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The Sound & the Fury

Local songwriters make the cut for Troubadour, TX

Back in April, the producers of the 22-episode Troubadour, TX (a docu-reality TV series to premiere nationwide on the CW network and local NBC affiliates on September 24) were in town auditioning local songwriters.

“We are planning on following artists on the road, in their everyday life, and at performances,” producer Erin Gardner told the Current. “It’s NOT American Idol. There is no competition. [We’re] just looking at the lives of these Texas troubadours.”

More than 20 key songwriters showed up, and we were able to observe the process for a short while. The quality of the average performer was impressive, and I’m sure the producer’s decision wasn’t easy. Shortly after that audition, Gardner sent me an email. “We were so impressed ... We’re revamping our production schedule to accommodate more SA artists!” Finally, the producers made their decision: Nicolette Good, Little Brave, and Chacho and Brance are the local musicians that will be followed by Troubadour, TX.

I know what you’re thinking: Chacho who? I thought the same thing, and none of my friends and co-workers had any clue either. Who are these guys?

“Nobody knows us, I know,” said Lorenzo “Chacho” Saldaña, whom the Current found after searching the heavens and Earth. Chacho was born in Eagle Pass, has lived in San Antonio since 1995, and works as a vice principal at a local school. Brance Arnold is a repo man (!), they’ve both been writing dynamite blues/soul-folk songs, and they play anything from harp, guitar, and mandolin, to banjo and resonator guitar. They didn’t find out about Troubadour, TX until after the local auditions, so they auditioned in Austin and kicked ass (if an Austinite got left out because of them, tough shit — it’s about time we won one).

The timing was perfect: Chacho and Brance will present their EP debut, The Como Sessions (recorded in Como, Miss., with Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Jimbo Mathus) with a show at Saluté International Bar (2801 N. St. Mary’s) on Saturday, July 16, with Nicolette Good and Los De Esta Noche, who will be playing an acoustic set for the first time publicly. The Troubadour, TX people will be there, too. The show starts at 9 p.m. and, if you are a songwriter, I would suggest that you bring a demo or CD along. Who knows? If Troubadour, TX delivers on its promise, there should be a second season on the horizon.

[In two weeks, will launch with a zip code search option so you can find out where to watch. Stay tuned.]

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