The second installment of Temple’s Cultural Activities Center Texas Music Series brings the Austin-based Warren Hood Band to the center’s stage this Saturday.
The youthful Hood is perhaps best known as a fiddle player, starting on the instrument at 11, winning top honors at the Berklee School of Music, and recording with Susan Tedeschi, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett and others. He’s also accomplished on the mandolin, writes songs and sings — all in a style that’s been called “a crowd-pleasing fusion of jazz/blues/newgrass and acoustic music.”
Hood toured extensively with San Francisco Bay-area band The Waybacks as their ace fiddler, returning to Central Texas as a bandleader and releasing the self-titled debut album “The Warren Hood Band.” Nine of the CD’s 11 songs were composed by Hood, including the single “Alright” and the soulful “Where Have You Gone,” sung by the group’s pianist, Emily Gimble.
Gimble boasts a sterling C&W pedigree: her grandfather, Grammy Award winner Johnny Gimble, was the original fiddler of the Texas Playboys. She’s performed with Ray Benson, Marcia Ball and Willy Nelson.
The trio’s guitar player, Austin’s Willie Pipkin, co-wrote one of the band audience favorites: “Songbird.” The tune is a bouncy, upbeat song that reinforces the feel-good, rootsy atmosphere for which this group is known.
Saturday’s performance at CAC is part of a busy schedule that finds the band performing across North America.
Hood’s musical influences range from Ray Charles to Stephane Grappelli to his father, Champ Hood.
“Everybody that’s in my band, we all listen to a lot of different music,” Hood said. “Emily grew up with western swing, Willie is a blues guy.” Jane Boone, marketing director at CAC, predicts a standout performance: “This is a great band.”