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Nepotism is alive and well in this town, as the passing of the obligatory torch (read: column) represents. Although my cousin, Miss Riprock is a city slicker type that sips on exotic martinis, calls me and everyone else she knows “darling,” demands weekly manicures, wears heels that she terms “sky high” and dons tunes that are pressed and painted all fancy, I tend to be the exact opposite. Born and raised here in Texas I like my Lone Star, steer away from restaurants who’s names I cannot pronounce, and wear boots for most of the day and often times even while asleep. On a typical Saturday night, I slip on music that’s new to me and blare it from my porch consulting my pup, Dud.

I’m a no nonsense, laid-back type that will give your album a spin and give you my honest opinion (after consulting Dud) rated by how many beers I put back if I like your tracks enough to keep them playing loud enough to annoy my neighbors. My dad calls me boy, my cousin calls me darling , strangers call me Mr. McRiprock and my friends call me Hux or something derogatory that rhymes with it.

Let’s crack one open and see where we go from here. I’ll press play.

Hang JonesThe Ballad of Carlsbad County–Jones has been doing cinematic songwriting for quite some time being featured in film and television. With a healthy dose of a sound akin to Steve Earle and Johnny Cash and a powerful voice for storytelling he releases a dark, haunting album. To promote his latest album, he’ll be releasing a series of music videos released in installments on his website and through myspace. 4.0 McRiprock’s

The Asylum Street SpankersWhat? And Give Up Show Biz?–Widely praised for a vaudeville style-show, The Asylum Street Spankers went through hours of of the troupes theatrical show and put together a double-CD that blends musical selections from audience favorites to souped up versions of their classics “Beer” and “Winning the War on Drugs.” In addition to the musical selections, there is interludes of spoken word that make the album feel more like a live show than an album of a live show. 5.0 Mcriprock’s

Bourgeois GypsiesFaulty Fairytales...–From stripped down, gritty hill billy sounds to more polished folk rock, the Bourgeouise Gypsies bring a sound straight out of California with a diversity that includes slinky swamp music to music worth slipping on and listening to on your porch. Constantly gigging through juke joints and festivals the band is on the move and they are currently in Austin for a few select shows. For a sound that captures the traditional and nontraditional, check them out on bgypsies.com for this week/weekends upcoming shows including stint at Lorraine’s in Marble Falls, Nonon’s on Sixth and the World United Music Festival. Worth our dollar and your ears. 4.5 McRiprocks

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