Marc Utter
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Marc Utter

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The best kept secret in music


"Hundred Year Flood"

Hundred Year Flood
Flooding Down in Texas, The Return of Hundred Year Flood

Brad Springs

A few years back I had the pleasure of running a little tavern out in Wimberley called “The Waterhole” that was some of the most fun I can ever remember. I was involved in the venue under several incarnations since, but those beginning days were my finest hours. My memories of the place will last well into my old age. The bands and music that came across that little stage were some nights just damn good and others down right magical. It was during that time that I met a fel low named Jim Palmer for the first time. It was kind of an odd way to meet, the way we met. Jim and his wife Felica wandered in early in the evening before the entertainment had started to have a beer and shoot a game or two of pool.

I had recently found a wayward CD in the bar when I took it over that had no name on the label but I popped it in and fell in love with it. I was accused on more than one occasion by regulars of playing it too much. Well that evening when Jim walked in it was playing and he got a kinda funny look on his face and asked me where I had come across the CD. I told him I didn't know who had left it or even who it was but I'm glad they did. Jim smiled and said "I'm glad you like it, that's a band I used to be in". The band was the Sharecroppers or Good Medicine Band as they were later known, featured Bill Palmer on guitar, bass and vocals, Felicia Ford on vocals, Nathan Hamilton on guitar and vocals, Marc Utter on guitar, bass, mandolin and vocals, Jim Palmer on drums, Dave Sawtelle on banjo and trumpet and Ron Mann on percussion.

That release as I later found out was Spirit of The Sharecroppers and made 107.1 KGSR in Austin's top 107 CD's of 1997 list (top 107 releases by artists worldwide) not a bad accomplishment. Bill explained to me that Nathan had decided to pursue a solo path but he had started a project called Hundred Year Flood that was looking for places to play, and so began a string of many magical shows. They even introduced me to some friends that started playing my place on a regular basis Adam Carroll, Joe West and The Sinners and Santa Fe's ThaMuseMeant were all cohorts that would come down every once in a while and gift us with song and merriment and most nights we'd all take a dip in Cypress Creek out behind the bar when the show was over. I owe all those great memories to Bill and Felicia wandering out looking for a beer and a game of pool. Good friends and great musicians the lot of em.

I lost track or I guess I should say touch with the gang for a bit when they decided to pack up and move to Santa Fe to join Joe West, ThaMuseMeant and some other fine folks I have yet to meet in creating Frogville Records an artist run recording studio and distribution center. During their time in New Mexico they have honed their sound into a great blend of earthy roots rock flavored with southwest spices. With a true family flair they've become a tight musical unit, I guess that's what happens when the guitar work and vocals are Bill Palmer's duties, his wife Felica Ford handles keys, accordian and vocals, Bill's brother Jim takes on drum duty and Jim's wife Kendra takes the bass line. It's the kind of closeness musically that can only be created by a joint family effort even though their musical influences may be varied. They play southern-fried roots rock that ranges from beautiful folk-rock ballads to gritty, politically saavy country punk; from stark darkness to a frenzied twang. Felecia Ford is a West Texas master of voice, who cut her teeth on Broadway show tunes and the big production theatrical stage, as well as the underground roots scene of Austin. Bill Palmer's songwriting and guitar playing is as steeped in Brit-pop as it is in Texas country tradition and folk poetry. Bill's younger brother, Jim Palmer is powerful and nimble simultaneously with his unique drum style, inspired by African pop and American rock. Kendra Lauman roots the music to the ground with her thoughtful and solid bass approach.

The recordings that started to flow out of Hundred Year Flood were stellar, beginning with their 1999 self titled debut that also featured Marc Utter. These are the recorded songs I was hearing live and fell in love with, to name a few "Riverstone", "Cities of Gold", and "Hot One In Galilee" are personal favorites. Flutterstrut (pronounced Flood-r-Strut) their first Frogville release in 2003 is an album of epic proportions, it really drives it home. "The Beast and The Burden", "Assembly of DOG", "25 cents" and a rendition of Cameron Wade's "Tremblin White", this album flat out rocks. They followed that up with 2004's Cavalier with another round of great songs like "Peach Blossom", "Love and Lust", "Jesus Rolled Over", "Let's Fall In Love Again", Sweetness Does", "Politics Of The Dead", one after another, hit after hit. To quote one reviewer that I think hits the nail on the head "Finally a cd that I can listen to over and over again. Like a southern fried Led Zeppelin meets Fleetwood Mac or inklings of the original Jefferson Airplane but much more modern - this Alt. country band is no retro outfit but modern as a fresh blooming rose and come out smelling just as fine. Hundred Year Flood is fresh Americana, sweet roots music, can be as technical as Beck with the dust brothers. Hundred Year Flood is the real deal, an old hippie told me he's been waiting for that sound and vibe for 30 years, reminded him of the Filmore days or Jefferson Airplane back when they were fresh and creative. Cavalier is an awesome album in the sense of how records used to be - something you listened to all the way thru and then again and again." I can't put it any better than that.

In 2004 they performed at the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, CA and at The Thirsty Ear Festival in Santa Fe in 2005 growing their fan base by leaps and bounds. My good friends The Flood will be heading back to Texas in late Dec. and they've got some shows lined up and more in the confirmation process. I highly recommend that if you get a chance you should catch these guys live, they begin this Texas tour opening a few shows for Son Volt which is an indication of which direction their musical growth is leading them. On to bigger things, as an old friend and self proclaimed music connisour, check out for updated tour dates. Also keep an eye and ear out for their next release due out mid Jan. 2006. - The Stars of Texas Magazine


Marc Utter the blackland 2006 Coyote Creek
hundred year flood 1999 quanah
Spirit of the Sharecroppers 1996 Captive Audience


Feeling a bit camera shy


Marc Utter, founding member of Austins legendary sharecroppers and Hundred Year Flood continues to make great music without borders.