Members of Carson Brock and The Effect are Patrick Mertens on bass, Carson Brock on lead guitar/vocals and Colter Lutz on drums.

Guitarist/singer/songwriter Carson Brock hears it all the time, that he was born too late. Just 19, Brock grew up on records by Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix and went to big rock shows as a kid to watch his father play. But when it came time to form his own rock ’n’ roll band, the old clubs were all closed and the kids seemingly moved on to hip-hop, dance or artsy folk music.

But Carson Brock and The Effect, whose full-length debut comes out in March, are on a mission to prove that the rock ’n’ roll of great songwriting, gifted musicianship and unbridled forcefulness is timeless.


“It doesn’t matter to us if this music is or isn’t trendy,” Brock says, “It’s the music we love.” When chief songwriter Brock, who also just happens to be a world-class electric guitarist, hears songs in his head, they’re playing on vinyl.

“When I was about four or five, my father (Eric Johnson’s bassist Kyle Brock) was on Capitol and the label gave him the entire Beatles collection,” says Brock. “When I played ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ for the first time, that was it for me. That music didn’t rely on some of the tricks you have in the studio these days. It was all about the pure talent of playing and singing and songwriting.”

Brock first performed live as a 6-year-old playing Led Zep’s “Misty Mountain Hop” at the school talent show. He’s always been a rocker, which made him stand out from most of the other kids at school. “I’ve always hung out with an older crowd,” he says. “Folks are always surprised at how young I am.

Like Austin blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr., an inspiration for the way “he’s making it on his own terms,” Brock had the benefit of learning as a youngster from veterans of the Austin club scene. Rock venues like Antone’s, the Saxon Pub and the Backyard were his classrooms. “Of course, Eric Johnson is a huge influence and he’s been very generous in showing me some things, but I’ve always been intent on finding my own style,” says Brock.

Having a melodic, hard rock trio in 2013 is a bit like starting a phone message service. But, you know, there’s something to be said for talking to a human about calls you missed. And it’s still a thrill to hear a rock ’n’ roll band recorded on analog tape, as Carson Brock and the Effect did with FINDING FRAMES, set for March 5 release. Produced by Johnson engineer Kelly Donnely (Vallejo) and Jared Tuten (Jimmie Vaughan, Broken Teeth), FINDING FRAMES balances exemplary guitar playing with melodic vocals on ten original tracks.

“The title ‘Finding Frames’ sums up the process of making this record,” says Brock, who has grown as an artist after his 2010 debut SIGNS, which he wrote and recorded as a 16-year-old junior at Lake Travis High. “Every song is like a picture of where you were at a certain time and you have to find the right frame.” When you put all the songs together, they show the album’s bigger picture, Brock says.

A theme of the record, which ranges from the driving guitar rhythms of leadoff single “Get What You Need” to the more pensive mood of “Pretend,” is stepping out from your comfort zone to grow as a person. “I feel really good about this group of songs,” says Brock, a fifth generation Texan. “I think I’ve come a long way as a songwriter and I’m in a really good place now.”

The re-emergence of electric guitar-based acts such as Jack White, the Black Keys and Rival Sons are encouraging to a trio that has not only mastered rock, but throws in elements of jazz, funk and even country swing.

That the scorch of electric guitar and love of songcraft go together in Brock’s musical mindset is exemplified by him receiving an endorsement from Fender Guitars and co-writing with pop icon Christopher Cross (“Get a Life,” released on www.carsonbrock.com).

The way you try to make it these days is by appearing on network talent shows like “American Idol,” but even as the Carson Brock Band won the statewide SchoolJam contest and a trip to Germany when Brock was 15, he and the Effect will be getting the word out the old-fashioned way, by paying their dues in the clubs. Though the young band makes full use of social media to keep its growing fanbase involved, don’t be surprised to see members putting up gig fliers on telephone poles.

When you’re young and you burn with as much talent and ambition as Carson Brock and the Effect, you can’t wait around for the trends. Instead you embrace the adage that there’s no time like the present.