Female country trio The Carper Family has found a new place to call home for the month of June. Starting Monday, June 4, the band will begin a month-long residency at the Cactus Cafe for four installments of bluegrass Mondays. The gig is part of the Cactus Cafe’s Artist in Residence program, a quarterly series designed to continue the club’s famed tradition of helping local talent reach new audiences.
Though The Carper Family may be a new sound to some of Austin’s musical ears, the trio — Melissa Carper, Beth Chrisman and Jenn Miori — is no stranger to Austin’s country music hubs. Frequently seen playing The White Horse, Mean Eyed Cat and The Continental Club, this family is also no stranger to the road and national attention.
In fact, The Carper Family’s latest album, Back When, was named Best Country Album by the Independent Music Awards in April 2012. With a panel of judges that includes music icons like Keith Richards, Tom Waits and Tori Amos, that little award grants big bragging rights for the Texas trio.
What’s so attractive about The Carper Family — and what likely caught that impressive panel’s attention — is more than just the face value appeal of a female trio executing thoughtful harmonies and traditional bluegrass instrumentals. It’s the band's ability to do so without falling victim to a “Dixie Chicks” stereotype.
The harmonies can be sweet, but there’s edge in a Carper Family performance, too. That edge comes in the form of the band’s original tunes, like “Don’t Treat Me Too Nice” and “Love Me Like You Do." Their songs tend to meld traditional bluegrass styling with playful lyrics that err on the side of modern female independence: something that fits perfectly in Austin's country music subculture.
Every Monday in June, you can catch The Carper Family’s modern bluegrass set at the Cactus Cafe. And each week, a new friend of the family will join the bill to open the show. The lineup features The Austin Steamers (June 4), The Atomic Duo (June 11), Brennen Leigh (June 18) and Cindy Cashdollar (June 25).
Thanks to a sponsorship from Lone Star Beer, the residency is free to the public. Doors open at 8 p.m., with the opening act taking the stage at 8:30 p.m.
For more information on the residency series, visit the Cactus Cafe website.