R.G. Stark
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R.G. Stark

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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This band has not uploaded any videos

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Press


"HARP digs R.G."

Texas troubadour R.G. Stark—the initials stand for “receiving genius,” a nod to his years spent toiling in a warehouse—chronicles his border-state life with such aplomb that it’s a wonder he hasn’t been picked up on yet by the legions of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt acolytes.In fact, Not Crazy Tonight, recorded in Austin with Ron Flynt (20/20, the Bluehearts) as co-producer, bassist and keyboardist, and with guests including pedal steel whiz Neil Flanz and guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb, is one of those records that could only come from the Lone Star state...

— Fred Mills
Harp Magazine - Harp Magazine


"4 Stars from Mr. Conquest"

On paper, it’s hard to see quite where Blue Diamond Shine ends and frontman John
‘RG’ Stark starts, as his core players are Blue Diamond Shine’s guitarist Eric Hisaw,
drummer Vicente Rodriguez and accordionist Kevin Kelnar, along with Ron Flynt bass,
keyboards and “miscellaneous,” which means his album has most all of Blue Diamond
Shine’s strengths, mainly his idiosyncratic, asymmetrical songwriting and Hisaw’s always
excellent guitar work. However, with a few outside helpers, such as Scrappy Jud Newcomb,
who plays guitar on two tracks and rather neatly describes Stark as “like a cross between
Doug Sahm and Jimmy Webb,” coproducers Stark and Flynt have come up with a big sound
that constantly flirts with bombast but stays on the righteous side. Stark’s work with Blue
Diamond Shine has been described as “roots noir,” “Western surreal,” “Bayou poetry,” but
on this outing, I’d qualify Jim Beal Jr’s “Gothic” as ‘Gulf Coast Gothic.’ Stark has always
covered a lot of ground in his songs, with a particular, richly metaphorical, emphasis on
backroads, small towns and swamplands, but has expanded his geographical range, exporing
westwards to Mineral Wells, eastwards to Abbeville, LA, south to Narcocorrido Nuevo
Laredo, Monterrey and the Border (Coyote). Not that’s he’s just a musical gazeteer, Secret
Girl and She Comes And Goes are more routine, or at any rate as routine as Stark gets,
which isn’t very.
— John Conquest
3rd Coast Music - 3rd Coast Music


"...reminds me of Tom Russell"

Stark’s songwriting reminds me of the great singer-songwriter Tom Russell while his voice recalls Chris Isaac with a tougher rougher Texas barroom edge. "Mineral Wells”, “Coyote", "Narcocorrido Nuevo Laredo" and “Monterrey” are just begging to be covered (not that there is anything wrong with Stark’s versions). R. G. makes me wish I was living in Texas again sitting in an ice house with a beer wrapped in old yellow pages (the original pre-koozie beer cooler) listening to Stark and company...

— Hal Bogerd, Hickory Wind - Hickory Wind


"Chris Gray's Top 10 2006..."

Shrimp Boat Town evokes a place where, in frontman R.G. Stark's elegant bayou poetry, "The jukebox is your only friend." His well-spent quarters pay handsome dividends... If Huey P. Meaux were still around, he'd hustle Stark into his Sugar Hill Studios double time...

— Christopher Gray
The Austin Chronicle - The Austin Chronicle


"Sir Doug Would Be Proud..."

Lively and colorful, propelled by spirited arrangements with a generous nod to prime Sir Douglas Quintet and Stark's rich baritone and melodic instincts...

— Richard Skanse
Texas Music Magazine - Texas Music Magazine


"Desperate Men do Desperate Things..."

Stark twangs with the kind of gothic/desperate-men-do-desperate-things lyrics that haunt while propelling the boot-scooting...

— Jim Beal
San Antonio Express-News - San Antonio Express-News


"Okkerville River approves..."

This is haunting, gorgeous, country music...

— Will Sheff
Okkerville River - Will Sheff


Discography

"Not Crazy Tonight" R.G. Stark, 2007
"Shrimp Boat Town" Blue Diamond Shine, 2006
"That Godforsaken Road" Blue Diamond Shine, 2002
"Blue Diamond Shine" BDS, 1999

Photos

Bio

Born in Austin and raised on the Blackland Prairie of Denton County Texas, Stark knows whereof he sings. Growing up, Stark was raised on the drone of a hot, dry southern wind, Church of Christ shape note singing, and the constant hum of AM country radio, with frequent visits to his grandparent's spread on the Guadalupe river in the Texas Hill Country. After moving to Austin to play trombone in the University of Texas marching band, Stark soon found his way into the bars and dancehalls where the redneck/hippie/alternative crossover was still in full swing. Inspired by the openly creative vibe and local legends such as Doug Sahm, Townes Van Zandt, and the ubiquitous Willie Nelson, R.G. soon layed down the trombone and started performing his own songs.

As chief singer and songwriter for the critically acclaimed band Blue Diamond Shine, Stark has put together an impressive musical resume, paying dues in the beer joints and honky-tonks of South Texas, touring and releasing three albums, and working as a side-man for Eric Hisaw, Ron Flynt, and Bonny Holmes among others.

"Shrimp Boat Town evokes a place where, in frontman R.G. Stark's elegant bayou poetry, "The jukebox is your only friend." His well-spent quarters pay handsome dividends... If Huey P. Meaux were still around, he'd hustle Stark into his Sugar Hill Studios double time..."
— Christopher Gray The Austin Chronicle

After too many years as a forklift operator on a warehouse receiving dock (earning the R.G. monikker: Receiving Genius), Stark purchased an R.V. travel-trailer in East Austin, quit the day job, and began writing songs for "Not Crazy Tonight". The album was recorded with Ron Flynt (20/20, The Bluehearts)
at his Jumping Dog studio, featuring BDS mates Eric Hisaw, Vicente Rodriguez, and Kevin Kelnar, as well as Austin guitar legend Scrappy Jud Newcomb. Neil Flanz who toured with the notorious Gram Parsons Fallen Angels Band makes an appearance as well.

The songs continue where the latest BDS release,
"Shrimp Boat Town" left off. (Selected as a top 10 for 2006 by The Austin Chronicle's Chris Gray). The new record continues exploring the human geography of the gulf coast and borderlands. "Not Crazy Tonight" moves farther west... "where the shooting stars and semi-trucks streak across the rolling plains" (Mineral Wells), examining the lives and tribulations of characters on both sides of the border... "Now the bright lights shine before us, like a thousand eyes of desperate birds of prey" (Coyote)... "I hear the pain in your Spanish serenade, the sin and dark skin, the trouble we're in" (Lorena). But there is a sense of hope on this journey, where... "with faith and conviction a place of redemption we'll find on our way" (Lorena).

"Stark twangs with the kind of gothic/desperate-men-do-desperate-things lyrics that haunt while propelling the boot-scooting..." — Jim Beal San Antonio Express-News

If you've ever heard the tire hum shift as you passed a county line marker, if you've ever spent a heartbroken night in a dusty honky-tonk where the jukebox was your only friend, if you have ever wandered past a pay phone in the driving rain without making a call, then you've entered R.G. Stark territory..