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Graham Warwick hosts Blue Monday each week at Silver Creek Beer Garden & Grille on Main Street. He invites blues music fans to extend their weekend one extra day at the Monday evening jam session. Photo by Phil Houseal

Blue Monday happens every week from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Silver Creek Beer Garden & Grille, 310 E. Main (990-4949).

The Bonafide Blues Band will play at Proof on New Year's Eve; for Windows on Texas at Silver Creek on Jan 17; and at the Luckenbach Blues Fest on Jan 31. Contact Graham Warwick at 990-0779.
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Blue Monday

byPhil Houseal
Dec 30, 2008

Following the cacophony of Christmas, the revelry of New Year's, and the excitement of any weekend, where might a music lover turn to ease back into the work-a-day world?

Blue Monday.

Blue Monday was the brainchild of Graham Warwick, a singer, songwriter, and musician who arrived in the hill country from Lubbock in 1994. The blues-tinged jam session happens every Monday evening from 7 to 10 p.m. at Silver Creek on Main Street.

"Someone always shows up and makes it happen," Warwick said. "The magic is always unique. If you miss any Monday night you miss a good show. But not to worry, you've got the next Monday to catch what is guaranteed to be another good show."

Warwick started out hosting an open mic night at Silver Creek on Sundays. When the owners tinkered with the format, Warwick saw a chance to try something he had long considered.

"They wanted me to switch off, and I said, why not let mine be a blues jam?" he said. Some were still skeptical, questioning whether Fredericksburg music fans had the "taste" to support an all-blues night.

After nearly three years of full houses on Monday, Warwick loves to remind them of that.

"I'll say I'm glad we didn't try this," he laughed, noting that when the weather is good, they pack the front of the house. On nastier nights, they fill the back of the bar. "People are actually coming in. We don't know if that is because of the blues or because we are the only show in town that night."

I would guess it has something to do with the music. What began as a professional jam has evolved into a regular band that invites a different guest every week. The core revolves around the Bonafide Blues Band, which, among others, features Warwick, Mark Searcy on guitar and vocals, Emmitt Smith on guitar, Ricky Smith on bass, John Ramsey on drums, David Hohmann on saxophone, and Rick Boss on harmonica and vocals.

Guest artists include the likes of Ben Beckendorf, Will Owen-Gage, Spot Barnett, and even Butch Morgan ("He'll take a country song and turn it into a blues song so we can do it on Blue Monday," Warwick explained.").

Fans of the blues cut across the generations.

"Sometimes I look out at 6:30, and I see a table of four people as old as my parents," Warwick said. "I'm thinking, uh oh, they're going to complain." Two hours later they are still there, maybe joined by teenage grandchildren, all obviously enjoying the music. "I haven't found anybody yet that hasn't liked the blues or isn't interested in what we are doing."

In fact, so many musicians have been showing up, there is not enough time to accommodate them all. So Warwick is starting a second blues jam on Wednesday night. This will be held at Proof, a new club down the street, and will have a looser format more along the lines of a traditional jam session.

Warwick also plans to record the music every Monday over the next few months in hopes of getting enough material for a live album. He invites everyone to get out to hear that, and to extend their weekend one more day.

"I always tell people the weekend ends on Monday night. That way you have a shorter work week," he said. "Plus there is food, drink, good music, good company. So really, there's no reason to be at home."