In 1984, the year new wave and Madonna topped the charts, a little known band, The Textones, were paving new roads through the subdivision of rock known as Americana — think Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, and a dash of The Rolling Stones. Bandleader Carla Olson defined the singer-songwriter genre in her seminal 1984 album Midnight Mission and now she has come full circle to meet face to face with the music she pioneered some 35 years ago with a new album and a reunited band.
In 1987 the band recorded a second album, Cedar Creek, with much success and tours lined up so the demise of the band certainly couldn’t have been predicted. According to Olson, “The Textones didn’t break up.” In December, 1987 Olson was diagnosed with type one diabetes and everything came to a screeching halt as she tried to regain her health.
Jump to 2018, a packed house of fans, friends and label execs, a new album, Old Stone Gang (Blue Elan Records), new tour, and 31-years later, The Textones, reunited, perform live at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood as if time took a step back. Supporting their first album in 31 years, the reinvented band consists of Olson (lead vocals/guitar), Joe Read (bass/vocals), George Callins (guitar), Rick Hemmert (drums) and Tom Jr. Morgan (sax/keyboards).
It’s a Friday night, September 21, and The Textones hit the stage around 8:15 p.m. As the audience fills the floor in front of the stage, the band walks on stage and opens with the familiar Gotta Get Back Home (Cedar Creek) and Hands of the Working Man (Midnight Mission). After an initial introduction and many thanks to those in attendance, they move through songs off the new release, most notably Bared My Soul and Downhearted Town.
The night was filled with memories and surprise guests. A song written by the late Phil Seymour, One Half Rock, discovered and recorded for the new album. Seymour once played drums with The Textones in addition to his highly successful solo career. Bassist Read took the helm on a song called Ride On in which he spoke about its suicide prevention message. Rounding the evening, Olson called Blue Elan artist Cindy Alexander up to sing backup on Walkin’ and Waitin.’
The night closed with what is probably The Textones most well-known song off their first album, Standing in the Line and as they say, the crowd went wild, singing and clapping along. It was more than a trip down memory lane; it was a celebration and regeneration of a band continuing from where they left off so many years ago.
Old Stone Gang is available from Blue Elan and all the usual places including Amazon, brick and mortar record stores and any place that sells physical media.
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