Sir Woman


The Texas Gentlemen

Pop on Floor It!!!, the new and second full-length effort from the Texas Gentlemen, and prepare your eardrums to be hit with everything from woozy, brass-fueled Dixieland-style jazz (“Veal Cutlass”), to slinky, chicken-scratch country funk (“Bare Maximum”) to lushly orchestrated pop-soul balladry (“Ain’t Nothin’ New”)—and that’s all in just the first 10 minutes of play time. 

As for how the Texas quintet manages to slide so seamlessly between various styles and sounds? Well, these are no ordinary Gents. Rather, the members—co-singers and frontmen Nik Lee and Daniel Creamer (who also handle guitar and keys, respectively); guitarist Ryan Ake; bassist Scott Edgar Lee, Jr.; and drummer Aaron Haynes (who since the recording has been replaced by Paul Grass)—have spent the last half-decade or so logging thousands of hours of stage and studio time behind a wide array of artists, from legends including Kris Kristofferson, George Strait and Joe Ely to young whippersnappers like Leon Bridges and Shakey Graves. 

And while some people (okay, many people) have whispered in one another’s ears and written kind words about how this crack outfit of stage and studio aces is nothing less than the second coming of celebrated backing units like the Wrecking Crew, the Swampers and one-time Bob Dylan associates the Band, you certainly didn’t hear it from the Gents themselves. “We never instigated or condoned any of that,” Nik Lee says, and then lets out a self-effacing laugh. “We definitely appreciate the comparisons…we just don't think they’re accurate.” 

And anyway, no matter how many artists they’ve played with onstage or in the studio—and trust us, there’s a whole lot of ‘em—they are, first and foremost, their own (gentle)men. “We’re a group of five, and when you hear us play you’re hearing the influence of five different musicians

working together as one unit,” Daniel Creamer says. “Everyone has the freedom to suss out their parts and do the thing that fulfills their creative spirit, but at the same time there’s trust in one another to always be serving the song.” 

And what songs they are. Floor It!!! follows the Texas Gentlemen’s 2018 debut, TX Jelly; but where that first record, cut in four days start to finish at Muscle Shoals’ iconic FAME Studios, was very much a snapshot of a quick moment in time, the new effort is a decidedly more composed and crafted affair. “The vibe of the first one was, ‘Let's just do this thing!’ ” Creamer says. “But this time it was like, ‘We have this idea about what we want to accomplish…’ ” 

What they did accomplish is, to put it mildly, pretty impressive. While the Gentlemen’s sound is clearly steeped in the classic roots, rock and pop music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, there’s a dreamy (the lilting “Sing Me to Sleep”), spacey (“Skyway Streetcar”) and occasionally progressive (the groovy instrumental journey “Dark at the End of the Tunnel”) element to what they do that seems to detach the music from belonging to any particular place and time. 

Add in elements of funk, soul, country, r&b, southern rock, gospel (“just about all of us played in churches early on,” Lee affirms) and essentially any other style that catches their musically omnivorous ears; an expansive and detailed approach to arrangement that sees the songs adorned with all manner of horns, strings and heavenly background vocals (cue up the positively gorgeous “Hard Road” for an almost religious experience); and a healthy dose of wit (there’s that song title, “Veal Cutlass,” again) and weirdness (the little lady on a jet, seated next to a military vet, who receives intel of impending nuclear doom on the Little Feat-meets-T. Rex-rocking title track), and you have a collection of tunes that is more than just a mere album. Rather, Floor It!!! is a rich and righteous ride. 

And while that ride took decidedly longer to complete than the four days spent on the Gent’s first recordthey recorded Floor It!!! primarily at EchoLab Studios in Denton, Texas, with producer Matt Pence, who Lee describes in no uncertain terms as a “wizard”—it was still a largely organic affair. “We all have pretty good grips on what we’re supposed to do, so a lot of it

was tracked live in the studio, with as few overdubs as possible,” Lee says. “We like to have it where everybody’s just vibing together in one room.” 

Adds Creamer, “The stuff you hear on the record is pretty fresh and spontaneous. It's not like we did a hundred takes of a song. We tend to just get a melody and follow it in a way that makes sense to us.” 

That intuitive connection is hardly surprising given the fact that the bonds between the band members stretch back, in some cases, to the days before they were even Gentlemen. “For years even before we started the band, Daniel and I and a couple of the other guys all lived together in a big Brady Bunch house in Duncanville, just outside of Dallas,” Lee says. “We’d just sit around and fiddle with stuff and it always worked really well. It was never forced.” 

Regarding the songwriting partnership between he and Creamer, Lee continues, “There’s never any hiccups in the process. I think it’s because we’ve had a lot of the same experiences—we’ve worked together on different sessions over the years and we know a lot of the same people, so we’re pretty fluent in our ideas and opinions.” He laughs. “Like, if we wanted to take a jab at somebody in a song without letting on, we could do it pretty easily—‘cause we’d both know right away who it is.” 

“We both just like to nerd out a little bit with melodies and arrangements,” says Creamer. “We try to find something that tickles the ear a little bit and goes the extra mile, you know?” 

So when it all comes down to it, what, exactly, is the Texas Gentlemen? “If somebody were to ask me that, I would say first and foremost that we’re a group of friends,” Creamer continues. “And because of that, there’s no limits on the music we create together. We like to have fun and do funky stuff and we like to rock and we like to jam. Sometimes that takes us into country music, sometimes it takes us into soul, sometimes into some progressive things. It can be all kinds of places. There’s no constraints on what we do.”

As for how Lee would describe the Gents? “I think it was said best by a guy on BBC radio,” he responds. “We were on tour in Europe, and we’re driving to the airport and the DJ comes on and he clears his throat and he goes, ‘Okay, up next we have a Texas boogie band called the Texas Gentlemen.’ So that’s what I like to say: we're a Texas boogie band! 

“But really,” Lee continues, “this band is less about a style and more just a way of life. The music that we’re playing can change at any given moment—we just kind of go with the flow. When it comes down to it, we just want to have a good ol‘ time.” 

And so, dear listener, should you. And in that department the Texas Gentlemen have got you covered. Just grab a hot-off-the-presses copy of their latest record, slap it on your nearest hi-fi, drop the needle on the grooves and Floor It!!

The Dip

“Some of the most potent music of their careers”  – Seattle Times

“Infectiously thrilling melodies and solid musicianship…The Dip remains a genuinely one of a kind act among its peers, its members’ educated musicianship and nostalgic vision pairing sublimely each time.” – Under the Radar

“Sticking With It by The Dip isn’t just a solid…soul album. It’s also a musical antidepressant with no prescription needed. It is the kind of album you can put on anytime you want to put yourself in a better mood and dance your troubles away.” – Glide Magazine

On their Dualtone Records debut Sticking With It, Seattle-based seven piece The Dip deliver the kind of unbridled rhythm-and-blues that hits on every emotional level. Inciting everything from raw catharsis to heavy-hearted reckoning to wildly exuberant joy, the self-produced album marks a major creative breakthrough for the band. To that end, Sticking With It fully channels the vitality of the freewheeling live show that’s earned them an ardent following over the last decade, matching their sophisticated musicianship with a fantastically loose energy. When met with The Dip’s reflection on matters both timely (the crush of late capitalism, the glaring need for true community) and irrefutably timeless (the vast complexities of love and loss), the resulting body of work captures the mood of the current moment while offering immediate escape into a more elevated state of mind.

The third full-length from The Dip, Sticking With It came to life at their studio in Seattle’s Central District, a modest but meticulously outfitted space the band built entirely on their own. Although the album features a small number of guest musicians (including a Macedonia based string ensemble and background singers Vanessa Bryan, Dasha Chadwick, and Nic Jackson), The Dip crafted each extravagantly arranged track according to a self contained process that allowed for a rare depth of exploration and spontaneity. “It’s really important to us to catch those lightning-in-a bottle moments when you can feel the momentum of a song taking shape,” says drummer Jarred Katz. “At the same time, it makes a huge difference to have this homebase where we can take our time with the sounds and not worry about that precious studio clock ticking away.”

Kicking off with a magnificent bang, Sticking With It opens on “Paddle to the Stars”: a prime introduction to the groove-heavy and richly detailed sound The Dip have embodied since playing house parties in the early 2010s. The first song recorded for the album, “Paddle to the Stars” arrives as a striking departure from the reverb drenched aesthetic the band’s favored in the past. “We’d gotten some nicer gear to play with, and wanted to try something completely different in terms of our guitar sounds,” notes guitarist Jacob Lundgren. “We ended up going with a very dry sound with no reverb behind it, which allows you to really hear the room and feels so much more like the live show.” And as lead vocalist Thomas Eddy reveals, the song’s stark quality is perfectly suited to its candid declaration of devotion. “It’s about being in relationship with someone who’s emotionally in touch beyond your own abilities, but recognizing that and wanting to invest in opening up,” he says. “I liked the idea of playing with the image of the immensity of the ocean, how it’s sustaining but also dangerous— and if you don’t watch out, it’ll get you.”

In its intimate examination of the human heart, Sticking With It also includes tracks like “Sleep On It” (a delicately layered love song about “someone who only gets to see the object of their affection in their dreams, so they’re just waiting until they can go to sleep again,” according to Eddy). One of the album’s most profoundly moving moments, “When You Lose Someone” brilliantly contrasts its meditation on grief with the rapturous harmonies of Bryan, Chadwick, and Jackson. “They’ve been singing together for over a decade and they’ve got an impeccable blend in the room, so we captured that by recording the trio gathered around one microphone,” recalls trumpet player Brennan Carter. “They were on board with whatever was required to elevate the music, and the results are undeniable.” And on “Real Contender,” The Dip present a bold but bittersweet standout built on a blues-country groove and shapeshifting arrangement courtesy of tenor sax player Levi Gillis. “It’s about someone who’s always been there as a friend but who now wants to be considered in a romantic way,” says Eddy. “I was really inspired by how Levi’s intro was upbeat but sorrowful, which is a compelling thing to work with as a Songwriter.”

While Sticking With It endlessly spotlights each member’s exceptional craftsmanship, The Dip embraced a sort of anti- perfectionism in every step of the process. “One of the main goals for the album was to create that feeling of all of us in a room together, instead of worrying too much about everything lining up perfectly,” says Katz. Not only essential in shaping Sticking With It’s sense of abandon, that approach echoes the uniquely communal spirit at the heart of the group. “In other bands there might be a hierarchy as far as who’s in charge and who writes the music, but we make sure to keep everyone involved,” says Katz. “With seven people it can be hard to agree on anything, but to me all the success we’ve had so far has to do with being very democratic and letting everyone have equal say,” Eddy continues. “We all believe in doing it our way, handling everything ourselves and making sure we’re choosing the right songs for the right Reasons.”

After years of defying trends and following their own distinct vision, The Dip have steadily amassed a passionate fanbase (an element reflected in their tremendous organic success on Spotify). In the making of Sticking With It, the band kept their ever-growing reach in mind, ultimately creating their most impactful work to date. “With the lyrics I tried to evoke certain emotions that aren’t often showcased in popular music, with the hope that people will come away feeling validated or understood,” says Eddy. Indeed, the title to Sticking With It partly refers to the joyful sense of gritty perseverance The Dip hope to impart to their audience. “We’re in this strange moment when sometimes it’s difficult to even get out of bed because of what’s going on in the world,” says Katz. “But over the years we’ve had so many people tell us that our songs have helped them get through a rough patch, or break through to a new beginning in their lives. That’s something we’re honored to provide for everyone, and hopefully these songs will do the same.”

Sir Woman

At the beginning of 2020, Sir Woman, aka Kelsey Wilson (Wild Child, Glorietta), was primed to hit the road with her band to promote her much-anticipated debut album Party City, when the world changed.  

With fewer reasons to celebrate, the band (dubbed Best New Act at the 2020 Austin Music Awards) ditched the party vibe in favor of a more aptly titled record for troubled times. Bitch, a 5 song EP, came out in October 2020, near the end of what can only be described as a Bitch of a year.

Now the party is back, and Wilson, along with her Sir Woman band (Lunar Rae on drums, Taylor Craft on bass, Dancey Jenkins on keyboards, Nik Lee on guitar, and the irrepressible Spice and Uncle Roy on backing vocals) are setting stages on fire. Opening 2021 with three sold-out shows at the legendary Stubb’s Amphitheater (one with Black Pumas and two with Shakey Graves) was a perfect (if surreal) way to come out of hibernation. “Playing to six thousand people within a couple weeks – everyone of whom was ready throw down and get back to smiling and dancing – was so cathartic,” says Wilson.

Re-titled simply as Sir Woman, Wilson released the record in March 2022 after over a dozen dance floor melting performances at SXSW. Each of the record’s singles showcases a different side to the band’s funky, fresh sound:

• “Blame It On The Water” – a sublime groover inspired by Kelsey’s relationship to the rivers and streams growing up in the Hill Country outside Austin. “Water has always been so important to my life; it’s nourishment, it’s movement: ‘gotta run like a river, you’re movin’ much too slow'”

• “Get What You Want” – a slow soulful jam, landed on these massive Spotify playlists FRESH FOLK • PULSE OF AMERICANA

• “Party City” – a love song to Austin, TX that’s accompanied by a hilarious, brilliant music video (see above)

• “Cape Town Plush” – aptly titled after Kelsey’s brand of mattress, this old-school dance-floor banger details a casual affair-turned-serious