Songwriter James Steinle To Release 'Live At Hole In The Wall'
Songwriter James Steinle's music is often filled with characters who live near borders and on open plains, who work cattle on hot days and visit honky tonks at night, who experience hardships and cause of a bit of a ruckus from time to time. His songs are filled with perspective -- sometimes his own, sometimes that of others -- that shine a light on what life looks like for people in a place that's often forgotten. The latest collection to showcase these stories is Live At Hole In The Wall, set to be released on July 26.
"I hold the Hole in the Wall in the highest reverence," Steinle says. "Live is my favorite way to play and present my songs. Not perfect. On the contrary, far from that. But that's just how it is."
Located next to The University of Texas, the Hole In The Wall has been an escape from campus and a discovery zone for new music for the last 45 years. The venue has hosted local success stories such as Lyle Lovett, Gary Clark, Jr., Spoon, and more, while legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Townes Van Zandt, and Cowboy Jack Clement have played the stage at different points in their careers.
Just behind the stage sits a large picture window, where listeners can see cars driving by. Sometimes, on Steinle's latest, you can even hear a siren or two. For him, it's part of what makes the place so memorable. Live At Hole In The Wall was recorded in April of this year and primarily features unreleased songs, except two tracks that appeared on his debut album, South Texas Homecoming. The remaining twelve songs were all written during a specific time when Steinle says it felt like things were moving slow.
"Underside," a timely track about how suffering can go unnoticed in places like the US-Mexico border, is told through a story of a man who leaves behind everything he has, disenchanted by American life, and crosses the border towards "darker designs."
"Zancudo Blues" and "Town's Coming to Me" are both re-imagined live versions of two South Texas Homecoming tracks. "Brush Country Bound" is sonically similar, drawing its inspiration from western swing and Brush Country, the geographic area southwest of San Antonio all the way to the Frontera (the border). "Cowboy Joe" features a cast of characters Steinle grew up around in South Texas. "Good Life on the Plains" spotlights three different stories, including that of an imagined person inhabiting a wood carving.
"Three Dark Kings" is based on Wolfgang Börchert's poem, "Die drei dunklen Könige," an often-bleak portrait of art in a country working to rebuild after the fall of Nazi Germany. "Cold German Mornings" takes its inspiration from the climate Steinle most experienced in the year he lived there, and connects the weather to a battle with a deep depression.
Steinle's upbringing is part of the reason he can see things from so many different angles. He was born in South Texas, spent his childhood in Saudi Arabia and Germany, and is now based in Austin, Texas. His unique worldview, the people he's met and the places he's seen inform the songs he writes.
Steinle will also release a Bruce Robison-produced studio album in early 2020.
Live At Hole In The Wall Track Listing:
2. Reupholstering Dining Chair Blues
3. Where You Been
4. Brush Country Bound
5. Good Life on the Plains
6. Cowboy Joe
7. Three Dark Kings
8. Cold German Mornings
9. Out to Sea
10. We Who Make
11. Zancudo Blues
12. Town's Coming to Me
13. Buying Every Round Blues
14. Lonesome Hero Blues