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Always Looking Forward 

Hello friends, and happy December to you!! 

As we head towards the end of this year, we are looking ahead with much on our minds. We have a mix of excitement, uncertainty, concern for the unknown, and open hearts and minds as we continue looking forward. I normally try to keep emails and social media posts short, because that's what they say works best, but I realized I don't know who “they” are, so…a little more length this time. 

First, we want to thank each and every one of you for all you do for us…

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Track 3 on FIREBALL, "Black Widow Blues" 

One of our home venues in the Houston/Galveston area is the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe. It’s a place we visit regularly–on both sides of the stage. The Old Quarter is one of those rare and special places in the world–revered by audiences and bands alike–and we are lucky as hell to be able to go there so frequently.

Every New Year’s Day, the Old Quarter hosts a wake in honor of the late songwriter Townes Van Zandt, who died on New Year’s Day in 1997. Musicians who attend the wake are encouraged to play three…

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**𝐒𝐎𝐍𝐆 𝐑𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐀𝐋! 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝟒, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤, “𝐅𝐈𝐑𝐄𝐁𝐀𝐋𝐋"** 

The title track of the album is based on one of us writing about the other, and one of us writing about herself, so we thought both perspectives might provide some good context and back story for this song.

(John) The title track for the album, this one came to life as a simple riff played on a three-string cigar box one afternoon early in the pandemic, when we were trying to get used to the fact that music venues were closed, and everywhere (it felt) was closed. I was playing around with this little guitar…

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SONG REVEAL! Track 13 on FIREBALL, "Why I Drink" 

The story of our now-traditional set closer began in the pandemic, some time after we started doing our “Thursday Happy Hour” livestream. For those who didn’t catch it, the format of the livestream was that we’d make a drink on camera at 5:30pm on Thursday, then play about half an hour of songs afterward–it was a nice way to celebrate happy hour with friends in the “virtual” realm. 

During this time, John was in the midst of finishing his degree in Mathematics, and was pushing himself very hard both in his…

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SONG REVEAL! Track 12 on FIREBALL, "Live on Purpose" 

Over the next several weeks, we'll be rolling out the songs on the new album. We're also revealing the backstory to every song. This week we're featuring the song "Live on Purpose". Here's how this song that's so important to us came to be.   **𝐒𝐎𝐍𝐆 𝐑𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐀𝐋! 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝟏𝟐 𝐨𝐧 𝐅𝐈𝐑𝐄𝐁𝐀𝐋𝐋, "𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞"**

One of the defining moments during the writing of this album was the day that we got the call in April 2021 that our friend Duane Mark (Mark Davenport)…

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Appreciation for FIREBALL 

This album is largely a snapshot of 2020–2021, a period when we had a lot of time to stare at the studio walls and decide how we really wanted to go about this whole Grifters & Shills endeavor. A lot of wonderful people inspired us during that time, joined us as we embarked on new experiments and welcomed us as we all started emerging back out and around each other. This record is for you all.

The Ferguson, Stoll, and Cox families, Sam and Kim Barker, Jennifer "JT" Holland, Michael Helfenstein, Willy T.…

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A Look Back at Where FIREBALL Came From 

Now for a look back at where this album came from. The story of it began just a few months before the world shut down in 2020. The first song started finding its feet as we moved into a new house and started rebuilding our studio, still riding the high of our last album release. Pandemic and lockdown kicked off before we’d even finished unpacking and derailed all the many grand plans we’d had in place for 2020.

Art follows life follows art, as it goes. We thought the shutdown would last two months, but as it…

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DEBUT: the cover art for FIREBALL!  

Welcome to the release of this new album, and thank you for being here with us for the ride! Over the next couple of months, we’ll be releasing some background about the songs, the inspiration behind them, and interesting stories from the studio as we recorded them. 

This week, we are excited to debut the album art! Our extremely talented friend, Dan Torres, created this artwork, inspired by themes in the songs. After sitting with the lyrics and our ever evolving draft recordings, Dan took to the thrift…

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2021 - End of Year Shows! 

Hello friends,  

In case you haven't heard, our year-end shows are THIS WEEKEND! We've got a very special treat for y'all - our good friends Rock Bottom String Band and Brightwire are joining us on both of these shows:  

Friday Dec. 17th, 8:30pm: Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe 

Saturday Dec. 18th, 8:30pm: Dan Electro's  

Both of these shows are clothing drives as well, as we've done in years past! Clean out your closet, bring a bag of clothes to donate, and we will collect everything and take it Star of Hope…

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The Evolution of the Band 

A long time ago, in a practice room not far away, we started our musical journey together. We met in a band called Blue Funk, which was a full band project. We quickly realized that the two of us shared something special--call it chemistry, call it fate, call it whatever you like. The bottom line is that we stumbled on that thing that you always hope to find. We met through music, and got to know each other through music. So feeling very fortunate to have found each other, we decided to start a project as…

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The Story Behind the Artwork for "Pretty Little Secrets" 

This month, we’re officially unveiling the artwork for “Pretty Little Secrets” (though many of you have probably glimpsed it on social media by this point, or we just couldn’t wait and gave you a copy already). We adore this design. It’s the second time we’ve worked with an artist to conceptualize an album, and we just couldn’t be happier. One, because the design is phenomenal, and two, because there is no kinder, more talented soul we could have had the pleasure of working with. 

We were very fortunate to…

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Pretty Little Secrets: Interesting Stories from Inside the Studio 

We’ve talked at length about the technical setup of our tiny little DIY studio in a previous post, and we’ve talked about how we wrote the songs that have now become an album. Our little DIY studio is now down the street from us, because just about the time we finished recording, we moved. So this month we’ll look back at how it went, recording at our old home. What was cool about it? What was not cool about it? And what kind of instruments did we use? 

‘Pretty Little Secrets’ was recorded in the front…

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Pretty Little Secrets: The Production Process  

The production process behind the album 'Pretty Little Secrets'

This album is unique to any we’ve created before, and the recording and production process has been a mixture of everything we’ve learned along the way. There are as many ways to make an album as there are people making albums. Our process is unique to us. It’s DIY. It’s built from the ground up. 

This month, as we count down to the release of “Pretty Little Secrets”, we’re taking a look at the technical side of how the album was made. What…

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Pretty Little Secrets: What the Songs Are About 

We’ve spent the last several months recording and producing a new record that we are tremendously excited to release into the world. This album, “Pretty Little Secrets,” is the record we’ve always wanted to make. For those of you following us from the beginning, this will serve as a delightful follow-up to our first release in 2010, when everything was energy and frantic fire. We’ve explored a lot, musically and personally, in this last almost-decade, and we’re coming to this release feeling very…

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End of Year Party and a New Album! 

Hello and cheers to you, friends. We hope you are doing so well. 

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Dec, 15th at 9pm: it's our BIG HOLIDAY PARTY, our last show for the year, and we're doing a clothing drive for Houston's homeless!! We'll be at Chelsea Wine Bar - so clean out your closet, bring a bag of clothes to donate, and let's all pull together to help some folks and have a damn good time doing it. The best kind of rock n roll is that which unites us, and helps others in the process. 

In other news…

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Fall News and a Big Sale 

Hello friends, and we hope you are doing very well! Quick update from us as we head into fall. 

We've got a number of great shows coming up this fall, including one TONIGHT in Galveston TX at the Legendary Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe. We're kicking that one off at 8:30pm, opening for Kevin Anthony and G-Town. 

Next week we'll be in the Houston Heights on Friday Oct. 19th for a night of the blues, with Ray Cashman and Mark Holder. Then we'll be off for a bit, returning in November at the First Saturday Arts…

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Album Release Party - This Weekend! 

Hello friends, and we hope you are doing very well. We sincerely appreciate hearing from so many of you on the latest album, 'Long Tongue Liars'. The big album release party is THIS SATURDAY, June 30th, at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar. 9pm, and we'll have our good friends from Brightwire and Randall Conrad Olinger playing as well. 

When we say we couldn't do this without you, we mean it. Every conversation we share, every song we sing together, any amount of time we have together - and as for this new album…

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2018 - A Blues Album 

As 2018 dawns we find ourselves in the studio, working hard to record our next album. This one's a bit different from previous efforts, so we wanted to let you know where we're coming from, and where we're going. After all, you are so important to us. We sincerely appreciate the fact that we can share our artistic creations with you, every chance we get. Without you, as Rebecca says, we're just playing for the cats! 

In 2017, we recorded and released 'Road to Brownwood'. This album paid homage to the folk…

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Venues and Artists: We Can Help Each Other 

The topic of music licensing is one we have dealt quite a bit. There are emotions and opinions on all sides of it, and certainly we have our own. What we bring you today is the way we have found to work together, as venues and artists, to help each other out. The ASCAP (and BMI / SESAC) model of music licensing is a one-size-fits-all arrangement, where smaller venues are treated the same as larger venues, regardless of yearly income or the number of ears that will be reached by music playing in that venue. …Read more

Marriage, cops, moonshine and a groundhog. 

(oiginally posted Jan. 4, 2013) 

So y'all probably know we're getting married...and we can't wait!! Here's the story of our proposal, and it really does involve the cops being called, a moonshine toast, and a groundhog. 

How we got engaged 


We had just finished our first national tour through the Midwest, rounding it out in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The day after our very last show, we checked into a cozy little B&B that we have stayed in each time we've visited Eureka Springs. We wanted a day…

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I was driving in to work this morning, passively listening to Guy Clark, not feeling entirely “with it” due to a near sleepless night and the general ennui that’s become pretty inseparable from the 9 to 5 portion of my life these days. But traffic was light for once, and the music was good, so in relative terms, I could probably already consider today a success despite being only about an hour and a half into it. 

While I’m sitting at my daily red light in the middle of downtown Houston, “L.A. Freeway”…

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The Little Red Wagon 

We were walking through the wooded parking lot at the Texas Renaissance Festival not long ago, minding our steps through the bog as it had rained quite a bit the previous day. It was sunny this day though, and the world seemed alive, bright and full of life. People were dressed in every kind of eye-catching way, some in full Renaissance garb, some as pirates, some as various kinds of animals that I couldn't name, and some as if they were headed out to their backyard to yet again cut the grass as another…

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As independent musicians, writing and performing in the roots music genre, we are very fortunate to be able to write and record songs in the way we truly feel them, with no artificial filters or barriers between our artistic intent, and you, the listener. This is what it means to be independent, after all! 

The other thing that “independent” means is that selling our albums is entirely up to us, with a lot of help from our street team of fans, friends and family. We don’t have big distribution chains…

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