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. "