- Carter: From Austin Back to Wichita Falls
Sunday, March 25th, 2012
From Austin Back to Wichita Falls
Last Friday night was another pretty busy night in the downtown area for music.
I was in the area and got to chat with Graham Wilkinson of the Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township as well as his long-time drummer Patrick Herzfeld. Both are, of course, former Wichitans. They were playing at the Pub and it was their first show there in a while. I also got to chat with Ali Holder who lately has been playing an awful lot considering she is also in grad school in Austin. She is working on a new album, which she said is going to be out this Fall. She did not have her standup bass player with her but did have two guitarists and she seemed really happy to play.
On my way out, I ran into the members of the Doppelgangers and the Blue Light Specials and they were setting up to do a live recording session. Both bands would record and then the new group Attebury Blueprint was also going to record after them. I was at a similar recording session late last year when the guys from the now defunct Mr. Fairchild and also the blues band laid down some live tracks, and it was a lot of fun. I wanted to stay but the smoke from cigars was pretty much killing my eyes—allergies have been tough lately. Wow.
I talked to Ricci Amador who recently opened up the 8th Street Coffee Shop and they are going to have at least one live band or solo performer playing there on weekend nights. I think he said that A Formal Affair was set to play pretty soon. I know they were just there, and there are plenty of musicians who like playing coffee shops. He also said that they are looking into an open mic on Friday night in the future. If you have not been into the coffee shop yet, they have a dedicated space for live music with a PA system set up. The other thing that is cool is that it will remind you a lot of Vincent’s—the old coffee shop of Ronda Ivy’s—which is most certainly missed. The décor is very cool, though I don’t think the new shop will be giving art lessons anytime soon.
A new musical opens at the Wichita Theatre next week called “Into the Woods” and it’s supposed to feature some amazing voices doing some extremely demanding songs. That might be worth it for some of you to get their “Glee” fix on while that show is on hiatus. If you watch the show, my advice to you is to not text while trying to drive a car.
I am interviewing Bruce Canafax, the classical guitar teacher at Rider High School, and also Linda Hollabaugh, the Spanish instructor at Midwestern State University, about their performance of classical Spanish music at the forthcoming Spanish Fortnight. That story will be in the March 30 issue of NEXT and should be interesting.
Finally, I had the opportunity to talk with a friend of mine who pretty much spent 7 days straight either working or listening to music at SXSW last week. The funny thing is he told me that you can pretty much do music 24 hours a day because of all of the night shows and private day shows. From what I gather, you can pretty much listen to any sound that could conceivably be associated with pop music from any corner of the world at SXSW. That’s pretty amazing. We should get one of those.Share
- Carter: Now that was a crowd
Sunday, March 18th, 2012
“A Big Outdoor Show”
I’d have to think that the people who put on this year’s St Patrick’s Day Downtown Street Festival must feel like they hit it on the head Saturday night. The crowd had to be pushing 10,000, and people were everywhere. There were tons of vendors and activities for the children, but the majority was there for the live music. And last night’s crowd was the largest I have ever seen locally for live music.
I got a rather late start to the evening because of a rather serious hot water heater leak, so by the time I got to the festival I had already missed Flashpoint and The Dirty River Boys. My friends, and there were musicians everywhere at the festival were quite impressed with both bands but especially The Dirty River Boys. I arrived in time to see the buildup for the start of Los Lonely Boys, and the crowd was anticipating a huge concert. Anytime a roadie walked across the stage or people saw a long-haired guy behind the stage there was a bunch of hooting and hollering.
By the time, the brothers from Los Lonely Boys started playing, you could hear the glassy cutting sound of Henry Garza’s Strat right through the mix. The rhythm section of drummer Ringo and bassist Jojo also sounded solid and rich. The band’s first tune was an extended instrumental that incorporated any number of well-known songs. The band knew how to get a festival crowd off their seats claping their hands and yelling.
The sound was good throughout the couple blocks of the festival where people were. But you could also hear the sound from at least seven blocks away from the stage. I actually also wanted to go into the Pub and listen to the Texas Blues Runners–which is an absolutely sick mix of veteran musicians–play as well as say hello to the A.A. Bottom guys. But the line to get into the Iron Horse Pub was long to say the least. In the past, there has not been a real line to the pub, until the outdoor headliner is finished playing. That kind of tells you how huge the crowd was last night.
It was the best weather I can remember for the well-planned event and just a perfect night all in all for people to come out and listen to music, socialize, eat some cool, carney food and take a sip of coffee from the just opened 8th Street Coffee Shop, which was right near the West entrance of the festival.
It will be interesting to see how the promoters follow the success of the 2012 event. Congrats to all of the people who came together to put this event and music on the stage. It makes me think that other bands in the right setting could also be this successful with the right push from the right people behind them.
I was unable to hit any other clubs Saturday night, because of the cleanup that awaited me once I returned home, but I am interested if the festival drew people from other clubs, or if that was mostly people who don’t usually attend clubs. I saw people from the very young to people in their ‘60s and ‘70s, so I suspect that the festival brought some people to live music that don’t normally attend, or at least don’t often attend.Share
- Carter: Bugs Henderson
Monday, March 12th, 2012
I heard through a friend on Saturday that one of our better blues (and rock) guitarists, Bugs Henderson, had passed away on Friday of cancer. I had the opportunity to interview him and also to open up a show for him, and he was truly a nice guy. As nice a guy as he was a guitarist, and Bugs could totally play. He played with Freddie and B.B. King and Roy Buchanan and those are great associations.
As amazing a player he was and with all of his connections, he was a Texas guy and liked playing the small places. As a result, he’d played in Wichita Falls often since at least the early ‘80s and probably earlier. I know a lot of local guitarists who swore by him, and he will be missed.
The sad thing is that last week, we also lost another guitarist Ronnie Montrose who was one of my favorite players. He played with Edgar Winter, and his first band featured Sammy Hagar (back when Hagar was actually cool) and those albums were pretty good. The same was true of Montrose’s second band and then his solo CD’s such as “Open Fire” whose tour led me to see the very first (and best) Van Halen tour. Montrose was brilliant on electric and acoustic guitars and again he will be missed. I don’t think he ever played in Wichita Falls, though.
Another favorite of mine came through this Saturday night at the Iron Horse Pub. Tiffany Shea, who has been away for about three years, was on her way to SXSW with a number of international musicians in tow. She played with her band, and they were awesome as always. It’s amazing how long she’s been away from music (she has a two-year-old baby with her husband) and how she still has that fire. Few musicians who come through town play with the fire that she has. What’s even more amazing is that she has 13 CD’s out, still looks great and still sings like she means it.
The Saturday night opened with a transplanted English singer (to Canada) named Ashley Fayth taking the stage with guitarist Oskar Nyman from Finland and bassist Andreas Larsen from Denmark. Fayth’s music was folk oriented with some eclectic flourishes and was fun. She has one of those voices that was pure in a good way and portended a great music night. I was hanging out with the Pub soundmen (both are musicians) and we were all about it.
At one point I went to the side room and saw Shea and started catching up. She was “managing” the “International Songwriters Tour 2012” which is doing 20 shows in 25 days, three states and two countries. She is now living in Nashville and had been away from music for a while raising her daughter. She missed her child but also missed the stage, and she should. She has a great band (wow, what a bass player and drummer and a guitarist who knows how to give her room and still play some neat stuff).
While we were talking, a tall blonde singer from Denmark named Nanna Larsen motioned in our direction to join them on stage for a song. I eventually chatted with Larsen, who played the second set, and she grew up adoring Dolly Parton and said the American country singer played in Copenhagen last year to over 10,000 people. She was one of them. I had to agree with her that the early Parton was pretty amazing.
Larsen could sing country and the blues with a gorgeous voice filled with some tasteful inflections. While I am at this, the acoustic guitarist Nyman could play and was fun to talk with about Finnish psychedelic folk music. I also chatted with Larsen, who could probably make a living doing Stax stuff, about the Danish band Under Byen. All of the Europeans spoke flawless English and were excited about playing five shows at SXSW. Good for them, and good for the IHP bringing such talented folks to the area.Share
- Carter: Early Summer
Sunday, March 4th, 2012
Last Friday I had the opportunity to shoot images of the Derby Dames before hurrying home to do a phone interview with an young traditional Irish band called Flashpoint. The two brothers who compose the Metroplex band are 18 and 16 years of age and were hanging out at the North Texas Irish Festival at Fair Park (which is where the Cotton Bowl is for non-Dallasites).
Anywho, the brothers have been playing music for forever at a variety of places and still do the occasional busking as well as playing at the McKinney farmers market. I am awaiting the time when there will be area bands just showing up to play at the farmers market in downtown Wichita Falls without it being part of festival like wine and shrimp. Anywho, the Metroplex band will be playing at the St. Patrick’s Day Downtown Street Festival across the street from the Iron Horse Pub.
The cool thing is that usually the St. Patrick’s Day events have been freezing cold, but if the current weather holds up, it’s going to be a blast going to see outdoor music. There’s always the possibility it won’t be under a tent and it will be like summer—without the horrifyingly hot summer weather. I am crossing my fingers for the first outdoor music event of the year. They will be playing with the Dirty River Boys and Los Lonely Boys. Could be fun.
Next week, 35 Denton will be the Denton-based live music walkable conferette, and the event continues to grow like wildfire bringing in some absolutely top-notch bands from around the world. It’s going to be an amazing four-day event from March 8 to 11, and the website is http://35denton.com.
35 Denton bands include Jesus and Mary Chain, Built to Spill, Bun B, Best Coast, Mountain Goats, Atlas Sound and The Raincoats. There will be over 150 bands and technically Wichita Falls is larger than Denton. I am not sure what we are not doing, but I would love to see a major music festival come to town—though I am not sure how many people would come to see it. Maybe other people are thinking the same thing, and that’s why it’s not happening?
Anywho, the good weather has me looking to the summer to see what will happen. We have two large outdoor venues that have brought bands in from out of town, though I am not sure where their stance is on doing that again. Bully’s had recently brought in Foghat and Bowling for Soup and Everclear, while Neon Spur had brought in Bowling for Soup, Drowning Pool and the Toadies.
Then there are other clubs, plus the MPEC and Memorial Auditorium and there are rumors of shows coming. Honestly, I would like to see someone take the initiative to put together some sort of huge citywide music show. Wichita Falls draws from around 145,000 people and that includes a lot of music fans. That, and the fact that we are about two and a half hours from Ft Worth, Denton and Dallas as well as Oklahoma City. We have some great venues and it would bring some great tourist dollars and outside money in.
Finally I ran into Mark Terry this weekend, and he does Shrinefest and it would appear that the date for the red dirt event will be moved to May 19 this year (moved up from August when things are busy). I am not sure if I can announce who the headliner is, but it’s a great name and I suspect that it will be a lot of fun. Outdoor red dirt shows, as we all know, always seem to tempt the rains, so I hope they can get it in with a decent crowd. The Shriners do good things for a lot of people.Share
- Still in shock, but what a great year
Thursday, March 1st, 2012
I made a reservation for Lubbock for this weekend a long time ago. I thought Hirschi would be there. I thought Burkburnett would be there.
Not that they were perfect teams, but they were really good teams with a chance to win the region. Or so I thought.
I expect both teams to give it another good shot next year. The Bulldogs will have to replace Mario Garcia, but it’s always best to assume Danny Nix’s club will win 20 games.
And most of the players who had come through a lot of the year, but maybe some of their flaws were exposed by Alvarado, will return to the Hirschi linep.
Marcus Foster is the best all-around guard I’ve ever covered at the high school level. But he’ll probably work all summer to be even better next year. His passing skills and rebounding skills took a jump this year. I bet his free throws and his handle will be better as a senior.
That’s scary for opponents. And hoops fans around here should make a point to see him play a few times. Gotta love this kid’s game. And what I like is he wasn’t satisfied with just being the best on his block. He kept working.
Some of the others have to get better at the little things like easy bounce passes, making free throws, maybe learn a floater or a pull-up from 8 feet which helps you avoid the shot blocker and the charging foul.
Go against a bigger guy in a pickup game and work solely on rebounding and passing. Find an edge whether its July or January.
The little things that don’t show up till late February can get you to Austin in early March.
So like many in Wichita County I’m hurt and a little shocked. But I’m so proud of all of the guys on both teams. A lot of good memories this year and two really great Burk-Hirschi games with excellent atmosphere.
Would love to see these two programs battle in a regional final with the winner going on to take the state title.Share