The Gourds

The Gourds

 Austin, Texas, USA

Back-porch, high-octane roots music, laden with dense and oblique lyrical allusions and tongue-in-cheek punning, has made them an Austin favorite of both rowdy drinkers and string-band traditionalists, crossing generations as much as they do genres.


This is the great American band, This is The Gourds.

These 5 "well read neck's" traverse roots music styles in the same way they barrel cross country, season after season, hell bent for the sake of the song. Their shows are the stuff of legend. All kinds gather 'round when they come to town, from academia to bohemia, Suburbia to schizophrenia, old dead heads, red necks, red head's and sugar shaker's and everyone in between all love their infectious sound. familiar without being derivative, intelligent without being pretentious, visceral without being violent, spiritual without being judgmental, traditional without being anachronistic. This is a high energy show equal parts poetry reading and tent revival. Great country ballads will walk shoulder to shoulder with full tilt Stones' style rock n roll. In the same way Bill Monroe created Blue Grass and Chuck Berry created rock n' roll, The Gourds have created a unique sound and style of music from the same ingredients found in the American soil and soul. Once you hear them you will understand why so many travel so far just to witness each show as a unique event unto itself. This is the great American band. This is The Gourds. A quintet combo that is truly the sum of all its parts. The music they create is all inclusive to the audiences they play for. And, all are encouraged to participate in the moment.
Formed in the summer '94 in the heart of Austin,TX.
The Gourds have become everything good about that famous city's reputed musical tradition. It is safe to say that this band, once considered irreverent outsiders in that town, have become an institution in the ATX. The mayor of Austin recently hit the guys up for some free t-shirts for his daughters. The Gourds gladly handed the cotton over to his highness. Texas' Governor's Music Office regularly sends visitors to see The Gourds as they are said to encompass the variety of Texas music in a single show; Rock, Country, Blues, Zydeco, Tejano and Swing presented with originality and a fierce independence. But ask them and they still have an underdog mentality. This leads to raging, dynamic shows. The fellows want to keep their reputation in tact, you see?
When gazing upon a Gourds' stage one might liken it to the showroom of a Pawnshop. They employ 10 different instruments and duplicates of some of those. K. Langford plays a vintage Gretsch drum kit, J. Smith plays electric bass and acoustic guitar, C. Bumps Bernard plays accordion and keyboards and guitars, Shinyribs Russell plays acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and dances like a hillbilly Bobby Brown and the great Max Johnston plays fiddle, banjo, lap steel, mandolin, guitars and anything else with strings on it that might be laying around during a show.
The Gourds are the real deal… with few peers in the realm of great live performance. After one has been disappointed by the flavor of the month, month after month, one must see The Gourds. This is the great American band, This is The Gourds.


Gin & Juice

Written By: by Snoop Doggy Dogg As played by the Gourds

With so much drama in L-B-C
It's kinda hard bein Snoop D-O-double-G
But I, somehow, some way
Keep comin up with funky ass shit nearly every single day
Can I, kick a little something for the G's
and, make a few friends is a breeze, through
Two in the mornin and the party's still jumpin
cause my momma ain't ho-ome
I got bitches in the living room gettin it on
and, they ain't leavin til six in the mornin
So what you wanna do hoo
I got a pocket full of rubbers and my homeboys do too
So turn off the lights and close the doors
But (but what) we don't love them whores
So we gonna smoke a ounce to this
G's up, hoes down, while you motherf**kers bounce to this

Chorus: repeat 2X

Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice
Laid back with my mind on my money and my money on my mind

Verse Two:

Now that I got me some Seagram's gin
Every body got their cups, but they ain't chipped in
Ya know this type of shit, happens all the time
Gotta get yours before I get mine
Everything is fine when you listenin to the D-O-G
He gots the cultivating music that be captivating he
who hears the words that I speak
As I take me a drink to the middle of the street
and get mackin to this bitch named Sadie
She used to be the homeboy's lady
Eighty degrees, when I tell that bitch please
Raise up off these N-U-T's, cause you gets none of these
as I mob with the Dogg Pound, feel the breeze


Verse Three:

(slows down)
Later on that day
My homey Dr. Dre
He came by with a gang of Tanqueray
And a fat ass J,
(speeds up)
of some bubonic chronic you know it made me choke
It ain't no joke, I had to back up off of it,
Set my cup of gin down

(stops) Yeah, Tanqueray and chronic, well I'm f**ked up now (speeds back up)
But it ain't no stoppin, I'm still poppin
Dr Dre got some bitches from the city of Compton
To serve me, not with a cherry on top
Cause when I bust my nut, ya know I'm raisin up off the cot
Don't get upset girl, that's just how it goes
I don't love you hoes, that's why I'm out the do'
And I'll be

Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice {beeotch!!}
Laid back with my mind on my money and my money on my mind

Layin' Around The House

Written By: Jimmy Smith

Columbia's unwound
If it gets any worse
Gonna have to go down
Get me some military training
Embark on a little mission
Slap some bicycle together
Got to get the ball rolling
Let's just say
Got to wrap some roses
Snug in a tortilla
Got to pay a little visit
To Fatty Carmello
Helps keep the classical
Up on the radio
Hell, I can't help it
If God don't walk here
Everytime I want to work
But maybe if my bed is made
Or I cast a vote
Take it easy on the wino
Or give up the smoke
Ole Fatty Carmello
Ole Fatty gonna be broke
And I can just use
What's laying around the house

Mr. Betty

Written By: Jimmy Smith

Mr. Betty ain't no friend of mine
Got me feelin' like a diaper champ
Beat me down lord but I just don't listen
Wanna suck today, well that's your business
Next thing I know I blow my top
Shouldn't keep it all bottled up
Now I'm living out my life on vinyl
A little hiss, skip, fizzle, pop
You want clown but I give you mime
Want it rare I cook it well done
Spend my money so I take my time
Long division we all multiple
Mr. Betty's just like Typhoid Mary
Her vittles out of Hell's Kitchen
Dealin' poison out of her desperation
Go on Mary carry it with out a symptom

Red Letter Day

Written By: Max Johnston

On and on and by the rules....
The way you came and went with me....

Like a broken Tilta-Whirl...
Is there any chance?

Oh the world is closing in
Oh I'm trying to pretend
Is there a way
A better day

Runnin' rounds a marathon (epic take?)
I've got my rosy blinders on (true?)

Now all them roses in the land
I gathered, put 'em in yer hand
Can you smell or should I? Sniff?

Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Is there a way?
A better day?
A better day?

Burn The Honeysuckle

Written By: Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell

I was born in the summer with black gum on my heals
Full grown and cussin' and bleach on my wheels
Killed me a panther before I was even grown
With a pocket knife and a guitar string and a live honey comb
They gonna burn a honeysuckle when I die
Married me a girl raised on mustard greens and bears
Chimney brown and lanky smoke all in her hair
Bore me seven babies in ten years time
With skin like tobacco and eyes like wine
They gonna burn the honeysuckle when I die
When I'm dead and gone and the sun don't shine
Build a fire where the grass is gone and burn that vine
Put me down there with the rest
In the muddy ground, get me blessed
I don't wanna go, I must confess
Put me down there with the rest
I love the sound of the rain rolling through the trees
Plate of bacon and a banjo on my knee
Love to see the lightning crackin' in the spring
When the moon goes down in the morning I smoke and I sing
They gonna burn the honeysuckle when I die

Right In The Head

Written By: Jimmy Smith

If you don't pay me back forget it
I wont track you down

You have no debt
You already paid out yer mouth

I'm crawling in time
Give me back my wig
The brewer yeast ferments and forgives all that you did

Meanwhile my motor drinks a quart of oil
That's what keeps her clean and on the road

Here's hoping yer trip is swift
Whats the hurry, don't go

I'm happy to hear she ain't turnin' tricks no more
No she turnin' over just fine
It's a new solenoid

And we hear you spent some time in Escondido
No, someone fed you a line
I was just sleeping

And i always believed that more time should be spent in bed
And whoever said sleep is a thief just ain't right in the head

Ants On The Melon

Written By: Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell

I do declare & I do swear down to the soles of my shoes
My grass is green as the trees in spring & the sky is blue
Ants are crawlin' around the melon
The melon spiked with gin
I swear I swear I do declare
Gonna have a slice of melon again

I'm gonna fry me some chickens, baby
Fry me up some chickens tonight
Mash taters & butter and all the other
We gonna do it up right
I wanna see you naked, baby
See yer titties sittin' up high
Mash taters and butter and all the other
We gonna do it up right

I'm gonna put down my old brown cow
Gonna put down my brown cow
She was hurt when we was workin'
Gonna put down my brown cow
Load me up my ol' 22
Put the gun to her head
I pulled the trigger, just like I figger'd
Old brown cow was dead


Written By: Max Johnston

A long goodbye is comin' on
Just one more sun and I'll be gone
The roads will wind
And track will sing
'Til winter's moans turns into spring

And in the spring I brought you roses
And in the summer for you gold
And in the fall a blankets warmin'
For in the winter to unfold

The long steel rails and short cross ties
Sing me back home like lullabies
And as I make my way back home again
I find no one to let me in

Pill Bug Blues

Written By: Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell

You can have a dose of nicotine

If yer getting drowsy or feelin mean

You can have a glass of Beaujolais

I never try to get in yer way

Whiskey is the devil but a friend of mine

I can share a shot or more sometime

You don’t have to work or even pray

And you can roll the roaches in my ash tray

You just gotta stay right where you are

If you go anywhere don’t go too far

Cuz I get lonely and I get down

Baby I can’t have you out runnnin round

Just let me know if yer feelin sad

Even if yer feelin like my stealins bad

I don’t like to steal you know it’s true

But it don’t matter if I steal for you

Take one of these to calm yer nerves

That about the only need they serve

I can buy’em from the girl next door

Just let me know if ya need some more

If you need some more I know where they are

If you go anywhere don’t go too far

Cuz I get lonely and I get down

Baby I can’t have you out runnin’ round

My Name Is Jorge

Written By: Jimmy Smith

My name is Jorge and I twist and I juke

I roll into town with my wagon of fruit

I'll sell you an apple

I'll sell you an orange

And what you do with it ain't of my concerns

I once sold me an apple to William S. Burroughs

He shot up his dope, his Wine sap, his girl

And I sold me a lemon to Henry S. Ford

But he brought it back, I said, all sales are final

And I sold me a plum to a man who makes pies

Jack stuck in his thumb, oh what a surprise

And I sold sugar cane to Harvey Oswald

And he didn't shoot Johnny but I think he's involved

Yeah, I sold the cherries

I sold the pits

Them girls gettin' married, them girls havin' kids

And I won an award for a melon I growed

So I fixed up the wagon to vend a new load

But I won't sell no flowers no that ain't my gig

And I won't sell no cow, fish, fowl or pig

But I'll sell a bucket of peaches to Prine

'Cept he's got his own tree so he ain't shakin' mine

Once sold me a pear to Muhammed Ali

But I called him Clay so he punched me out

Now I'm punch drunk and my wagon's ka-poot

Said my name is Jorge and I twist and I juke

He roll into town with a wagon of fruit


Written By: Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell

31 days my fingers feel like rain

This jail was built on cracklins and cocaine

Policemen knocked me down and then charged me

With smokin and inciting vagrancy

Chicken sneezed eatin my cracklins

Buttercup bloomin in the badlands

Kaboom kaboom piss on the curses

Hospital kiss all the nurses

I got to find some weed and some wine

I got to find some trouble sometime

Them Navasota troopers ran me down

Escorted me right out of town

For cherry pickin squirrels and feedin dogs

And dreamin of Jamaica in a fog

Them Mississippi state police chased me

Pascagoula all the way to Metarie

I robbed a federal bank with a rack of ribs

A jar of sauce some white bread and a bib

I was eatin cracklins as the Feds were closin in

They watched the water as my car went rollin in

The dragged the river and notified my next of kin

But brother pigs do fly and so can a man

When he's full of fried pork skins

Illegal Oyster

Written By: Jimmy Smith

Did what I could

Let the funk in my ‘hood

Walk through my door

That’s what I asked for

Boy you better be careful

Don’t you get bent over

Watch your long shadow

You know I’ll cut you

Well hell if that’s all I gotta do

Let me quote a price for you

God damn let me get out my checkbook

Who do I make it out to

Well your daddy’s broke

And your mother’s homely

She’s a precious pearl

From an illegal oyster

Put her on a string

I’ll bet the necklace

I can name the thief

And what she ate for breakfast

Well hell if that’s all I gotta do

Let me get into costume

God damn let me get out my checkbook

Who do I make it out to

Well hell if that’s all I gotta do

Let me get in bed with you

Steeple Full Of Swallows

Written By: Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell

Steeple full of swallows

Hammer in the weeds

heart full of my head

mosquito’s on my feet

You must be the fine hairs

You must be the frown

You must be the reason

All the lights go down

Steeple full of swallows

Smoke in the house

heart full of my head

mud in my mouth

You must be the cinder

You must be the sound

You must be the reason

all the lights go down

O Rings

Written By: Max Johnston

a pull of the squeezebox plays round

through your golden locked hair

next to mine in the lantern glare

the swing of the meoldy takes

you arm in arm with me while

we sway in harmony dancin there

oh rings around you and me

oh no where i'd rather be

the strings of the mandolin sing

to the twirlin rows round

to the cricket legs rubbin sound

then the call from the caller

brings quiet to the hall where we'd spun

neath the ball and the lantern glare

oh rings around you and me

oh no where i'd rather be

Plaid Coat

Written By: Jimmy Smith

Started out late

In my Dirty Plaid Coat

Watched my heel

lift the dead satin dress

from the ground

One day I touched it with my hands

and it scattered like scared birds

By 3a.m. they were pidgeons

with drinking problems and bad luck

on God's front porch

where the wind

is dense with insects

where the wind

is dense with bugs

Made of coffee and guitars

Shake The Chandelier

Written By: Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell

If the 7’s are equal there’s milk in the glass

If the 7’s are equal there’s honey in the grass

Cows and the bees and the crickets they sparkle like the devil

There’s a dark carnation and a wrinkle in the road

A dark carnation to assemble and load

Between the rivers and the flowers the physician he concludes it’s a contusion

I wanna see the king drink his coconut soda in the February sunshine

I wanna grease the gears, clean my knife with crocodile tears

Blend it with the butter of another lover

And shake the chandelier

If you miss me from burning don’t let me turn to ash

If you miss me from turning, don’t let me flash

Don’t let me flash like a light or burn like a meteorite

Cranky Mulatto

Written By: Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell

Storm down in the gulf, how hard it’s gonna blow

In the citronella candle glow it’s a cranky mulatto.

Opossum in the tree, devil in the leaves

Mouse done stole the cheese, dog done stole the fleas

Heaven’s radio makes a sound like a brown banjo

Opossum sittin’ in the limbs

Devil gonna wait for him


Written By: Jimmy Smith

Oh Maria hands it out

she comes from Guatamala

she helps me get around

she helps when I'm in trouble

when the ice cream hit the ground

The Federales they were a'coming

she had made arrangements with a vendor

the stupid gringo - he got away

Now if I had a $100's

and maracas in my hand

I'd shake them for Maria

I'd pressure her old man

to let me take her back to Texas

In the white pickup truck

where she had done a dozen favors

to get me out of dutch


Now we never spank the children

and the house is pretty small

and I never learned the language

of old Guatamal

but there are frijoles when I'm hungry

and I drink tequila when I'm dry

and the coffee is oh so good

and Maria hands it out


El Paso

Written By: Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell

Flooded roads out of town

Call and telephone lines are down

call and the lines are down

Retarded girl she slurs

Tornadoes out on the desert sir

And I'm going to El Paso

Chicken blood on my pants

Hands are shaky and pillow is damp

Hands are shaky and pillow is damp

Cigarette rumble seat

Drive all day got nothing to eat

Drivin all day got nothing and I'm goin to

El Paso

Look out Juarez

I gonna dance with the Strawberry girl

gonna dance with the Strawberry girl

Green shirt muddy shoes

Waiting on the bus to get me through

Waiting on the bus to get me goin to

El Paso


KUT (EP) - 1995
Dem's Good Beeble - 1997
Go Get Your Shinebox(EP) - 1998
Stadium Blitzer - 1998
Shinebox - 2001
Ghosts of Hallelujah - 1999
Bolsa de Agua - 2000
Cow Fish Fowl Or Pig - 2002
Grownin A Beard - 2003
Blood of the Ram - 2004
Heavy Ornamentals - 2006
Noble Creatures - 2007
Haymaker - January 6th, 2009

Set List

With 10 studio releases & literally scores of covers, we can play any style of set needed. From acoustical sets to stadiums & festivals, we have never been one of those bands that only remembers how to play our latest songs.