You could say music is in Clay McClinton’s blood. Son of Fort Worth-raised blues-rock legend Delbert McClinton, Clay, who was born in Fort Worth but now calls Austin home, may be the scion of Texas music royalty, but he stands on his own creatively. His fourth studio album, Bitin’ at the Bit, is a smart blend of country, rock and, yes, a bit of Dad’s bluesy feel — there are even moments where, if you close your eyes, Clay McClinton’s vocals evoke a little of Lyle Lovett’s distinctive drawl. Produced by Gary Nicholson and co-written with Bruce Channel, Tom Hambridge and his father, McClinton fashions evocative odes to the simple life ( Sound of a Small Town) as deftly as he chronicles sud-soaked late nights ( Beer Joint). McClinton celebrates Bit’s release Saturday at Magnolia Motor Lounge.
The Quebe Sisters Band, ‘Every Which-a-Way’
There’s an acute happiness hearing the Quebe Sisters Band anew on record — it has been seven long years since the Burleson-based siblings’ sterling sophomore effort, Timeless. Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe sound as exquisite as ever here, their voices eternally mellifluous and slightly more textured with age. Sprightly fiddle work and that spine-tingling three-part harmony give these Western swing tunes an almost tangible fizz — I Can’t Go On This Way is far peppier than such a title would suggest. And although you wouldn’t know it listening to Every Which-a-Way, this record marks a transition for QSB, which revealed on its website last year that Gavin Kelso and co-founder Joey McKenzie would not be joining the sisters on the road, as they’re “[pursuing] other ventures.” ( The Purple Hulls’ Penny Lea and Katy Lou Clark will be touring with QSB instead.) The Quebe Sisters Band will perform at the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival in April.
Levi Cobb & the Big Smoke, ‘Troublemaker’
Billing itself as “an irreverent, whiskey-soaked folk rock band” (ooh, Whiskey Folk Ramblers rumble?), Denton quartet Levi Cobb & the Big Smoke — lead vocalist/guitarist Jesse Thompson, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Kim Nall, bassist Dave Stone and drummer Charlie Moore — is impressive on its debut full-length LP. Produced by Midlake’s Joey McClellan at Redwood Studios (which is turning into a nerve center for North Texas music), Troublemaker straddles the past and present without being too cute or too serious. Thompson’s and Nall’s voices blend nicely, and the band’s facility with mood ( Cloud O’er My Head is an admirably raw take on depression) suggests they’ll grow into a regional powerhouse sooner than later. Levi Cobb & the Big Smoke performs March 30 at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.