Despite the future implications of its name, Mañana Cowboy is focused on the moment. Though, given that they’ve been a band for three years, their debut record is also kind of rooted in the past. Called Día Tree, the 9-track album is composed of songs the band has worked on over that time, but it’s also the first half of a two-album song cycle. Mañana Cowboy, like everything else in the universe, therefore exists simultaneously in the past, present, and future, or at least the band’s music does. Right?!
Holtman, along with drummer Joshua Leon Dearing and bassist Adam Noel Horvath, formed Mañana Cowboy in 2015 after meeting in Burleson and jamming in various bands now buried in the sands of time. A little over a year ago, Wendy Marlissa Mills, Holtman’s girlfriend, joined on keyboards.
Prior to Día Tree, the band made some basic recordings on a digital 8-track with the aim of helping book shows. Following a gig at Dreamy Life Records, the band was approached by singer-songwriter/producer Clint Niosi (Chrome Mags, Frosty) about recording together. Holtman selected nine songs from a catalog of about 25 for the band’s first album, and Mañana Cowboy recorded them in several places.
“We recorded our drums and bass at Grackle Art Gallery and did vocals at a vocal booth at UTA,” he said. “I did guitars at [Niosi’s] house.”
Holtman describes Mañana Cowboy as “kinda like a dreamy pop kind of band,” and the songs on Día Tree do evince a sort of open-ended, episodic narrative floating inside washes of reverb-colored guitars driven by splashy cymbals and melodic, major-key bass runs.
“A lot of what [Holtman] will do, it’s not repetitive, but me and [Horvath] try to make things interesting,” Dearing said.
Sonically, Mañana Cowboy is reminiscent of Yo La Tengo or a “lo-fi version of The Cranberries. The songs are succinct, and the lyrics are sparse, often eschewing verse-chorus-verse-chorus structures in favor of repeated phrases that shift meanings by the turn of a single verb. Holtman doesn’t think of the record as a total concept album, but he said the narrative voice, based on his Uncle John, is consistent.
“We have Día Tree, and our next one will be Noches Tree,” he explained. “The first album is like the person is just going into a dream.”
Of course, since Día Tree doesn’t officially drop until June 9, Noches Tree’s sessions are as yet unplanned.
“We’re gonna give it a little while,” Holtman said. “I try to stay a couple of steps ahead and be ready for when we are going record again.”
He said the most immediate recording plans involve a side project of Norvath’s, a jazz-pop duo called Tortuga Redfro in which Norvath sings and plays keys and Holtman plays drums. Holtman, Mills, and Dearing have another ongoing project: The duplex they all share doubles as a DIY venue called House of the Rising Thumb, where they host bands on a monthly basis.
“We’re right by train tracks, so nobody complains,” Norvath said.
As for the immediate future, the band is looking forward to its CD release show with Earthchild Imperius and Stem Afternoon at MASS on Saturday, June 9. And now that they have an album to sell, Holtman and his bandmates want to play a lot more shows.
“We’d love to make some road trips,” Holtman said.
For today, however, Mañana Cowboy is excited about getting yesterday into tomorrow’s hands.
Mañana Cowboy CD release
8pm Sat, Jun 9, w/Earthchild Imperius and Stem Afternoon at MASS, 1002 S Main St, FW. $7. 682-707-7774.