Dustin Welch
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Dustin Welch

Buda, Texas, United States | INDIE

Buda, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Rock


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"Dustin Welch and the House Band"

Americana With a Bruised Black Eye

“It’s an interesting problem,” Dustin Welch admits as he rolls another cigarette. He pauses. A coy smile curls his lips. He just had a mini-epiphany that he’s got it going real good right now.

His “problem” goes like this: He rolled into Austin this past New Year’s Eve after touring Europe and the U.S. as the banjo player in a punk band, Scotch Greens, sharing bills with Reverend Horton Heat, Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello. Within a few months he’s assembled a new band that oozes more chemistry than the Periodic Table. Dustin Welch and the House Band’s weekly Momo’s gig barrels over audiences with impassioned Appalachian stomp-rock; it’s Americana with a bruised black eye. Meanwhile his former band retains a successful global management team ready to pick up where they left off.

How did he ever find himself in such a mess?

Welch was born in a farmhouse just outside Nashville in 1980. His family moved into the city where his songwriting father, Kevin Welch, got signed to Warner and Dustin got an enlightened upbringing. “You’d see John Prine at the ballpark with mustard on his chin,” he says. “Telling fart jokes, or whatever, with some of the greatest musicians alive.”

Welch became obsessed with pre-Depression county-blues, learning banjo, slide guitar and mandolin. He tagged along with his dad on the road and grew an affinity for Austin, where he tried to move in 2004. Here he began unlikely collaborations with Kyle Ellison (Meat Puppets, Butthole Surfers) and Paul Barker (Ministry). His immersion in new styles continued, taking him to California to join the punk band Scotch Greens, touring non-stop before dissolving “for now.” Welch took the opportunity to finally establish his home base in Austin.

He settled in quickly, running sound for Momo’s and singing solo there on Mondays. “I just kinda looked around the club,” Welch says, “and thought, well, the door guy’s a great drummer [Joe Humel], the bartender’s a fantastic songwriter [Drew Smith], and one of the other sound guys is a great bass player [Joe Beckham].”

Violà…the House Band. Half put together on a whim, they caught on quickly. Musicians rave about the energy; critics clamor to identify it; fans just take a shot and holler for more. The House Band has built a family dynamic that Welch is convinced could not take root in Nashville, California, or anywhere else. Which brings Welch to his “problem.” For now, Dustin Welch and the House Band are recording a half-dozen tracks. The future might view it as that first EP before the band got big, the one fans dig for like treasure. Or it could wind up a forgotten little side project of a career musician. Time will tell; either way, Austin’s lucky to watch the deal go down.

# # #

- By Danté Dominick AM+E Magazine

"Lonesome, Onry, and Mean"

The son of longtime Nashville vet Kevin Welch is putting the finishing touches on a full-length release, but for now he’s issued a five-track EP of the material. These amped-up tracks indicate the young man has listened to his fair share of Drive By Truckers and Bare Jr., for sure.

Closer to home, he’s much more under the spell of father Kevin’s Dead Reckoners than dad’s current Welch-Kane-Kaplan project. This is a young man who has pondered pen, paper and whiskey with writers like Germino, Dave Olney and Cadillac Holmes, and emerged a brave of the tribe. Welch does lots of sideman touring and there’s a good reason -- he doesn’t play, he attacks. Welch will be opening for Mark Germino at Anderson Fair May 31 and will also accompany Germino on banjo. - Houston Press, William Michael Smith

"Southern Gothic"

Last Friday was my first time seeing Dustin Welch & the House Band. It won’t be my last. With seven members, they crowded the Continental Club stage and, more importantly, the sound they made was gigantic, big enough to fill a space several times larger.

Dustin is the son of Kevin Welch, the Okie songwriter who, following his son's lead, recently left Nashville for Central Texas. Where Kevin’s sound is spare and acoustic, Dustin’s is a forceful amalgam of Southern Gothic and back porch twang delivered with enthusiasm and a cloud of feedback fuzz.

The twentysomething singer-songwriter moved to Austin in early 2007 because he claims he was playing more in Texas than in Tennessee. Catch his regular Monday night gig at Momo’s (check out the video below) before he starts playing on stages more appropriate to his colossal vision. - Austin Chronicle, Jim Caliguri

"Best of 2008 (so far)"

It’s been an encouraging year so far. Locally, there’s a lot to be excited about with upstart acts like Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears, Dustin Welch & the House Band, the Band of Heathens, the Belleville Outfit, and Suzanna Choffel proving the scene remains diverse and vibrant. Meanwhile, veterans like Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo, Kacy Crowley, and James McMurtry continue to challenge and enthrall and Grupo Fantasma and Shearwater remain in leagues of their own... - Austin Chronicle, Jim Caliguri


Whisky Priest, 2009
Tijuana Bible, 2013





Son of songwriter’s songwriter Kevin Welch continues to chart his own adventurous path following twisted sonic roadmap of his dreams

AUSTIN, Texas — Building on the thrilling strengths of his fearsomely original 2009 debut, Whisky Priest (which LoneStarMusic magazine deemed “one of the most compelling albums to come out of Texas in the past year”), Austin-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dustin Welch is set to release his second album, Tijuana Bible, on February 12, 2013 via his own Super Rooster Records.

Like Whisky Priest before it, Tijuana Bible finds the Nashville-born Welch playing the part of a wickedly mysterious carnival barker, bouncing strains of Americana, rock, and folk music off of each other like a hall of funhouse mirrors. His lyrics are similarly multifaceted, reflecting literary influences ranging from American gothic to gritty pulp fiction and themes both sacred and profane. Welch calls Whisky Priest and Tijuana Bible (named after the hand-drawn pornographic pamphlets that were passed around in Depression-era work camps) the first two parts of a projected trilogy. Although the songs are neither overtly religious nor linked to each other as part of a conceptual story, many of them do share a sense of desperation-hardened fortitude — along with hints of mono-mythic mysticism. Welch, a voracious reader who home-schooled his way out of high school and now cites authors like Graham Greene, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy, has read his share of Joseph Campbell, too.

“I’ve thought a lot about [Campbell’s writings on] myth and storytelling, because it’s so much a part of our fabric, and there’s a lot of that kind of mysticism in it,” Welch says. “I think a lot of these songs have a kind of glimmer of hope to them. They’re about these folks who are going through really hard times, but there’s that little bit of hope that keeps them going. Which, again, is a lot like the heroes that Joseph Campbell talked about. That’s the kind of state they’re in; I just drag these characters through all hell, but they’re holding on against all odds for this one chance of redemption.”

As for the music, well, Welch will swear on a bible — Tijuana, King James, whatever you’ve got on hand — that he dreamt it all up. And not just a song, à la Keith Richards and “Satisfaction,” but a whole damn sound. It came to him as a vision — so loud and clear he could see it like a moving picture in his mind, the notes and colors and shapes coming into sharp relief just as he was drifting off to sleep. The melody was strange and complex, a beautiful cacophony of disparate styles clashing together all at once: Celtic and Appalachian folk music set to driving rock and dexterous jazz rhythms, with big harmonies sung in a “gritty and raw,” “archaic” sounding language. “It was profound,” he recalls. “It felt like horses running wild. And I’d never heard anything like it.”

That was half his life ago, but that sound still resonates within him. And through him, because that music Welch first heard in a dream some 15 years ago is now very much his own sound, still wild and untamed but corralled into the digital grooves of Tijuana Bible, which he recorded in Austin at the home studio of producer/drummer Eldridge Goins. In addition to writing or co-writing all 11 songs, Welch plays banjo and acoustic and gut-string guitar on the album; other players include electric guitarist Jeremy Nail, violinist Trisha Keefer, pianist Scotty Bucklin, and bassist Steve Bernal, among others.

“We ended up doing some overdubs, but mostly we recorded everything live in the same room in three different sessions in three days,” says Welch, who made himself right at home on Austin’s celebrated live music scene upon moving to town just a few years ago. “This group of guys, they’re all really sophisticated musicians, and it’s funny because a lot of real sophisticated musicians like that, really all they want to do deep down is rock.”

Listen to Welch snarl, stomp, and tear his way through the songs on Tijuana Bible, or watch him ratchet up the intensity even higher onstage (even when playing solo acoustic!), and you’d naturally assume the guy was born wanting to rock himself. Fact is, he was a bit of a late bloomer, at least to that side of his musical personality. As happens when your father is a renowned songwriter (Kevin Welch) with a Nashville publishing deal and you grow up around some of the most gifted writers and hottest pickers in Music City, U.S.A., Welch was born and raised surrounded by music and displayed a natural affinity for any instrument he could get his hands on practically from the time he was in diapers. But as a teenager, most of the music other kids his age were into just didn’t speak to him. He avoided MTV and VH1. “I remember