Dave Gonzalez’s current “country funk” project The Stone River Boys, returns to the Zoo Bar for a two-night stand, Thursday and Friday, Oct. 7-8, after 9 p.m. The Stone River Boys are fronted by guitarist Gonzalez, formerly of the Hacienda Brothers and The Paladins, and Austin’s Mike Barfield, formerly of The Hollisters. October 3rd marked the 60th anniversary of the birth of Chris Gaffney, beloved lead singer of the Hacienda Brothers. Gaffney passed away in April of 2008 after a battle with liver cancer. The Stone River Boys began when Barfield, who Gaffney admired, agreed to tour with Gonzalez to promote the Hacienda Brothers final record, Arizona Motel (Proper Records-America). The disc, a must for Gaffney fans, was released after his death. It includes some of his best performances. Gonzalez toured with the CD and put a band together to help sell the disc, sending proceeds to Gaffney’s widow, Julie. “Chris Gaffney was a great Western singer,” Gonzalez says in press notes for the current tour, “but he also had a knack for singing R&B and soul tunes, too. When I hooked up with Barfield, it was the same thing. He’s a country bro, but he’s a funky soul bro, too. In that sense, it does lean toward the way the Hacienda Brothers were. Dan Penn called our music ‘Western soul.’ Mike is real funky; I was telling everybody it’s more country soul. Lately we’ve been calling it ‘country funk,’ because we’ve got a little more funk and a little more up-tempo material in this new band than we did with the Haciendas.” Lincoln musician and producer Charlie Johnson of the Mezcal Brothers got Gonzalez and Barfield into the studio for some recording sessions during the Arizona Motel tour. In the end, much of The Stone River Boys new disc Love on the Dial (Cow Island Records) was recorded in Lincoln with Johnson at the helm. Austin bassist Scott Esbeck, formerly of Los Straitjackets, is part of the touring version of Stone River Boys. Other musicians on the recording include bassists Hank Maninger (Hacienda Brothers) and Kevin Smith (Dwight Yoakam), pedal steel player Dave Biller, and drummers Justin Jones of Lincoln and Damien Llanes of Austin. The resulting mix of country and danceable, soul-oriented funk is sure to put a smile on your face. “Austin’s Stone River Boys’ sound meets at the rare crossroads of country and soul,” wrote the Dallas Observer. “The rhythms they employ are reminiscent of Philly soul or even … Motown back in the ’60s. But overall, their sound is pure Austin. It’s the perfect atmosphere for those two styles to intersect. And believe me, these are country boys. But don’t be fooled by their red necks, these guys have some real soul.” Bonus for the Friday, Oct. 9, show: Lincoln’s Tijuana Gigolos play the 5-7 p.m. happy hour. Related Notes Fans of the late Chris Gaffney can still purchase copies of the tribute disc produced by his friend and musical partner Dave Alvin. The Man of Somebody’s Dreams: A Tribute to the Songs of Chris Gaffney (Yep Roc, 2009) is available from yeproc.com and other online music outlets. Dave Gonzalez’s longtime partner in The Paladins, Thomas Yearsley, continues his recovery from a tragic accident in September, when he was injured by an oncoming train while trying to save his dog, Swango. The dog was disoriented from health issues and medications and wandered into the train’s path. Yearsley was Life-Flighted to a local hospital with a broken leg and other injuries. His canine best friend Swango did not survive. Find out more and have the opportunity to help with Yearsley’s medical and recovery expenses at helpthomas.com. As of Oct. 1 friends and fans had donated $8,377, or 42 percent of their $20,000 goal. The Paladins was a Southern California rockabilly band that was hugely popular in Omaha and Lincoln over the group’s 20-plus year run. Hot Notes There is no 5:30 p.m. blues matinee at The Lift Thursday, Oct. 7, due to the Husker game. Thursday, Oct. 14, Washington D.C.-based band The Nighthawks takes the stage for the early show. The 35-year-old group is one of the finest of the 1970s bands that brought the blues revival to a national audience. See thenighthawks.com for more info. Pacific Northwest roots-rockers Too Slim & The Taildraggers hit The Lift for a special Saturday show Oct. 9, at 5:30 p.m. Americana-folkers The Felice Brothers play Waiting Room Tuesday, Oct. 12. One of the earliest artists to perform what’s come to be known as Americana is Chuck Prophet, who plays a Sunday Roadhouse concert at Waiting Room next Thursday, Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m. See sundayroadhouse.com. Former Howlin’ Wolf band menber Eddie Shaw and his group the Wolf Gang gig at the Zoo Bar Wednesday, Oct. 13, 6-9 p.m.