Kari Noser Photography

Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

Wagoneers Return!

For those of you not in the know, the Wagoneers are back.

Awarded “Best New Band” at the 1988 Austin Music Awards, the Wagoneers were once the hottest live act in Austin with a sweet, two-record deal on A&M and a rockabilly kick to their home-grown Texas country style.  Despite critical acclaim for their music, fumbles in promotion and confusion at the label on who to market this well-sideburned group of musicians to outside the Lone Star State.  They are considered to be one of the pioneers of the alt-country movement,  paving the way for groups like Uncle Tupelo or Lyle Lovett, but trailblazing couldn’t prevent poor album sales and perceived commercial failure, and shortly after the release of the second album they disbanded.

But ladies and gentlemen, THEY ARE BACK.

The charismatic Monte Warden has returned to lead vocals, busy during the break with a solo career and award-winning songwriting for artists like George Strait, Patty Loveless and Travis Tritt among others, and has retained all the youthful energy from the Wagoneers early days.  Brent Wilson spent some time beside Monte in “The Lone Sharks” and then later was hired around for his ear-catching lead guitar riffs.  Tom Lewis still drums with the band he formed after the Wagoneers, Heybale!, which is another Austin institution.  Only bassist Craig Pettigrew jumped out of the music world and into the driver’s seat of an Austin Metro bus, but now balances time between the Wagoneers and Chaparral.

Newly-inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame at SXSW this year, the Wags have been playing to audiences packed with die-hard fans as well as new faces, some born after the group went their separate ways in 1990.  Not only did they crank out a killer set at the SXSW Music Awards, they packed the Continental Club in Austin twice in a month and nearly filled Waterloo Records to capacity with their in-store performance in April.  With one successful Gruene Hall appearance in June, and another planned for September, here’s hoping that they will find their way into a studio in the near future to follow-up the release of “The Essential Wagoneers” with some of the new music they’ve tested the waters with this summer

Why so excited about the reappearance of an old band from Austin?  Being the lead singer’s kid sister may have a teeny bit to do with it.

Wagoneers Austin Music Awards 2011


Wagoneers Continental Club, Houston & Austin, April 2011


Wagoneers In-Store, Waterloo Records, May 2011


Wagoneers Gruene Hall, June 2011


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