The Textones, The Federal Noho, September 21, 2018
The Textones performed their very first show in 30 years at The Federal in North Hollywood to celebrate the release of their brand new album! Entitled Old Stone Gang and now available via Blue Elan Records, songs from their latest recording as well as their classic tracks from Midnight Mission and Cedar Creek were unveiled to a near capacity crowd. Featuring original members as well as a few special guests, the night was vibrantly epic and magical – reliving the past while exploring the glories a future of Textones has in store for both bands members and their very appreciative audience! Fronted by the radiant and massively talented Carla Olson, The Textones were indeed back, and it was time to rock and roll at The Federal with this legendary Los Angeles-based collective once more!
Kicking off the night with a glorious one-two punch of crowd favorites Gotta Get Back Home and Hands Of The Working Man, The Textones won over the crowd early on with their rock solid delivery. It was then time to travel into the current state of affairs, and The Textones absolutely dazzled the crowd with Bared My Soul and Downhearted Town from their just released Old Stone Gang magnum opus. Even the producer of their first album Midnight Mission would jump into service during the show, performing keyboards on a few selections.
And although The Textones were on hand to celebrate, there were certainly poignant moments within the show that would leave quite a lingering impression. When Carla Olson introduced the wickedly infectious One Half Rock, she revealed the song was written by the late great Phil Seymour of Dwight Twilley fame. In addition to a successful solo career after membership in Twilley, Seymour would join The Textones as their drummer, and one day performed this song for Carla just on vocals and drums. Fortunately a recording was made, and upon rediscovery of the rehearsal many years later, the song would be included within Old Stone Gang. The legacy and artistry of Phil Seymour continues to live on, and was certainly very alive and present within the contexts of The Textones 2018.
Another absolutely powerful moment was when bassist Joe Read took over the lead vocals, introducing Ride On – a tremendously moving song dealing with suicide prevention. As Mr. Read so effectively rendered at the end of the song, even in the darkest of times, “just pick up the phone.” Ride On is a standout song closing out Old Stone Gang, and was a triumphant moment for the band when unveiled live.
Cindy Alexander is a solo artist also on the Blue Elan label, and she was invited up onstage to lend her talents to the backing vocals of Walkin’ Or Waitin’. Ms. Alexander’s latest album is entitled Nowhere To Hide, and it’s an infinite gem that is well worth seeking out.
The Textones 2018 presents supremely gifted musicians at the very height of their craft. Carla Olson is a passionate vocalist who can deliver a song with imagination and flair. Her guitar work is also absolutely exquisite. George Callins supplied a magnetic amount of lead and rhythm guitar licks . Joe Read is a brilliant presence and formidable talent on bass, and when he isn’t performing, displays quite an affable sense of humor onstage. Tom Jr Morgan was definitely kept busy between his intricate keyboard work and then trading off on saxophone, flute, and clarinet, underscoring the songs in a vast and stylish way. And then bringing the rock and roll back home and launching it into the stratosphere was Rick Hemmert on drums. There was a magic and intrigue hearing selections such as #1 Is To Survive and See The Light once again after all these years, delivered by these very amazing musicians who originated these wonderful tunes.
Closing out their set with Standing In The Line with their debut album Midnight Mission, The Textones stated they would be back! Here’s hoping we see and hear a lot more from The Textones in the days and years ahead. They have clearly been missed, and with the release of Old Stone Gang, there are definitely many more stories to tell and concerts to perform. Stay tuned…
(Review and Photos by Ken Morton)
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