Records of the past inspire new Texas vinyl
Vinyl records are a trendy topic among many music lovers these days, but few fans are as passionate about the medium as guitar player and songwriter J. Scott Rivera.
When it came time for Rivera to release an album he recorded with his band, The Texas Devils, he looked to vinyl records, future and past.
“I used to love looking at album covers,” Rivera said. “Finding them in a bargain bin somewhere and wondering ‘who are these guys?’ Even the smell of a record … You can’t get that experience with CDs and downloads. I hope that someone finds our record one day and has that experience.”
Last year, Rivera (guitar, bass and vocals) and drummer Joel Mora, along with producer/engineer Chris Longwood, produced a nine-song album they describe as “country metal,” which was recorded at the legendary SugarHill Studios in Houston.
They released the self-titled “Texas Devils” album this year in limited-edition devil-red vinyl — with a one-of-kind abstract design on each LP. The tunes, written by Rivera and Mora, are fit for a gritty, dusk-till-dawn roadhouse. Dark and heavy guitar riffs make the album reminiscent of Alice Cooper, with hints of Slayer and Black Sabbath. Pockets of blues and country reveal Rivera’s versatile taste in music.
Born in 1971, Rivera was raised in Alvin but has lived in San Leon for the past 12 years. He has performed in many well-known Gulf Coast-based bands since the late 1980s, including Menagerie and Red Cap. And Rivera has maintained a close circle of musician friends and regularly attends and organizes jam sessions and shows that encourage musicians to share songs and perform together.
Locals, including Galveston’s Kevin Anthony, Blackgrass Gospel, Blunderbuss and Richard The Drifter, have participated with Rivera and The Texas Devils in shows at Scout Bar and the San Leon Beach Pub, with bass player Captain Mike joining the band for live performances. Rivera is organizing a multi-artist show at the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston in February or March.
With an enthusiasm for everything from old-time Western songs to Otis Redding and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Rivera is as much a fan as he is a player and in 2011 contributed songwriting, bass, juice harp and vocals to the Red Cap Band CD “Light Of Day.” That album features Mora and Charlie Rollo on guitar and vocals and has a pop-friendly feel that speaks to Rivera and company’s deep Texas roots.
While his energetic stage presence and vibrant personality come through in the rock or country music he performs on stages throughout Galveston County, Rivera is just as happy strumming a blues tune under the stars in the backyard of his San Leon home, joined occasionally by his wife of 10 years, Leslie, or his cat Elvis.
The Texas Devils’ red vinyl album is available at Sweet Spot Audio and Records, a vintage stereo equipment and record store in Webster devoted to selling only vinyl and locally produced CDs. For more about J. Scott Rivera’s shows and jam sessions, visit The Texas Devils on Facebook.