Austin, besides being the
He hails from
It was a crazy time, but a lot of fun too, with the rough & tumble Howlers playing R&B, Rock & Roll and even the occasional polka and western swing tunes. But Kent Dykes mostly just wanted to play blues. And by then the other Howlers had taken to calling him “Omar Overtone” because he tended to let his guitar feedback on stage while he dropped to the floor to spin on his back in a spontaneous, Big & Tall Store take on break-dancing. As he says, those performances were “sometimes fueled by, a-hmm, alcohol.”
By 1976, the Howlers decided to move and relocate to Austin, where such clubs as the Soap Creek Saloon, the Broken Spoke, the Armadillo World Headquarters and Antone’s had created a haven for renegade music. “We worked out of
Fronting a new lineup, Dykes honed a band capable of the sort of raw, rowdy, rambunctious blues that made Howlin’ Wolf and Hound Dog Taylor legends. Omar's first release was Big Leg Beat in 1980, shortly followed by I Told You So 1984, earning Omar & the Howlers consecutive Austin band-of-the-year awards in 1985-1986. Hard Time in the
But really that was just the beginning as Omar followed up with another twelve albums in the next fourteen years; Wall Of Pride 1988,
On Boogie Man, Omar brought in songwriter friends he’s made since he left
Plus it’s not exactly heavy lifting to work with such
Besides the songwriting collaborators, Omar also brought some friends into the recording studio, including guitarists Chris Duarte and Jon Dee Graham (True Believers), Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble, George Rains (Sir Douglas Quintet and house drummer on scores of Antone’s label releases) and his frequent running-mates Terry Bozzio (Missing Persons, Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa) and Malcolm “Papa Mali” Welbourne.
In 2006 Omar was back with more and did another four albums in the next four years; Bamboozled 2006, On The Jimmy Reed Hiway (with Jimmie Vaughn) 2007 (with an episode on Austin City Limits - see Photos/Videos section),
2011 finds Omar tighter, funkier than ever and slated with a great new release in 2012. But Omar always loves to play live; “I still do 150-160 shows a year, and with travel days that adds up to a lot of time away from home. It always seems like we’re on a plane headed somewhere.”
Be certain to check Omar's calendar - he will be playing somewhere close laying down that beautiful sound we have all come to love and appreciate.Howl On Big Dog, Howl On!