The Damnations TX

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Sisters Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly (not half-sisters: Deborah nabbed their mother's maiden name) grew up in the Adirondacks, getting "home lessons" from their parents' Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash records.…
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Sisters Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly (not half-sisters: Deborah nabbed their mother's maiden name) grew up in the Adirondacks, getting "home lessons" from their parents' Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash records. Clearly talented and obsessed with music, they realized while still young that listening to New York classic rock radio stations didn't provide the breadth of exposure to traditional and new garage that they craved. Bands like Kiss and Foghat interested them, but only until they were finished being teenagers. Thus, they packed it up and moved on out to Austin, Texas, where they rented a dive behind the famed Antone's, noted for introducing such alt upstarts as the Wild Seeds, the Wannabes, and Doctor's Mob.

They began by hitting the open-mike circuit as an acoustic duet at the since folded Chicago House, and slowly developed a popularity that defined the Austin vibe: strictly indie, unpresuming, straightforward, and hard rocking, with delirious hoedown and punk grafts reminiscent of Lone Justice and the exploding alt-country scene at large. Although they had previously not concentrated on country music -- they had found the Nashville sound oppressive, originally -- Damnations (who added the TX to distinguish themselves from other similarly named bands) became increasingly countrified, without giving in to the twang of irony and put-on that a number of cowpunk bands seem to need.

Half Mad Moon
By bringing Prescott Curlywolf's Rob Bernard in on electric guitar and occasional banjo and the Gourds' Keith Langford on drums, the full band sound suddenly became one of Austin's most powerful club draws. The arrival of Half Mad Moon, their debut full-length recording with Sire Records, plunged the girls (and boys) into a tremendously successful tour, cementing the group's reputation as a fun, versatile, and very musical country-tweaked band in the truest tradition of family talent and dues-paying rewards. Later dropping the "TX" from the band name and departing Sire for the independent Joy-Ride Records, the Damnations released their sophomore album, Where It Lands, in 2002.