Carter: Coffee, Lapsteel guitar and Dancing

Coffee, Lapsteel Guitar and Dancing

Richard Carter

 

As far as I know neither Denim & Diamonds or Outskirts are selling coffee, though they do offer up plenty of slide steel guitar and dancing.

The steel guitar, coffee and dance that I am talking about was Friday night at 8th Street Coffee House—clearly one of the better places in town to listen to music and to chill—especially at night with the cool lighting and atmosphere. Friday, Bo Fain—a regular at Vincent’s and The Spot for years as well as a number of Metroplex bands that are too cool to mention—was playing there with a percussionist. Additionally an accomplished dance student named Stephanie Medenwaldt was dancing with the music.

For those who do not know, Fain’s mother happens to be Reggie Nacol Milam—best known as one of the finest dance teachers in North Texas, and Medenwaldt happened to be one of her finer students and is now a teacher at Milam’s studio.

Fain played some nice lap steel songs and sang, while his percussionist played percussion or tapped on a black floor tom drum. Fain also played cello. Medenwaldt did free-form dance that formally matched the music, and it was pretty amazing. It’s the sort of thing that you can watch her form, and it gives form to the melody of the song as well as to the rhythms. Medenwaldt not only danced on the large floor in front of the stage—and that space was perfectly backlit by the street and the overhead lighting. She also danced down the side aisle of the coffee shop and also on the back aisle.

What struck me about their performance is that normally you would have to go to Dallas to experience something like this, and here in Wichita Falls there was a large group of people watching and were truly interested in what was happening. I know that Wichita Falls is a huge dance town, but it was fabulous to see what normally happens in dance studios and theatres actually come into such a public space. I think that Fain and Medenwaldt will do it again, and I recommend looking up Bo Fain and friends on Facebook to see if you cannot get subscribed. The same is true with the 8th Street Coffee House, which really brings some great area musicians in to play.

I listened a little to Radio Republic as the band did its sound check Friday night, and they sounded really good, as always. It always helps that soundman Aaron Epp has this knack for getting the best out of bands with great rhythm sections. He nailed it.

Word on the street has it that a new band is getting together that will be doing Creedence Clearwater Revival songs AS WELL AS Grateful Dead and some other great psychedelic folk music. That’s one I suspect that will bring out some listeners that don’t go to clubs very often. I wish them well and will report back once they are closer to getting booked. The group, as of yet, does not have a name.

I got to hang out with the Affiliation on Thursday night to do an interview for a feature for next week. They happen to be playing three shows in about eight days. That’s got to be some kind of new world record for the band. Also, the Arnold brothers told me that Coffin Crusher will play in Dallas on September 15, and it’s surely a shame that the band is not playing locally. Look for the story, as Brandon Arnold has some great things to say about what he learned from vocalists that he learned to sing from while watching from behind his drum kit over the years.