The Textones Share '20 Miles South of Wrong' From First New Album In 31 Years

Markus Cuff

It's been a long road back, but the original lineup of the L.A. roots rockers the Textones is back and releasing a new album, Old Stone Gang, whose rocking, sax-laden "20 Miles South of Wrong" premieres exclusively below.

The 12-song set, the Textones' first new album in 31 years, is the culmination of nearly six years of work, when bassist Joe Read happened to be visiting  Los Angeles from England during October of 2012 and convened with group leader Carla Olson, guitarist George Callins, drummer Rick Hemmert and keyboardist/saxophonist Tom Jr. Morgan. "We were always intending to make another record; We just never could connect physically or geographically, so it got put off for quite a few years," says Olson, who worked during the intervening years with ex-Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, the Byrds' Gene Clark and the Hollies' Allan Clarke.

The 2012 sessions yielded four tracks that appear on Old Stone Gang, but the reunion process went on for its own few years, too, as Read came back and forth from London and Callins moves to Texas, where Olson formed the Textones during 1978 with future Go-Go's bassist Kathy Valentine. "We just kept working on it whenever we could," Olson says. "We basically threw it together in pieces, but all the while intending for it to be an album." The high-octane results on Old Stone Gang, she feels, were worth the weight.

"I wanted it to be a rockin' album," Olson says. "I've done a lot of things that were...not quiet albums, but sort of poppy, soft things. I'm ready to rock, and these are the guys I like to rock with, so I'm stoked it came out like this."

Some of the songs on Old Stone Gang, which comes out Sept. 21, date back even further than 2012, according to Olson -- most notably "One Half Rock," which the late Phil Seymour introduced during the mid-80s when he was in the band. "20 Miles South of Wrong," meanwhile, is a track Olson wrote with Callins for the 2012 sessions as "a comment on aging and how you look up and everything has changed -- and then nothing has changed. It's kind of bittersweet." The track also features guest appearances by Allan Clarke and Blue Elan Records labelmate Rusty Young of Poco, who contributed vocals, pedal steel and mandolin remotely.

"It just blew me away," Olson says of Young's parts. "I had never met Rusty, so it was such a thrill to have him do that. He's a world-class musician, and just the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet."

The Textones' tour plans are pending -- "We're rarin' to go," Olson reports -- although there is a Sept. 21 date set at Federal Bar in Los Angeles. The good news is that after the six years of making Old Stone Gang the group has "half an album already written" for a follow-up. Olson, meanwhile, is working on a memoir, which will span her youth as a classically trained pianist in Austin through a Gump-like rock 'n' roll life that includes close encounters with Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and scores of others.

"I've got 10 chapters written so far," Olson reports. "I don't know what to say other than I've been the luckiest person that has walked the face of...well, certainly the Austin music scene. I never in a million years could have imagined when I bought my first album, by the Byrds in '65 from the Columbia Record Club, that I would meet Gene Clark -- and then work with him. There's been a lot of great stuff like that in my life, and I don't take any of it for granted."


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