Tag: featuring Warren Hood & Marshall Hood

That’s Right, They’re Not from Texas

But Austin wanted Uncle Walt’s Band anyway. Did we ever! MICHAELCORCORAN MAR 24, 2024

Those boys from Carolina sure could play. Walter Hyatt, David Ball, Champ Hood at Waterloo Ice House circa 1979. Photo Kathy Hill.

“Of all the musical groups which have moved here since the Austin music scene began to develop about six years ago, I don’t think any have intrigued, captivated, hypnotized or won the hearts of Austin fans like Uncle Walt’s Band.” – Townsend Miller of the Statesman, announcing the trio’s reunion, after a three-year hiatus, at Liberty Lunch in July 1978.

The rebirth was sensational, as Uncle Walt’s Band—and their diehard fans—found a musical home at the original Waterloo Ice House at 906 Congress Avenue for the next five years. It was as strong a marriage of room and talent as Austin has ever seen. 

UWB played completely acoustic at first, but the crowd’s size and enthusiasm called for mics. “People went crazy over them,” Waterloo Ice House owner Stephen Clark said of guitarists Walter Hyatt and Champ Hood and bassist David Ball, who all hailed from Spartanburg, S.C. “Someone called them ‘the Bluegrass Beatles,’ but they played a bit of everything.” Their trademark was harmonies so crisp they could remove wrinkles. 

Not everyone in this guitar town got their fresh take on “folk swing,” however. “We had some people ask us, ‘Why do y’all sing at the same time?’,” Ball told an interviewer in 2019. 

The trio was championed by fellow musicians, especially Lyle Lovett, whose sophisticated country/jazz style came right from Hyatt. “Uncle Walt’s Band gave me my career,” said Marcia Ball, who’d been singing country covers as Freda with the Firedogs. “When they brought that first album (the self-released Blame It on the Bossa Nova) to town, there was a cover song on it called ‘In the Night.’…I asked Champ what that was and he said ‘that’s Professor Longhair’ … and there I went.”

You can also hear the influence of David Ball’s “Don’t You Think I Feel It Too” on the songwriting of Lucinda Williams, another Waterloo Ice House regular.

Clark opened the burger/beer joint in March 1976 with Roger Swanson, but didn’t have live music in the beginning. The first booking, Ain’t Misbehavin’, dictated that the Ice House would be a swing club, not a folk joint. Eaglebone Whistle, featuring future Lyle Lovett cellist John Hagen, was another regular act, as was David Ball, who’d recently moved back to Austin from Spartanburg to try to get a new band together.

Instead, the countertenor (dude sings like a lady) got the old band back. Hyatt and Hood were living in Nashville, where their five-piece roots rock band the Contenders were building a cult audience and working with R.E.M. producer Don Dixon. But Walter and his first wife Mary Lou, who managed Waylon Jennings, were in the process of breaking up, so Austin was looking good. To sweeten the relocation, Clark gave the trio free rehearsal space upstairs from the club, so Ball had to move his standup bass just down the stairs for gigs. The trio received 100% of the door which, at three dollars cover, put as much as $200 in the pocket of each musician, twice a week. That was livin’ XXL in Austin in 1978.

The first go-round in Austin at the original Saxon Pub circa 1972.

Uncle Walt’s Band had everything—the looks, the songs, the harmonies, the musicianship, the cool covers. It felt like history was being made on Congress Avenue. Soon, the trio would be a national act, so enjoy the up close and personal experience while you still could.

But stardom never came, and after five years back, UWB broke up again in 1983, with Ball, the best singer of the group, headed to mainstream country success in Nashville (“Thinkin’ Problem,” “Riding with Private Malone”). Hyatt and Hood continued as a duo for a few weeks, but two-thirds of the trio drew less than half of the former crowd. Walter and his second wife, the former Heidi Narum, moved to Nashville in the mid-’80s to be near his daughter Haley. His acclaimed 1990 solo LP King Tears (the name of an East Austin mortuary) was produced by Lovett, but Hyatt was one-and-done on MCA.

Champ stayed in Austin, where his guitar and fiddle (self-taught as an adult) backed many acts, most notably Toni Price for nine years of Tuesday “Hippie Hour” shows, and the Wednesday night sessions at Threadgill’s. His violinist son Warren Hood and guitarist nephew Marshall Hood have kept the Uncle Walt repertoire alive every Wednesday for years at ABGB.

Tragedies felled Hyatt and Hood in their forties, with Walter perishing in the 1996 ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades, and Champ succumbing to cancer in November 2001.

Their music, most of which they put out on their own, was gloriously reissued by L.A.’s Omnivore Recordings from 2018-2021. Listen to the first album, 1974’s Blame It on the Bossa Nova (self-titled by Omnivore) and there’s little doubt that Uncle Walt’s Band was one of Austin’s all-time greatest groups. The Lost Gonzo Band certainly thought so, covering such Walt Band origs as “Getaway,” “High Hill” and “I’ll Come Knockin’” on their MCA albums.

Walter, Champ, and David first touched down in Austin at the invitation of Willis Alan Ramsey, who saw them in Nashville at Our Place on March 5, 1972. Ramsey’s sure of the date because it was his twenty-first birthday. He was also celebrating that day’s completion of recording the album that would make him the Harper Lee of redneck rock.

Ramsey brought the trio to his Hound Sound studio in a shack on Baylor Street, but like the earlier sessions UWB recorded in Nashville with producer Buzz Cason, there was not much label interest. There was no proven market for what they were doing.

But the trio was smitten with Austin, where they drew crowds to the original Saxon Pub, and to Castle Creek. Big fan Gary P. Nunn gave the trio a place to stay at his “Public Domain Inc.” complex on N. Lamar, where scruffy cottages rented for fifty dollars a month.

“The boys from Carolina” (as Lovett immortalized the band in “That’s Right, You’re Not from Texas”) especially loved how quietly attentive the audiences were when they played, then erupted at the end of the song. “Uncle Walt’s was not a bar band,” Ball said. “We were a listening band.” 

The closest UWB—the Unpeggable White Band—got to a major label deal was when they were briefly courted by Warner Brothers in ’75. The Walts were viewed as the next Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, but when that well-promoted group failed to sell many records, WB eventually passed.

But Austin City Limits didn’t. When Terry Lickona booked Uncle Walt’s Band to play in front of a national PBS audience in 1980, the unsigned trio was playing small clubs. “I was looking for something different than the cosmic cowboy electric sound that dominated the scene, and being a bluegrass fan, I loved their acoustic vibe,” said Lickona. Here’s the entirety of the segment, which aired with a half hour of Ralph Stanley:

Label apathy facilitated the trio’s first breakup in ‘75. Hyatt and Hood went to Nashville, where the Contenders (with Tommy Goldsmith, Steve Runkle and Jimbeaux Walsh) recorded an album in 1977. It was recently reissued with an additional track, the UWB fave “Getaway” (the only song the trio wrote together), enhanced by overdubs from Marcia Ball, Warren Hood and Willis Alan Ramsey. Listen to it here.

Meanwhile, Ball went back to Spartanburg to open a bar. Three years went by. And nobody forgot Uncle Walt’s Band.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE, We are grateful

The coronavirus pandemic has left countless members of the music community facing an uncertain future, as festivals and tours are canceled, studio sessions are called off and business travel is restricted. To help music professionals and their loved ones navigate the crisis, Billboard has compiled a list of resources at both the national and state levels, including more than four dozen relief funds.


Austin Community Foundation’s Stand With Austin Fund* Established in partnership with the Entrepreneurs Foundation, the fund was set up to support nonprofits assisting vulnerable individuals and small businesses affected by SXSW’s cancellation.

Austin Texas Musicians
The musician advocacy nonprofit formed by local artist, beloved friend, former RajiWorld client (and staff because that is how our dear little music town works), Nakia Reynoso is working to secure relief funds and resources for musicians. In the meantime, it has created a continually-updated resource list.

Banding Together ATX (GoFundMe)*
This fund was set up by the Red River Cultural District alliance specifically to support those in the Austin live music community who have been economically impacted by the cancellation of South By Southwest. That includes venues, artists, hospitality workers and others who rely on annual income from SXSW to make ends meet — those who fall under that category, may apply for funds here.

Housing Opportunities For Musicians And Entertainers
HOME provides financial housing assistance for needy aging musicians in Austin with grant assistance and other support, including referrals to additional available resources.

I Lost My Gig*
Designed to benefit Austin locals who lost work due to SXSW’s cancellation, I Lost My Gig is currently soliciting donations. As of Sunday (March 15), it had already received over 750 submissions representing over $4.2 million in lost income.

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians
HAAM provides access to affordable healthcare for low-income musicians living in Austin.

SIMS Foundation
Locals struggling to mentally and emotionally cope with the impact of COVID-19 may contact the SIMS Foundation, which provides access to mental health and substance use recovery services for Central Texas musicians, music industry professionals and their dependent family members.

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
This centralized guide was created for small businesses and nonprofits in Texas who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and are looking to apply for SBA loans. Those who have suffered “substantial economic injury” from COVID-19 may be eligible for economic injury disaster loans of up to $2 million.

Texas Music Office
Though the office isn’t offering benefits itself, it can help music workers affected by the pandemic apply for the state’s disaster unemployment assistance, which extends unemployment benefits to those who don’t traditionally qualify.

Texas Workforce Commission
Texas residents can submit an application for unemployment benefits here.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area
WFS, the nonprofit governing body for the regional workforce, is offering layoff support both for businesses and workers in light of the coronavirus outbreak.


The Actors Fund
The Actors Fund offers a variety of services for entertainment workers, including those in the music industry. Services include emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling, senior care and secondary career development.

American Association of Independent Music
A2IM is surveying indie music companies about how the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting their businesses. The results will inform the organization’s discussions with the New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, as well as its investigations of federal assistance programs.

American Federation of Musicians
The AFM is calling on Congress to provide immediate economic relief on behalf of musicians and other working people in the midst of the crisis, including expanded unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility shut-offs. The organization has a resource page providing more information. Additionally, disabled AFM members can apply for financial aid through its longstanding Petrillo Memorial Fund.

American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund
Any AGMA member in good standing is invited to apply for financial assistance under the AGMA Relief Fund, which has temporarily doubled the amount of assistance available to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Americans for the Arts Coronavirus Survey
This five-minute survey was created to collection information on the financial and human impacts of the pandemic on arts and cultural organizations.

Artist Relief
A coalition of national arts grantmakers (including Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation and United States Artists) launched this $10 million relief fund, which will provide $5,000 grants to artists facing “dire financial emergencies” due to the pandemic. The coalition has also joined forces with Americans for the Arts to co-launch an impact survey to better identify the needs of artists and creative workers.

Artist Relief Project
Anyone pursuing the arts as a career (any discipline, any level of experience) can request financial support from the Artist Relief Project, which will provide applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis with a one-time emergency stipend of $200 and free resources and support to pursue alternative economic opportunities. The Artist Relief Project is an initiative by Artly World Nonprofit.  It is a registered nonprofit based in Austin, with the mission to empower children, families and communities through creative arts initiatives and opportunities.

Artist Relief Tree*
Anyone who is an artist can request funds from the Artist Relief Tree, which plans to fulfill every request with a flat $250 on a first-come-first-serve basis.The fund is currently not accepting new requests until it can secure more funding, but if you would like to be informed if and when the opportunity becomes available again, click here.

ASCAP Music Unites Us*
Performance-rights organization ASCAP has launched a site to help its songwriter, composer and music publisher members stay connected and financially stable during this uncertain time. It includes information on how to receive ASCAP royalties through direct deposit, an online works registration application, access to free mental health services for ASCAP members and more.

Audio Assemble*
Music education hub Audio Assemble has put together a list of online remote opportunities for U.S.-based musicians during the COVID-19 outbreak, including both short-term and long-term job opportunities. It is also raising money for its first live streaming music festival, PLUGGED IN, set for April 8-10. Musicians can apply for paid opportunities to perform during the livestream here.

Backline was established to connect music industry professionals and their families with mental health and wellness providers. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has established a virtual support groupthat plans to meet regularly via the Zoom app.

Blues Foundation*
The Blues Foundation launched an emergency relief fund for full-time blues musicians whose revenue streams have been severely diminished by the pandemic. Find out how to request funding here. Meanwhile, the foundation’s longstanding HART Fund also helps underinsured or uninsured blues musicians and their families in financial need due to a range of health concerns.

Convertkit Creator Fund*
What began as a $50,000 fund for active creators experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 has now reached $154,000 in funding. The fund covers up to $500 per creator to help cover medical, childcare, housing or grocery needs. As of March 18, the fund has received more than 6,000 applications, and the website notes, “Our current fund will be exhausted well before we can get to everyone.”

COVID-19 Music Production Response Group*
A Facebook group meant as an “open forum for constructive debate about the effects of COVID-19 on music production industry professionals,” according to administrators. Its nearly 4,000 members (as of March 18) are sharing news updates, suggested actions, job opportunities and other resources.

COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks (GoFundMe)*
This more than $70,000 fund prioritizes LGBTQI+, non-binary, gender fluid and gender non-conforming people of color whose livelihoods have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The first round of funding closed on March 17, but organizers say they plan to continue to raise funds through mid-April.

Crew Nation*
Live Nation has donated an initial $5 million to launch this global relief fund for live music crews, and will match the next $5 million in donations as well. Check back here for the funding application to come.

Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund*
Equal Sound, an organization that strives to break down traditional genre boundaries through events and advocacy, is inviting musicians who have lost income due to the pandemic to apply for funds. Applicants must provide proof they had a confirmed concert cancelled over the coronavirus to receive the money.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program*
In response to the pandemic, Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses around the world, including music and live events businesses. More details to come (you can sign up for updates here). Facebook also has a new Business Resource Hub to help small businesses prepare for and manage disruptions like COVID-19.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts*
The New York-based foundation has created a temporary fund for experimental artists of all disciplines who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. It is disbursing one-time $1,000 grants to artists who have had performances canceled or postponed. Apply here.

Freelance Coop Emergency Fund*
The Freelance Coop, which connects creative freelancers with business resources, created an emergency fund for freelancers adversely affected by the pandemic. Examples of funding usage are unexpected childcare costs due to school closures, client cancellations, and medical expenses due to the virus itself. As of March 18, the fund had $35,279 in requests and $5,299.69 raised, and is continuing to call for donations to keep up with demand.

Freelancers Relief Fund*
The Freelancers Union has set up a relief fund for freelance workers through its nonprofit subsidiary Working Today. The fund, which is accepting donations now, will provide grants of up to $1,000 per household to freelancers experiencing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. Applications open on April 2.

Gospel Music Trust Fund
Individuals working in the gospel music field can submit a request for financial assistance to the Gospel Music Trust Fund, which grants funding in the event “of an emergency or major catastrophe, terminal or severe illness,” according to their website.

HealthCare.gov Special Enrollment
Though no emergency special enrollment period has officially been instituted by the federal health insurance exchange due to the coronavirus outbreak, uninsured people are being invited to inquire about their eligibility for a special enrollment in light of the virus.

Independent Venue Week*
Non-profit organization Independent Venue Week has compiled a list of indie music venues that have launched GoFundMe and other fundraising campaigns to stay afloat during the nation-wide closures.

International Bluegrass Music Association’s BlueGrass Trust Fund
Current or former bluegrass music professionals can apply here for financial grants and loans, which are generally between $500 and $5,000. The association has also created a coronavirus-specific resource page.

Jazz Foundation of America Musicians’ Emergency Fund
This fund offers financial support, housing assistance and pro bono medical care for musicians who have made a living playing blues, jazz and roots music.

Larrosa Music Group Financing Program*
Larrosa Music Group has set up a special financing program for music professionals affected by the pandemic. The maximum term is one year for a maximum amount of $20,000, with interest rates ranging from 7.5 to 10 percent. The program is open to session and live musicians; anyone who collects royalties through PROs or distribution companies; and agencies, producers, record labels and publishers who manage musicians and can provide proof of cancellations of shows, recordings or other remunerated activity as well as verify income of at least $2,500 in the last 12 months. Applications are open until May 1. (Note that the web page is in Spanish but can be translated.)

League of American Orchestras
America’s only national service organization devoted solely to orchestras, the League has set up a landing page of resources to assist affected orchestra workers during the pandemic, including advocacy campaigns, fundraising resources, a discussion group and more.

The “peer-to-peer wealth distribution” service is a tool for salaried workers to donate funds across a database of freelancers, service industry and gig economy workers who are impacted by coronavirus health and safety restrictions.

Missed Tour*
Artists and bands who have been displaced from touring due to the pandemic can list their merchandise on this site to help offset lost revenue — with zero charges or fees. Apply to be added to the site here.

The Recording Academy and its charitable foundation MusiCares have committed $2 million in total to a COVID-19 Relief Fund, established to assist those in the music community who have been affected by the pandemic. People can donate and apply for assistance by navigating to the fund’s official web page.

Music Health Alliance
The Nashville-based Music Health Alliance provides healthcare support services to uninsured members of the music industry.

Musicians Foundation
The New York-based nonprofit established a new emergency grant program in response to the pandemic, offering all eligible applicants up to $200 each. After receiving an “immense volume of applications,” the foundation placed a temporary hold on all applications on March 13. Check this page for updates.

Music Maker Relief Foundation
The foundation, which provides ongoing support to American artists 55 and older who live in chronic poverty, also gives out emergency grants to artists in crisis. It is now soliciting donations to ensure the stability of vulnerable elderly musicians during the pandemic.

Music workers in need of financial help during the crisis can apply for assistance at this volunteer-run website, which was set up to facilitate peer-to-peer giving. Applications are reviewed and posted within 24 hours, and 100% of all donations go directly to the affected person. Musicians are also urged to list their virtual concerts on the site.

New Music Solidarity Fund*
This artist-led initiative is granting emergency funding to freelance musicians “working in new creative, experimental or improvised music” who have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The fund has already raised more than $130,000 and beginning on March 31, eligible artists may apply for grants of up to $500.

NOMAD Fundraiser for the Touring Crew (GoFundMe)*
Touring manager Frank Fanelli is aiming to raise $20,000 for touring crew members and roadies who have lost income due to gig cancellations and postponements. Donations close at the end of March.

Patreon What the Fund Grant Program
The crowd-funding platform has set up a grant program to benefit select artists who have been impacted by the coronavirus. Patreon itself kickstarted the fund by donating $10,000 and is currently accepting contributions. Grant recipients will be chosen by a board of fellow creators.

Pinetop Perkins Foundation’s Assistance League
PAL provides financial assistance to elderly musicians for medical and living expenses. Preference is given to blues artists, though musicians in other genres may be eligible depending on available funds.

PLUS1 Covid-19 Relief Fund*
In response to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak, PLUS1 has launched a PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund to coordinate our efforts to support those in our community most at risk from the pandemic. PLUS1 is working with leading non-profit organizations and several local organizations around the country to provide immediate assistance to musicians and music industry workers for medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses to those impacted due to sickness or loss of work.

Record Union Wellness Starter Pack
In coordination with industry experts, the digital music distributor created this “toolbox for wellbeing” for overwhelmed music professionals. Thought not specific to the coronavirus, the Wellness Starter Pack includes guides to mindfulness, nutrition, positivity, sleep and exercise that can help lower stress, anxiety and depression levels during the shutdown.

SAG-AFTRA COVID-19 Disaster Fund*
SAG-AFTRA members who are in an emergency financial crisis related to coronavirus may request assistance to cover basic expenses like rent, mortgage, utilities and medical bills. To apply to the fund, members must have paid their dues through October 2019.

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The Small Business Administration has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for economic injury disaster loans. However, you must be located in a “declared disaster area” to apply for assistance. Check if your state qualifies here.

Online music course hub Soundfly has put together a free Guide to Learning Things Effectively Online for musicians in quarantine who want to continue learning or practicing skills virtually.

SoundGirls Coronavirus Relief Fund*
SoundGirls, an organization which supports women working in professional audio and music production, is offering $100 gift cards to live event production workers who have been put out of work due to the pandemic.

Sound Royalties*
In light of the crisis, music finance firm Sound Royalties is allocating $20 million to offer a no-cost royalty advance funding option through April 16. Songwriters, performing artists, producers and other creators with royalty income can apply for cash advances on a one-year repayment schedule, cost-free.

Sweet Relief COVID-19 Fund*
Sweet Relief has established a donor-directed fund to be used specifically for musicians and music industry workers affected by the coronavirus. Funds will go towards medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses for those who get sick or lose work due to the pandemic.

Tour Support*
Tour Support, a mental health nonprofit for the live music industry, is offering independent touring contractors whose tours have been postponed or cancelled one month of free online therapy through Better Help (apply here). In addition, Shading the Limelight is offering the Tour Support community two free weeks (March 17–28) of emotional wellness coaching (email shajjar@shadingthelimelight.com for an appointment). Check the Tour Support Twitter for more updates to come.

Viral Music — Because Kindness is Contagious*
Independent musicians are invited to use this more than 21,000-member Facebook support group to connect with music fans. “Use this joint to post links to your merch store, online shows, Patreon, or online music lessons,” organizers write. “If you’ve had a gig cancelled, post the city and your Venmo/PayPal — many of us would love to pass along our ticket refunds to you.”




Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 8:00PM and
Friday, March 29, 2019 at 8:00PM
Doors: 7:00pm | Show: 8:00pm 
Tickets: $25-$48 

Stateside at the Paramount presents
David Ball & That Carolina Sound
featuring Warren and Marshall Hood

By Peter Blackstock 
Posted Mar 25, 2019 at 12:05 PM

Flash back, for a moment, beyond the just-finished South by Southwest to last year’s SXSW. Its 10-day run had just kicked off when, in a show that wasn’t even part of the festivities, Nashville songwriter David Ball joined cousins Warren and Marshall Hood at the Saxon Pub to revisit the music of beloved 1970s-’80s Austin trio Uncle Walt’s Band.

Marveling at the magic brought back to life, listening to the sincere testimonials and lovely guest-vocal turns by Uncle Walt’s Band devotees Kelly Willis, Marcia Ball and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, I wondered how I could see anything for the rest of SXSW that would be as good as this. And I didn’t.

An encore at a larger venue was well-deserved. It comes this week, when Ball and the Hoods, along with bassist Nigel Frye and drummer Scott Metko, set up shop at Stateside at the Paramount for a two-night stand Thursday and Friday. (The Friday show sold out quickly, prompting the added Thursday show.)
And now there’s more Uncle Walt’s material from the vaults to celebrate. Last year’s show coincided with the release of a 21-song anthology on the renowned archival label Omnivore. This week, Omnivore reissues the band’s self-titled first album and doubles its length by adding 11 previously unreleased tracks, a combination of studio demos and live recordings.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Ball had a handful of top-10 country hits (including “Thinkin’ Problem” and “Riding With Private Malone”), but many Austinites still remember him most fondly as the upright bassist joining guitarist Walter Hyatt and fiddler/guitarist Champ Hood in Uncle Walt’s Band. Relocating here from South Carolina in the 1970s, they quickly became one of the best bands ever to call Austin home.

Mixing folk, country, jazz and swing styles, all three members wrote original tunes that highlighted the perfect blend of their tenor voices. As Gilmore reminisced last year at the Saxon, “The three best singers in Austin were all in the same band.”

They eventually went their separate ways. Both Ball and Hyatt moved to Nashville, pursuing solo careers with major record labels. Hood stayed in Austin and played regularly with Gilmore, Toni Price and many others while touring occasionally with Lyle Lovett.

Any possibility of Uncle Walt’s Band reunions ended when Hyatt was killed in the ValuJet plane crash in Florida’s Everglades in 1996. Hood died of cancer five years later.

But soon to follow in Champ’s footsteps was his son Warren, who’s now in his mid-30s and is one of Austin’s most accomplished musicians. Meanwhile, Champ’s nephew Marshall moved here from South Carolina in 2005, playing guitar for years with local group the Belleville Outfit.

The Hood cousins have long included some Uncle Walt’s Band tunes in their own repertoires, and they’d done a few UWB tribute shows over the years. But this new opportunity to play these songs with the group’s lone surviving member is something special.

“This is the coolest thing I could imagine doing, and I think Marshall feels the same way,” Warren said on a mid-March morning with his cousin at Cosmic Coffee. Warren has been playing there semi-regularly on Tuesday nights in recent weeks, complementing his long-running Wednesday residency at ABGB.

Marshall learned to play much of the Uncle Walt’s Band catalog when he was still in high school. “I spent many, many hours sitting there and watching as many videos as I could find of Champ playing, watching where his hand was and figuring it out,” he said.

All that practice paid off in spades a couple of years ago when Ball was in Austin to play a house concert for Daren Appelt, a music gear manufacturer who recorded dozens of Uncle Walt’s Band shows at venues such as the old Congress Avenue location of Waterloo Ice House. Warren and Marshall were at that house concert, and Ball eventually called them up to join him.

“What was supposed to be an hour show wound up being about two hours as David just started calling Uncle Walt’s Band songs,” Warren recalls. “He didn’t really know that Marshall and I knew ALL of them. And they’re not easy songs to learn.

“Marshall really blows my mind with all the chords and stuff. I play some guitar and I pretend to know about music, but this guy sat down and learned all the songs, and they are hard. So we started singing them and playing them, and David’s eyes grew big and we were having fun.”

Ball has known the Hood cousins for all their lives, but until recently, their interactions were more a matter of “seeing them off and on over the years,” he said by phone from Nashville last week. “We never did really do that much playing, so this is a great opportunity. These guys can swing just right, and it’s a joy.

“It’s funny, because Marshall reminds me a lot of Champ. He acts like him and looks like him; he’s always doing something that reminds me of him. Whereas Warren is kind of like Walter AND Champ. He’s a little more serious.”

Like his father, Ball says, Warren is “a natural” at playing fiddle, but he’s also taken the instrument to another level. Formal training at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music helped Warren better understand and appreciate how the music of his father’s band was well beyond what most Austin pickers were playing in the clubs back then.

“A lot of the music that they wrote and played, you can’t just write a chord chart out for it and be like, ‘Oh, that’s G6, or C, whatever,’” Warren said. “There was a specific voice leading a melody hidden in the chords. So the hand shapes are not conventional hand shapes; they’re really intricate. That’s why the songs are so hard to learn. It’s like learning Bach, and then singing on top of that. Every part is a melody.”

Ball concurs. “It wasn’t really acoustic fiddle music. They had a lot of that kind of stuff, but at the same time, the music went a lot further beyond that. It’s very hard music to pick; it’s not like a back porch, sitting around, plucking on an acoustic guitar thing.”

Perhaps that’s why many of their peers appreciated the trio so much. “The great musicians in Austin responded to what Walter was writing,” Ball said. “They took to us because there were three guys singing together and we had this harmony thing going. It was kind of like the Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul & Mary format, but we really weren’t like that at all (musically).”

Among those drawn in by the Uncle Walt’s Band sound was a young Lyle Lovett, who has sung the group’s praises for decades and frequently plays their music on the house PA system as concertgoers arrive for his show. Both Ball and the Hoods hinted that Lovett might well be around for the Stateside shows.

Might he sit in for a song or two? “Let’s make this an open invitation,” Ball said with a laugh. “We don’t want to apply any pressure.”

Lovett first brought Hyatt’s song “I’ll Come Knockin’” to wide attention when he recorded it for his 1998 album “Step Inside This House,” a tribute to Texas songwriters who influenced him. The original Uncle Walt’s Band version of the song finally surfaced on last year’s “Anthology” collection.

The bonus tracks on the reissue out this week attest to the thorough archival work of Heidi Hyatt, Walter’s widow, and reissue co-producer Mark Michel. “A lot of these songs I didn’t even know about until a couple years ago,” Warren says. “It’s really obscure Uncle Walt’s Band material that even the die-hard fans don’t have live recordings of.”

At the Stateside, the focus will be on Uncle Walt’s Band material, but Ball and the Hoods will also play some of their own songs. Ball’s big hits “Thinkin’ Problem” and “Riding With Private Malone” are likely selections. His new record, “Come See Me,” includes a song called “Little Ranchero” that Hyatt and Hood used to play when Ball would go see them in Spartanburg, S.C., just before Uncle Walt’s Band formed.

Warren says that part of the joy for him in these shows is drawing a line for fans of Ball’s country hits back to the trio’s work.
“There’s a lot of people who are big David Ball fans who have no idea about Uncle Walt’s Band,” he said. “And if you play the two side by side to them, they can’t believe it’s the same person. But for me, because I’ve studied the whole thing and been there for most of it, I can hear the connection.”

In Austin, it’s easier to find the die-hard Uncle Walt’s fans — to a point. “There’s a handful of people who are still here who were there and remember the live shows,” Warren said. “When we sold out the first night (at the Stateside), that was basically the 300 people who remember. So what we’re trying to do with the second show is to reach some of the people who had never heard about it who would get into it, and should know about it.”

A tantalizing question lingers: Have Ball and the Hoods written any new music together? “We have not,” Ball said, “but that would be fantastic. I would welcome doing something like that. We could do a whole new record of new music.”

Perhaps it could lure Ball back to Austin for a spell. “Oh, I would love it,” he said. “I miss Texas all the time. Maybe I could find my old flip-flops that I left down there, and eat some Mexican food. That sounds perfect to me.”

Event Parking Information
Secure covered parking is offered to patrons at the 600 Congress parking garage. For additional parking information, please click here

Personal Items Policy
The Austin Theatre Alliance is taking measures to increase the safety and security of its patrons and staff. We have instituted a No Large Bag Policy at all shows and events at the Paramount and State Theatres. Read more information on banned items, permitted items and our full policies here.


BREAKING: Uncle Walt’s Band nominated for the
Austin Music Hall of Fame 2018 in Austin Music Awards

AUSTIN, Texas — “Walter Hyatt, David Balland Champ Hood have been an inspiration to me ever since the first time I heard Uncle Walt’s Band,” says Lyle Lovett, a journalism student at Texas A&M University when he first heard the band. “Musically, their finely crafted original compositions reflect diverse influences, while lyrically they demonstrate a sensitive, sophisticated understanding of the dignified South.”

Uncle Walt’s Band, originally from Spartanburg, S.C., was an eclectic music trio that moved to Nashville in 1972 and, shortly thereafter, to Austin at the urging of singer/songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey. An attempt at an album with Ramsey at the helm was unsuccessful, so the band headed back to Spartanburg in 1974 to produce their own debut LP, Blame It on the Bossa Nova. The original self-released vinyl edition —1,000 copies sold through performances and self-promotion — disappeared quickly. Heat was gaining for the band, so they headed back down to Austin with a reissue of the album, simply titled Uncle Walt’s Band.(Original Blame It on the Bossa Nova LPs change hands for hundreds of dollars these days.)

Now, a remastered version of Uncle Walt’s Band will be available on CD, LP and Digital from Omnivore Recordings, on March 29, 2018. New liner notes come by the words of Walter Hyatt, Champ Hood and surviving member David Ball, plus fellow artists Lyle Lovett, Marcia Ball, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Marshall Chapman, and journalists Peter Cooper, Doug Freeman and Michael Hall.

While the album gained many fans and followers, it wasn’t enough to sustain the band’s larger ambitions. After taking brief hiatus, they recorded a second album, An American in Texas, released in 1980, followed by a live album, Recorded Livein 1982. (A cassette-only release of studio sessions titled 6-26-79 was also released along the way.)

Gaining the love of Texas music fans, performing regularly throughout the state, yet unable to get traction nationally, Uncle Walt’s Band decided to take separate paths in 1983. Although remaining friends and working on various projects over the years, the band members pursued solo music careers. Hyatt released several albums (notably King Tears, produced by Lyle Lovett) and performed on Austin City Limits. Hood became a Texas Music Hall of Fame sideman playing for Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker and others, and Ball’s success with the hits “Thinkin’ Problem” and “Riding With Private Malone” established him as a country-music star.

The first-ever, career-spanning Anthology: Those Boys From Carolina, They Sure Enough Could Sing… was released earlier this year tocritical accolades. According to the Austin American-Statesman: “Their deceptively sophisticated amalgam of blues, jazz, country and folk was less reminiscent of Willie Nelson than of classic Southern tunesmiths such as Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael. Though they never broke through to widespread renown, their influence persists today, most notably through the music of Lyle Lovett, an early and devout acolyte. Much of the music collected on the new anthology anticipated what is going on in the Americana genre by three decades.”

Awareness increased when David Ball & That Carolina Sound supported it on tour. Actor/animator Mike Judge showed his love for Uncle Walt’s Band by including two tracks on HBO’s Silicon Valley last year. The band is featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s current exhibition, Outlaws & Armadillos.

Omnivore is now proud to present a deluxe reissue of the original Uncle Walt’s Band album, expanded with 11 bonus tracks. New liner notes include a history of each re-pressing of this private-press classic (reissued no fewer than six times with different covers and sequence variations back in the ’70s). If you were one of the lucky owners of an original that you’ve worn out over the years, here’s your chance to retire that well-loved copy and double your fun discovering the new bonus tracks. For the rest of us, it’s the opportunity to own the classic.

Track Listing:

1. Ruby

2. Dish Wiped Clean

3. Little Sadie

4. High Hill

5. Four ’Till Late

6. Undecided

7. Gimme Some Skin

8. Seat Of Logic

9. Don’t You Think I Feel It Too

10. In The Night

11. Aloha

LP Download & CD Bonus Tracks:

12. After You’ve Gone (Demo)

13. Your Father’s Frown (Demo)

14. Lonely In Love (Demo)

15. Tuxedo Tale (Demo)

16. Rollin’ My Blues (Demo)

17. Time On My Hands (Demo)

18. Rock Island Line (Demo)

19. Since You’ve Been Gone (Live)

20. Early Riser (Live)

21. Trap For Two (Live – Waterloo Ice House)

22. Betty (Live – Waterloo Ice House)

For more information about Omnivore Recordings, please contact ConquerooCary Baker • cary@conqueroo.com 

Please watch The Uncle Walt’s Band trailer


As you may have heard, Grammy award winning David Ball has a new project paying tribute to the great music of Uncle Walt’s Band, called David Ball & That Carolina Sound, featuring Warren Hood & Marshall Hood.

Heidi Hyatt will be releasing an Uncle Walt’s Band anthology 3/9 on Omnivore Records !

In his 1996 song, “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas),” legendary singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett included a verse about the members of Uncle Walt’s Band, a seminal pre-Americana group originally formed in Spartanburg.

When Lovett was starting his career, he was often asked to open for Uncle Walt’s Band, which had become a fixture on the Austin, Texas, roots music circuit in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He never forgot how much of a boost the trio – David Ball, Champ Hood and Walter Hyatt – gave him.

Here’s an excerpt from “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas)”:

“Those boys from Carolina, they sure enough could sing

But when they came down to Texas, we all showed them how to swing

Now David’s on the radio, and old Champ’s still on the guitar

And Uncle Walt, he’s home with Heidi, hiding in her loving arms.”

Sadly, Hyatt was killed in a 1996 plane crash not long after Lovett recorded the song and just before it was officially released. Hood died from cancer in 2001.

As the sole surviving member of Uncle Walt’s Band, the Nashville, Tenn.-based Ball has lately made some of the best music of his career, but the line “David’s on the radio” appears to be criminally outdated.

In a recent interview, Lovett continued to heap praise on the members of Uncle Walt’s Band. But he didn’t stop there.

Lovett let it be known that he also admires the musically gifted offspring of the influential band.

“Oh my goodness, I stay in touch with Warren (Hood) all the time,” Lovett said. “I think Warren’s amazing. He sounds so much like his dad – his (singing) and the way he speaks.

“I met Warren, I guess, when he was maybe 7 (years old), in Austin. He was always a sweet little boy, and he’s just the same as he was when I first met him. He writes great songs, and he’s a wonderful musician.

First anthology to chronicle the music of Uncle Walt’s Band, includes five previously unissued tracks and we are celebrating in Austin Friday 3/9/18 at The Saxon Pub!

“Walter Hyatt, David Ball and Champ Hood have been an inspiration to me ever since the first time I heard Uncle Walt’s Band,” said Lyle Lovett, a journalism student at Texas A&M University when he first heard the band. “Musically, their finely crafted original compositions reflect diverse influences, while lyrically they demonstrate a sensitive, sophisticated understanding of the dignified South.”

Uncle Walt’s Band, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, was an eclectic music trio that moved to Nashville in 1972 and shortly thereafter to Austin at the urging of Willis Alan Ramsey. ​An attempt at ​an album proved unsuccessful​, so the band headed back to Spartanburg in 1974 where they recorded their own debut LP, Blame It On The Bossa Nova. One thousand copies pressed, sold through performances and self-promotion, disappeared quickly. Heat was gaining for the band so they headed back down to Austin with a reissued album now titled, Uncle Walt’s Band. (Pressings of their original LP change hands for hundreds of dollars these days)

While the album gained many fans and followers it wasn’t enough to sustain the band’s larger ambitions. Going on hiatus for a few years ​,they reunited in Austin at Liberty Lunch in 1978 which launched a second phase for Uncle Walt’s Band that turned out to be the most popular and productive union yet. A second ind​ie album, An American In Texas was released in 1980 followed by a live album from The Waterloo Icehouse, Recorded Live, along with a cassette-only release of studio sessions titled simply, Six • Twenty Six • Seventy Nine.

Gaining the love of Texas music fans, performing regularly throughout the state, yet unable to get the traction nationally​, in 1983 they called it quits again. Although remaining friends and working on various projects over the years, each went on to pursue solo music careers. Hyatt released several albums, plus performed on Austin City Limits, Hood became a Texas Music Hall of Fame sideman playing for artists like Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, and more, and Ball’s success with the hit, “Thinkin’ Problem” established him as a Country Music star.

Back in the late ’70s at Austin’s famed Waterloo Ice House you could find Uncle Walt’s Band fans listening raptly in the packed venue sitting beside the likes of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Nanci Griffith, Jerry Jeff Walker​, or Marcia Ball. Now, you can pull up a seat next to them yourself. This long overdue collection attempts to right missed opportunities of the past and finally gain Uncle Walt’s Band the recognition they deserve. Enjoy the show!


  3. RUBY
  5. ALOHA
  15. GIMME SOME SKIN (Live at The Waterloo Ice House)
  17. ONE MEATBALL (Live at The Waterloo Ice House)
  18. SHINE ON
  20. SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD (Live at Austin Aqua Fest)
  1. I’LL COME KNOCKIN’ (Demo)