Three of Austin’s most beloved musicians are converging tonight (Friday) for a rare performance together to celebrate the anniversary of singer-songwriter Michael Fracasso’s Big Top album, released one year ago — a mere two decades after it was recorded. Fracasso, producer Charlie Sexton (aka Bob Dylan’s guitarist) and keyboardist/producer Michael Ramos (BoDeans, John Mellencamp, Paul Simon) will livestream their 7 p.m. CDT performance from the Studios at Fischer, outside of Austin.
Studios at Fischer is also the home of Lucky Hound Music, for which Ramos serves as A&R rep — a role that allowed him to champion the album’s belated release. Ramos was part of the Sexton-led house band at a memorial celebrating another beloved Austin musician, bassist/producer George Reiff, who’d played on Big Top. (Both Ramos and Reiff were members of the Charlie Sexton Sextet in the ‘90s.) Dubbed the Concert for Our George, the late-2017 event for Ramos’s close friend drew a who’s who of Austin’s top talent for a 5-hour marathon. Fracasso’s set of Big Top tunes, a highlight of the night, beguiled Ramos, who was particularly taken by the charming baroque-pop melody and Fracasso’s choir-boy tenor on “Mother Nature’s Traveling Show.”
Ramos was surprised he didn’t know the songs, and stunned to learn they were sitting on an album that had never been released because it would have followed Fracasso’s bad experience with his well-received but poorly marketed album, World in a Drop of Water.
“It was a collaboration that just kind of existed in a time,” Fracasso said of Big Top. “I think it speaks for itself.”
At an intimate album release party last year, Ramos, Sexton and Fracasso reignited their easy chemistry; whether live or virtual, it’s always worth catching the musical fireworks when they do.