LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — The band with the Texas plates pulled up to the street fair stage and found out they were expected to play two 75-minute sets that night. Such a surprise double shift would send most bands into an obscenity-coated tizzy, but to the Warren Hood Band that just meant the three distinctive soloists — Hood on violin, Emily Gimble on piano and Willie Pipkin on electric guitar — would get to stretch a bit. The good people of this town in the mountains outside Santa Fe were in for two-and-a-half hours of top-flight Western swing, Chicago blues, gypsy jazz, Memphis soul, pop standards and even a Civil War fiddle tune.
But just as often, the Warren Hood Band played originals that are so good they sound like covers. That’s the magic of the new self-titled debut, which is richer in pop songcraft than you’d expect from a serious violinist who left a rising local band in 2002 to study jazz and classical at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston. Hood has been one of the best fiddle players in town since he was a student at Austin High, yet he has only recently found a smooth, confident singing voice. Having to follow the soulful Gimble, who sings three leads on the album, including the standout “Pear Blossom Highway,” has Hood working on his vocals more than on his fiddle technique these days.
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Warren Hood Band
• The band plays a free in-store at 5 p.m. Friday at Waterloo Records, 600 N. Lamar Blvd. waterloorecords.com
• They play Saturday at ACL Live, 310 W. Second St., on a bill with Hayes Carll, and Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis. Show at 8 p.m. $25-$35. acl-live.com.
• And from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene Road in New Braunfels. Free, www.gruenehall.com.