Sunday, March 11, 2007
The Theater Fire
The earliest roots of The Theater Fire run all the way back to 1995, when songwriter Don Feagin and bassist Mark Castaneda formed Vena Cava with a couple of friends. In the next five years, they would recruit horn-harp-percussion player Jesse Brakefield, songwriter Curtis Heath, pedal-steel-bells-banjo-guitar player Sean French, drummer Nick Prendergast, and horn-piano-percussionist James Talambas. After a few months playing and writing with this lineup, the band realized how quickly the sound had progressed, and how little the new songs and sounds resembled what had begun as Vena Cava. With a debut release and many shows on the horizon, they decided to change the name, and start anew. Their self-titled debut was released on Christmas Mountain Records in 2003.
The Theater Fire has a knack for spinning yarns about drifters, hangmen, brothers, and lovers grappling with their own honor, trust, guilt and loss. These tales are woven together by arrangements that include weeping pedal steel and violin, strains of accordion, mandolin and xylophone, plucked banjo and guitar, sorrowful brass and the clip-clop of found percussion. The songs combine influences as diverse as zydeco, bluegrass, mariachi, country, gospel and rock and roll - yet somehow remain unmistakably The Theater Fire.
I had the pleasure of seeing these guys play in Austin a couple of weeks ago and these guys are the real deal! If you want to know what Texas music sounds like this is THE BAND. Listen to Everybody has a Darkside and if your in Austin for SXSW go see them play. I think they are playing everyday.