Ham Jam House Concert

The Hill Country Penguins

The Hill Country Penguins will present a fine acoustic concert Sunday, December 11th, 2011 at 2:00 PM.

The Players...

Joanna Howerton is the accordionist and a lead vocalist with the Penguins, a task she shares with Jeff Haese. Raised in Northeastern Kentucky, many influences contributed to Joanna's unique musical style - classical piano lessons, church and school choir, her mom's recordings of artists such as Johnny Mathis and Boots Randolph, country pickin' from the Porter Wagner show, not to mention a good dose of bluegrass music from her fiddle-playing dad. Getting her start in clubs on Bourbon Street while living in New Orleans, Joanna quickly developed into a soulful blues and R & B singer.

Joanna and Dave Wilcoxson first started playing together in 1989 at a Blues open mic in East Austin and they've been making music together ever since. Jeff Haese joined the two in 1991 and formed the trio "The Austin's" playing local venues. Longing to play the keys again, Joanna borrowed an accordion from blues legend Mel Brown and was hooked! Through the 90's Joanna fronted her own R & B band performing at countless Austin clubs and festivals including the Clarksville Jazz Festival, Aquafest, and the Austin Summer Music Concert Series. An 8 year stint with the variety cover band, Root 66, honed her singing skills across many genres. Joanna's influences include all the incredible southern rock bands of the 70's - ladies of the blues Ann Peebles, Dinah Washington, Koko Taylor, country singers Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and many, many others.

Jeff Haese is the Penguins' rhythm guitarist and shares the title of lead vocalist with Joanna Howerton. Jeff was born and raised on the south side of San Antonio, Texas where he was influenced at an early age by the music of, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Bob Wills and other popular artists of the time. Jeff grew up on the rougher side of town, along with Texas icons Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers, and was shaped by many of the same musical influences as were these Texas giants - Tejano, country and rock and roll. As a youngster, he began to play guitar on his dad's old Harmony flattop with just 3 strings which was kept in the hall closet of their small south side home, spinning the old Sun records and dreaming of playing in a band some day.

Jeff moved to Austin in the fall of 1972, just in time for the Redneck Rock explosion of Willie Nelson, Steve Fromholz, Rusty Weir and others. These artists inspired and influenced him, and he began to ply his art wherever he could - on the street, in local clubs, finally progressing to a regular gig at the University of Texas' Cactus Cafe where he played monthly from 1980 to 1987. In 1988, Jeff took time off from his full time music career to begin raising two wonderful children, devoting his time to them. In 1989, Jeff was introduced to David Wilcoxson and Joanna Howerton, and the roots of the Hill Country Penguins were formed. After 17 years of informal pickin' togeather, Jeff and the Penguins are now sharing their music with the rest of the world.

David R. Wilcoxson is the lead guitarist (both acoustic and electric) with the Penguins and the group's principal songwriter. David's musical awareness was fertilized in the '60's in North Wales across from Liverpool listening to Pirate Radio Caroline North, Radio Luxembourg and Armed Forces Network. His varied musical tastes flourished playing Soul, Rock 'n Roll and Pop in High School in London. Transplanted to Texas in 1970, he fit the Outlaw Country mold to a T. Working in Hollywood and starting to write songs made him realize that his heart was in songwriting, specifically Texas-style songwriting of true songs and true stories. Finally settling in Austin he has honed his skill and become a prolific songwriter. A true blue Dallas Cowboys fan, he wrote "America's Team" winning a song competition in Dallas in 1994. His musical influences range from Peter Green to Townes Van Zandt. The greatest moment in his life was hearing his wife Joanna sing one of his songs!

Lindsay Haisley is the Penguin on the bottom - the bassist for the group, as well as its principal autoharpist. On a number of tunes, he also contributes his voice to the Penguins' vocal harmonies. Lindsay comes to the Hill Country Penguins from a 40 year career in music that spans styles from traditional folk to contemporary jazz, playing guitar, piano, autoharp, bass and trombone. His credits include performances at festivals, concerts and clubs from California to Maine. When he's playing with other musicians, the bass is easily his favorite instrument.

Lindsay jumps in on a number of the Penguins' songs with his autoharps, helping to move the group's sound toward the country/folk tradition. Lindsay is a world class autoharp player and was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame in 2004. He is a nationally-recognized solo artist and has released a number of recordings of his own work.

In 1979 Lindsay was a winner of the Kerrville Folk Festival's prestigious New Folk songwriting contest, and has appeared on the festival's main stage many times, both as a headliner and an accompanist for artists such as David Amram, Peter Yarrow and Tim Henderson.

Delighted with the energy and originality of their music, Lindsay teamed up with the Hill Country Penguins in the summer of 2009.


Doors open at 2:00 and the concert is 3:00 to 5:00.
$10 suggested admission donation.