THE SANCO LOOP
The Sanco Loop is the latest musical incarnation of Austinite, Peter Wagner. Wagner spent the late ‘90’s playing post-punk originals and Hüsker Dü and Sonic Youth covers on 6th Street alongside wah-soaked blues and funk bands. He discovered the Electric Lounge almost too late and then moved over to Beerland and the Red River scene in the early 2000’s. By the second half of the decade, he and his bashy indie-pop band, The Mercers, were pretty well at home playing all over town.
But Wagner left Austin for a tiny town in West Texas where he did ranch and oilfield work and played twangy originals and Merle Haggard covers in honky-tonks. He recorded a solo album, Grasshopper, with a group of Ft. Worth country session players, including drummer Pete Coatney (Jack Ingram) and steel player Roger Ray (Jason Boland and the Stragglers). Before making it back to Austin in 2015, he would spend time in Boise, ID playing in bars and selling life insurance, and on the Arkansas side of Texarkana, where he would have a son and start recording The Sanco Loop’s first self-titled record.
Available everywhere digitally, the record is made up of fuzzed-out acoustic guitar, atmospheric pedal steel, Rhodes, synthesizers, looped drum beats, and Wagner’s surprisingly wide-ranging voice. If James Blake and Peter Gabriel tried to make a red dirt country record, this might be what they’d come up with.
Wagner has since teamed up with Carey Bowman (The Coffee Sergeants) on pedal and lap steel, former Mercers drummer Ethan Herr, Christian Glakas (The Light Upstairs), and 22-year-old bass phenom Augie Gmitter. See them live around Austin and beyond.
Update: The band is going into the studio with Austin’s legendary producer, Stuart Sullivan, in April of 2019 to start work on a new recording.
Video - The Sanco Loop in KUTX's Studio 1A
"The Sanco Loop, is a melting pot of some the best musicians Austin has to offer. Their self-titled debut album is thick with pedal steel, looped drum beats and Wagner’s haunting vocals. It is red dirt country for the modern world."
- Georgina Cook, KUTX
Video - Peter Wagner of the Sanco Loop at From the Hills with Love festival, SXSW
"After the end of the Austin band the Mercers, Peter Wagner bounced around the country, getting pulled to West Texas, and spending time in Idaho and Arkansas. His new project, the Sanco Loop, tips its hat to all this circular motion. Sanco is a ghost town north of San Angelo that sits on a stretch of looping road. Coincidentally (or not), Wagner started writing songs for the project building loops before expanding into a full band. All these tributaries feed into The Sanco Loop, his debut under the new name.
"'Hot Year' ambles out of the gate with just guitar, bass, electronic beats, pedal steel, and Wagner’s dusty voice. It’s more concerned with letting in the space than filling it. 'Not the one you knew before,'” Wagner sings first, staking out this new territory. The song sounds like the end of something–a relationship, a feeling–and at the same time, it’s a beginning."
- Art Levy // host, producer, My KUTX