The Music Guy

by John Young

John James can be reached via cyberspace at

Willie Nelson is “on the road again,” spending next month touring the East Coast with

Asleep at the Wheel and their new album of Western swing. Austin’s own

Bismeaux Records releases

Willie and the Wheel this coming Tuesday, an album that the late producer

Jerry Wexler had been imagining for 30 years, now fully realized with his handpicked song list. One selection, the 1927 instrumental favorite “South,” features guests

Vince Gill and Paul Shaffer. A deluxe edition is also available, with bonus postcards and stamps tucked in the digipack CD and audiophile vinyl LP… Also due next week is

To Willie, a new album of Willie Nelson covers by

Matthew Houck’s one-man band Phosphorescent on Dead Oceans Records. Selecting deep-album cuts and staying away from the classics, the eleven tracks sound like a hangover’s a brewing, with “Reasons to Quit,” “I Gotta Get Drunk,” “The Last Thing I Needed (First Thing This Morning)” and “Too Sick to Pray.” Speaking of covers, two new CDs due next week take a jazzy tilt on some surprising choices. Post-jazz pianist

Marco Benevento first stunned audiences with his Hammond B-3 and Wurlitzer prowess, and now attacks and caresses acoustic piano keys, Farfisa and Mellotron in his latest,

Me Not Me on Royal Potato Family Records. Opening with a cinematic run at My Morning Jacket’s “Golden” and Leonard Cohen’s “Seems So Long Ago Nancy,” other sly transformations include Led Zeppelin’s “Friends,” Beck’s “Sing It Again,” Deerhoof’s “Twin Killers” and the Knife’s “Heartbeats.” Vocalist

Wendy Lewis joins the Bad Plus on their latest, For All I Care, on the

Do the Math/Heads Up imprint. Mixing classical flourishes and progressive-jazz tumbling pauses, the result is wickedly smart and creepy cool, guaranteed to perk up your ears as Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” Heart’s “Barracuda,” Nirvana’s “Lithium,” Yes’ “Long Distance Runaround,” and the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love” come wafting up in the lush mist. Highly recommended!

Television Alert: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” hosts Franz Ferdinand on Thursday; “The Late Show with David Letterman” presents Graham Nash on Thursday and the Gaslight Anthem on Friday; “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” boasts Cold War Kids this evening overnight; “Jimmy Kimmel Live” features Disturbed tonight and Benji Hughes on Friday overnight; and “Austin City Limits” welcomes Nick Lowe and yhe Swell Season this weekend. New Releases Coming Tuesday, Feb. 3:  (and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change…) The BPA — I Think We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat (Southern Fried Records) Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook’s warehouse party tapes see the light of day, created with a who’s who of mirthful noisemakers including Pete York, David Byrne, Iggy Pop, Dizzee Rascal and Olly Hite Gene Dante & the Future Starlets — The Romantic Lead (Omnirox Entertainment) glam-rock from the former star of stage productions Beauty and the Beast and Hedwig and the Angry Inch Melinda Doolittle — Coming Back To You (Hi-Fi Recordings) new from the “American Idol” season six finalist Fleet Foxes — Fleet Foxes (Bella Union) special reissue edition featuring the bonus six-song Sun Giant EP Fol Chen — Part One: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made (Asthmatic Kitty) recently composing instrumental music for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s collaboration of textile designers and Machine Project audio The Fray — The Fray (Epic) follow up to 2005’s smash How To Save a Life

Hatcham Social — Postcard In Colours (TBD/ATO Records) six songs from the London trio, produced by Tim Burgess of the Charlatans UK and Faris Badwan of the Horrors

He’s Just Not Into You — original motion picture soundtrack (New Line) with music by REM, the Replacements, Corinne Bailey Rae, the Cure and Talking Heads

Heartless Bastards — The Mountain (Fat Possum) newly transplanted to Texas from Dayton, Ohio singer/songwriter Erika Wennerstrom recruited a new hometown bassist and drummer to join her

Ben Kweller — Changing Horses (ATO) old-school analog recording with a Country feel

The Loved Ones — Distractions (Fat Wreck) CD EP of covers of songs by Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen

Roger Joseph Manning Jr. — Catnip Dynamite (Oglio) new solo album from the Jellyfish and Imperial Drag popsmith, with bonus covers of Thomas Dolby’s “Europa and the Pirate Twins” and Elton John’s “Love Lies Bleeding” on the stateside issue

Graham Nash — Reflections (Rhino) three-CD box set collecting 40 years of solo material and time spent with the Hollies and CSNY, featuring an acoustic demo of “Right Between the Eyes”

The Nighthawks — American Landscape (Powerhouse Records) featuring their take on Tom Waits’ “Down In the Hole,” Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me,” Marvin Gaye’s “Try It Baby” and the Andy Griffith Show theme, “Fishin’ Hole”

Nous Non Plus — Menagerie (Aeronaut) wild ride from a fun New York City band that sings in French, featuring former members of les Sans Culottes and vocalist Céline Dijon

Mary Kate O’Neil — Underground (71/Nettwerk) third solo album of easybeat indie pop from the former Piewackit vocalist, with songs co-written and co-produced with Jill Sobule

Pine Leaf Boys — Fomage Au Passe (Lionsgate) featuring an English-to-French reinterpretation of Webb Pierce’s “I’ll Always Take Care of You.” This is Cajun fais do-do boogie bliss from this young Louisiana quintet, nominated for a Grammy for their last album in the Best Cajun/Zydeco category POS — Never Better, February (Rhymesayers) featuring clever Digipak packaging with a variety of solid and transparent inserts that let you create your own layer CD cover

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — Lonely Road (Virgin) featuring an alternative cover gracing the vinyl LP edition

Josh Reichmann Oracle Band — Life Is Legal EP (Paper Bag) five-song CD EP from the former Tangiers vocalist, backed by funky drums, sax and flute and channeling the soul of Marc Bolan

Rhythm Devils — The Rhythm Devils Concert Experience (StarCity/MRI) two-disc live DVD set from Mike Gordon of Phish and Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead on their 2006 tour

Simply Red — Simply Red 25: The Greatest Hits (Razor & Tie) with a new cover of the Moody Blues’ “Go Now”

Sole & the Skyrider Band — Remix LP (Black Canyon) with mix merchants Fog’s Andrew Broder, Odd Nosdam, Bit tuner, Thavius Beck and Electric President

The Veronicas — “Untouched” Lost Tracks (digitalonly) five-song EP with an unplugged spin on the single and three previously unreleased songs

The Von Bondies — Love, Hate, and Then There’s You (Majordomo/Shout! Factory) with guests Nico Vega

Watch Out! Theres Ghosts — Ghost Town (Rise Records) two-man band on tour now with Cash Cash

The Whip — X Marks Destination (Razor & Tie) featuring four bonus remixes on the stateside pressing various artists —

Rough Trade Shops Counter Culture 08 (Rough Trade) two-CD set, released annually, collecting the year’s best indie releases from Department of Eagles, Crystal Stilts, Indian Jewelry, Mark Stewart, Headless Heroes, and 39 other handpicked gem