If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times: Buxton is Houston’s answer to Wilco. Its music is folky–but also often rides that same line between rock and country–and there’s no one else in Houston making music quite like Buxton. Its 2008 album, A Family Light, earned the band a devoted fan base and accolades from practically all of Houston’s music press. Houston Chronicle called Buxton “one of Houston’s finest bands,” and Space City Rock wrote that “Buxton are one of a small handful of indie-folk bands in town who’ve taken the current folk idiom and pulled it backwards to an earlier time, and they’re one of the best around.” I can’t disagree with either description, have ranked Buxton’s releases among my favorite local releases in both 2008 and 2009, and look forward to the band’s future work.
Buxton–which has been in the studio recently working on songs for a new album–returns to Free Press Summer Fest‘s impressive line-up this year, and bassist Chris Wise recently answered a few questions for Houston Calling.
Houston Calling: Buxton has steadily made a name for itself in the Houston area over the past few years, and has earned a Houston Press Music Award nomination. Are you pleased with the response the band has received so far? What are your hopes for the band for the future?
Chris Wise: We’re really appreciative of the response we’ve received in the Houston area–for a long time nobody knew who we were. We’ve been playing together for six years and it wasn’t really til 2008 that anybody really took notice. Getting nominated was really cool, and it’s great to be considered in the same league as Sideshow Tramps. They are the best musicians I know. Really, our hopes for the future is to get more people to hear our music, and maybe even like it. We’re very prepared to push this next album, we all believe in these songs and I think it inspires us to work harder.
HC: Which bands are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Summer Fest? Maybe next year Wilco will play…
CW: Wilco playing would blow my mind. They are one of our favorite bands, I don’t think we could handle it. (laughs) I think for almost everyone, the band to see is The Flaming Lips. The Soft Bulletin is one of my favorite albums of all time, and their new album Embryonic is excellent. We’re always excited to see Grandfather Child, they inspire jealousy.
HC: You guys recently played the crawfish festival in Spring, right? How did that go? You also have a gig coming up downtown at Discovery Green (with The Small Sounds)–how did that come about?
CW: We played it last year too, this year was a hundred times better because it didn’t rain. It went well, we got to play with Austin Sepulvado, which is always a bonus. Those are really weird environments to play because generally people don’t know who you are, but fortunately we played pretty solid and we caught some ears. The Discovery Green show came out through Allen Hill. He was looking for bands, and we were suggested. We did that also last year, and it rained. The people who stuck around just joined us onstage and we played a very weird, awkward set. Hopefully the trend this year is that we get some luck with rain that we didn’t get last year. It should be great, I can’t wait.
HC: What’s your take on the current state of the Houston music scene? What would you do to improve it?
CW: It seems like it’s been on the up for a while now and I’m just wondering how far that’s going to go. It seems like everyone is waiting for something to happen, and I hope something does. Everyone is working hard, and that just naturally pays off.
sIngs came out in April and that’s my favorite record of the year thus far. Wild Moccasins‘ new record is amazing. listenlisten‘s new stuff is solid and I think they’re done recording it. I really think that’s going to take the cake. Grandfather Child is set to record. You got Robert Ellis‘ record coming out. Tax the Wolf should have something soon. Rabdargab by Fat Tony hopefully comes out this year. Giant Princess as well. I mean the list goes on, and I’ll be surprised if all of that goes unnoticed. It would have to be one hell of a local curse to keep all of that good music insulated in Houston.
Normally I would say people putting out their music in a tangible form would be the best way to improve it but that’s not the case anymore. At least this year. I honestly can’t think of a thing; if everyone is working hard, then good things will come.
HC: Buxton’s last release was a 7-inch (“Flint”/”Feathers”). Are you planning a 2010 release for a new album, or is that still in the works?
CW: Yes. We’re recording it right now at SugarHill with John Griffin. It should be out this year. And it’s feeling really good. It took a while for us to get the songs where they needed to be. And as much as I really want it to come out this year, we’re going to take as much time as we need to get it right. I don’t think we’ve ever felt as good as we do about these songs. But yeah, I think its safe to say it will be out this year.
HC: What’s one album you’ve bought this year that you would recommend I check out?
Thanks to Buxton’s Chris Wise for taking the time to answer these questions.
Check out this video of Buxton at SugarHill Studios:
Click here for a recent “Backseat Jukebox” video of Buxton.
Buxton plays at Free Press Summer Fest on Sunday, 6.6.10, at 12:05pm on the Dos Equis stage. The band also plays at 5pm on 5.27.10 in downtown Houston at Discovery Green with The Small Sounds.