After fighting and killing a man in 1918, blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter was sentenced to thirty years of prison in Huntsville, Texas, deep in the East woods and swamps of the state, earning his famous stage name Lead Belly after a man blasted him in the stomach with a shotgun in prison. After being pardoned early, he became an international blues star, selling millions of records in a time where radio and record formats were just becoming affordable, introducing blues and the foundations of rock music to a large caucasian population, influencing a young Buddy Holly or Elvis.
Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers once said of Texas and rock, "All the music...its just something some black dudes did in East Texas and no one gave them credit, that's what rock n roll is ...The Beatles were just ripping off Buddy Holly, and Buddy Holly was just ripping off some black slave that was down the street from him. It all boils down to Texas and black and blues and rock 'n roll dammit!".
Jimi Hendrix was asked during an interview on television, who he believed to be the greatest guitarist of the generation, and named a young Houston based psychedelic virtuoso Billy Gibbons who pioneered harmonics and distortion engineering, and later joined ZZ Top. Texas Blues acts like Stevie Ray Vaughan dominated the international blues and jazz scene of the 1980s, through sheer talent and technical tonal mastery. Outlaw country musicians like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings pioneered a new era of country music. Until his death, Dimebag Darrel and Pantera dominated a metal scene from their origins outside Dallas. The Butthole Surfers set the stage for grunge and alternative metal with manic soundscapes.
Performing as a musician in competition with such a powerful lineage of Texan predecessors requires the introduction of new technical masteries and expressions. Houston based act Narrow Head may be among such tonal and artistic pioneers.
The video for Narrow Head's single "Ashtray" opens with a shot of a Texas wind farm, semirural silos around the suburban Houston area, and slow night traffic views of the wide highways and ghostly car lights. Sunflowers drying in the wind under the blue sky appear as the lead singer closes in to be more intimate with the camera, the music builds from a sly, cool drone to a grind.
Narrow Head's 2016 album Satisfaction's songs are heavy layered orchestrations, cutting metal and deep shoegaze hybrids, drawing also from mid-early 2000s era alternative rock sounds. Harmonics and composition on songs like "Feels like Sand", "Ashtray", and "Paranoid Hands" hint at Alice in Chains or Smashing Pumpkins influences. The best songs from the album by far are either "It's Whatever to Me", a dramatic jam with lyrical and tonal discord, or "Paranoid Hands", a galloping groove metal piece.
The band's newer singles were released in March, 2017, and they are touring the United States, check out the band at