Jim Beal Jr.: Lots of variety set for the days ahead

San Antonio Express-News   12/06/2007

Release 'em:

 Boxcar Satan, the twisted-up "no wave" blues outfit that includes San Antonio Express-News business reporter Sanford (Nowlin) Allen, knows its way around releasing records with other bands. The Boxcars have put out split efforts with The Graves Brothers Deluxe and Loraxx.

Boxcar Satan is working with a new CD, "Hobo Nouveau," a straight-up collaboration with Ghostwriter (Steve Schecter), a one-man blues band from Portland, Ore., who shares Boxcar Satan's love for turning the blues inside out while delivering the kind of music that would likely have appealed to John Lee Hooker, Lightning Hopkins and the cats from North Mississippi.

While touring last summer, Ghostwriter had a layover in San Antonio. He got together with Boxcar Satan. They pooled songs some old, some new, some original, some not rehearsed for two days and recorded for two days. The result is "Hobo Nouveau," a joint release by the Dogfinger and End of the West labels.

The disc, with artwork by James Cobb, features four songs from Boxcar Satan and four from Ghostwriter and covers of selections from Elder Charlie Beck ("Drinkin' Shine"), Bob Dylan ("Serve Somebody"), Merle Travis ("Dark as a Dungeon"), Woody Guthrie ("Jesus Christ") and Townes Van Zandt ("Blaze's Blues").

The songs on "Hobo Nouveau" are raw, rowdy and delivered with power and passion. Boxcar Satan and Ghostwriter are not known for half-stepping onstage and they didn't half-step in the studio.

Boxcar Satan and Ghostwriter will team Saturday at The Mix for a CD-release party. Ghostwriter will open, the Boxcars will play a set and then Ghostwriter and Boxcar Satan will do a set together. Admission is free.

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