Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Texas Musical Orgasm

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We’d got the word that our friend, singer/songwriter Al Barlow was driving down from New Braunfels to visit friends, here, in the Texas Coastal Bend.  For most of us, a trip to the the beach means icing down a few sodas, snagging some sun screen and a beach blanket, grabbing our hats and hauling ass to Mustang Island, but then, most of us are not Al Barlow.

We were informed that Al was bringing, along with a few cold ones and a fancy hat, singers/songwriters/musicians from the Texas Hill Country.  The message went on the say that Al would be pleased if my trio, Rosewood, would join other local musicians, and the aforementioned Hill Country types, in a weekend-long meeting of the two cultures, the fie-esta to be held at the Tarpon Ice House, in beautiful downtown Port Aransas, Texas.

Now, for those who are not from around here, let me point out two things:
1. In the Coastal Bend area, you can throw a rock in any direction and hit a talented singer or musician.
2. In the Texas Hill Country,  you don’t have to throw a rock, you can just reach out.

That’s my way of saying  that it was an honor to be invited to participate in the
“First Annual Tarpon Ice House Music Bash”.

Friday night was “songwriter night” and I rode out to meet Jill at her place of employ. We rolled up, parked in front of the bar and were immediately greeted by some bikers we’d met on other excursions. We got some cold ones and settled in.  The Tarpon Ice House is one of those cool places, left open,  ice house style, and seeming built, largely, of salvage. It’s the kind of place where even a teetotaler, like myself, can take his shoes off and stay a while.  I know, I did.

Jill and I returned in the truck, Saturday, early pee emm. We unloaded our instruments and listened to “Mike Williams and Friends” kicking things off.  Mike is local and we hear him play with a swing/jazz band, fairly often.
His guys are popular with a wide age group.


Now, despite the earlier remark about the environmentally responsible re-use of many items in the construction of the Tarpon, there has been new construction, as well,  including the spacious bandstand.  The open window at the rear helps to keep down feed-back, keeps the stage amazingly cool,  and allows for helpful friends to shout song requests during performances.

Playing on a wood floor is great for acoustic style music.

We were having a good time listening to local guys, some of whom we’d met at showcases in Port A, over the years.  The town was awake and people were making their ways in.  Jill and I took the stage giving the folks a taste of music from before guitars became a fixture in country bands.  We had a good time, as we always do when performing, but we finally had to make way for other folks who feel the way we do. From then on, it was non-stop entertainment. I cannot even remember how many acts there were, much less, all their names

I do know that these fellows rocked the house.  Even though I’ve been around acoustic musicians for a lot of years, I was still amazed at how much music these two made,  the drumming was powerful, the guitar performance, on the money, and the singer nailed both his original material and the few covers he did. They call themselves “Kinfolk”

These ladies had to dance. The picture is blurred (we tried not to use flash) but it actually captures them pretty well, they had the music in them.

The night progressed.

If you ever get an opportunity to turn off the  blond haired flavor-of-the-week and listen to Tim Dubois, do so.  He and his associate, Phil Stevens, took me home.  Their kind of country and country blues music is the real deal, my friends.

Saturday night was brought to a close with a wonderful performance by Michael Waid.  If you know his music, that’s all needs to be said.


It’s great to be alive and in Texas.

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Written by fiddle mike

May 24, 2010 at 3:12 am

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