Sam's Burger Joint Presents:
Bob Schneider Solo Show
Fri, August 31, 2018
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pmSam's Burger Joint
$15.00 - $90.00
This event is 18 and over
NO Seating GUARANTEED. Any Seating Available is on a First Come, First Served Basis. NO REFUNDS all sales final.
All Minors Will Be Charged an Additional $5 At the Door. 17 & Under Admitted with Parent or Guardian Only. - $15 Advance/ $18 Day of Show/ $90 Reserved Booth
The songs on Blood and Bones reflect this. Recorded quickly with producer Dwight Baker, who has worked with Schneider on 6 of his previous releases, the album highlights the chemistry that Schneider and his backing band of Austin’s very best musicians have developed while relentlessly playing live, most notably at the monthly residency Schneider has held at Austin’s Saxon Pub for the last 19 years. “I didn’t want to overthink the songs,” Schneider says. “I really respect Dwight’s ability to make great calls when it comes to what works and isn’t working when we are recording the songs. I felt pretty good about the quality of the songwriting, so I figured that would come through in the end if we just went in and played them the way I do live.”
While the performance and production are stellar, the songwriting finds Schneider in a particularly reflective mode. Sure, there are live favorites like “Make Drugs Get Money” and “Texaco” that will get even the most reserved crowds dancing. But more often the album finds Schneider reflecting on marriage, parenthood, and mortality. “I wish I could make you see how wonderful everything is most of the time, but I’m only blood and bones,” he sings on the title track, a meditation on the beauty and the limits of marriage. Later, on “Easy,” he tells his daughter “it’s always been a scary thing to do, to let my heart fall down into the endless blue, but it’s easy with you.” Through it all, there is a clear sense of mortality, of just how fleeting all of this is. “The hours and days stack up in the mirror,” he sings on “Hours and Days”. “We’re just snowmen waiting for the summer” he sings on “Snowmen”, before adding “we can’t bring them back, can’t bring nothing back.”
One thing Schneider has excelled at in his career is bringing audiences back. Though he has received little national press or major label support, he has managed to become one of the biggest acts in Austin, if not in Texas. His fans, who often discover him from being brought to his shows by their friends, are fiercely loyal. Many have attended dozens or even hundreds of shows. Thanks to these fans, Schneider has won more Austin Music Awards than any other musician, including Best Songwriter, Best Musician, and Best Male Vocals, rounding in at 54 total awards to date.
In retrospect, it appears inevitable that Bob Schneider would become an artist. He was born in Michigan and raised in Germany, where his father pursued a career as a professional opera singer. As a boy, Schneider studied piano and guitar, often performing at family parties and backing his father on drums at nightclubs throughout his youth in Germany and Texas. He went on to study art – his other primary passion and avocation – at the University of Texas El Paso, before moving to Austin and establishing himself as a musician. He performs relentlessly, creates new music compulsively, writes poetry, and regularly shows his visual art in galleries around Austin. With Blood and Bones, Schneider further cements his reputation as one of the most versatile, inventive, and engaging songwriters working today.
By the time the ’90s rolled around, he was a teenager immersed in rock and roll and already a developing musician. That’s when he found his father’s old nylon-string classical guitar, long forgotten and stashed in the family attic. When he was 13, his folks, aware of his interest, bought him a basic electric guitar and a little Crate amp. Two years later, they surprised him on Christmas with his first quality acoustic guitar. “I played all through Christmas day,” he says. “Playing songs, learning songs, country songs, rock songs, just basic chords.” Still, he knew he was destined to be a vocalist—first and foremost.
“Singing was a natural thing for me, and it always has been because I’ve gone through college and actually been classically trained to sing.” He picked up piano and guitar on his own, and though he’s had a few lessons, considers himself self-taught. “There was always interest early on, very early, playing music and singing. And because I was the vocalist of my friends, I’ve always been the lead singer,” he says. “I can remember, at 13, 14 years old having band practice in my best friend’s garage.” High school was a whirlwind, “a lot of guys and girls creating bands.” Over the 30-year span of his musical life, he’s been in and out of bands, including, fairly recently, Zack Walther and the Cronkites, a name familiar to many aficionados of Texas music. An album—Ambition—arose out of that collaboration. In his current iteration of band names, it’s back to basics: The Zack Walther Band, a three-piece ensemble with guitar, bass and drums — with his best friend and collaborator Matthew Briggs on drums.
Once the seeds were planted, Walther has just kept growing musically year after year, gaining experience, covering new songs and musical genres, until he evolved into the versatile performer that he is today. He’s able to deliver anything from the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen to Leonard Cohen to a whole catalog of originals, many of which make up the tracks on albums he’s recorded over the years. As a teenager, “The alternative rock scene was huge, and that’s what we listened to mostly. But I was also raised on my dad’s LPs, the Beatles. I had a huge, strong influence from Simon & Garfunkle. That was one of my favorites growing up. In fact, the first song I ever played in front of an audience was ‘Sound of Silence.’ And I still play it today.”
The versatility that defines his performances extends to a wide range of music that’s known by the vast majority of Americans regardless of background or regional differences. It’s a genre that’s come to be known as “Americana”—music that’s rooted in the heritage of the nation, from the English and Irish music of the earliest settlers’ to the blues and jazz of the old South and the R&B of Detroit. And Walther’s voice ranges as far and wide as his song choices. In his rendering of Leonard Cohen’s anthem-like “Hallelujah,” he can reach down deep in his throat to find a guttural howl and then soar up to highs that ring like a prayer. To watch him perform is to see a musician in his prime delivering straight from the heart.
And his growth as an artist never stops, as the Zack Walther Band expands its audience. A recent original, “Mustang Wine,” is, as he puts it, “a perfect example of the direction this band is headed.” Wherever Walther and his band are going, they’re doing it at breakneck speed, and for fans of that special kind of music you can only find in Texas, they can’t wait until he gets there. – G. C. Larson
Sam's Burger Joint
330 East Grayson Street
San Antonio, TX, 78215