Hometown honky tonk heroes Jacob Tovar and the Saddle Tramps are set to release their self-titled first album at VFW Post 577 on Friday, August 14. In anticipation of the release, two-thirds of the band, Tovar and luthier/master of mind-boggling guitar licks Seth Lee Jones made an appearance at our Courtyard Concert Series. If you’ve seen Tovar and the Tramps play, you’re familiar with the feeling they create—like you’ve been whisked away to some place that exists outside of time, where it wouldn’t be too surprising to spot Bob Wills in the corner just watching the bubbles in his beer, nodding along to the music.
Best way to spend a Saturday:
Jacob Tovar: With my wife.
Seth Lee Jones: In the shop, man. I like to work.
JT: Do you want us to be [Saddle Tramps electric guitarist] Cooper Waugh? ‘Cause we can be him, too. If you wanna ask him anything, his answer for everything will be "fishing."
Favorite local venue to play:
SLJ: Dead tie between The Colony and the Mercury.
JT: Definitely. We’ve had some great experiences at both of them. Those are the two fun venues that really are music venues.
Currently listening to:
SLJ: Sonny Landreth—Grant Street.
JT: Of course. That has nothing to do with honky tonk.
SLJ: That’s right.
JT: I’m currently listening to Rufus Wainwright in the car right now. And that has nothing to do with honky tonk either.
Most anticipated shows:
JT: Sunday Nite Thing with Paul Benjaman.
SLJ: I’ll second that. I’m there every Sunday. Sunday Nite Thing and the Monday Singer Songwriter Night [also at The Colony] are the only things I make it out to when I’m not playing. Those are always fun, and you never know what you’re gonna hear.
JT: Every week I look forward to it. Some of the best music I’ve seen in my life has been at The Colony on a Sunday night. I’ve been mesmerized several times. There’s always a new guest, and they’re put in a situation where they’re vulnerable, and sometimes it’s fucking brilliant.
Favorite local hangout:
SLJ: It’s gonna have to be The Colony for me, dude.
JT: Yeah, Colony. It’s like a clubhouse for musicians. It’s where everybody hangs out. Someday I will own the fuckin’ Colony.
SLJ: He’s gonna change the name to Jacob Tovar I Love This Bar.
Three albums I’d need on a desert island:
SLJ: Paul Benjaman’s Something, Paul Benjaman’s Sneaker…
JT: One of my biggest healing albums that I listen to all the time is Michael Hedges’ Aerial Boundaries. It’s a straight instrumental album, fingerstyle. He was an Oklahoma guy. And man, it just hits me and calms me down.
SLJ: I’ve got my third. Dogman—King’s X.
JT: Damn. Marty Robbins—Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. Webb Pierce—The Wondering Boy. "There Stands the Glass" is on that. And that’s it. I’m on the island, and that’s what I’ve got. I might have to throw Michael Hedges out. No, I’ll need him to calm me down when I’m having a panic attack from being on an island by myself. Michael and I are gonna get through this.
SLJ: It is product testing for me. The whole reason I got into doing what I do for a living is because I love music. And then I found that I love woodworking, too, so it’s just this continuous vicious cycle of work. I get up in the morning and practice for an hour or two. I go in and work in the shop for as many hours as I can stand. Then I go back in the house and play some more.
JT: It’s very healing for me to have music in my life. The feeling I get from watching somebody play live is just spiritual. I’ve watched Seth do stuff, and I’ll get the gut feeling of like, "Man, I just went to church. I believe this was from God. That’s how important this is, what I’ve just witnessed." It’s like a drug. My whole mindset has been changed, my whole body, emotions have been changed from just one note that somebody’s played. And also, product testing.
SLJ: Hey, way to outdo me there.