You have to love a band that has a Grammy Award winning accordion player -- none other than the legendary legend Flaco Jimenez of the Texas Tornados -- guest on one of their songs. That sort of innovation is just one reason that Crooks stands out in the musical wonderland of Austin.
Almost as soon as the quartet released its debut The Rain Will Come, the band gathered rave reviews for it’s Alt-country-splashed-with-western-and-a-dollop-of- rock sound. Or maybe the band is helping to forge a new Southwestern format — Southwestern country-rock?
Whatever label you want to slap onto the music, the band delivers scrappy honky tonk spiced with Tex Mex ingredients (you saw that about the accordion, right?) that gives them something we don’t hear in many places outside Texas. Perhaps even within many parts of Texas, for that matter.
So how’d that happen?
“We have been a band for five years,” said front man and co-founder Josh Mazour. “We have taken our time to get to this point. We are confident enough that we know we have made our own songs, our own sound, stealing pieces from everybody and making them our own.”
Ah, yes, they put the work in ever since Mazour started the band as a two-piece in 2007. Now the players include drummer Rob Bacak, stand-up bassist Andrew VanVoorhees, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Alberts.
The result is a tangle of trumpet, guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and more.
“I guess our live show is more of a country thing but this record is a little different,” he said noting the album showcases his darker songwriting tendencies. “That was just part of me as a songwriter for a little while. I have tried to lighten up a bit.”
Arguably, though, Mazour may well be an unduly harsh critic of his own work. Whether dark or light, the music hits just the sweet spot for which plenty of listeners long to fill.
“I knew we want the next year to be filled with lots of great things,” said multi instrumentalist Alberts talking about the different instrumentation that they brought into this album. “That means we’ll be out all the time, playing shows, traveling around, and doing what we do and hope it increase exponentially.”
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