Amongst a strip of restaurants, bookstores, vintage clothing trades, and dive bars on Austin’s famous Drag sits Antone’s Record Shop, a collection of rare LPs that archive decades of history that fueled dusty dance halls and dangerous blues clubs along the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s not often that you find a brick-and-mortar stocked with Excello Label Lazy Lester t-shirts and Clifton Chenier records next to vintage stereo equipment and Grand Ol’ Opry memorabilia. You can even sprint down the crumbling alley ways from the Hole in the Wall, the former stomping grounds of Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley, and grab a set of guitar strings if you lose one mid-performance.
Stacks of Vinyl Gold at Antone’s Record Shop. Photo by Andrew Blanton
I count out my remaining quarters for a used copy of Charlie Sexton’s Under the Wishing Tree from a wall of cassettes and dip my hand into a styrofoam encased cooler of iced down Dale’s Pale Ale cans. I wish I had a coozie.
“Y’all doin allright,” Billy Broome asks underneath his curved-up-straw cowboy hat as he tunes up the band, his head tilted back so his eyes can look past the bent down front bill. “I’m in heaven.”
Billy Broome of Silo Road sets up at Antone’s Record Shop. Photo by Andrew Blanton
The band may not be wearing a uniform, but they must have purchased their striped pearl snap ensemble from the same western shop.
The drummer left his car keys underneath his pearl-yellow Gretsch kit. After a few cans or so from Oskar Blues Brewery they may be left behind. He taps along with Broome’s chocolate colored cowboy boots, leaning back against a Hank Williams Jr. album. The face on his t-shirt stares back at the crowd. Blue and purple stripes stretch across his chest advertising the post-punk band The Cars.
The guitar player wears a felt brown fedora and faded Puma’s while classic country gold rings out across the linoleum floor. His vintage Les Paul has a finish worn off in all the right places. A steady hand mutes the proper strings above the exposed top.
Customers browse the shelves of Antone’s Record Shop. Photo by Andrew Blanton.
Silo Road sounds like a scene out of Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart, the road-worn saga of Bad Blake touring bowling alleys and dance halls across the southwest. They’re here to show off their new album Signal Hill.
Silo Road honed their sound at their Sunday night residency at Austin’s hipster alt-dancehall The White Horse.
“There’s a whole scene essentially that exists,” Bassist Brendan Smith said about the White Horse. “A venn diagram of musicians, and dancers, and venues. In the middle is this sweet spot.”
The record is everything Billy Broome always knew he could be. It’s got that rich southern tone that feeds the alligator filled bayous and farm-to-market barbecue joints. His sound is a nod to his hero Doug Sahm of Texas Tornados fame.
“He’s like that missing link guy you know?” Broome said. “Especially the bridging of Texas music into the rest of the U.S.”
Broom grins with a proud smile as he reminisces about Sahm recording albums on the Antone’s record label. The Record Store opened in 1987 across from Clifford Antone’s former music venue location that brought the likes of Albert Collins and Buddy Guy to the University of Texas neighborhood.
“I hope that people feel the same way that I do about Signal Hill,” Broome said. “That we captured a live moment in a bottle.”