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Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Country Americana


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Horse Opera—Sounds Of The Desert: Heavily influenced by the 1950’s/1960’s country music (read: honky tonk) with a bit of an edge completes the sound of this band firmly based in classic country. Born in Austin, Horse Opera is made up of veteran musicians that came from the punk and rockabilly genres and graduated to country. Classically playing Texas beer joints and dance halls to get their legs, they have just stumbled onto their first studio record. The band boasts traditional arrangements with lyrical accompaniments that include all sides of the human condition.

4.5 McRiprock’s - Austin Daze magazine

by Margaret Moser
Horse Opera
Sounds of the Desert

The easy two-step ("Save My Tears") that kicks off Sounds of the Desert belongs more in neon honky-tonk than under a coyote moon. That's okay, because Horse Opera's country twang is designed to please dancers and pack dance floors. "3 to Closing," "Devil You Love Best," and "St. Cecilia" all wrap around Jimmy Deveney's workingman delivery, the guy looking for fun and dance on Saturday night - Austin Chronicle

This ain’t no Nashville pop.

Austin’s Horse Opera is an honest-to-goodness country band. The quartet’s debut album, Sounds of the Desert, is a two-steppin' joy chock-full of pedal steel and heartbreak. It’s fun. It’s lonely. It makes you want to jump in your car (or pickup truck, preferably) and drive a dusty road to Texas because, surely, that’s where the heartfelt music and dancing are happening. A look at Horse Opera’s photos shows earnest men in boots, cowboy hats and Western shirts. But wait a sec—these cowboys are really punk rockers.

“I think at the root they’re both kind of music of the people,” says guitarist and vocalist Jimmy Deveney. “Songs [are] about either social issues, social injustice or, you know, working in a mine your whole life, or working the railroad.” As punk and country both deal with basic human issues, Deveney finds himself singing about many of the same things now as he did in his ’90s bands—love, drinking and jail. Tracing Deveney’s life back through eight years in Austin and a few in Mississippi leads to Albuquerque, where he used to play in local groups like The T-Lords. The progression from one style to the next was natural for the musician. Listening to punk led him to the Reverend Horton Heat, then rockabilly, then its predecessors. “I kinda think that Woody Guthrie was the first political punk rocker,” Deveney muses, “and Hank Williams was the first ‘live fast, die young’ archetype.”

Living in Texas has influenced his style, and luckily there is a support system for Horse Opera’s breed of country. The circuit of dance halls and beer joints is large enough for the band to tour without ever leaving the state. However, people all over are taking interest in the traditional genre. “I think people are rediscovering what country music is,” Deveney explains. “I mean, what we call ‘country music’ nowadays has very, very little to do with country ... it’s pop music with a fiddle. If you’re lucky, there’s a fiddle.”

Even Europe is getting on the horse: This July, Deveney will perform alongside bands from places like Belgium and England. He’ll be playing at the Country Music Festival in Mirande, France, as part of a Texas music showcase. The French take their American culture very seriously, even if slightly askew. “They are crazy about line dancing,” he says. “There’s a line dance university onsite at this place. ... I don’t think they want you messin’ around with it until you know what you’re doing.”

In May, Horse Opera released Sounds of the Desert at the famed Continental Club in Austin. Deveney says the recording is the best thing he’s ever done. Horse Opera plays to promote the record at Low Spirits on Wednesday, with Scott Akers on guitar, Ben “Sparky” Sparks on bass and Ralph Power (filling in for Chris Walther) on drums. Albuquerque will also get an additional perk: All former members of The T-Lords will be in town at that time and will play a reunion set to kick off the night. - Albuquerque weekly alibi

Horse Opera
Sounds of the Desert
Telewreck Records

Drawing inspiration from the low-down, honky-tonk way of life, Horse Opera delivers a set of country songs that seek to satisfy the most avid of country fans with their new release, Sounds of the Desert. Using traditional instruments, including the steel guitar, as well as using traditional country themes in their lyrics, they paint a clear portrait of a country landscape that is both authentic and powerful. Songs like “Save My Tears” and “3 To Closing” will remind listeners of the famous honky-tonk scenario of a man drinking his blues away due to a two-timing woman.

Jimmy Deveney’s vocals command not only a close listen, but deep introspection into various themes taking place within the songs, including love, religion and looking ahead to life’s many possibilities. What makes this a good album is the fact that the group sticks to traditional country music, rather than seeking to add sonic revelations to their sound. The closing track, “Best Day,” will remind listeners that traditional country music is most likely the best kind of country music there is. endmark

by Mark Lopez - jupiter index

“When it came to the music for Flicker, the first call I made was to Jimmy Deveney of Horse Opera fame. He’s the Bono of Austin, the Paul McCartney of honkey tonk. I know when people hear the music, the guys are going to love it, the girls are going to cry and everybody is going to dance.” – Aaron Hendren, movie director: Flicker, Hamlet - Egg Murders Film Productions

Urban Cowboy Party

Saturday, Nov 14, 10pm
The Scoot Inn

"Hard-hat days and honkey-tonk nights"

Urban Cowboy (1980) made waves in the 80's portraying a small town cowboy who moves to Houston and deals with love and life at work and in the honkey-tonk. Represent Austin is throwing this little shin-dig to celebrate the film in all of it’s glory.

The party will take place at The Scoot Inn, the oldest continuously running beer joint in central Texas. Good times, live music, dancing contest, and a Dolly Parton look-a-like contest. There will be prizes for the winners from local businesses and The Rabid Photographer will be capturing the candid photo's throughout the evening. So, put on your boots and your pearl snaps and come drink a Lone Star or two and dance to all your Urban Cowboy favorites.

Rocking out the music: Horse Opera 10:30pm and La Tampiquena 12:00am

$8 at the Door - $5 RSVP on

Enter here to win tickets!

The Scoot Inn
1308 E. Fourth
Austin, Texas 78702-3806

- austin chronicle


Jimmy Deveney and The All Stars: Five Lives 2005

Horse Opera Live: Horse Shoes & Hand Grenades 2008

Horse Opera- Sounds of the Desert 2010



contact: Jimmy Deveney

James Deveney: Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Ben Sparks: bass
Chris Walther/ Chris Wallis: Drums
Fiddle and Pedal Steel: various

NOTE: there is a large gap in our sonicbids calendar history, for a complete gig history of 2009-10, see our reverbnation calendar.

Horse Opera : National Touring Honky-tonk band based in Austin, Tx.

Horse Opera. Real country music, they like to call it honky-tonk. Raw, emotion driven songs covering the gamut from Saturday nite in the honky-tonk, to Sunday morn' at the altar. Songs for the workin' man, the drifter, the drinker, the sinner, the saved, the lonely, the lover, the fool and the wise man. Calling on the nfluence of ‘50’s and ‘60’s country music, and a touch of the ‘70’s Outlaw edge, Horse Opera has crafted a sound all their own, planted firmly in the traditions of classic country music.

The band is made up of veteran musicians, most of them graduated from punk rock/ rockabilly bands and started playing country in the mid 1990’s. They have all been steeped in country tradition by spending years playing beer joints and dancehalls across Texas.

Started by front man/guitar player, Jimmy Deveney, in 2005, Horse Opera has been playing Austin, and central Texas in expanding circles since its inception. In 2009, the right group of players came together with Jimmy, and the band has been on an upward climb ever since. The band played a large multi state tour in June of 2010, heading west to support their first studio record, ‘Sounds of the Desert’,which was released May 18th of 2010 on Telewreck records. Jimmy traveled to France in July, to represent the band at the Mirande festival of country music, backed by the capable hands of Austin’s ‘two hoots and a holler’. Horse Opera is departing on 3 seperate tours through the south, east, and midwest in the fall, icluding a week long stand in New York City, september 21st through 28th. Plans for a sophmore studio cd are in the works, release expected in May of 2011.

The cd has garnered several reviews, and is getting radio play at 90+ terrestrial stations in the US, and dozens of internet radio stations.

Ben Sparks / Bass : A Florida native, former truck driver, and long time bass player in ska, country and punk bands. Ben moved here from NYC, and became an integral part of Horse Opera in 2009.

Chris Walther and Chris Wallis both take the drum throne for Horse Opera in the studio and live.

Jimmy Deveney : Vocals, Guitar, Songwriter- A New Mexico native, Jimmy spent many years in New Mexico playing in cow-punk, rockabilly and country bands such as ‘Gaceystick’, ‘The T-Lords’, ‘The Jonny Cats’, ‘The Giddy-Ups’, & ‘The Helltones’; opening for such acts as Alejandro Escovedo, Dave Alvin, Rosie Flores, Ronnie Dawson, The Derailers, Rocket from the Crypt, Billy Joe Shaver, Sleepy LaBeef, Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys, Los Straightjackets, and many others. His music has been featured in the films "the faithful and the foul', and the 2009 horror release, 'flicker'.

Jimmy’s songwriting is the core of the band’s sound. traditional arrangements with lyrics that explore the common aspects of the human condition. He learned pop sensibility from Elvis Costello and The Beatles, high and lonesome from Hank Sr., low and blue from Waylon and Cash.

Horse Opera also always has a top notch Austin fiddler or steel guitar player with them on the road, and at local shows.