish.

How is it for two brothers in a band together—a bonding or argumentative experience or both? 

The Statesboro RevueIt is amazing now, but for a long while it was pretty rough. We are 10 years apart and so I think it was just the age difference combined with a little competitiveness on both our parts that led to the arguments. Once we got past all that, it’s just a common love for groovy, rockin music that steers the ship now.

At what age did you start playing music together?

Due to the age difference, I started my music career much earlier than he did. I started Statesboro Revue in 2008 and Garrett didn’t join the band until 2010. I always thought it’d be cool to be in a band with him, but I never realized we had so many similar influences until he actually came onboard. It makes listening to music in the van VERY easy, no arguments over crappy music but we both dig each other’s picks.

Do you all share the same taste in music?

Haha, see above. Yes we do. He’s more of a hard rocker than I am, and I appreciate singer/songwriters more than he does, but overall absolutely.

What do you guys like to do in your downtime while on the road? 

We play a lot of putt putt golf, write songs, drink too much whiskey, and typically give each other a hard time. We are a family and so even in our downtime we are totally comfortable just hangin out.

What’s your most memorable show? 

There are 4…First one would be our first Gruene Hall headlining show, which was truly epic. 900 people singing every word to every song of yours, in the oldest dancehall in Texas, is something I’ll never forget. The second was the first show of our first European tour, which was sold out. It literally blew our minds to travel thousands&thousands of miles to a place where English wasn’t the primary language, and have it so packed you couldn’t walk. People in Europe TRULY appreciate music, more than a lot of places stateside we play.

Your roots are in Texas but your music has more of a southern rock vibe. What influences that?  

Just the music we grew up on. The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Little Feat, The Band, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Van Morrison, The Black Crowes, and it goes on and on. If it’s got soul we dig it.

You guys have traveled to many different cities all over the U.S.  In your opinion, who has the best tacos?

Haha, great question. Breakfast tacos, Corpus Christi, TX, fajita tacos, El Chaparral in Helotes,TX, and ground beef tacos, oddly enough, San Diego, CA at this little food truck.

What’s Statesboro Revue have planned for after the tour?  

Go home and sleep off the hangover. Oh yeah, and look back at all the beautiful new places and new faces we saw along the way.

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-Tuesday, February 28th @ The Viper Room Los Angeles, CA

-Thursday, March 2nd @ Sam Bonds Eugene OR

-Friday, March 3rd @ Volcanic Theatre Pub Bend, OR

-Saturday, March 4th @Tacoma Red Dirt Series Tacoma, WA

-Sunday, March 5th @Dante’s Portland, OR

-Tuesday, March 7th @Neurolux Boise, ID

-Wednesday, March 8th @State Room Salt Lake City, UT

-Friday, March 10th at Hoots Pub /Amarillo

-Saturday, March 11th @House of Fifi Dubois /San Angelo

-Sunday, March 12th @The River House/New Braunfels

-Thursday, March 23rd @ Bubba’s Brewhouse Durant, OK

-Friday, March 24th @Love and War/Plano

-Saturday, March 25th @Madhatter’s Ball Camp Mabry/Austin

-Friday, April 14th @ Hotel Sorella/ Houston

Kim Grant

Kim Grant

After growing up listening to Dolly, Merle and Willie, Kim Grant spent the 90’s immersed in the Chicago indie rock scene. Spending many nights at the famed (now-defunct) venue Lounge Ax, bands like Bad Livers, Giant Sand, Handsome Family, Palace Brothers and Wilco turned her on to what was then called Alt-Country. After moving to Los Angeles in 2000, she found this same feeling of musical community at a tiny west side bar called The Cinema Bar where she met artists, Mike Stinson, Randy Weeks, Tony Gilkyson, Ramsay Midwood, and Kip Boardman. These talented folks spurred her enthusiasm for the Southern California roots music scene and the Americana music scene as a whole. Now a music publicist, Grant (alongside Liz Garo and Pam Moore) founded the Los Angeles, weekly roots music series, The Grand Ole Echo in 2005. Also with Garo, Grant helped to curate the Roots Roadhouse American-roots music festival in both 2011 and 2012. Also in 2011 she began co-producing a SXSW day party with Julie Richmond titled, Grand Ole Austin which is still going strong. Visit TJ West on fb and kgmusicpress.com.
Kim Grant

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