You hate to see stuff like this happen, but it seems to way too often.
John Baumann, one of the best songwriters in country music and a criminally underrated artist overall, had his van stolen recently from the spot where he keeps it in his home base of Austin, TX.
One fourth of the Texas country music supergroup the Panhandlers, Baumann has toured all over the country, and like any touring musician, the van is an incredibly important aspect of his career and livelihood, transporting he, his band, and their gear from show to show.
Baumann took to Instagram upon the van’s theft to alert the Austin community, the music industry, and his fans, and in effort to hopefully locate the vehicle.
“Stolen van. Ford White E350 15 passenger van. Last seen 16 hours ago in northeast Austin. License plate GBC 0431.
Do some magic social media. Thanks”
Unfortunately, this type of thing seems to happen more often than one would expect. Within the last year or so, Paul Cauthen also had his van stolen, with tons of gear inside of it, Dale Watson’s van was taken at one point as well, and Jesse Daniel had the catalytic converter stolen from his van in the middle of a tour.
Luckily other artists have been sharing Baumann’s post to their social media, and hopefully, Baumann and his team will be able to track down the van.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with Baumann and his music, this is a great, albeit unfortunate opportunity to check it out. While based in Austin, Baumann is a TCU alum and has lived all of the state throughout his career, and is well respected as one of the greatest Texas-centric songwriters of his generation.
Including his debut EP West Texas Vernacular in 2012, which features the fan-favorite track “Midland,” Baumann’s deep and growing catalog of solo work features three full length albums, two EPs, and a plethora of singles that exude Texan authenticity and feature masterful lyricism and storytelling.
One of the best in the business, here are some of my favorite tracks that Baumann has recorded over the years.
“Midland” – West Texas Vernacular EP (2012)
“Old Stone Church” – Proving Grounds (2017)
“Bay City Blues” – Departures EP (2015)
“Next Ride Around the Sun” – Country Shade (2020)
Another one of Baumann’s songs, “Gulf Moon,” was originally recorded on his 2014 project High Plains Alchemy before being picked up by mainstream country music mainstay Kenny Chesney in 2018 for his Songs for the Saints record.
On top of all this, as I mentioned previously, Baumann is an integral part of the Texas supergroup The Panhandlers, alongside Josh Abbott, William Clark Green, and Flatland Cavalry’s Cleto Cordero, who released their debut record The Panhandlers in 2020, and their sophomore project West Texas is the Best Texas earlier this month.
Here are a few Baumann-penned or co-written Panhandlers tunes that every country music fan needs to check out.
“No Handle” – The Panhandlers (Baumann)
“The Last Gentleman in Southwest Texas” – Tough Country (Baumann)
“Valentine, for Valentines” – Tough Country (Baumann)
This should be plenty of proof that John Baumann is the real deal, but he has tons of other spectacular music waiting to be listened to, so go give the rest of it a listen, too. And hopefully he’s able to find his van and get it back from the lowlifes who jacked it, and that they face the consequences they deserve.
I’m optimistic, especially given how close knit and well-connected the Texas music scene is. I mean, I sure wouldn’t mess with that community. In the meantime, though, keep on listening to John Baumann.