San Saba County started out as a straight garage-country group, the type that could only come from Austin, Texas: equally comfortable playing the Continental Club and twenty-something house parties with angular po-mo groups with romulan haircuts. (Singer/songwriter John Saba and his Jesuit high school (Dallas) classmate, Chris Wellington, even shared their first drummer and then guitarist-turned-bass player with Black Lipstick). Now anchored by the unshakable erstwhile Silver Scooter (and Western Keys) rhythm section of Tom "New Drums" Hudson and Tyler "Fuzz Face" Mallory, the band is truly senior varsity.
Their first record, "Easy Does It” (2004), is a future classic of country songcraft. It could have easily been made by the International Submarine Band (Gram Parsons) if it didn't come out on CD.
And like their forebears (Wilco, Gram Parsons, R.E.M. and The Silver Jews), San Saba never looked back. Each record pushed into something new. "It's Not the Fall that Hurts" (2006) added an obsidian edge and indie fuzz to the perennial "break-up" album. "…Though Cheating was Never Option" (2008) bended the country ballad into a mobius strip of moody non-refrains.
Now, at their finest hour, the band's latest album "Broken Record" (2012) released August 28, 2012 (recorded, engineered and produced by Danny Reisch (Good Danny's), Mastered by Erik Wofford (Cacophony Recorders), and with assistance from Michael Kingcaid (What Made Milwaukee Famous)) puts them almost where they started – sideways in time. The result is something of its age and universal, the familiar, unfamiliar – rootsie-indie-rock. It's music for people who don't care about genres anymore, so long as the guitars are loud and the drums pound a dancing beat.
Through it all, are the songs – honest, witty, and well-crafted -- tough as blue jeans and catchy as new slang. These are the songs forged in the old sense of the word – they lend your feet to dance or your lips to fight (or make-out). Spoon or Jimmie Dale Gilmore may someday reach into their bag and try to make one of these hymns their own. But like the band’s predecessors, the essence will always be remembered sounding best as performed jumping off the hardwood floors of an East Austin crash pad.
“When we Central Texans hear the name San Saba County, we might think of dry, sleepy, sun-drenched vistas full of gently swaying cedar trees and the Colorado lazily winding its way through the Hill Country. While some of that imagery may apply to Austin alt-country quintet San Saba County, the band adds a little downtown indie sheen to their rootsy sound.”
Laurie Gallardo, KUT 90.5 FM promotion of San Saba County's - Broken Record (2012)
“Austin's finally given birth to the who's next on its songwriter roots trail paved by kitchen-sink bands such as Shearwater, Okkervil River, and Li'l Cap'n Travis…” Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle.
San Saba County’s “The Devil and Marie” featured by Stephen Thompson on NPR’s “All Songs Considered: 2010 SXSW Preview Show.”
John Saba - Guitar, VOX
Chris Wellington - Banjo, Guitar, Back-Up Vox, acordion
Tyler Mallory - Bass, Back-Up Vox
Tom Hudson - Drums
Broken Record (2012)
...Though Cheating Was Never an Option (2008)
It's Not the Fall that Hurts (2006)
Easy Does it (2004)