Texas Part 2 – the $300 Bird and How to Get Bob Schneider’s Attention

In my last post, I touched on some of the highlights of this last trip to Texas, which included finishing a novel, spending Thanksgiving with my bff, lunching with Bruce Hughes, and seeing a lot of Austin Hipsters.
Well, a few other things happened that were worth noting, so here’s the rest of the story.

The $300 bird
I drove from Tulsa to Roanoke, TX last Wednesday – the day before Thanksgiving. As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of traffic, and it was pretty steady all the way down. Right around dusk, I was driving along, minding my own business, in the passing lane somewhere between Norman and Ardmore, in Oklahoma. There were tons of cars on the road with me, but for some reason a VERY LARGE BIRD decided to commit suicide on my car – all of a sudden I hear a really loud SPLAT and something with lots of brown speckled feathers slams into my windshield on the left side. After a few seconds of utter shock I thought hey, maybe I should pull over and make sure it’s not stuck to my car or something (because the last time I took a road trip, I ended up driving half way home with a Scissor Tailed Flycatcher stuck to my grill). The bird was gone, but did manage to take out my left headlight before skidding up the car leaving a trail of guts…
Nothing on a Mercedes is cheap, including the headlamp assembly. $300 worth of Bird Damage. And that’s the discounted rate! Because fortunately I know a guy who can get me a good deal on parts, comp me on the labor, and still take me out to sushi afterwards.
Nonetheless, I was a bit shaken up and couldn’t help uttering one of my most-used phrases (right after “yes I’ll have a cappuccino,” “I love cookies,” and “where’s my yoga mat?”) – “But what does it MEAN??”
I’m not sure why birds want to end their lives on the front of my automobile. I love birds. If anyone has any ideas can you please enlighten me?

the $300 bird
poor Otto…

More driving
I feel like I was in the car for a week. There was a lot of rain, a lot of traffic, my fair share of dead fowl… and lots and lots of freeway overpasses.
I don’t know why, but I am fascinated by all those curvy freeway overpasses they have in Texas. There’s something about the blending of something so impersonal and cold with smooth, organic, curve lines. So sexy! One day I’m going to take a friend down there, shine up my windshield to within an inch of its life (get off all the bird guts), and have my friend drive me around so I can take photos of all the sexy overpasses. I’ve gotten a few good shots over the years – and someday I would love to have a gallery showing of all my overpass pictures…

curvy overpasses!

The Battle of the Resentments
On Sunday, after a really hellacious drive from Fort Worth to Austin, I blew into the Saxon Pub just in time to catch the Resentments. I won’t tell you how fast I drove to make that happen, OK…
If you ever get the chance to see the Resentments, DO IT. It’s the most amazing live music experience. The musicians are some of the very best around, the songs are so, so good – and as an extra bonus, those guys are FUNNY. The between song banter is always entertaining, and this night’s offerings were not disappointing.
Miles Zuniga: “What’s the difference between a musician and a pizza? The pizza feeds a family of 4”…
I’ve gone to shows where Bruce’s songs blow everyone else’s away. And I’ve been to shows where Scrappy steals the show, or Miles blows me away with his talent and songwriting abilities. But this time, Jeff Plankenhorn stole the show. His version of “Cold Turkey” was nothing short of incredible. Here’s a link to the song from a different night, but it’ll give you an idea of what it’s like. So, thanks Jeff!
This isn’t from Sunday’s show, but it’ll give you an idea of how great the song is:

How to get Bob Schneider’s attention in under 15 seconds
Then on Monday night, I had the privilege of seeing Bob Schneider play, again at the Saxon Pub. I ended up sitting with trumpet player / keyboardist / accordionist Ollie Steck’s Mom, who was visiting from either Chicago or Michigan. Or both. I don’t know, she wasn’t very clear. But I digress. The show was entertaining as always and the caliber of musicians he plays with is really phenomenal. And I’m not just saying that because Bruce Hughes plays bass. Everyone is amazing.
Bob is also a great storyteller. That night we were regaled about stories from when he lived in some sort of hippie co-op. And then there was some sort of sexual innuendo involving the act of eating ham (“There’s a saying around our house, once I eat your ham, you never want to leave the table,” or something like that. I don’t know. Better not to ask). It’s true that Bob can have, according to Ollie’s Mom, “a bit of a potty mouth” but I personally find it hilarious and all in good fun.
After the show, as I was leaving, Bob was outside, and I thought for a brief second about going over and saying hi. I’ve been going to see him for 4 years now, and have never met him. But then I thought, nah, I don’t want to wait around. Maybe next time. So I continued to walk to my car, but then looked over and Bob was also walking through the parking lot, alone. So my brain said DO IT before it had worked out WHAT TO SAY.
So the exchange went something like this.
Andrea: Hi Bob, I’m Andrea, a friend of Bruce’s.
(I am not sure why I say this. Maybe because I think being acquainted with the bass player will make me more legit.)
Andrea: It’s so great to meet you, I’ve been coming to see you for a while now.
We shake hands.
Bob: Oh, hi! He smiles.
Andrea: So I showed your Black Mountain video to my uncle, who is Francis Coppola, and he noticed that you spelled his name wrong.
Bob (wincing): I did? OH SHIT!!
Then someone else comes up to talk to him. I mumble something about thanks for all the great music, and walk away.

Great way to make an impression, yes?

Bob’s “Black Mountain” video, using footage from Francis Coppola’s “Dementia 13”

Monday night’s show

And the rest
Other trip highlights:

I was absolutely chilled to the bone for one week straight. Either it was cold and rainy or I was in a drafty place. On the bright side, I did discover that being cold all the time can help you lose weight.

I slept on futons that normally belonged to dogs. Not all of those dogs were happy about giving up their beds for me.

I was feeling particularly more introverted than usual, and ended up not meeting anyone in Austin that I’d wanted to. Hopefully that’ll be different next time.

I thought I was going to put my novel away for a little while, as I “finished” it on 11/30, but it keeps floating around in my head and is telling me that it needs a major rewrite – sooner rather than later. It’s not done.

To be continued…


Chef Bob Schneider Serves Up Another Tasty Record

If music were food, my favorite restaurant would be in Austin, Texas. And one of my very favorite chefs would be Bob Schneider. Bob is an incredible musician and songwriter, and he’s been consistently serving up some mighty tasty morsels for a while now. His latest offering, King Kong, is no exception.

Who’s Bob?
I’ve loved Bob since I discovered him through the work of bassist Bruce Hughes – they’ve been playing off and on together for years. Once I heard Bob, I was hooked. Everyone always asks me, “what kind of music does he play?” I’m never quite sure how to answer. Austin Rock? Acoustic Funk? Alternative Ass Stompin’? Texas Reggae? Tough question. He’s so prolific that his style is hard to categorize. I simply shrug and say “it’s just damn good is all.”
I’ve been lucky enough to see him play live quite a few times – in Tulsa, Dallas, Austin, Luckenbach, Gruene… I’ve gotten to see him with his full band, I’ve seen him solo, and I’ve seen him with Lonelyland at the Saxon Pub. Bob tours a lot – if you EVER have the chance to see him, do it. Just – do it. Whatever iteration you see, you won’t be sorry.

bob and bruce, tulsa, may 2014
bob and bruce, tulsa, may 2014

The New Record/s.
I follow Bob on the FaceBooks, and last fall I saw a post inviting me to invest in his next recording project, King Kong. By signing up on PledgeMusic, I could pre-order an autographed copy of the CD when it came out, and by doing so, provide Bob with money to help record the album. Sign me up, that’s something I can get behind. Win-win!
There are, as of this writing, still several autographed CDs available over at PledgeMusic, and you can download the full album there, too. He’s also released ten songs from the record as two EPs, available on Amazon. I’m not sure why he did this – maybe someday if I ever get to meet him or interview him, I’ll ask… but for the purposes of this article I’m referring to the full 15 song album. Since this is a large, filling meal, I’ve broken it down by course, highlighting a few songs from each one. So pull up a chair, tuck your napkin in under your chin, and grab your fork and knife.

bob schneider - king kong

Welcome to Chez Bob
The record starts off with “Han Solo,” a great appetizer, informing you that the music to follow is going to be one tasty meal. It’s a welcoming song, inviting you to sit down and join him at the table. It’s so quintessential Bob, with those clever words and that friendly melody. “I’m your Chewbacca, you’re my Han Solo…” He’s letting you know, it’s going to be just the two of you dining together tonight.

First Course: Keep it Light
The first course consists of “Stars Over Your House,” “Fools,” and “Dirty Feeling,” all of which have just the right amount of tangy seasoning. Apparently “Stars Over Your House” is getting some national radio play, and rightfully so. It’s very accessible and very, very catchy. And happy. That’s two optimistic songs in a row! Is Bob getting soft in his old age? Nope. He might be mellowing out a bit but he’s still got some bite.
“Fools” is one of my favorite songs on the record. At first it sounds as if he’s dishing out some criticism against his fellow humans – fools are everywhere you turn! Working on a trailer for a movie, opening convenience stores… “there on the ocean, drink in their hand, and a smile… on their shoulder, the weight of the world…” But at the very end of the song, he admits to being a fool, too. A surprise twist, and easy to miss if you don’t listen closely. Thank you Bob, for putting it all in the proper perspective and serving up some humble pie – in a happily snarky sort of way.

Bob Brings the Heat.
The second course of the meal gets a little spicier. Up till now we’ve heard some nice, vegetarian music. But “Ventilation” puts some meat on the table, and I’m all in. I might be biased here, but one of the very best things about this song is the bass. Yes I have a predisposition towards deliciously awesome bass, but even the most casual of King Kong diners will admit there’s some super tasty little bites in this song. Hoo! Spicy! On multiple occasions, I’ve cranked this one up in the car and hit repeat. The chorus is addictive, and also sets a steamy tone. I don’t usually care for spicy all that much, but when it comes to a meal like this one, I’ll take a double-helping please.
We then head into “Cheaper” – another delicious serving of hot and spicy lyrics and music. This is a slick song with the lyrics flowing so smoothly from start to end, punctuated by some expressive bass, catchy guitar, and a bit of oh-so-smooth percussion. Happiness is free, y’all. Or at least cheaper than we make it out to be.

Are You Doing OK?
Here we take a little break. “Magic Wand,” “Into the Sun,” and the title track “King Kong” serve as palette cleansers – the first a somber piece, the second, a foot-stompin heap o’ positive that loosens you up for the rest of the record, and the third, a seemingly mellow song except for when you listen to the lyrics in which he admits someone has put his “heart in a thong, and that ain’t cool”…

You Can’t Stop Now!
The third course is pretty heavy, so hopefully you’ve saved some room for the serious stuff. “Black Mountain,” “Montgomery” and “The Unknown” are a little darker.
“Black Mountain” is not for the weak-stomached listener – you are gonna feel this one, it’s heavy (that Hammond organ!), but you will like it oh so much. Go slowly. “Montgomery” is haunting, dark, and the guitar is nothing short of magical. Then comes “The Unknown” – a reggae / rock tune, in which Bob admits he doesn’t like to dine alone…

Sweet and…
Now we get to dessert. Do you still have room? Of course you do! Here Bob serves up the perfect end to this perfect meal. “You Be Alright” is one of the sweetest songs ever – at first I feared for my blood sugar levels but it’s actually just perfect. “You May Want to Take Some Time” is a little more somber but at the end of the meal things are mellowing out… or so you think.  “Ready Let’s Roll” is the after dinner drink – instead of going for something sweet, we finish the whole thing off with a glass of smooth, expensive scotch.

Let’s Roll?
Then it’s over, the music stops. You sit for a minute hoping that Bob will now invite you out to see a cool band somewhere, or cruise Austin to people-watch. But when you look up, you realize Bob has gone – home to his family to paint works of art, write poetry, and plan his next tour. At least you can always press “play” again. Damn, that was good.

Bob on Amazon:

Bob on PledgeMusic
Go here to see special goodies that Bob is selling!


Extra bonus video! Here’s Bob and his Dad, doin’ Luckenbach Texas right:


Album Review: Trap Door by Bruce Hughes (Or, Baking the Perfect Record)

Last week, I had lunch with Austin Musician and Interesting Human, Bruce Hughes. I told him how much I enjoyed his last record, Trap Door. I told him how surprised I was by it, and that it had a lot going on underneath the surface. At the time, I thought that made sense, but I got myself in trouble with that last bit because he asked me what I meant by it…and I didn’t have a very good answer. So I’ve thought about it some more. And this is what I’ve come up with.
The idea of “less is more” has come up a lot lately. I first wrote about it back in December, in regards to baking a cheesecake.  The thought was that the fewer ingredients you use, the more important it is to get those ingredients just right because that’s all there is; you’re not covering things up with unnecessary flavors. The quality of the ingredients, the quantities, and the timing of combining them all together are crucial. As I wrote last year, “when a few ingredients are put together with care and love and precision, great things can happen.”
And that is also what I would say about Trap Door.

Trap Door is Bruce’s third solo record. Each one has its own distinct personality, and this one is the most pared-down, unassuming offering of the three. His first record, Bluebird, has some really great music on it, including “Stax,” “Anywhere But Memphis” and my favorite, “Ten.” There also seem to be some songs about a relationship gone bad. It’s as if he wrote some of the record to work a few things out for himself – and it must have worked, because the second album, Shorty, is much more – how can I put this – self-actualized. There are beautiful love songs (“English Rose”), sexy love songs (“Baby’s Bag”), absolutely weird-ass, ironic songs (“Otherside” makes me laugh, EVERY SINGLE time I hear it) and totally brilliant songs – the first time I really listened to “Happy to Help,” I knew I had to meet this person. There are lots of instruments and sounds and noises and layers on Shorty. It’s work, but the payoff is big.
So this third record… the first time I listened to it I thought, where is the BruceHughesFunk that I’m expecting? It sounded totally different than his other records, and I didn’t really know what to think. Maybe people living in Austin who can see Bruce perform regularly weren’t as surprised. But for someone who lives too far away to see him play and can only live vicariously through other people’s shakily-shot YouTube videos, it was a real surprise. I actually put it aside for a bit. Eventually I went back and listened to it again, this time with no expectations. And I was kind of blown away.
Trap Door is a fairly short record – 10 songs that zip by and leave you wanting more. So then you just have to go back and start from the beginning again. The album is very sparse – an acoustic guitar, maybe a smattering of electric guitar, a little percussion and a teeny tiny bit of keyboards… not a lot of ingredients. Add into the mix a clear, strong voice and the recipe seems promising…
Bruce is a master lyricist. Plus, he knows just what a girl wants to hear, and how she wants to hear it. The singing is so good, that it almost pisses me off in places. Goddamn that Bruce!
There are songs on the record that are straightforward and good and happy and sexy – such as the opener “Days Are Beautiful,” “Baby I Do,” “Fearless Love,” and “I Get High” (I have never found hair care so enticing as when someone sings to me that they want to wash, rinse and repeat me every day). There are also some snarky jabs – a line from “Cheaper” informs me that “many fragile flowers have met their demise on my living room floor.” Is that so! A few songs paint very detailed pictures – interestingly, from a woman’s perspective (“Tortilla Factory”).
There are two songs in particular that stand out to me. The first is “Girl Who Reads.” This is probably the simplest song on the record – one guitar and voice. Perfect accompaniment for such lovely lyrics. Bruce tends to write very self-actualized songs, emitting confidence, positive energy, and just the right amount of masculine umph. “Girl Who Reads” is a departure from this – allowing the listener to catch a glimpse of someone who might possibly be more vulnerable. A welcomed surprise. I just have one minor personal disappointment with the lyrics: in the song, Bruce laments the lack of a “girl who reads” in his life, proclaiming that “they’re all storytellers with vocabularies…” I understand this, in that there’s a lot of noise out there and everyone loves to listen to themselves talk. I get it, I do. But, well, there are SOME good storytellers out there… just saying…
The very last song, “Quiet,” was also a big surprise. It’s a story, again from a woman’s perspective. I wonder who it is about – a distant relative maybe? It’s the story of a woman who travels across the ocean by ship from “the old country” to meet her intended, sight unseen. It’s thoughtful, has a really haunting melody, and the vocals at the end of the song give me chills. And then the record is… over. More, more!

So when I said that the record had a lot going on underneath the surface, I guess what I meant was that at first I simply looked at the list of ingredients and thought, this is it? But upon further exploration, I could hear how everything comes together to make something so rich and layered and complex. Bruce Hughes has baked the perfect cheesecake with this record. The ingredients are few, but of very high quality, and used in just the right combination. Buy yourself a copy and enjoy the simplicity of a well-crafted record.
I can’t wait to hear what comes next. It may be a totally different recipe, but I know it’ll be tasty nonetheless.



2015 SCT, Day Four – Double Header, Lunch & Bob

Subtitle: Earnest  Hipster Laptop Hobo Overload and some damn fine music

Oh well let’s see now. What did I do yesterday? Honestly, the days are kind of starting to melt together and it feels like I’ve been here a month. Not that that’s necessarily a BAD thing…
So Day Four started with a trip to Cuvee Coffee. I’d heard good things about it, and really wanted to like it. When I walked in I got the Standard Hipster Coffee Joint vibe – wood counter, stark interior. I couldn’t tell what kind of espresso machine they use, because it’s one of those under-the-counter deals. It was all women behind the counter, they were super nice. They were fast. They had Kalita pour over drippers on the counter. I really wanted to like it even more.
I sat down, looked at my coffee, and took pictures of it. Yes, I feel like a TOTAL DORK when I do this, but I figure hey, I AM a total dork so it’s ok. And it’s research. So too bad if I look like a dork. At least I don’t put ALL of the photos on Instagram.
As I took my first sips I realized I had made a big mistake. I had brushed my teeth 30 minutes beforehand with the Super Strong toothpaste. You could have served me orange juice with dirt in it and I’m not sure I would’ve noticed. Even so, the coffee tasted just a tiny bit sour. Not bitter / burned like it was overextracted, but sour like it had been underextracted. I tried to drink it really slowly. I admired the cool artwork all over the huge back wall. I looked longingly at the cool t-shirts and other merch. I even bought some house blend beans to take home to make drip coffee with. But still, my overall impression was: meh. I also spent the hour writing notes in my little coffee journal about the meh coffee and it must have caused some sort of mini existentialist crisis because I wrote “Why am I here? Why is there any need to see anything different?” See what mediocre coffee can do to you, people?

Coincidentally, my friend Bruce suggested we meet for lunch one building over. So after an hour staring wistfully at my coffee cup, I went over to have some lunch. Bruce asked me what I was doing at Cuvee. I said, naturally, “having coffee.” He then asked me what I thought of the coffee and I told him that I wanted to like it but truthfully I was pretty undecided. He then admitted he didn’t really care for it either. I would trust Bruce in most areas. So there you go.
Bruce plays bass with The Resentments (who I posted about yesterday) and also for Bob Schneider, an iconic Austin musician who plays and tours regularly. I’ve known Bruce for a few years, and we manage to say hi to each other every so often between Tulsa and Austin. My opinion is, he’s a good person to know. So we had a nice lunch (even though the restaurant was way too loud – if you want to visit with someone, don’t go to the Counter Café on 6th around noon).  I told him I was planning to come out that night to see Bob Schneider and Lonelyland at the Saxon and he said he’d get me in. Score!
The very best part of that lunch was the end. (Wha?) As we were leaving, Bruce ran into someone he knew and introduced me. His exact words were, “This is my friend Andrea, she’s a writer.” This made me extremely happy. I have arrived.
So after lunch, what to do? I decided to be daring and go for latte number two. At the suggestion of my host Michael and the interwebs, I headed to Wright Bros Brew & Brew on San Marcos (all of these places, by the way, are 7-10 minutes from where I am staying, according to the Google Maps Lady). I ordered a latte from a very Earnest Hipster wearing a straw hat and high-waisted wool tweed pants. I couldn’t get into this latte, either. Perhaps it was the Fugazi that was playing. When I didn’t recognize the music, I Shazamed it, discovered who it was, and thought, that is crap. I’ve never listened to Fugazi before, and have no intention of ever doing so again. The latte wasn’t crap, but it was just OK. They serve coffee roasted by Flat Track here in Austin which, as it turns out, is right across the street from where I’m blogging from right now. But I’ve already got my latte here, which you’ll read about tomorrow, and I learned the hard way yesterday that TWO LATTES IN ONE DAY IS ONE TOO MANY.
At Brew & Brew I worked on my writing and Michael stopped by for a few minutes on his way home from work. By then the music had changed to Santigold – much better – but it was time to go. I spent the evening hanging out with my hosts, and then headed back to the Saxon for the Bob show.
I had to park across the street from the Saxon, and jaywalk across Lamar which seemed kind of risky to me, so when I saw someone else doing the same thing I thought, “safety in numbers!” and tagged along. We walked in together and his friend who met him at the door thought we were together. Uh, no. He was a nice guy though – pretty young, tall and lanky, and friendly. I guess I could do worse. Anyway, I thought Bruce was putting me on the list but he hadn’t, but they let me in anyway and later he explained he was planning to meet me outside and walk me in. I never caught that set of instructions. Whatevs. I got in.  The place was packed! I’d never seen Bob at the Saxon before, and didn’t know it was reserved seating and that tonight had sold out. But I met 2 nice “regulars” – apparently these women go see Bob every Monday. Their 3rd friend was not in attendance and they offered me her chair. Awesome! “I’ve had a lot to drink,” one of them explained to me several times. But she was super cool and every time Bob would play a new song she would inform me that “this is new.” So I felt very in-the-know.
It was a great show! Bob is awesome. And he’s really funny. And his band is awesome. And of course Bruce is super-awesome. (Before the show I got to say hi to Conrad, Bob’s drummer, I told him he was super-awesome, and he told me I was super-awesome. How awesome is that.)


After the show I stood around for a minute until I could go say goodbye to Bruce. As I was waiting, the guy I walked across the street with before the show came over and started talking to me. He’d never been to the Saxon before, he said. He’d just moved to Austin in September. He asked if I had seen Bob a lot and I said yes and rattled off some of my Bob knowledge. After a few minutes I kind of sort of almost got the feeling that maybe he was trying to pick me up? I don’t know. I’m bad at these things. Maybe he actually thought I seemed nice and matronly. He wasn’t creepy or anything, in fact he was super nice, but it still made me a little uncomfortable so finally I just said, “well I’m gonna go say goodbye to the bass player now, see ya.” And that was that. Of course part of me hopes he WAS trying to pick me up and that part of me is a little more than slightly satisfied by this.
I said bye to Bruce, I guess I won’t see him again before I leave. He’s an amazing musician, an interesting person and creatively inspiring because he makes his living using his creative talents. I like that.

I jaywalked back across Lamar and went home to bed.


2015 SCT, Day Three – Coffee & Sunday Night Services @ The Saxon

This is my first full day in the ATX. I spent the day with my hosts, Michael and Carissa. Michael and I took their dogs to the park, and then went across town for some delicious tacos from the original Tacodeli – a little taco shop located in the midst of a sea of apartment complexes. What a weird place for a taco place! But then as Michael pointed out, really, cities should do more of this type of zoning. Why couldn’t each neighborhood have its own taco place, or little grocery store or – gasp – coffee shop? That everyone could walk to? The Burbs just don’t work that way, and it’s too bad. But I think that’s the topic for another post, another time.
After tacos, I wanted coffee. And the closest place was Jo’s, on South Congress. We headed over that way and I ordered a latte (surprise!). There was a blues band playing on the patio, so we hung out for a while and listened to the music. I didn’t get any photos of this coffee – only their machine, a good ol’ La Marzocco.
Jo’s serves Stumptown coffee, out of Portland Oregon. So of course it must be good.
And I believe that it was. However, unfortunately the taco I’d just eaten had raw onions on it, as I’d forgotten to ask them to be left off. And as you may suspect, eating something with raw onions on it before consuming a coffee drink can sort of mess up your palate. But it tasted smooth and mild and was easy to drink. We proceeded to walk up SoCo a ways and people-watch. I stopped at Tesoro’s Trading Company and bought some postcards and then we headed back towards home.
In the evening I picked up take-out from 888 Pan Asian restaurant for dinner (it was so much food that I’ll have leftovers till I leave, it seems) and then headed to the Saxon Pub for Sunday Night Services with The Resentments.
No one else wanted to go with me to the Saxon – you know, those people that have Monday – Friday, 8-5 jobs aren’t much fun on Sunday nights, apparently. So I went on my own. When I got there, Jeff Plankenhorn, a super great guitarist, waved hi to me as I walked in. (How he recognized me is also another story, about his ill-fated stop in Tulsa on a recent tour when he was sick and sounded like crap). Then I walked in and realized I had walked through the wrong door – and had gotten in without paying. Well, that’s not good karma! So I went to the door guy and gave him my money and he thanked me for being honest. Then a quick hello to my friend Bruce, the bass player for The Resentments, and then a seat at the bar. This show is, if I’m honest, one of the reasons I came all the way to Austin.
I came to Austin for several reasons – to try to make some writing connections, to meet the people I’ve been writing for the last 2 months, to get out of Tulsa for a while – and to see some music. Specifically, to see The Resentments. It’s the best live music I’ve ever seen.
I’ll spare you from the long version, but real quick-like: The Resentments are a group of musicians who have been playing together every Sunday night for a very very long time. The members have changed over the years, but Bruce has been playing with them for 10+ years, as, if I’m not mistaken, has the drummer John Chipman. The Resentments never rehearse – if someone has a new song, he might pass out a piece of paper with some notes, or they might all just wing it. They’re such great musicians that they can pick up on each other’s cues well enough to play songs they’ve never heard before. That, friends, is the sign of a good musician.

The music is positive, the vibe is positive, the crowd is mellow, the musicians are so, SO good, and they’re also pretty damn funny in between songs. This was only my third time seeing them live, but I have quite a few CDs, and there’s also lots of videos on the YouTubes (if you’re curious enough to check them out). One time I went to see them and it was just 2 guitar players – Jeff Plankenhorn and Miles Zuniga. It was still 100% awesome. If you ever get the chance, go see them. And take me with you.
I went home feeling like I’d had a very good day. Good food, good coffee, good people, good music. Yes. Good day.