Walter "Wolfman" Washington & The Roadmasters The Nightowls atAntone's Austin, TX

Walter “Wolfman” Washington has been an icon on the New Orleans music scene for decades. His searing guitar work and soulful vocals have defined the Crescent City’s unique musical hybrid of R&B, funk and the blues since he formed his first band in the 1970s.

Washington began his career during the fertile heyday of the 1950s Rhythm and Blues period that spawned dozens of Number 1 songs and made New Orleans the recording destination of choice for hit makers like Ray Charles and Little Richard. Born in 1943, Washington was on the road by his late teens spending over two years backing the great vocalist Lee Dorsey who was touring in support of his smash hits, “Ride Your Pony” and “Working in a Coalmine.”

His tenure with Dorsey took him to all of the great music halls in America including appearances at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem. Before he went out on his own with his Solar System band, he also did stints with acclaimed New Orleans songstress Irma Thomas as well as with the legendary jazzman David Lastie’s Taste of New Orleans band.

During the 1970s, Washington began a 20-year association with one of the most important vocalists to hail from Louisiana- the late, great Johnny Adams. Dubbed “the Tan Canary” for his peerless vocal stylings, Adams was a mentor of sorts to Washington who developed his singing style while the two worked together at back-of-town clubs including a long stint at the famed Dorothy’s Medallion in the Mid City section of New Orleans.

Seeing Walter “Wolfman” Washington perform with his current outfit, the Roadmasters, is akin to taking a history lesson on black music in America with the exception that sitting down and taking notes is not an option. With his breadth of experience and seemingly endless repertoire, each of his highly danceable shows is one-of-a-kind. Like the greatest jazzmen, Washington channels his everyday life into his music. Depending on the setting, the band plays the blues, R&B, soul, funk, jazz and everything in between with pure heart.

Washington, like Adams before him, is a great interpreter of song. He inhabits each number whether it’s a soulful ballad or a funk rave up. His gift of interpretation allows him to bring his own spirit to the composition while always exposing the true sentiments of the lyrics to the audience.

Walter “Wolfman” Washington has earned numerous accolades over his long career, but he is not one to sit back on his laurels. He maintains a heavy schedule playing with the Roadmasters. As well as playing with Dr. John, Art Neville, Steve Jordan ,Willie Weeks to name a few. As if that were not enough, he also opens for BB King, Bobby Blue Bland when possible.

He has had Stevie Wonder and Keith Richards come in and sit in on his local gig.

So the circle of New Orleans music comes full. Equally adept in virtually any genre, Washington stands out in a city full of great musicians for his unique style and uncommon grace as a guitarist, bandleader and vocalist.

The Nightowls – (Set time: 11:30 PM)

‘Royal Sessions’ really marks the beginning of us figuring out exactly who we are as a band,” says Ryan Harkrider, frontman of Austin-based soul dynamos The Nightowls. “It’s us transitioning from the ‘retro’ label into defining our own distinctive sound, and this is the first release where we feel like we’ve totally locked into what our creative process is as a ten-piece ensemble.”

For The Nightowls, that process began with the release their debut album, ‘Good As Gold,’ which took Texas by storm in 2014. The Austin Chronicle hailed it as “suave, energetic, blue-eyed soul” and named it one of the Top 10 of the year at the annual Austin Chronicle Music Awards, Austin Monthly named them a Band To Watch, and Texas Music Magazine called the album “a smooth addictive blend of pop, R&B and funk that will delight the band’s dance-happy fans.” They spent the next year bringing their ecstatic live show to stages around the country, including a triumphant hometown gig at the Austin City Limits Festival, and followed it up in 2015 with ‘Fame Sessions,’ recorded at the titular, iconic Muscle Shoals studio. That album earned the band serious national attention and love everywhere from The Atlantic and Southern Living to Relix and Pollstar, and it saw their lineup solidify into its current, electrifying status.

“Our live shows continue to get more and more choreographed and exciting,” says vocalist Ellie Carroll of the band’s evolution during the last year on the road, which included a much-lauded return to the ACL Festival. “The whole front line is out there dancing and we’re always upping our game and our performances. The visual power of ten people doing the same thing at the same time is immense, and everybody in this band is an incredible dancer and performer.”

Whereas the songs on ‘Fame Sessions’ were peppered with special guest performances by members of the legendary Swampers rhythm section—including the likes of Spooner Oldham and David Hood—as well as vocal contributions from the Shoal Sisters, everything about the ‘Royal Sessions’ EP showcases The Nightowls coming into their own as a band.

“In the past, it was mainly me writing, arranging, and collaborating with a small handful of band members,” says Harkrider, “but this one was much more of a full band effort. I’d take a song idea to the rhythm section to flesh it out, and then take that to the horn section for their parts, and then from there we’d work out the final arrangement as a full band to make sure everything worked together and everybody got to express themselves and be creative and have their stamp on it.”

The result is an energetic blend of classic soul and modern pop, as the band transcends the “retro” tag that described their early releases in favor of a more unique sound reflective of all ten personalities, with influences running the gamut from James Brown to Michael Jackson. Bright, bold horns dance and leap over a funky rhythm section, while Harkrider’s soulful voice shimmers out alongside gorgeous female harmonies. The infectious vitality of the music is due in no small part to the fact that the band recorded the entire EP live over two days at the famed Royal Studios in Memphis, TN.

Run A Contest With Austin Daze!

This is great promo for austin-area venues! We can run a ticket giveaway contest through our website and newsletter.
Austin Daze has been around for 18 years and we’re still going strong. We love music, our fans love music, and our people are usually in your crowd. Recently, we have been running ticket giveaway contests for local venues such as Threadgill’s, The Scoot Inn, The Parish, Antone’s, The Continental Club, C-Boys, Flamingo Cantina, ACL Live/3ten, and other festivals in town.

Let us help you get the word out. Send us an email if you want to try this out.