The Texas Sapphires
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The Texas Sapphires


Band Americana Country


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"Country Line Magazine"


Texas Sapphires

With the tide of “Texas Music” turning, the bands and vocalists who do not carry their own tune will soon be gathering dust in a garage or bagging groceries at a shop near you soon. Harsh words, maybe. But you can only copy a mouse trap so often before the mice get the idea and quit frequenting the cheese. When I get to listen to something refreshingly new and enlightening to my senses, I smile. The Texas Sapphires are one of the best sounds cresting the music waves here in Texas and their new CD deserves your ear time.

The band’s debut album, Valley So Steep, Stag Records, pushed the band into the coveted “Best New Band” for 2007 by the Austin Chronicle spot and provided, again, confirmation of their mission and their gut feeling for who they are. Front man Billy Brent Malkus and band mate Rebecca Lucille Cannon make for the hottest duet on the scene right now, and you get plenty of them together on the new disc.

On the release of the new record, Jill McGuckin at McGuckin Entertainment breaks the news; “The Texas Sapphires, the five-piece altcountry- hillbilly-bluegrass combo, are set to release Roadhouse Gems Live @ John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes (Stag Records). They are currently touring behind the new recording and its debut, making stops from New Mexico to Wyoming, and Texas.”

The upcoming release, recorded in the famous Texas country store of John T. Floore, has been called “a breath of fresh air,” by Americana singersongwriter Jesse Dayton. He blessed The Sapphires for “bucking the trend of the ultra conservative/safe Texas Music scene.” Exactly as we said — they are not a copy band or wannabe Texas music band they are, well, the Texas Sapphires.

In addition to Malkus (guitar, Dobro and piano) and co-lead vocalist Cannon, The Texas Sapphires are Bobby Daniel on bass guitar and Bob “Slim Bawb” Pearce on banjo, mandolin, Dobro and steel guitar. Honorary Sapphires include Lloyd Maines (Dobro, pedal steel), Kim Deschamps (pedal and lap steel, Dobro, banjo), Nathan Fleming (pedal steel, Dobro), Scotty Mathews (drums) and Justin Kolb (bass). The Texas Sapphires will be performing Oct. 12 at the Continental Club in Austin with 1100 Springs. For more info on the band check out their Web site at - Cover Story

""99 Bands" - Darcie Stevens"

"This is what country music is supposed to sound like: Banjo, guitar, bass, and drums, with a Tammy Wynette voice courtesy of Rebecca Cannon. The quintet is recording with Lloyd Maines soon and due for serious attention."

— Darcie Stevens, Austin Chronicle cover story, "99 Bands" July 7, 2005

- The Austin Chronicle

"Texas Platters- Margaret Moser"

"...delightfully traditional, tasty songs mostly written by Billy Brent Malkus, whose duets with Cannon come off as postmodern Porter and Dolly."

— Margaret Moser, Texas Platters, Austin Chronicle, July 15, 2005 - The Austin Chronicle

"San Antonio Express-News"

San Antonio Express-News, 04/20/2006


Another treat will be opening act The Texas Sapphires, an Austin roots country/bluegrass/string/rock band that released its debut CD this week, "Valley So Steep." Giving this band an edge are the lead vocals of Billy Brent Malkus and Rebecca Lucille Cannon that offer a double whammy on their originals, which sound like classics. Showtime is 9 p.m. - John Goodspeed

"Jerry Renshaw"

"Nimble guitar player Billy Brent Malkus is always worth a listen as he takes all the curves at 90 mph and pulls 'em right through."

— Jerry Renshaw, Austin Chronicle
- The Austin Chronicle

"Lloyd Maines- Producer"

"The Texas Sapphires are a breath of fresh air in the boiling pot of new music in the country today... Inspired Songs, great vocals and diverse band members that toss their respective musical influences into the ring... The end result is a great listen."

-Lloyd Maines - Lloyd Maines

"Cd-Review by Margaret Moser"

Austin Chronicle, April 6, 2006

Texas Platters
Record review
BY Margaret Moser

The Texas Sapphires
Valley So Steep (Lowe Farm)

With Rebecca Lucille Cannon riding herd as sweetheart of the rodeo and Billy Brent Malkus' cowboy soul, the Texas Sapphires burst out of the chute with their debut CD, Valley So Steep. Dealing out reinvigorated classic country in 11 original compositions, plus an ace version of Gram Parsons' "Las Vegas," the Sapphires lay down a full house. Small wonder they staked their claim as Best New Band in the recent Austin Music Awards or that they landed shows with Ray Price and Dwight Yoakam. The local quintet wears its genre like an old pair of spit-shined boots on "Bring Out the Bible (We Ain't Got a Prayer)," "Cold Silver Ring," and "Driftin' In," thanks to producer Lloyd Maines' suedecloth touch. "Ladyfest, TX" suggests the Carter Family doing pickup gigs with Porter and Dolly. Malkus and Cannon are ably assisted by bandmates Jeff Joiner, Paul Schroeder, and Ram Zimmerman, with guests such as Kim Deschamps and fiddler Warren Hood. Given Nashville standards, country music should be safe for the iPod world. With Valley So Deep, the Texas Sapphires buck that system like a nicotine-patched bronco.

- The Austin Chronicle

"CD Review- Andy Turner"


Boasting the addictive harmony vocals of Billy Brent Malkus and Rebecca Lucille Cannon, a sweaty, tattooed take on classic country, and some great songs, the Texas Sapphires have earned a following down Austin way. Like the similarly geographically-defined band Porter Hall, TN, the Sapphires bring to mind X, but they put their own stamp on Valley So Steep. With punk backgrounds, Cannon (formerly of Sincola) and Malkus serve things up soulful but spirited. Bluegrass elements are nicely incorporated throughout, guided by Brother Paul Schroeder's mandolin and banjo playing. Co-producer Lloyd Maines and Kim Deschamps contribute their considerable steel and dobro skills, and Warren Hood helps out on fiddle. Main songwriter Malkus is fully versed in honky-tonk, expertly delivering heartbreak on songs such as "Cold Silver Ring", "Barstow Barstool" and "Deep Gap Blue". The band provides a rowdy, funky hoedown on "Ladyfest, TX", and "Bring Out the Bible (We Ain't Got a Prayer)" is as good as the title suggests. An accomplished debut. - ANDY TURNER, No Depression

- No Depression

"Chet Flippo- CMT Editorial Director"

NASHVILLE SKYLINE: Hear This Voice: Sunny Sweeney
And Check Out Texas Music From the Texas Sapphires and James Hand

By: Chet Flippo
(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/ Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)
Another impressive debut comes from the group, the Texas Sapphires. They are an exuberant, spirited bunch of rag-tag, sort of honky-tonk punkers. With their male and female co-lead singers, they sound to me very much the spiritual children of both Asleep at the Wheel and Gram Parsons. In fact, the Sapphires conclude their debut album Valley So Steep with a convincing and emotional rendering of Parsons' "Las Vegas." I have not yet seen them live, but I am sure they are a hell of a lot of fun in person onstage. A song such as "Bring Out the Bible (We Ain't Got a Prayer)" has to make you smile.

"Michael Corcoran"

By Michael Corcoran <>
Thursday, July 06, 2006

Texas Sapphires 'Valley So Steep' (Lowe Farm)

When former punk rockers play country (a Johnny Cash reissue changed their lives), the results can be dicey, with attitude often overshadowing the musicianship. But the Texas Sapphires, led by Billy Brent Malkmus (ex-Mondo Generator) and Rebecca Cannon (ex-Sincola), have made an authentic, traditional-sounding album without coming off as mere replicators. The songwriting, most by Malkmus, is exceptional in spots ("Bring Out the Bible, We Ain't Got a Prayer," "The Emerald Outlaw"), quite ordinary in others ("Break This Fool").

(...) the band is consistently good, especially when the LP's producer, Lloyd Maines, sits in on pedal steel and ex-Cowboy Junkie Kim Deschamps adds dobro. Malkmus is also no slouch on guitar.

Here's a country band to go out and see even if you don't feel like dancing. The material's that strong.
- Austin American Statesman


Valley So Steep (2006)
Roadhouse Gems (2007)
As He Wanders (2010)



"Best Producer"
5th Place, Lloyd Maines and Billy Brent Malkus
2007 Austin Music Awards

"Best New Band"
2006 Austin Music Awards

"Best New Local Act"
Margaret Moser, Austin Chronicle 2005 Critic's Poll

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* Theme of AS HE WANDERS is wrestling with demons, winning and losing but finally winning and finding happy, hopeful endings and beginnings
* Out of respect and love of her late beloved grandmother, Cannon doing her best to keep alive the tradition of good country music — the kind the woman loved listening to on the radio.
* Veteran tourers, The Texas Sapphires played Europe in 2008, including Crappone, France
* 2006 awards: Best New Band, Austin Music Awards; Best New Local Act, Austin Chronicle Critics Poll
* Cannon’s previous band, pop-punk indie band Sincola, toured with Butthole Surfers and Ben Folds Five.
* Malkus honed his vocal and guitar skills in Nathan Hamilton’s band No Deal.

They blend their punk and country roots to play what they know best--a unique concoction of vintage hillbilly, honky tonk, and rock and roll, with perfectly matched guy/gal vocals and energy-infused live shows.

The Austin-based Country/Americana/Bluegrass band combines an old-time, classic mountain vibe with lyrics that give their tunes a modern edge. Praise for their live shows across Texas, and a well-produced demo, caught the attention of Grammy Award-winning producer, Lloyd Maines, (Dixie Chicks--Home), who offered to produce and play on their debut CD, Valley So Steep. Austin fans showed their support by voting them Best New Band of 2005 in The Austin Chronicle at The Austin Music Awards on March 15, during SXSW 2006.

Co-frontman, singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter Billy Brent Malkus, raised on the family hog farm in rural Maryland, grew up listening to classic country (Stanley Brothers to Doc Watson), but it was the punk scene of Baltimore that he jumped into in the beginning, playing with bands like Berserk, Stress Magnets, and Mondo Generator. He co-wrote “Tension Head” on the Queens of the Stone Age’s album Rated R. After moving to Austin, Texas in 1997, Malkus again began to explore his country roots, playing with various country-based acts and later playing an important part in Nathan Hamilton and No Deal. But it was when he began casually playing country songs with singer Rebecca Lucille Cannon that he knew they were on to something special.

Rebecca Lucille Cannon was raised in Sugarland, Texas by her East Texan Grandma, Billie Joe Nutt with Waylon, Willie, Merle, Ray Price, George Jones, and Patsy Cline playing in the background. Rebelling against her country roots, she fronted 90’s Austin’s pop-punk powerhouse act Sincola. Several releases on Caroline records, touring with Joan Jett, and comparisons to Chrissy Hynde and Patti Smith, somewhere between outlaw country and rock and roll, Cannon has grown loyal to her roots and has found her niche.

Bob “Slim Bawb” Pearce, born on Elvis’s birthday, son of a yodelin’ man, Bawb made his living playing music 5 nights a week for 32 years in Northern California. The first 12 playing pedal steel, banjo, mandolin, dobro etc. with Hot L Sacto and other country bands. Bawb started his own band, The Beer Dawgs in 1986. He wrote all the songs on their 10 albums and was inducted into the Sacramento Area Music Hall Of Fame (SAMMIES) in 1995. He moved to Cedar Creek, Texas in 2006 and joined the Sapphires in 2007. His “swampgrass” band, Slim Bawb and Gator Bait has 2 albums out and continues to perform around the Austin area. Check out Bawb at