The folk, country and bluegrass musical conventions of Appalachia and Nashville will come to Grass Valley Sunday during a performance by award-winning Austin Lounge Lizards presented by the Center for the Arts.
For 33 years, the Lizards have poked fun at the topics most American families try to avoid at the Thanksgiving table: politics, religion, romance, the music industry and crazy relatives.
With pointed lyrics, precise harmonies and instrumental expertise, the band has become legendary for its satirical skewering through song.
In 1976, Hank Card (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Conrad Deisler (vocals, lead guitar, mandolin) met as mutual history majors at Princeton University and started songwriting together. Following graduation, Card, a native Oklahoman, and Deisler, a Tex-Cali-Connecticut-Venezuelan, ended up in Austin.
Tom Pittman, a University of Georgia philosophy graduate and banjo/dobro player, completed the Austin Lounge Lizards in 1980.
After touring Austin and Texas, the Lizards developed a widespread following and by 1987, began appearing at festivals and concerts throughout North America and in the United Kingdom. Five-time winners at the Austin Music Awards, the Lizards have played many celebrated festivals including: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry Music Festivals, Grey Fox, Florida’s Stringbreak Festivals, Vancouver and Edmonton Folk Festivals and Summerfolk, the Americana and Iron Bridge Festivals in the U.K.
They have performed at dozens of prestigious concert venues: The Barns at Wolftrap (Vienna, Va.), the Freight & Salvage (Berkeley), the Kuumbwa Jazz Center (Santa Cruz), John Ascuaga’s Nugget (Sparks, Nev.), Eddie’s Attic (Atlanta), The Ark (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Calgary Folk Club (Alberta, Canada), the Bass Performing Arts Center & McDavid Studio (Fort Worth), McGonigel’s Mucky Duck (Houston) and Austin’s own Cactus Café.
After more than three decades with the band, Pittman stepped down in 2011.
The band is now: Hank Card, Conrad Deisler, Darci Deaville (fiddle, mandolin, vocals) and Bruce Jones (electric bass, vocals).
The Austin Lounge Lizards count Frank Zappa, Spike Jones, George Jones, and Flatt & Scruggs among their creative influences. With an unquenchable thirst for the absurd, the Lizards specialize in musical eclecticism, excellence and extreme entertainment.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. concert are $20 for members of the Center, $22 for the general public and are available at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384 ext. 14, online at www.thecenterforthearts.org or at BriarPatch Co-op.
For more on the group, visit www.austinlizards.com.