Steeped in songwriter history, the Cactus Cafe has hosted performances from greats like Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Loudon Wainwright III. Only two albums into a career, Adam Torres may have a considerable distance to travel before he reaches the heights of such revered songwriters, but if the quality of subsequent albums match his previous work, that’s just where he’s headed. With dark hair tucked behind protrusive ears and his humble but serious demeanor, Torres resembles Townes a little up there on the stage of the Cactus Cafe.
Last Friday saw the release of Pearls to Swine, which has seen widespread, categorical praise in its wake throughout last week. I was lucky enough to profile Torres in the September issue of Austin Monthly. The songs of Pearls to Swine are elegant, restrained, and masterful, and I really can’t recommend it enough. And I think we’ll see more impeccable work from Torres in the very near future, so keep an ear out. The songwriter is on tour throughout the U.S. during most of October and November. Check his tour dates here, and don’t pass up an opportunity to see him.
Earlier in the night last Friday, Thor & Friends performed an intricate set of instrumental music featuring an onslaught of percussive instruments such as xylophone and marimba, along with strings, organ, clarinet, and guitar, performed by a cast including Jordan Geiger, Sarah Gautier, Peggy Ghorbani, Jacob Green, Travis Weller, Elizabeth Warren, Aisha Burns, Adam Torres, and Dailey Toliver. Once-member of Shearwater and Swans Thor Harris recently released his own excellent album well worth your time.
Even earlier in the night, Aisha Burns, who also played as a member of both Thor Harris’ and Adam Torres’ bands (wow!), performed a set of beautiful songs on guitar and violin. Burns still feels like an honorary Austinite, although she relocated to the Northeast last year. She should be close to releasing new material, so she’s another artist to keep on your radar.
Check out photos from the night below. All images © Bryan C. Parker & Pop Press International; all rights reserved. Click any image to open set in slideshow viewer.