Goodnight, Texas – Cafe Du Nord

Sometimes when reviewing music you listen to an album and it just doesn’t hit you. Maybe you’re having a bad day, maybe the music doesn’t translate well to the way it was recorded. There are a myriad of reasons why you may dislike an album, it’s all subjective anyway. I did that with the San Francisco Americana/Folk/Bluegrass/Indie band Goodnight, Texas. I remember listening to their album and seeing immense potential, but considering it sort of lackluster and slow and I stand by that. I still don’t love that album.

However, that being said, Goodnight, Texas is a phenomenal band live. Not good, but great. I went to the Café Du Nord in San Francisco to their record release party on Thursday Night and as I sat through Elliot Randall and the Deadmen play country right out of the Garth Brooks correspondence course on how to be a country star. If you want to take that course, let me save you some money, follow these five simple steps:

  • Talk about your truck (preferably mentioning pick-up and Chevy multiple times).
  • Dog – every good country man needs a huntin’ dawg
  • Girls – Yes this is sort of universal throughout all music, but it is preferred that you mention her jeans, boots, blond hair and every other indication that she is white, white, white.
  • Drinking beer. I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory, but you do get extra points for drinking and driving. It’s country music, there’s no right or wrong here.
  • Patriotism/Religion – Because in country music there is no such thing as separation of church and state. It is very important that everyone knows how much you loves Jesus and your country, because it should be obvious that they are one in the same.

There you go and that is the Elliot Randall band in a nutshell. Now, Goodnight, Texas, they’re not like that. They’re more like The Band. They play songs that have relevance and are written with a fair amount of genuine emotion and don’t cater to the lowest common denominator with buzz words and musical talking points. They have a sound that was so perfectly suited for the Café Du Nord that the packed house felt immersed in the sound. That sound enveloped them, it took the room over.

They played not only songs off their new album, songs that when I heard live I loved, but also songs that are freshly written. The new songs have more of an up tempo feel to them, but are not diluted by a change in style. One of the feelings I had as someone there to review the show was that of an outsider. People love this band, not even a little bit, but like they’d take a bullet for this band kind of love. It’s pretty crazy to see that kind of affection for an Americana band in San Frrancisco, but people were singing along with every note of nearly every song. It was a great night.

Towards the end when I was just starting to hit the sauce, they played “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” from the Band and it cemented them in my head. Yeah I didn’t love the album recorded, but damn are they great live. Holy hell, this is a band that could end being like the Grateful Dead, that has the kind of legacy where people actually travel to check them out. Goodnight, Texas is a great live band and an ok recorded band. They leave such a feeling of warmth and genuine emotion within every person that sees their show that I doubt they’d trade one for the other. This is a band that will, if their cards are played correctly, leave an impression on a city inundated with music.

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