The formation of Uncle Lucius is a Texas tale in the truest sense. Four unique musicians of the Lone Star State , each living in their own hamlets, brewing up a dire need to put together a soulful southern rock outfit, sometimes can’t help but find each other.
Kevin Galloway’s campfire dream of starting a band began to take form in 2002, when the Freeport native left his East Texas banking job and moved to Austin with little more than a guitar and a truck. A country player all his life – he’d learned to play the guitar from listening to those “lovin’ and leavin’” songs that ran through East Texas – Galloway’s ears took quickly to the diverse array of rock-oriented music sprouting up around the Capital City . After three years of playing open mic’s around town, the singer/songwriter/guitarist met bassist/songwriter Hal Vorpahl through a mutual friend who knew the two could put together a legitimate outfit.
Hal Vorpahl’s story walks a similar path to Galloway ’s. A native of 30,000-strong Lufkin , Texas , Hal’s musical background was built around a solid foundation of listening to Willie Nelson records with his father. He’d dabbled in the piano while growing up, but the 88 keys never quite caught on. Instead, it was the general mysticism of the vibrant musical scene that brought Vorpahl to Austin , and – as if he had any choice in the matter – he picked up the bass shortly after moving to town.
The current look of Uncle Lucius began to take shape when Houston ’s Mike Carpenter entered the picture after the band’s first year. Raised on Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana, Carpenter had been playing guitar and writing songs since the age of 14 and moved to Austin to play in bands. He played in two other bands before joining Uncle Lucius, a move that was made possible by the departure of the group’s original lead guitarist. Carpenter remembers feeling no sense of hesitation: “I immediately liked Kevin’s voice. He was a good front man and a good singer. And they were doing pretty much what I wanted to do: combining country, rock and roll, and blues. It was really just luck, man.”
With a practiced lead guitarist capable of enhancing the band’s already solid structure with a number of different looks in tow, Uncle Lucius started playing clubs like Austin’s famed Saxon Pub, Antone’s, and Threadgill’s. They’ve since established connections and residences, hooking up with David Cotton, the Austin-based booking agent whose an expert in the field of roots rock.
At about the time that Uncle Lucius was beginning to work on their second release, 2009’s Pick Your Head Up, their first drummer left the band. “We were going to use a studio drummer for the sessions,” says Galloway , “but then we got in touch with Josh. He came in, rehearsed, and, man, he just killed it. We figured it was a much better idea to use him than a session player.”
That’s Josh Greco, a San Antonio native who came to Austin for the University of Texas and quickly got caught up in the gigging scene going on downtown. Carpenter agrees with his lead singer’s sentiments about the drummer: “Now that we have Josh, we work a lot harder. We’re more dedicated, more focused.”
Raised on the deep-pocket precision of the Band’s Levon Helm, Charlie Parker’s Max Roach and Steve Gadd, Greco began working his way around a drum kit when he was 11. Originally, the choice befuddled him: “I wanted to be a fiddle player but somehow became a drummer. I don’t know how, but I knew I wanted to be making music when I got into that big band swing stuff when I was in 8th grade.”
With the current lineup intact, Uncle Lucius headed to the studio to record Pick Your Head Up. Its eleven songs are filled with southern-fried guitar licks riding soulful grooves, augmented by heartfelt lyrics that tackle “life and the mystery of it all.” The final product is a collection that evokes the work of the Black Crowes, the Band, and the great Stax Records albums of the 1960s.
It’s an album that’s tighter in large part because of the cohesiveness of the band itself. “We all have the same goal,” says Greco, “to play music together and ultimately make a great album, something that could stick around for a while.”
Galloway agrees. “Everyone’s on the same page and we all want the same thing, to create this magic that can only happen when you work with the right people the right way,” the singer continues. “I’m able to measure where we’ve come from and where we are now. It’s just been crazy how much better we’ve gotten as musicians and how much better we’ve gotten together. And it’s only the beginning. I can see where it’s gonna go, and it’s exciting to see. It’s a cool journey that just unveils itself every day.”
Kevin Galloway- Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Mike Carpenter- Lead Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Hal Vorpahl- Bass Guitar
Josh Greco- Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Live From the Saxon Pub
Pick Your Head Up
Something They Ain't
2009 media quotes
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Uncle Lucius (lead vocalist/guitarist Kevin Galloway, guitarist/harpist/vocalist Mike Carpenter, ...Uncle Lucius
(lead vocalist/guitarist Kevin Galloway, guitarist/harpist/vocalist Mike Carpenter, bassist/ vocalist Hal Vorpahl, and drummer/ vocalist Josh Greco)
“After listening to Pick Your Head Up, (BooClap Records), many times…I would now say Uncle Lucius does Austin flavored country-rock. They take music to a place where the blues and outlaw country meet; that place where music is laid back and cool…I always had that ‘it’s ending too soon’ feeling.” - Jerry Henry, Planet Weekly
“Austin’s Uncle Lucius is one of the most genuine interpretations of Southern rock and soul since The Black Crowes, with songs both Hank Williams and The Band would appreciate.”
- Gavin Paul, Center Stage
“If you need to put your troubles behind you for a little while slap Pick Your Head Up into your CD player and float away to the rhythm of Uncle Lucius.”
- Sean Claes, Notes from the Cubicle, INsite Magazine
“A healthy slab of blues and country with a soulful backbeat...”
- Jim Caligiuri, Earache, The Austin Chronicle
“This scrappy organization performed on the Music Fog stage then headed straight to the Austin airport to apply their magic upon weary SXSW travelers heading out of town. Yeah...they played a gig at the airport. These guys quickly became Music Fog favorites. With a new album out tomorrow, everybody had better get to know their names. Kevin, Mike, Hal & Josh good luck with the album guys.” - Ben Krech, Music Fog
“2009 was a slow year until Uncle Lucius came along...the 11-track disc is likely to be remembered for quite some time. The bruising “Fire on the Rooftop” and slinky “Everybody Got Soul” are two sides of the same coin, each showcasing stick-to-your-brain melodies backed with brawny musicianship led by the robust yet never flashy guitar of Michael Carpenter and dynamic vocals of Kevin Galloway.” - Texas Platters, The Austin Chronicle
“Austin's Uncle Lucius takes the ‘70s form to a soulful new direction on the debut LP Pick Your Head Up. Big Sandy native Kevin Galloway...has a big, clear southern voice and he’s found the perfect sidekick in guitarist Michael Carpenter, who adds subtle, inventive touches to this quartet’s classic sound...however it’s the band’s songs, from the slow-building title track, which sprints into a soul workout, to the stirring LP closer “All Your Gold,” that make this album such an unexpected treat.” - Michael Corcoran, Austin American-Statesman
“Uncle Lucius has been a nice evolution. While their music has matured their audiences have grown in leaps and bounds.” - Dave Whitney, Threadgill’s
“I’m truly excited to see what’s going to happen with Uncle Lucius, there’s a lot of depth to their songs…” - David Cotton, Saxon Pub
CD Review: Uncle Lucius-
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By Michael Corcoran Uncle Lucius “Pick Your Head Up” (BooClap) three and a half stars Sout...By Michael Corcoran
“Pick Your Head Up” (BooClap)
three and a half stars
Southern rock can be a scary term that conjures a triple bill- $ 10 at the door- featuring Molly Hatchet, .38 Special and the bassist from Wet Willie’s new band. But Austin’s Uncle Lucius takes the ’70s form to a soulful new direction on the debut LP “Pick Your Head Up.”
Big Sandy native Kevin Galloway, who moved to Austin as a solo artist a couple years ago, has a big, clear southern voice and he’s found the perfect sidekick in guitarist Michael Carpenter, an Allman-worthy soloist (“Fire On the Rooftop”) who adds subtle, inventive touches to this quartet’s classic sound. Cut loose on bottleneck at the end of “Hold On Your Heart,” Carpenter saves one of the LP’s more pedestrian tunes.
For the most part, however, it’s the band’s songs, from the slow-building title track, which sprints into a soul workout, to the stirring LP closer “All Your Gold,” that make this album such an unexpected treat. When Galloway sings “Everybody Got Soul” you find yourself rocking in your seat in agreement. Produced by Stephen Doster, “Pick Your Head Up” takes its material seriously, nailing dramatic turns on the “Mississippi Highway,” slipping into the “Liquor Store” just ahead of a John Lee Hooker riff and riding Red Young’s organ to a sweet, familiar place on “A Million Ways.”
This doesn’t sound like a local release.
Dated? Timeless? Little of both. But what’s important is that this album is southern and it rocks. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.
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Texas Platters BY JIM CALIGIURI Uncle Lucius Pick Your Head Up (BooClap) 2009 was a slow...Texas Platters
BY JIM CALIGIURI
Pick Your Head Up (BooClap)
2009 was a slow year until Uncle Lucius came along. Pick Your Head Up is the local quartet's second album, and, even though few may have heard the first one, the 11-track disc is likely to be remembered for quite some time. There's nothing new about what these youths do, following in the Southern rock and soul footsteps of the Black Crowes and/or harkening even further back to the blue-eyed funk of the Band. The bruising "Fire on the Rooftop" and slinky "Everybody Got Soul" are two sides of the same coin, each showcasing stick-to-your-brain melodies backed with brawny musicianship led by the robust yet never flashy guitar of Michael Carpenter and dynamic vocals of Kevin Galloway. Southern rock's been twisting in the wind for ages now, but Austin's Uncle Lucius brings us back to its heyday and makes it feel good all over again.
Uncle Lucius CD Release Show and Album Review
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Uncle Lucius and Lots More Good Stuff!Posted in Austin music on 04/13/2009 12:08 pm by Duggan Fla...
Uncle Lucius and Lots More Good Stuff!Posted in Austin music on 04/13/2009 12:08 pm by Duggan Flanakin
UNCLE LUCIUS - BRINGING BACK THE SIXTIES!
This record makes me cry! Stephen Doster has performed a major miracle with the help of four young Texans who were willing to learn from a master. And now they are on tour and we will not see them for weeks — and it is killing me. At least I have Deadman as consolation (and a big dose of Dustin Welch — and yes a lot more good Austin music). But this is like Canned Heat meets The Band meets the Allman Brothers (especially with Red Young on stage at their CD release).
Let’s start with the cover art — grainy photos from a time gone by portraying visions from several of the songs — “Lift Your Head Up” (the title cut), “A Million Ways,” “One Day My Soul Will Fly Again.” This stuff looks more like Stephen Foster than even Stephen Doster. There can be no contest either locally or worldwide for best album cover art and design — this is just beautiful.
Then there’s the band — Big Sandy’s Kevin Galloway, with his hair and beard grown out, on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, San Antonio’s Joshua Dane Greco on drums and percussion — yeah, he’s a jazz player in his first rock and roll band, and he grew out his hair as part of the “look” this band exhibits in spades! Cypress Creek HIgh’s (I used to watch him play football!) Michael Carpenter on lead guitar, vocals, and harmonica, and yes he has a LOT more hair than in his football days, but more to the point he also uses a bow to play the guitar and (yes, I saw the Yardbirds with Beck and Page) with much more creativity than the guy who later became the backbone of Led Zeppelin. Hal Jon Vorpahl on bass with the curly long hair (as long as John Michael’s from Deadman, but much curlier) and the hat.
And, yeah, the band SMOKES as the guys grind out their Southern Classic Rock with all of the fervor of Mylon Lefevre in his prime. As at the CD release (see video below), the band has help from producer Stephen Doster on guitar, Mark Wilson on alto and baritone sax, Ed McNames on trumpet, Red Young on keyboards and organ, and Devon Guilford, Sonia Moore, and Decamp on backing vocals (only Guilford was at th CD release, and she was flat out amazing!).
At Threadgill’s I met the parents of most of the band - all solid Texas folk who are the salt of the Earth. No wonder these guys have been able to put together a band that is beyond time. Like Drew Smith’s Lonely Choir CD, there is not a cut here that is not a hit in its own right. The crowd at Threadgills, by the way, was pegged as maybe the best ever for any show at the venue — and yes a good bit of that was spillover fom the sparkling opening set from Hector Ward and the Big Time (who will have their own CD release party at Threadgills on May 9th).
There are, as there just about have to be in such timeless music, lots of gospel overtones in nearly every song, starting with the title cut, “Pick Your Head Up,” which is an exhortation (that there is still time to get away) that ends with a kicked-up verse of “I’ll Fly Away.” Now this is very different songwriting from that of a Dustin Welch – yes, there is plenty of meat here, but this record is all about the SOUND — and the feelings it evokes.
Galloway has a voice as distinctive as that of John Fogerty — “Everybody Got Soul,” though has layers of guitars that remind one of Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul.” Here the line is “the only one controlling my future is me….” “Liquor Store” is a tale about losing — at the track, in life in general — and I’m searching for grace in the bottle tonight … “Hold on Your Heart” is a rocker that ought to get people up onto the dance floor.
One of my favorites here is “San Bernadino” (where the Jokers play) — this is classicf Bob Seger music! Another story song, that is — slowed down, opens with harmonica and organ (thanks, Red Young!) … “couldn’t see the stars in the Milky Way….” But he moved to San Bernadino and became a local legend.
“Mississippi Highway” is a classic blues tribute to all of those who have gone before on the southern music circuit — and a lament that “they sent my jobs off to Japan.” “Ain’t It the Same?” opens with a fistfight on a five dollar bill. This is a song about a guy who “”used to have a woman and two more on the side ….” but they ”cut my hair last winter, ain’t it the same?”
Carpenter sings lead on “Fire on the Rooftop,” and his Steve Winwood style tenor provides quite a contrast to Galloway’s gruss baritone. But wow what a guitar solo! “A Million Ways” is a dirge (opens with bass and organ) about how the powerful seek to deceive, while “Coming Down” is a flat-out rocker that opens with drums and then the guitar’s wail. This is more city music .. “I know the believers and they say it’s coming down…” and more smoking guitar. The CD ends with “All Your Gold,” which opens quietly with these lines: “If I could stand out in the cold with all your gold in my hands, I’d throw it far as I could see, turn around and walk away….” and goes on to speak of one day “my soul will fly again….” The pace picks up, and the guitar comes in and you realize this is a modern gospel song of the highest order. Play this record loud on a day when you can just sit back and watch the clouds … drinking Dublin Dr Pepper and eating Moon Pies, playing baseball on a real sandlot and drinking grape Kool-Aid and talking about nothin. This record is grits and Virginia ham and old-fashioned barbecue music …
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Uncle Lucius - Pick Your Head Up (BooClap) By Kathryn-Terese Haik and Tiffany Henry • Jul 7th, 20...Uncle Lucius - Pick Your Head Up (BooClap)
By Kathryn-Terese Haik and Tiffany Henry • Jul 7th, 2009 • Category: Featured Story, Sound Reviews •
Roadtrip? Put it on repeat. Pick Your Head Up, the official debut from locally united quartet Uncle Lucius, is an ideal easy-going soundtrack for the traveling listener. With lead vocalist, Kevin Galloway’s distinct vocal quake that trembles with rugged backwoods soul, and an undertone infusion of rock and country featured in each track, you’d think you were born and raised in the South just by listening to this CD. The lyrics speak to the small-town upbringing of each of the band members, taking those who hear it back to the days of drinkin’ away the deep matters of the soul. Characterized by tunes reminiscent of a classic blues song with an overlay of outlaw country, each track is unique but rippling with classic Austin attitude.
“A Million Ways,” is heavy on the organ and Galloway’s voice soaking up the listener. The full band gets into the chorus, but largely the song is dominated by the vocals, a simple drumbeat and the organ. Its simplicity is appreciated, and the song picks up at the end with Galloway lingering on and the band ramping up to a full frenzy. “Mississippi Highway” employs all members of the band including a horn section and grooves you like you’re sitting in the car going down the highway with a steady rhythm plugging along behind it, enough to conjure the fumes of classic Allman Brothers. “Liquor Store,” is a little dirty funk, with some guitar break-outs. It includes some distortion that fits perfectly well for its title. The title track, “Pick Your Head Up,” is a slow groove organ and horn heavy, steady beat, and Galloway lyrically reigning over the show dipping in some harmony throughout. It’s a departure from more of the upbeat and faster paced songs throughout the album.
These small town Texas natives, Kevin Galloway (vocals, rhythm guitar), Mike Carpenter ?(lead Guitar, harmonica, vocals), Hal Vorpahl ?(bass guitar) and Josh Greco ?(drums, percussion, vocals), have not only managed to produce expert Southern grooves, but they’re taking it all back to where they’ve come from while imbuing a distinctly Austin flavor to the sound. If it evokes the heyday of local country-rock of the late Seventies, it also exhumes that era’s fun and ideal of communal revelry, yet rather than simply soaking in nostalgia, Uncle Lucius drive the sound forward into a new generation.
A Million Ways
Pick Your Head Up
Ain't It The Same
All Your Gold
High Lonesome Wind
Cigarettes and Gin
Fire on the Rooftop
Something They Ain't
Everybody Got Soul
Got Over Myself
Now, Right Now
Keep the Wolves Away
No Time Flat
Come On Death
Dust on the Table
Gravel and Neon
I Am You
Sister Morphine - The Rolling Stones
Ain't Living Long Like This- Rodney Crowell
Fearless- Pink Floyd
Trudy- Charlie Daniels
Ain't No Sunshine- Bill Withers
Going Down- Freddie King
Whiskey River- Willie Nelson
In The Pines- Leadbelly
Tulsa Time-Don Williams
Parachute Woman-The Rolling Stones
Waiting Around to Die-Townes Van Zandt
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window-The Beatles
War Pigs- Black Sabbath
Jemima Surrender- The Band
Jungle Man- The Meters
Long Haired Country Boy- Charlie Daniels Band
There are no upcoming dates at this time.