The Gourds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Gourds
The Gourds performing in Austin, Texas, in 2007
The Gourds performing in Austin, Texas, in 2007
Background information
OriginAustin, Texas, United States
Years active1994–2013 (on hiatus)
MembersClaude Bernard
Max Johnston
Keith Langford
Kevin Russell
Jimmy Smith
Past membersCharlie Llewellin

The Gourds are an American alternative country band that formed in Austin, Texas, United States, during the summer of 1994.[1] After playing together for 19 consecutive years, the band went on hiatus in 2013.


Primarily evolving from the Picket Line Coyotes and the Grackles,[2] The Gourds first line-up consisted of Kevin Russell (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Jimmy Smith (vocals, bass, guitar), Claude Bernard (accordion, guitar, vocals), and Charlie Llewellin (drums, percussion).[3] Llewellin was replaced by Keith Langford shortly after the second album was recorded, and multi-instrumentalist Max Johnston officially joined the band after being invited to play on their third album.[4][5][6] By the following album, Johnston had also become the band's third songwriter, though Russell and Smith continued to share the bulk of those responsibilities.[7][8][9]

Despite a sizable amount of original material, The Gourds are probably best known for a song they did not write, and for which they initially did not receive credit. A recording of the band's cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" was widely shared on the popular file-sharing site Napster, with the song miscredited to the band Phish.[10][11][12] In fact, for most of the 16 years following their first live performance of the song,[13] fans could regularly be heard calling out for the band's cover version of the song, sometimes before the show had even started. This led some to consider it an albatross, but the band continued to play the crowd pleaser, often adding a medley of impromptu cover songs to its midsection.[14][15][16]

While The Gourds' studio efforts were generally well received, their high-energy live performances and constant touring earned them the reputation of a band that had to be seen to be appreciated.[17][18][19][20] As a result, they enjoyed a dedicated fan base[21][22] that was happy to follow them from town to town,[23][24] and became a favorite among those who tape live music.[25][26]

In March 2011, The Gourds traveled to Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, New York to record their 10th studio album, Old Mad Joy. Produced by Larry Campbell, the record was released by Vanguard Records on September 13 that same year.[27][28][29]

In August 2011, director Doug Hawes-Davis began shooting a documentary on the band that combined candid interviews with live performances, past and present. Musician and filmmaker Brendan Canty worked as a camera operator and ran location sound on the project, which drew partial funding from Kickstarter in 2012[30] and premiered in Austin at the South by Southwest film festival on March 13, 2013.[31] The film was released on DVD in 2014.[32]

On October 18, 2013, The Gourds announced that they were taking a hiatus. No reason was provided. Their final show before the break occurred on October 27, 2013, at Threadgill's World Headquarters in Austin, Texas.[33][34] Despite having only nine days notice, Gourds fans from 26 different states were in attendance, and many more watched from home via live streaming video.[35] During an interview the following year, Russell stated, “I think it’s done,” adding, “The only reason we said hiatus was that we didn’t want to say it was done, because that would be final".[36] In response to Russel's comments, Langford stated, "I still wish that someday there could be a project of some kind. Knowing all these dudes, it probably wouldn't be an extended thing. But, some new songs or shows or something".[37] Two months later, in December 2014, Russell seemed slightly more accepting of the idea when he said, "We left it open-ended for a reason . . . I have a little hope that one day we'll get back together and do something".[38] To date, Bernard, Johnston, and Smith have not commented publicly on either the hiatus or the possibility of a reunion.



Studio albums[edit]

  • Dem's Good Beeble – 1996
  • Stadium Blitzer – 1998
  • Ghosts of Hallelujah – 1999
  • Bolsa de Agua – 2000
  • Shinebox – 2001
  • Cow Fish Fowl or Pig – 2002
  • Blood of the Ram – 2004
  • Heavy Ornamentals – 2006
  • Noble Creatures – 2007
  • Haymaker! – 2009
  • Old Mad Joy – 2011

Studio covers and live originals[edit]

  • Gogitchyershinebox – 1998
  • Shinebox – 2001


  • Growin' a Beard – 2003
  • Something's Brewin' in Shiner – 2004
  • All The Labor – 2014

Side projects[edit]

  • Smith: Slosinger/Redbury – 2000
  • Smith: Cold War's Hot Water Shower: Featuring Dr. B – 2001
  • Bernard: The Tinys – 2001 (unreleased)
  • Russell: Buttermilk & Rifles – 2002
  • Russell: Shinyribs: Well After Awhile – 2010
  • Russell: Shinyribs: Gulf Coast Museum – 2013
  • Smith/Bernard: The Hard Pans: Budget Cuts – 2014
  • Johnston: Max Johnston: Dismantling Paradise – 2014
  • Russell: Shinyribs: Okra Candy – 2015

Television and film[edit]

The Gourds have been featured on Austin City Limits (2006) and appeared briefly playing their song "Declineometer" in the season one "Homecoming" episode of Friday Night Lights (2006). They were the subject of a 96-minute documentary by director Doug Hawes-Davis entitled All the Labor (2013).[32] Their song "Dying of the Pines" was included in the HBO Documentary Unknown Soldier: Searching for a Father (2005)[citation needed] and their cover of "Gin and Juice" was used in the season three episode of My Name Is Earl (2007) entitled "The Frank Factor". The band has also scored the Mike Woolf documentaries Growin' a Beard (2003) and Something's Brewin' in Shiner (2004).[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hess, Christopher (2000-09-22). "The Gourds - Songs of Innocence and Experience: The Gourds Kiss the Winged Life as It Flies - Music". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  2. ^ "Shreveport Blog, the site for imagining sustainable suburbs and a schvingy downtown: The Gourds writer-singer Kevin Russell began his career in Shreveport in the Picket Line Coyotes". 2006-12-23. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  3. ^ "Hola nada". Archived from the original on 24 January 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Music News & Concert Reviews". Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  6. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (1999-03-04). "Glory Hallelujah". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  7. ^ [1] Archived March 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Reed, Bryan C. "Honky-tonk Hip-hop Dreams | Music Feature". Indy Week. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  9. ^ Freedman, Pete (2008-12-29). "The Gourds' Kevin Russell Doesn't Understand Why People Like His Music Or Why He Has To Share The Spotlight With The Rest Of His Band. (Only He's Not As Sensational About It.) | Dallas Observer". Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  10. ^ Lieck, Ken (16 June 2000). "Dancing About Architecture: The Gourds weren't Phishing for trouble when they covered "Gin and Juice"; the Meat Puppets have (probably) found a new home". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  11. ^ "The Gourds - Artist Profile". Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Song of the Day 7/17: The Gourds, "Gin and Juice"". Delaware Liberal. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  13. ^ [2] Archived February 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ [3] Archived July 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ [4] Archived May 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Yahoo! Groups". 1998-10-14. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  17. ^ "Music Reviews, Features, Essays, News, Columns, Blogs, MP3s and Videos". Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  18. ^ Tuesday, February 03, 2009 (2009-02-03). "The Gourds – Live at Visulite Charlotte January 22nd". Retrieved 2016-01-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ "Austin Music Source". 2015-01-06. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2022-03-31. Retrieved 2008-05-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Moser, Margaret (2002-09-13). "The Gourds - Life, Death, and Shoofly Pie: The Gourds and their Internet Fan group - Music". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  22. ^ "Jimmy Wales - Wikipedia - the New York Times". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  23. ^ [5][dead link]
  24. ^ Michael, William (2009-01-07). "The Gourds land a real Haymaker!". Houston Press. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  25. ^ [6] Archived November 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Internet Archive Search: collection:etree AND creator:"The Gourds"". Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  27. ^ Powell, Austin (2011-03-04). "Off the Record: Music News - Music". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  28. ^ Smith, William Michael (12 April 2011). "Gourds Drummer Lives The Dream At Levon Helm's Studio". Houston Press. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  29. ^ "Get Ready For The Gourds and Their Feel-Good Record of the Summer | Sal Nunziato". HuffPost. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  30. ^ "All The Labor by Doug Hawes-Davis — Kickstarter". Kickstarter. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  31. ^ "All the Labor (Schedule)". South by Southwest. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  32. ^ a b Pernu, Dennis (April 2014). "Rev. of The Gourds, All the Labor". Vintage Guitar. pp. 140–41.
  33. ^ "The Gourds announce hiatus - Concert Blogger Music Magazine". Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  34. ^ [7] Archived October 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ "Watch the hiatus show live via Ustream". The Gourds. 2013-10-27. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  36. ^ Wildsmith, Steve (2014-09-24). "A GOURD NO MORE: Kevin Russell finds new musical life as Shinyribs". The Daily Times. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  37. ^ "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  38. ^ "Shinyribs ready to groove Grand Stafford Theater - The Eagle: Local News". The Eagle. Retrieved 2016-01-09.

External links[edit]