Blackbird Sing – “Cinco” – A Review

Blackbird Sing – “Cinco”

If you’ve never heard of Blackbird Sing, now’s the time to dive right in and let the “Texicana” tunes wash over you. They call it Texicana because, just like San Antonio, it’s a melting pot of sounds ranging from the obvious Americana, Folk, and Country. The birds even found a way to nod to their Alternative and Punk background as well. Friends close to the band may recognize the members from their other local incarnations, Madex (Metal), and DieBoy (Punk).

In “Cinco”, Blackbird Sings’ second release, lead singer Vito Salinas puts it all on his sleeve. With song titles like “Heart Strings”, “Oh Darling”, and “Sacramental”, it’s no secret that these are written from the heart. After listening to their first album Enemies From Years Of Loving, the growth in musicianship and the experience of being together after five years really shines through. While Enemies laid the groundwork for what Blackbird Sing is all about, Cinco brings you with them through the changes in their life: getting older, starting families, family changes, and all the difference that five years can make.

“I still believe in what you say and not what you do”, heard on ”Heart Strings”, speaks to those who devote themselves to a love that, in the very least, doesn’t respect the love they’re offering. This is the kind of heartfelt emotion that can be heard in each song. This track also introduces you to the Spanish/Hispanic influence that can also be heard on “Battle Of Sanan” with the introduction of the accordion and some a short phrase in Spanish. I believe this might be a way of showing how they (most of them) are connecting with their heritage, another change that usually occurs as we get older. Their attention to musical construction is evident in their ability to insert meaningful pauses, extending a vocal part to draw on emotion, and the way that certain complexities are able to coexist in songs like “Battle” through the masterful way they’re layered. Also, something to note, is that these guys sound even better live!

Change your plans on Saturday April 30th, and head to Sam’s Burger Joint to hear for yourself. The CD release show includes their longtime friends, Devils & Dust and is the only place you can get a physical copy of “Cinco”. If you absolutely cannot make it out, the digital release will be on Cinco de Mayo. I vote that you get the physical disk and see how many times you find nods to the number 5. Here’s to another five years of Blackbird Sing.

Vito Salinas: Singer/Songwriter, Guitar
George Ransom: Bass
James Magallanez: Guitar, Percussion, and Harmonica
Daniel Magallanez: Drums
Andy Salazar: Lead Guitar, Piano, and Trumpet

Mario Zamarron – 210 Local Media –

Levees – Levees (EP) Review

Levees – Levees (EP) Review


After seeing these guys play at Sam’s Burger Joint for their third live performance, I knew I had to introduce myself. Soft-spoken Kody and Kyle Anderson (brothers) seem very unassuming and mellow at first glance, almost shy at times. However, soon as they’re on stage, they erupt into a frenzy of howling vocals, and driving and relentless guitar. This band is one you can add to the “they sound as awesome live as they do recorded” list. Tonight at Limelight, in San Antonio Texas, the Anderson brothers, joined by drummer Skyler Ellis and new addition Jeff Palacios on bass (replacing Matt Stieb), will release their eponymous EP Levees.


Luckily, San Antonio can claim this band, even though Kody (vocals) and Kyle (guitar) are transplants from Louisiana, Skyler and Jeff (hey Jeff!) are San Antonio musicians through and through. Overall, Levees does an amazing job of melding multiple genres; blues, hard rock, swamp-fusion, and desert-soul (well, they exist now), and yet bring it together cohesively into a powerful potion.


“I’m Not Holy” is a perfect introduction to Levees and does a great job of urging you into the rest of the album. “Holy” gives you a sense that they know how to hold back when the vibe calls for it while the next track, “In White”, teases the power they’ve got lurking inside of them. Not only is “In White” a bit more powerful, but you get a slightly different flavor of the swampy blues that by now, you’ve come to know and love.


“Low”, by far the mellowest track on the EP, is also the most stylistically interesting. “I’ve got everything to say, but no body to believe,” is easily the most heart wrenching lyric for those who’ve used up their faith from others. It screams to fellow musicians not to give up, even when the world has shut you out and it seems like nobody is listening. In the end though, there is strength in the proclamation, “no I won’t say goodbye.” If Kody and Kyle write from their life experiences, one can’t help but feel triumphant for them at this point of the album.


The final act “Your Spell”, also their first single to have been released earlier last year, is the true powerhouse of the album. The extreme emotion of being helpless while under someone’s “spell” is juxtaposed with, what seems to be in reality, someone’s battle with watching television or films. “Your Spell,” is dualism at its best. Admission of a lack of control and simultaneous submission to what has control over you. No matter how you could interpret it, it’s the perfect way to close out the EP and leaves the listeners helplessly wanting more. Did you guys do that on purpose? Don’t miss Levees tonight at Limelight! If you see me playing photographer, feel free to say hello.


– Mario Zamarron, 210 Local Media

Nothing More

Nothing More

Members: Jonny Hawkins – Lead Vocals & Aux Drums, Daniel Oliver – Bass & Backup Vox, Mark Vollelunga – Guitar & Backup Vox, and Paul OBrien – Drums


There are a lot of bands who claim to wear their hearts on their sleeves, but for Texan quartet Nothing More that sentiment could scarcely be more literal. “When we first started, we branded ourselves on the arm after each year of touring, so we’ve all got these scars now, reminding us of the commitment we made to each other,” confides frontman Jonny Hawkins. To say that this is a band who are dedicated to their cause would be to understate the case somewhat.

Hailing from San Antonio, Nothing More is a four-headed musical hydra that runs on frenetic passion, unswerving DIY spirit and relentless sonic experimentation. Part schizoid System Of A Down weird-isms, part Mars Volta-esque prog rock freak out, part effortless pop nous, they seamlessly barrel from churning headbang to skyscraping chorus and back again in the blink of an eye. Capable of bombastic bounce that hits as hard as an uppercut to the jaw when they fancy it, the boys from The Alamo City are equally able to dial down their bluster into deft moments of crystalline beauty when the mood takes them. It's a gut-punching blend made all the more powerful by a keen lyrical sophistication and philosophical undertone which both belies their years and marks them out from their contemporaries.

Forming initially as Middle school kids whose aspirations were as serious then as they are now, Nothing More's early development took place against a backdrop of suburban boredom and rabid musical obsession. Having tasted the addictive elixir of rock ‘n' roll the band realized they were at a crossroads when they reached college age. “Everyone was telling us to stay in school,” admits Hawkins “but for us that would have been settling. Having a plan B is a recipe for failure. We decided that we had to ignore everyone's advice and totally dedicate ourselves to being in this band.”

And dedicate themselves they did. From fixing up their first tour van out of a derelict, raccoon infested RV to making their own stage rigs for their impassioned live show, the quartet literally built everything they have from the ground up. Those first tours, the ones that wrought the aforementioned scars, were formative in more ways than one. As the four young men saw and experienced more of the world, their spiritual and philosophical outlook began to evolve. “That period of growth was a real struggle for us individually and collectively,” confirms Hawkins “but it made us a lot more open to other ideas and gave us a deeper faith in our own instincts. I think that reflects in our music.”

The drips of those new ideas eventually became a flood and the narrow lens of the western paradigm they were born into was soon replaced with a more holistic world view, striking a balance between rationalism, empiricism and their own intuitions. It's the journey to find truth that has enabled them deal with the existential and the personal in equal measure, and, more importantly, rendered them a band with something to say and no fear of saying it.

“There's an old adage which goes ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.' That is basically what we are about,” intones the singer. “It's not about us ramming our views on religion, or philosophy, or politics down anyone's throats – it's about providing the opportunity for people to explore things themselves and challenging their reality.”

That Nothing More have undergone a spiritual awakening of sorts ought not to distract from the fact that, in the live arena, they are absolute animals. Raw aggression crashing alongside precise riffing, thunderous bass and nigh on tribal percussion to jaw-dropping effect on a nightly basis. The dictionary definition of ‘get in the van and play until you're dynamite live', they've grown through the grassroots by dripping blood sweat and tears across America, challenging the stereotypes of what you might think a band like this can incorporate into their show. Four way drum battles? Three members playing one bass guitar? These guys push the limits in more ways than one.

Nothing More are that rarest of things, a band with the heart, the soul, the brains and the guts to capture your heart and spark your mind. A new generation of rock stars who are unconcerned with fabricated notions of how and where they might fit in or what the hottest trend is, but simply focused on making honest, passionate art with real intent. “We want to be a church for people who don't believe the things that churches believe,” concludes Hawkins. “We want to connect people and connect with people.” And what better way to do that than with uncompromising music built on uncompromised principles, fought for and earned the hard way. Nothing More? Accept nothing less.

Nothing More is a San Antonio band, who claims both SA and New Orleans as their home.

Album available now on iTunes:
T-Shrits and more available at

Donella Drive

Donella Drive

Donella Drive @ HiTones 4-25-15

Donella Drive @ HiTones 4-25-15

Donella Drive is:

Ella Macias – Vocals & Midriff
Aidan Escalante – Guitar & Comedy
Andrew Salazar – Bass & The Serious Guy (not really)
Colt Wrangler Lyons – Drums & Hard Working Man Hands

The band recently held an extremely successful cd release show for their new EP, Anomalous with the support of RMRS, The Heroine, and Lonely Horse at Hi-Tones in San Antonio, TX.

(Bio from ReverbNation)

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Local Music Lyric Archive


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Sounds Of Sovereignty

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