Thursday, May 30, 2013

Highway Hiatus

Life. It is full of up and down moments.  That's just how it goes.  While I try to keep things on here about what is happening in the music world and less about my personal world, today my personal world hit a snag. My dad had a stroke this morning. Since last Tuesday my family has been handling his recovery from surgery he had to have due to some complications associated with Diabetes.  Things were moving along fine last week and life seemed normal.  As far as strokes go this one wasn't as bad as it could be.  We were able to talk with him today, although his speech is super slurred and he has some weakness on the left side.  The good thing is he was already at the hospital when this happened so he was taken care of immediately.  The recovery isn't going to be simple.  That being said for the time being I am not sure how many concerts I will get to.  Family has to come first.  It doesn't mean I am giving up on hurricane highway either.  As long as things stay stable and ok than I should be able to go see Matt Harlan at River Road later in the week.  Maybe Walt Wilkins too when he returns for the first Thursday at Gruene.  As for anything after that, it will be game time decisions. I will try to stay on top of new releases and other music news as much as I can.  To be honest my brain is on overload right now.  This is just a temporary bump in the road.  One that with time will be overcome.  Thank you to my friends and family that read what I have to say on here.  I know you will understand and keep us in your thoughts.  I also have to say a very heartfelt thank you to my mom.  It is not easy to be the wife and mother in this situation, but through it all there is no one else I would rather have by my side.  She is the one after all who told  me I should put my thoughts into words today.  Also thanks to all my family and friends that have been with us at the hospital, called and checked in to see how we are and have offered their support.  It means a lot more to me than I can say.  My dad is quite the character.  One of the funniest people I know and also one of the one of the most stubborn.  Two traits that will help in this current state of events...

As always there is live music all around for you to see.  If I can remember correctly Ryan Beaver is at Hooligan's  and Six Market Blvd is at RiverRoad on Friday.  Those were two of the shows I can think of right now as I type this.  Go out though and explore what the music scene has to offer, please and tell me all about it.  Lot's of new music is out right now.  If you haven't already listened to or downloaded the music talked about on here than give it a listen and tell me what you think.  As most of you know I am always up for a music debate.  Be back at this blog stuff soon.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hurricane Highway Has A YouTube Channel~

I am not sure if it was far more complicated than I thought to set this channel up or if my brain is not working like it should. It is possible with everything going on in my life it is a little of both. Turns out uploading these videos took a lot longer than I expected. Part of that was slow Wi-Fi and the other part of that is learning how this YouTube deal works. So here it is. My channel of videos I have recorded at shows. These videos are rough. I don't have proper lighting and I certainly don't have video director skills to capture everyone in their best angle, light, or make them five pounds lighter. I will try to capture more videos as I go through out the summer. It requires to me to get to places early so I can scope out prime seating real estate to capture the show. We shall see how that goes, me being early to something is about as likely as it snowing in June.  Here's the deal - I tried to set this channel up under hurricane highway, but I am too stupid for this Google Plus crap. When I set up my email way back when, I set it up under my first and middle name.  When I tried to change the name, it turned into a cluster f*!K of epic proportions.  Throwing the computer out the window wasn't an option.  I had to just deal with the fact that the channel is under Lauren Nichole and not exactly Hurricane Highway. Either way though, I know the channel is mine. All mine. Happy viewing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Music Tuesday - Triggering A Flood

Oh new music Tuesday, it makes Tuesday all that much better.  I have talked about this lady more than a time or two on here, but now today she has released her new cd.  Triggering A Flood is everything I hoped it was going to be.  Not overly done, it captures Courtney's voice perfectly so you can listen to what the lyrics have to say.  I really racked my brain here to tell you the songs that stand out but I really can't pick favorite.  It changes from day to day. Today this one has my attention. Some of you may recognize it from The Trisha's cd High, Wide, and Handsome disk.  Courtney actually wrote the song. It was the only song on their cd that wasn't written by a member of that band. 
Here are all the festivities planned for this weeks release. Go out and listen or grab a copy of her cd from Lone Star Music or ITunes. 
CD Release Week:
Tues, May 28 - Lone Star Music, San Marcos @ 6pm
Tues, May 28 - Roots & Branches @ Tavern in the Gruene, New Braunfels (w/ Jason Eady)
Wed, May 29 - Country Jam Radio @ Love in War Plano (w/ Matt Hillyer)
Thurs, May 30 - Cheatham Street Warehouse, San Marcos (w/ Jamie Wilson)
Fri, May 31 - Bostocks, Stephenville @ 10pm
Sat, June 1 - Line Camp Steakhouse, Tolar @ 6:30pm (reservations required)
Sun, June 2 - Magnolia Motor Lounge, Fort Worth (w/ Jamie Wilson) @ 6pm

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memorial Weekend Happenings

Starting today it seems like everyone is in holiday mode.  Including myself and I am not even working...I decided I would break down who is playing this week.  These aren't all the shows going on but the ones that if I had a clone or a time machine I would be at.  I thought I had a clear plan of what I was doing but as I look at this list now I am so unsure.  Either way it looks to be a good time at any one of these shows.  I really wish I could be at all of them.  If you go to these shows and you don't see me there, let me know how it is and feel free to tell me the tales of what happens.

Cody Canada at Countyline BBQ
Austin Gilliam and American Aquarium at RiverRoad Icehouse
Band of Bandits at The Pour Haus
Chris King and  Mayeaux and Broussard at Phoenix Saloon
John D. Hale Band at Thirsty Horse

Jason Eady and Courtney Patton at RiverRoad Icehouse
The City Review, Roadside Libby, and James Pardo at Jack's Patio
Scott Wiggins at Tavern in the Gruene

Chad Anderson, Jeremy Alvarez and Rick Trevino at The Palace
Matt Caldwell, Bart Crow Band, and Roger Creager at RiverRoad Icehouse
Cameran Nelson and Guardrail Damage at Billy's Ice
Bri Bagwell at Hooligan's
Slow Rollin Lows at Riley's Tavern
Jordan Minor and Max Stalling at Gruene Hall

Seth Candan, The Damn Quails, and Mike McClure at RiverRoad Icehouse
Midnight River Choir at Billy's Ice
Dia De Gallo with American Aquarium, Hayes Carll, and Turnpike Troubadours at Floore's
Billy Joe Shaver at Riley's Tavern
Kevin Russell (shinyribs) and Bob Schneider at Sam's Burger Joint
Brandon Rhyder at Gruene Hall

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Music Tuesday - A Day Early

I decided to do the new music Tuesday announcement a day ahead of schedule since I am a little excited for this new release for this kid.  Tomorrow is the big day for Will Arrington he is releasing his cd Miles Left To Go.  Will is going to be doing an in store appearance at Lone Star Music in San Marcos around 6 and then the party will begin at Cheatham Street Warehouse around 9.  Brett Hauser opens the show.  Can't wait to hear the cd. Congrats to Will and his band.  If you can't attend the events you can buy the cd from Lone Star Music online or ITunes.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Open Mic Nights

I have been wanting to post about the open mic nights in the area for a while.   Now with this new found lady of leisure time I secured for myself I able to write more.  Lady of leisure time agrees with me, although I know I can't get by on my good looks forever.  My grandfather had this saying that I borrow from him time to time.  I wish I had been born rich instead of good looking.  I wish this was the case for me too gramps...Alas I will get a new job soon although probably not the dream job I wish for... Anyone need a tour manager or merch girl or a blogger to tour with you so I can make you look cool? Call me...

I am on location at Kicaster's, Thanks to Kevin for letting me mooch the wifi while I eat fried pickles and sip diet coke.  Kevin recently moved the open mic to Wednesday night and I hadn't had the chance to check it out till this week.   I really want to get to more open mics.  They are a free previews of people you may not have heard of.  I like them cause it introduces me to new music.  With the help of my buddy Ernie from Band of Bandits I compiled a list of some open mics in the area that are worth checking out.  I am sure there are more and feel free to let me know if I am missing any of them. 

11th hour bar - San Antonio
Riley's - New Braunfels

The Pour Haus - New Braunfels
Riverroad Icehouse - New Braunfels
The Cove - San Antonio

Kicaster's - Adkins
Cheatham Street Warehouse - San Marcos

The Palace - Seguin

As I always do, I encourage you to get out there and support local music.

An Ode To Ragweed - The Ballad Of My Twenties...

When I first started this I said that I wanted the blog to be about the smaller names you may not know about.  That still holds true as I wrote this piece.  However though to understand what I listen to and what influences me I felt it is necessary to write this article. 

Over the years I have seen many different bands. There have been nights I have witnessed greatness, meltdowns, forgotten lyrics, surprise guests, and I am sure other things that I can't remember as I type this. I meant to write this article about The Departed when they played at The Palace and when they played at Sam's Burger Joint's Americana Fiesta deal, but I get distracted easily and kept putting this on the backburner.  When my friend Tonya and I went to The Lone Star Music awards The Departed won a few awards with Cody Canada winning musician of the year, I got to thinking about how long I had been listening to some variation of what we now know as The Departed. When I talk about what I have been listening to for the last ten years Cody Canada is one the names I come back to time and again.  Whether we are taking about Cross Canadian Ragweed or The Departed. My first introduction to Ragweed came at the hands of my friends now ex-boyfriend who was a rodeo cowboy with some pretty good music taste even if he and I couldn't see eye to eye on anything else.  When I first heard the name Cross Canadian Ragweed, my first thought was really how good could these guys with the goofy name be? So I did what I typically do.  I avoided listening to them any way I could. I had more than a few chances to see them, but I flaked out at the last minute.  Fate stepped in though and I didn't avoid the chance to see them when they came down to River Road Icehouse one summer night.  I was convinced to go, so go I did.  Keep in mind this was the summer after high school and those parents of mine kept me on a short leash (a short leash I broke away from any time I could).  If they knew I was going to New Braunfels I wouldn't have been able to go (also keep in mind if I listened to my mother I would have never gone past the sidewalk in the front yard either) I did what any girl who rebelled would do I said the concert was in town and I would be home by midnight.  That didn't happen of course...good times...At the time I also thought New Braunfels was a world away.  Now for me it is like driving to the north side. I can't remember who opened the show that night but  I remember when the band stepped on the stage.  The first riff from the guitar was different from what I had heard from the radio I was listening to at the time.  I was mesmerized from that point on. I made my way to the front of the stage pushing past the smelly tubers, pushy people, and who ever else was in my way to the front of the stage. There I stood witnessing Cody, Grady, Jeremy, and Randy play those songs I shunned.  Suddenly the band with the goofy name stood for something to me that night.  I bought every Ragweed album they put out, every bit of merch I could afford, and was at every show they played in town.  I felt like the cool kid cause I knew who these guys were.  I wore my shirts with pride and slapped a ragweed sticker on my little gold car (the original Goldie).  When I got my truck affectionately named Goldie also, another sticker went on that.  From Ragweed I learned about Boland, Stoney, Wade, Bleu, Reckless Kelly  and learned about their influences from Oklahoma, Texas, and beyond.  Their songs were the soundtrack to my twenties.  When I was angry I had Don't Need You or Leave Me Alone, when I was sad about a guy I had Broken, Lonely Girl, Jenny, Alabama...Without Ragweed I wouldn't know the genius of Tom Skinner.  When I heard of the breakup of the band I wasn't even sure I could handle it.  I mean who was I going to see all the time now...It was only fitting that my friend who drug me to first ragweed show was the person that I drug to my last ragweed show.  Sitting there in the crowd at Whitewater it was closing out a little chapter in the life of Lauren.  It was time to move on to a new show.  With Cody and Jeremy joining forces with Seth James, Steve Littleton and now Chris Doege they have created something special...Something I always appreciated about Ragweed was they always were quick to show audiences where their influences came from. When This is Indian land came out I remember my die hard ragweed friend telling me she didn't like the cd.  I had the chance to see The Departed in Gruene I think before that cd came out. I already knew some of the songs that were going to be on the cd and while it wasn't the same band I was used to I wasn't ready to throw in the towel on the band like some.  This is Indian land was an homage to the heroes of an Oklahoma scene that helped make the music we have available to us possible.  Many of the same songwriters I listened to or wanted to know more about were on this cd. With Adventus the guys showed us what the wait for their own album was for.  Songs like Blackhorse Mary, Prayer for the Lonely, Demons, and Hobo were quickly added to any all playlists I have.  While it isn't the band I grew up with it The Departed is now the band I am getting older with.  When I asked the members of The Departed about doing solo things they all have the same commitment to this band.  Which is good cause this fan can't handle another break up.

Here are the pics my dear friend Tonya Hill took that night at The Palace. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Music Tuesday - Dark and Dirty Party Tonight

Jason and The Stragglers released Dark and Dirty Mile today. Although if you preordered it, you have probably been listening to it for the last few days already.  I have listened to it today myself.  It is typical Jason.  He doesn't change much record to record.  The standards of a Jason Boland cd are there.  Fiddle, steel guitars, and melancholy lyrics about love and life.  Tonight at Billy's Ice they are hosting the official release party.  $10 bucks at the door gets you the cd. 

I found this video of my favorite song off the cd.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Changes are happening...

Just in time for the big memorial day weekend shindig River Road Icehouse is changing it  up a bit.  Forget the old river road set up you once knew.  The stage is now moving to face that big hill so now everyone can have a good spot to be able to see the stage.  I am pretty excited for these shows. I won't get to be at all of them but I am going to try to be at most of them. 

Here are some snapshots of the new stage in progress. 

Can't wait to see the new stage in action.

Band of Bandits Free Song Give Away

Do you like free stuff?  I like free stuff.  The guys and gal from Band of Bandits are doing something really cool.  Each week they are previewing a new song from their catalogue for you the fans to check out download.   It's a pretty clever idea.  To see what songs they are sharing each week click here.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lonestar Music Awards

As I mentioned in the Texas Renegade article I also went to the Lone Star Music Awards at Texas Music Theater in San Marcos that Sunday. I never meant to be so late with writing this piece but alas things happen.  Here are the list of winners.
Sunday April 28th 2013 
At The Texas Music Theater
San Marcos, TX 
Congratulations to the Winners!
Robert Earl Keen


"Goodbye Normal Street" - Turnpike Troubadours


"AM Country Heaven" - Jason Eady

ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Americana/Roots Rock

"Adventus" - The Departed

ALBUM OF THE YEAR- Singer-Songwriter/Folk

"The Grifter's Hymnal" - Ray Wylie Hubbard


"Good Lord Lorrie" - Turnpike Troubadours


Robert Earl Keen
Songwriter of the Year

Ray Wylie Hubbard
Best Vocal Performance- Male

Wade Bowen - "The Given"


The Trishas - "High, Wide & Handsome"

 Emerging Artist of the Year

John Fullbright

Cody Canada - The Departed


Gruene Hall - New Braunfels


"Adventus" - The Departed

Ray Wylie Hubbard & George Reiff

MusicFest - Dickson Productions


This is my kind of award show.  Forget those CMA or ACM award shows where everyone sounds terrible and needs a gimmick to get their performance noticed.  These performances had none of that.  They were each unique in  their own special way.  Many of the artists I had seen before.  As you know I am no stranger to seeing The Departed, Courtney, Jason, Robert Earl Keen, Ray Wylie or Dustin Welch. I just recently saw Six Market Blvd and Rob Baird. John Fullbright  was one of the names I really wanted to see.  His Solo acoustic performance with Dustin Welch was pretty cool.  I need to get his album.  I have been told on more than one occasion that I needed to see Shinyribs.  Shinyribs stole the show.  Wow! Don't get me wrong everyone brought more than their A game, but I want to go to a full show of his and dance the night away.   Next time... It was one of the best showcases of talent you could get in a single night.  With the passing of George Jones it was only fitting that winner of Country Album of the Year Jason Eady sing a George Jones song in his honor.  One of the great things about this award show is almost all the people involved in the show or performances are pretty accessible and were mingling with the crowd and fans. I look forward to next year.  I also still have the hope that one day I will get to be a presenter.  I am keeping that dream alive.  My dear friend and photographer Tonya Hill risked life and limb to get these shots for the blog.  The theater has a pretty strict policy about photos being taken.  Hopefully none of the powers that be see this and decide to ban me from the place. There was also an official after party at Cheatham Street, however we didn't attend. From what I saw on the twitter it looked like a lot of fun. With work the next day this Cinderella had to get home before my car turned into a pumpkin. Or was it an onion?  I think I got Shrek and Cinderella mixed up now...let's just end this rambling and get to the pics.  Enjoy!


I took these two above and below before I got shut down by security.






Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Q and A - Bryon White of The Damn Quails

Hello out there in Hurricane Highway land - hopefully you are having a good week.  If not the weekend is almost here and there is plenty of cool live music to check out.  One of the bands coming to town this Friday is The Damn Quails.  When the guys came through last month to CountyLine Barbecue I had the chance to meet with them. I had so much fun at that show, these guys put on one of the best shows you will see. Part country, bluegrass, blues, americana; There is a something for everyone.   Bryon White one of the members of this ensemble crew was nice enough to take part in this weeks Q and A.  The first time I heard their cd Down The Hatch I listened to it and thought it kept getting better and better with each song. In fact I think I played it all day in my office, making anyone who came in listen to it.  Take a minute to listen to some of the videos I posted and read the interview.  Come out to Hooligan's in Live Oak this Friday to see the guys.Roadside Libby is opening up the show. I wonder if I can convince them they need a tambourine player/blogger to go on the road with them.   I

For those that might not be familiar with the band, who are The Damn Quails? We're a band that began as a two man singer/songwriter duo that evolved into a 7 or 8 or 9 piece group (depending on the show) of some really talented and driven musicians.

How did the band come together? Gabriel and I started out playing 3 weekly song swap shows and weekend gigs as an acoustic duo around Norman and OKC. One of those shows took place at the Deli on Campus Corner in Norman and is the only one we've kept throughout our career to this point. Biggie and Jon Knudson were some of the first musicians to start brining instruments up every Monday and following along to our mostly original set. Before we knew it, we had some of the hottest players in Norman backing us up every week and working out arrangements in front of an audience that would eventually become "Down the Hatch"

You guys have some upcoming gigs here in San Antonio and New Braunfels in May.  What other gigs do you have coming up that you want to brag about? We're going to be at Gruene Hall on July 4th and Billy Bob's on July 5th, both of which are great venues for us. I love playing south Texas for a lot of reasons, especially since I'm a San Antonio resident myself now. We've got shows in Austin at Antones May 09, in Live Oak at Hooligans May 10th and River Road Icehouse in New Braunfels on May 25th as well, so there's lots of chances coming up to catch a show in south Texas.

What does the rest of 2013 hold in store for the quails? We're correctly getting some business taken care of but were planning on doing some tracking on a new record this summer and keeping up an intense touring schedule from South Texas to Minnesota.

I am sure you have had the chance to play some pretty cool venues? Is there a favorite one ya'll like to play? We've played some really incredible places and its impossible to choose. Opening for Robert Earl Keene at Stubbs in Austin was a pretty memorable venue, as well as Antone's in Austin, Joe's in Chicago, the Granada Theater in Lawrence, Greune Hall, Billy Bob's, the list goes on....

What bands or musicians do you listen to? I have a pretty varied taste in music and have played in bands of several different genres. John Fullbright's "From the Ground Up" is one of my favorite albums and rarely leaves my playlist for very long. I've also been listening to Matt Pryor's solo albums as well as his band The Get Up Kids, some old Tom Waits from the Island years, Adam Carroll's Live at Flipnotics, the new Turnpike Troubadours, old Wilco, Woody Guthrie, George Jones, Buck Owens...

When ya'll played at county line a few weeks back you played new stuff. What is the process for you guys to decide what you will release as a quails song? We don't really have one. Gabriel and I write the tunes and play them in hotel rooms or during sound check until the band is familiar enough to start playing them live. If a song works in front of a crowd, there's a good chance its going to work on the record.

Tell me the funniest road story you have? There's way too many. Shaving biggie's beard and tossing around a bunch of fake blood we got from McClure behind Billy Bob's and getting the CSI called on us is definitely a contender.

If you weren't playing music, what would you be doing? I've worked a whole lot of jobs and have a college degree, but playing music is the only thing I've ever had a passion for. It's all I ever want to do for a living in one way or another.

Best piece of advice you have ever been given. Don't let 'em see you sweat, sweaty dude. -McClure

If you had to explain what type of music you guys play, how would you describe it? Folk/Americana is about as close as I can get. Frankly, I have no idea.

If you could plan your own festival, who would you pick to play it? As many of our friends and road pals as I could pack in it, including the younger generation of folks coming out of the Norman area right now. Parker Milsap and Mike Rose, Camille Harp, Kierston White, John Calvin, lots more.

Since everyone was a startup once, can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs and airplay some tips Find an independently owned bar with some cool and open minded proprietors, set up a weekly gig, and promote the hell out of it until you get a dedicated crowd that digs what you do. If you can keep people's interest and get a loyal fan base, you've won half the battle.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wednesday Night Shuffle - Chris King and Rob Baird

When I saw this pop up in my events invite I knew I had to be at this show.  I have had the chance to see both of these guys in recent months and think highly of them.  Chris King is a newer name to many of ya'll but he is a name you should remember.  My friend Brian of Music of New Braunfels recently wrote a great piece on Chris.  Click the link here to check it out.  These Wednesday Night Shuffles will be taking place at The Phoenix Saloon in Downtown New Braunfels biweekly.  I am really looking forward to these shows.   His new single Man Enough has been in the song rotation on KNBT, if you listen closely you will hear Jamie Wilson lending her voice to background vocals.  This right here, is a good example of country music.  I hope you will give these guys a listen, buy their music, and come out the events. 

Texas Renegade - Another Sunday at the Vineyard.

Happy day after Cinco De Mayo.  How was everyone's Monday morning hangover?  I am so behind on writing about the things I want to talk about with everyone. I have lots to share.  Last Sunday I went up to San Marcos for the Lonestar Music Awards.  I even bought a new dress, you know just cause I love shopping and there was this secret hope that maybe, just maybe the powers that be read my words and think I am worthy of presenting an award.  What? It could happen... Of Course it didn't, but it was still fun.   On my way to San Marcos or San Marvelous as I have heard it called from time to time I stopped at the Vineyard at Gruene.   They have been hosting a Sunday afternoon acoustic music shindig.  The previous Sunday before this one, they had Ms. Courtney Patton.  Who by the way, her new cd is officially up on the lonestar music website for preorders. Everybody snap for Courtney.  Hopefully you got the Legally Blonde reference I just made there.  This particular Sunday the entertainment was one of my go to favorite bands Texas Renegade. When I say "go to favorites"  I mean that this is a band that I will see a million times over because I never get tired of seeing them.  It's kind of a funny story about how I found out about these guys.  Long ago in a land far far away there was this station that is now known as KBUC.  Back in the day some of you may remember it as 92.5 The Outlaw.  The outlaw played all kinds of "Texas Country" or at least I think that was how we referred to it at the time.  There were about three songs from the cd titled "After Everything" that were being played on the station.  It was funny because those three songs  kept me wondering "Who sings this?"  Everytime I would look up who it was I kept coming back to Texas Renegade.  For some reason though I hadn't bought their cd or even seen them live. One night though, I was sitting in China Grove General Store.  I was mid conversation, and suddenly out of nowhere I heard the chorus to Still The One.  I remember this moment plain as day. I stopped mid conversation with the group I was in, didn't even finish my sentence walked up to the jukebox and saw to my surprise that it was in fact that same band I knew from the outlaw Texas Renegade.  I wonder if I am the only one who has those moments?  It's like a strike of lightning and something I can't explain or describe.  It just is some feeling I get when I know music is good ..I remember walking back up to the conversation to tell my friends what I had discovered. They weren't as impressed as I was.  At the time that was something I was used to...not that they didn't like music, they just didn't think about the lyrics or do the research that I did or still do. So what was so special about this song?  It has to be the best break up song ever.  I will tell you this little confession.  Anytime I ever have a sad moment over something ending with a guy this my song that I will listen to.  I describe this song as a bar conversation. Hear me out on this. It starts of with this quiet strumming on the mandolin and then the rest of the instruments come in with the lead singer Andy's sad lyrics coming out and you get the idea that he is narrating why he can't figure out why the girl left him.  It's early in the night he's only a drink or two in.  He's just working out in his head as you hear the harmonica come in like a sad lonesome fiddle.  The conversation goes on talking about the memories he has with the person and then suddenly the drinks kick in full force and this organized chaos of instruments come together as he starts singing like he is screaming the words from his heart when he realizes it's another relationship that got messed up that he can't stop talking about and can't stop thinking about.  I love the moment right after this part, he just stops and composes himself all the instruments stop but the harmonica and he speaks the title of the song and then the symbols crash and as the scene of the song fades out the instruments all come back together perfectly as if that emotional scene didn't happen.

I searched everywhere for a place to buy that cd.  When I bought that cd I couldn't wait to get back to my truck to listen to every word of those songs.  This after everything cd is still more than five years later, one of the best all around cd's that you could buy.  I have replaced it many times.  In fact I bought it again Sunday.  I also rebought their third cd Bad Dreams and Other Things. 


Well before I had moved to New Braunfels in 2009 I got to see them at Gruene Hall.  They used to do a weekly show with Zach Walther and The Cronkites.  Prior to that they had a regular spot on the Billy's Ice stage.  They are one of the only bands that I knew of at that time who had a harmonica player on the stage the whole time. The harmonica when done right is one of those instruments that can be used like a fiddle or steel guitar.  They also almost had and still have the mandolin as one of the primary instruments played in their songs. The band consists of Andy Berletsen who writes and sings almost all the songs the band plays, twin brothers Tyson Carver on mandolin and background vocals, Eli Carver on Bass, and recently added Justin Belz on lead guitar.  I am not sure who is playing drums with them now.Andy has an ability to write some of smart lyrics. Really, I think he is another songwriter that doesn't get enough credit.

This show at Vineyard was fun for me not only because of the band but because I had the pleasure of meeting some really great people. As fate would have it I was invited to sit with the people in the picture below. 
Judith in the middle invited me to come sit with them.  I pulled up a chair and as they were talking about the music, the band, and questions they had about the band, the music blogger in me couldn't keep my mouth shut.  As the band went to break we struck up a conversation about their weekend. Turns out Lloyd in the base ball cap and Art in the Cowboy hat are fraternity brothers from college at Southwest Texas State. Together these three had come from the Texas State Fiddle Competition.  I never knew anything about a fiddle competition but now that they have told me about it. I want to go check this out next year. Funny thing, Robert Earl Keen mentioned at the award show he had in fact been at this very same competition as Art, Judith, and Lloyd. When they told Art about my love of music and that I write about it. Art and I got to discussing music.  Turns out Art and I have lot in common when it comes to country music, the state it is now in, and how we feel about it.  He had many stories to tell me about his friendship with Willie Nelson and Kent Finlay of Cheatham Street Warehouse and the shows he has seen.  One of the things I took away from our conversation was him telling me about how when Willie Nelson came back to Texas, it wasn't to be the Willie Nelson we know him to be now.  It was to come back and get a real job.  Willie was out at a show somewhere and he saw the hippies and the rednecks listening to music that wasn't manufactured in Nashville. It was the real stuff that people like you and I are listening to now, the kind of music I am telling you about.  And what Willie realized was he could come to Texas and make music that made him happy and people would come to listen to it because people cared about good music and wanted to hear it.  Art said that the state of country music in Nashville is the same state now that  it was in when Willie left and came back to Texas. To become the outlaw movement. I was feel very fortunate to have met these friends.  We tried to take a full on group picture of me with them and their friend Rick who joined us also and is a music fan himself. Turns out the person we enlisted to help with that took the photo as video instead.  So alas no photo of our group for that Sunday.   It goes to show that good music can bring people from all walks of life together. Hippies, rednecks, young and  young at heart.  Art and I exchanged emails.  I hope to keep in touch him and his friends and hopefully see them at shows.  They are good people.  I will leave you with one last statement of Art wisdom that he ended our last email with. 
"Good luck and keep the faith, country  music has been down  this road before and will survive. "

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Shane Smith & The Saints

Here lately I have had the chance to see some really young and talented bands. Will Arrington Band was one I have mentioned to you.  This past Saturday, I was invited to see another young but truly talented band.  Shane Smith & The Saints  I had been told about him before. When I saw he was at Riverroad Icehouse I decided to head up to New Braunfels.  I listened to Shane's cd Coast while I was getting ready that night. It is a little test I will do when I am about to see a new band. The thought is that if you grab my attention while I am busy than you must be doing something right.   Right way the cd got my attention.   First thing I noticed was his voice and the words coming from that voice.  These lyrics are something special.  When I got out to river road for his show,  I was even more impressed.  Here was a band of young guys with a guitar player who hadn't even had a chance to rehearse with them playing like they had been doing this performance stuff forever.  The band commands your attention and the audience there was more than happy to listen and pay attention.  I walked away with my copy of the cd and have been listening to it all week.  I was surprised to see some of the artists that lent their help to this cd. Aaron Watson, Ryan Engleman of Turnpike Troubadours, Kelly Mickwee, and Liz Foster of the Trisha's. One of the best songs on the album is Work Was Through. Aaron Watson lent his voice to this ballad about Shane's musical influences. 

Shane and the guys have a big show tonight at Stubbs in Austin.  They are also playing Gruene Hall this Thursday May 9th.  I plan on being in attendance. Consider me Shane's newest cheerleader. Here's a little interview they did.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

It will be...wait for it...Captain Legendary.

I laugh at my How I Met Your Mother Barney Stinson reference. Really, I have been waiting to use that title since it came to me Friday at Kicaster's.  Friday night saw the return of Captain Legendary Band to my little hometown bar.  Kicaster is my little cheer's these days, it is my homebase, and the place I can go to relax and hang out with my pals.


I first got to see these guys back in January and was impressed with their music.  When you can take two songs that I love in their original form and make me like them even more in cover form, I will give you my attention.  These guys did that with Willis Alan Ramsey's Northeast Texas Women and Rodney Crowell's Leaving Louisiana.  They are more than a cover band though, I purchased their cd Smoking Barrel and have kept it in my road trip rotation since January.  These guys put on an awesome show and are getting ready to record their first live recording of their show at The Firehouse Saloon in Houston this Saturday, May 4th.  I tried to capture the moments on Friday with my snazzy camera but it turns out I am the worst photog ever (I am considering taking a class on it)...I will instead post video offerings for you to see. Want to wish the guys the best of luck Saturday and we definitely look forward to seeing them back again at Kicasters. I recommend getting their cd's and coming out to see them when they are back in town.