So it seems I do pretty well at creating my own little mini-music festivals that require a slight turn of the odometer. Still resting up from this past weekend’s Jamie Wilson, Courtney Patton, Brandy Zdan with special guest and merch guy Jason Eady show at Gruene Hall as well as Slimbawb at Oma Gruene’s (we missed Rob Baird and Johnny Burke on the roof of River Road Icehouse), I remembered that I forgot to tell you guys about the previous major weekend of music.
About a month ago, at the beginning of November, I pulled perhaps the ultimate trifecta of music. Friday night, I rambled up to Threadgill’s in Austin to see Willis Alan Ramsey. I’d seen him about a year before at the same location, and given his propensity to not release albums he recorded, I worried that he might be as unfriendly as a Choctaw Bingo player. Ramsey, maybe most famous for a song about muskrats in love, but more endeared for “The Balld of Spider John” or even “Bayou Girl” for Adam Hood fans, couldn’t be a much nicer guy. I sort of geeked the first time I met him, and I asked him to sign a guitar, an old record, and a couple other things. He even offered the story of the artwork on his vinyl. Super nice guy then, and super nice guy again on this trip. I’d scored on a 99 cent copy of his album the day before at a Goodwill, and I brought it along and got it signed. He asked if I just had a closet full of his albums somewhere. HE REMEMBERED ME! Old chums, we are. I posted my find on my facebook page, and someone offered me $90 for it. It ended up as a gift to one of my 2 most favorite Houston area singer-songwriters, Matt Harlan. I karma hard. Oh – $15 ticket.
Day 2 of this weekend finds us at Gruene Hall, a common destination. Their free music schedule is tough to beat. This show did have a cover, and it was sold out. I think it was around $60. I don’t know. I managed to pull some strings. Jamey Johnson was playing, and Waylon Payne opened. I’d never seen Waylon, but “Her” is one of my favorite songs, so I was excited. Waylon played on a stage packed with instruments for the headliner. He was on an acoustic guitar, had a guy playing lead, and had another guy and girl singing harmonies. It was an odd setup, and it probably doesn’t reflect his actual show. I wasn’t a huge fan, but the idea behind it was great. Waylon’s dad, Jody, had played for everyone, most notably Willie Nelson, and Jamey being one of Willie’s favorites, this was a sort of homage to Waylon’s recently deceased father. Good vibes.
I’ve seen Jamey’s show about a million times, and it’s just good music. People knock him for not doing cartwheels on stage and all that, but if you know his music, and you came expecting that sort of thing, well then you’re a moron. I did get to see the Willie Window opened up at Gruene Hall. That was a first for me. If you don’t know what that is, I’m sure someone will explain it to you down in the comments.
Sunday led me to Luckenbach, a town that I spell differently every time I try. The goal was to raise some cash and goods for the local food bank, so Walt Wilkins, Drew Womack, Kevin Welch, and Deryl Dodd pulled a song swap all afternoon. The NWA had their four horsemen, too. To that end, so did Revelations. I’d take these guys. As good as they are and as fantastic as the show was, perhaps my “moment” of the day came in talking to Walt before the show.
I was wearing my Top Notch burgers t-shirt – the joint you see in Dazed and Confused where McConaghey hits on the redhead while hanging out of his window. Joint – ha. Walt mentions the shirt, and I mention the movie, and he tells me he was working for the Texas Film Commission when they shot the movie, and he scouted the filming locations. I watched that movie 50 times in high school and bought the soundtrack at least 4 times due to running the tape to death. Here I am, 1300 miles from there, talking with the guy who helped make the movie. Meta. Free show, by the way, but tip heavy – it’s a benefit.
So another successful weekend. Stay tuned, but I’m not sure I can one up this one. I truly think if I were to make my own fantasy music festival, there’s only 2 or 3 names I’d add that I didn’t mention in this writing.