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Hearsay: Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Centro Gets Telegraph

Were you to pass Will Johnson on the street, you’d probably have no idea that you’d just come within inches of the closest thing North Texas has ever had to an indie-rock genius. (You’d have to be ambulating in Austin, though – the former Dentonite now lives there.) The frontman for Centro-matic and South San Gabriel has done nothing over the past decade-plus but write and perform awesome, unclassifiable rock ’n’ roll music, sell out rock clubs all over the country, and get consistently laudatory reviews in The New York Times, among other, less illustrious publications – adding to his indie cred is the fact that nine out of 10 people have never heard of him, and few people know what he looks like. Along with Centro/SSG drummer Matt Pence, Johnson has co-produced his own bands’ music but evidently has never agreed to work with a young band – until now. Late next month (October), Johnson will begin producing Telegraph Canyon’s new one, the relatively new Fort Worth indie-folk-rock band’s follow-up to its 2007 debut, All the Good News. “I’m interested to see what happens,” said Telegraph frontman Chris Johnson (no relation). “I’m excited. The records he’s put out in the past kind of speak for themselves.” He said Will Johnson is reportedly hands-off, which may allow Chris and the band to focus on big-picture ideas rather than minutiae. “I hope to learn a lot from him,” said Chris. The conduit between Will Johnson and Telegraph is Britton Beisenherz, who owns Ramble Creek Music, the recording studio where the album will be done, and who also was in a band with Steve Collins, the guy who produced Good News. “I saw a window,” Chris said. “I called [Beisenherz], and he talked to [Johnson].” An added layer of connection is Telegraph violinist Tamara Cauble, who played on a South San Gabriel record. The recording date is about a week after Telegraph Canyon plays Modern ’til Midnight, an annual indie-rock throwdown at the sculpture garden of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Also on the bill are Fort Worthians Stumptone, Mount Righteous, and Dove Hunter, plus Baby Dee (yes, the Baby Dee) and headliners Mucca Pazza. Chris hopes to have 15 tracks on the new record, set for release in March, right around the time of the annual SXSW music festival in Austin. Visit www.myspace.com/telegraphcanyon. … Got to see Telegraph last Friday at Rock the Ballet, a fund-raiser for Texas Ballet Theater put together by TBT dancers and singer-songwriter Brandin Lea (The February Chorus, Flickerstick) and put on at Embargo downtown. Good sound and great performances – The Feb Chor also played, and in between bands some dancers did routines – and the place was packed. But, man, what a weird vibe. The dancers and dance fans seemingly didn’t know what to do when confronted by the sight of Lea bent over his guitar and beating the hell out of it or the sounds of Telegraph blowing the roof off the place. Oh, well. The point was to put butts in the seats. Mission: accomplished. (No word yet on how much money was raised.) Though once in danger of being canceled, TBT’s new season will continue as planned – thanks, in at least a teensy-weensy part, to a push from the local rock scene. Visit www.myspace.com/getbehindyourballet.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.

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