Sons of Fathers usually plays their music for the people in Texas. But they also play for the Texas in people.
"Texas is a physical place, but it's also an idea," said David Beck, one of the band's founders. "The old frontier, rough and rowdy and honest. And I think that travels all over the world."
Even to Pittsburgh, where Sons of Fathers makes their first appearance tonight at Club Café on the South Side.
"Americans are generally bad-ass people, all across the country," Mr. Beck said. "My favorite thing is how fast the accent changes, totally changes from one part of the country to the other. But the vibe is pretty much the same.
"New Yorkers, you have to draw them in quick. You can't dilly-dally. In the South, it's a little more laid-back. But we don't tailor ourselves to different cities."
Meaning that those who attend tonight's show will be getting pure Texas from the six-member group Mr. Beck and Paul Cauthen started barely three years ago.
"Big ol' drums and a ton of harmonies, that's the main thing," Mr. Beck said. "There are some very southern aspects to the music. It's inherently country music, but not country songs. Country voices, but not country songs. Because we're from the South, it goes through this filter where it's gonna sound country no matter what we do.
"But every song is written to groove, whether it's a story song or a song that portrays a certain message or feeling. They're all authentic, based on real-life situations that we've gone through. And people relate to that."
Mr. Beck and Mr. Cauthen were each trying their hand as singer-songwriters in San Marcos, Texas, playing and touring with other bands, when they met. They found that their songs came out better when they worked together.
"This is our project. This is the first tour we've done with our own band," Mr. Beck said. "So it's really gratifying to get out there and hit the road. It's quite a feat."
The tour, which will keep them away from home through most of the summer, is a mix of places they've visited and some, like Pittsburgh, that are new.
"In places that we've been before, we'll see a lot of people singing along. That's really something," Mr. Beck said. "But then there's new people everywhere we go. You have to build up your markets. Maybe one time you play a show for five people, but the next time you're playing for 20 or more, and the next time you come it's a hundred. It's tough, but you gotta do it."
Joining Sons of Fathers on tonight's bill will be Sephus Lee, a local group that has been playing in Club Cafe, brillobox and Mr. Smalls Theater for the past couple years.
"We play kind of a mashup between alternative, folk, rock 'n' roll and blues," said drummer Adam Glatz, 27, of Shaler. Joining him are Jeremy Rak, Mike Proctor and newcomer Mike Ickes.
"We all have day jobs," said Mr. Glatz. "But people are starting to recognize us and we get asked to open for bands that are coming through the area. But right now we're focused on playing around here and trying to get an EP recorded."
Sons of Fathers is promoting a new album, "Burning Days," which came out early this month.
"One of the coolest things is when we have a new song that we've written," Mr. Beck said. "We'll have it pretty clear how it should go, the chorus, and how long the solo section should be and everything. But then once you take it to a live situation, and you start playing in front of people, sometimes the song will just break loose. It will change from what you thought was going to happen when you play it live. It'll just take off on its own, because of the energy in the room.
"Some songs are hard to wrangle, and you really have to work on parts to nail it. Those songs have a lot of personality. It's like breaking a horse."
Fortunately, tonight ain't their first rodeo.
You can catch the show at Club Café, 56 S. 12th St., starting at 7 p.m. Cover is $10.
If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/