Cabbage & Cod: Happy New Year 12/28/2011
To me, New Year’s Eve is another non-event that we try to turn into a significant holiday. It’s just a tick of the clock that turns up a new page on the calendar.
A Ponder-filled Life 12/21/2011
I am fascinated by a photo of four young men playing music in a bar. Why? Because the band members are my son and my nephews, and they are playing in the exact same bar where - more than 30 years earlier - I played for the first time with my three brothers - their dads.
The Faces of Facebook 12/14/2011
Like an obsessive-compulsive hoarder, I have categorized people who post on Facebook. These are not flattering (which is what makes this fun).
Trying Out 12/7/2011
Well-meaning friends often try to get me more involved in community theater. The reason I don’t? I fear that existential torture ritual: The Audition.
Finding Fredericksburg 11/30/2011
In yet another in a long line of flimsy premises for a column, I am writing about myself. Actually, I just completed my first book. When I asked the newspaper staff if they would consider doing an article about it, they generously said, “Write it yourself.”
Calling all "bandies" 11/23/2011
Cutting across the Fredericksburg High School campus on the way to a basketball game one evening last week, I heard music coming from the band hall. Not unusual for a school night. But when I glanced in the window, something seemed out of place. Specifically, there were several “non high school-aged” musicians.
Finding Your Muze 11/16/2011
Admit it. You’ve thought about writing a book, painting a landscape, or recording a song. Now there is a business that can help you with that last one - and it is not as expensive or time-consuming as you might expect. Erik and Rebekah Strickland have opened a new recording studio/music store in Kerrville called MuzeMatic.
Cowboy Christmas Show 11/9/2011
If you are dreading the holidays and their treacly traditions, you need to buy your ticket right now for Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Christmas Show.
Swans a'Leaping 11/2/2011
The holidays are approaching. That means it’s time for a sugarplum serving of that seasonal staple - The Nutcracker. But not this year.
To me, all cars look alike.
Gospel Roots 10/19/2011
In the 1890s, there weren’t many churches in the small towns around the Texas Hill Country. That is why John Fifer rode his horse from Hondo to Bandera to Kerrville to Fredericksburg, preaching and singing the gospel any place he could find, often with only a spreading oak tree for shelter. This Saturday, you can listen to John Fifer’s descendants singing some of those same gospel songs at a special Roots concert.
Trombone Soul 10/12/2011
Wags call them “wind-driven pitch approximators,” but aficionados appreciate this brass instrument as the most soulful in the orchestra.
Alpaca Products 10/5/2011
Years ago, if you wanted to see an alpaca, you had to travel 4000 miles. Now you can drive six miles down Center Point Road to Wildflower Ridge Alpaca Ranch where you will get a much more intimate introduction to this iconic animal.
23 Musical Truths 9/28/2011
Here are 23 timeless truisms I’ve stumbled upon while playing, listening to, and writing about music.
Dances with chocolate 9/21/2011
Chocolate. Dance. What could you cook up when you combine those two ingredients?
Just Play 9/14/2011
A beginning guitar player recently asked me for advice on how to get ready to play music professionally. I finally said, “If you want to play; play.”
From Russia with Drums 9/7/2011
How is it that some drummer from the Ural Mountains can play ZZ Top better than I can?
Redd Volkaert: Telemaster 8/31/2011
If I listed half the famous musicians Redd Volkaert has played with, I’d use up all the words allotted for this column. Hard to believe when someone first tried to put a guitar in his hands, Volkaert didn’t want to take it.
Ricardo Silva: Your new musical friend 8/24/2011
I met a new musical friend. And the instant you walk in the door when he is playing, he will be your friend, too.
Band of Brothers 8/17/2011
Rob Grote’s response when I called to interview him about the rigors of being a full-time musician was not exactly what I expected. “Umm... actually you caught me at the swimming pool. Can I call you right back?”
Rankin Twins: Fresh and New, Times Two 8/10/2011
The Rankin Twins are just so... so... well, so darn adorable. But don’t let that fool you. They are tough, smart, funny, and talented musicians who know what they are doing on stage and off.
VaRooming Through Life 8/3/2011
How do you deal with passing a birthday milestone? Some of us might pull off the road. Some pull out a bottle. But Fredericksburg native Melissa Starry refuses to go softly...
Turkey Baster: Out of the kitchen 7/27/2011
There was a new grease slinger in town. He pulled up to the local speakeasy. Walked in carrying a violin case. A very, very tiny violin case.
Opera: Music that moves you 7/20/2011
A new festival is coming to Fredericksburg this weekend, featuring... opera! Wait, wait! Before you turn to the Letters section, know that the Fredericksburg Opera Fest has a local connection. Two, in fact.
Stephanie Urbina Jones 7/13/2011
As she carved out her music career beyond the Texas Hill Country, Stephanie Urbina Jones always sought a larger stage. Today, the singer, songwriter - and now actress - is looking back at that Texas heritage to further her success.
Oliver! in 4-D 7/6/2011
In this age of ubiquitous electronic entertainment - iPods, 3-D movies, cell phones, Facebook, Xbox, Wii, etc. - why do we still bother to attend local community theater?
Center Point Paradise: Toucan Jim's 6/29/2011
Dream of visiting a desert island? Palm fronds and banana trees? Coconut drinks, grilled food, and sand in your sandals? Point your flip flops to Center Point.
Touched by Angels & Idols 6/22/2011
When recent Rockbox Theater guest artist Rick Elias told Creative Director Russ Hearn they might enjoy having Regie Hamm play, Hearn said the same thing I said: “Who?”
Summer Sundays 6/15/2011
who visits Fredericksburg knows about Oktoberfest. But Fredericksburgers enjoy the benefits of the annual fall party all year long through its support of the popular Summer Concert Series.
Silence Between Songs 6/8/2011
Driving to work the other day I scanned the radio dial. I actually was enjoying more the spaces between songs than the songs themselves. So this column is about those spaces.
Mary Beth McQueen: Piping Personality 6/1/2011
Not that she needed to play bagpipes to attract attention. But the 14-year-old red-haired dynamo with the great name of Mary Beth McQueen was naturally drawn to the classic Highland instrument ever since she was a wee lassie.
Roots at 10: A million memories 5/25/2011
It’s been 10 years and a million memories. But that first season of the Pioneer Museum’s Roots Music series might not have happened.
Pig Floyd 5/18/2011
I’m from Iowa, where the proper place for a pig is between the peas and the potatoes. So it was a bit unsettling to see a piece of pork onstage singing I’m a Hog For You Baby.
Turnips, turkey basters, and other music makers 5/11/2011
Riddle: What is found in the forest and plays music?
Recital Time 5/4/2011
It’s May, which means it is time for young and old to gather into groups to witness that enduring rite of spring: the recital.
Busking on Main 4/27/1011
Here’s a question: Is Fredericksburg ready for busking?
Weird Band Names 4/20/2011
A challenge every musician faces before designing the poster for their first gig: What do we name this band? Here are some of the weird band names they come up with...
A night of firsts 4/13/2011
This Friday evening you can listen to a 100-year-old composition by a Fredericksburg native that has never been heard - not only in Fredericksburg - but in the United States.
Trash, Treasure, and Trivia 4/6/2011
What’s the best reason to buy antiques now? If you like them. That is advice from one of the nation’s most popular antique appraisers, Bruce Shackelford.
Accidental Humor 3/30/2011
Imagine your mayor reciting an excerpt from Destiny’s Child. Or a retired educator quoting Charlie Sheen. You might hear that - and worse - at the first ever Celebrity Biography Night coming to Fredericksburg on Saturday, April 9.
The Boogie Man of Mason 3/23/2011
Deejay Barry Kaye wants to meet every single KHLB listener. He already knows most of them by their first name.
Cass Moore: Man of Mystery 3/16/2011
When you attend a show at Fredericksburg’s Rockbox Theater, you may not even notice the mysterious musician who never changes expression or leaves his post behind the stacked keyboards at the back of the stage. But everyone would notice Cass Moore if he were not there.
Noises Off 3/9/2011
I stepped out of the high school gym early one cold Saturday morning. It was typical of so many other mornings, but for some reason on this day I noticed the sounds around me.
Drum Lesson 3/2/2011
The first time I played drums professionally, I was terrified.
Jeneé: Stepping into the Spotlight 2/23/2011
Music history is replete with stories of backup band members who stepped up to become headliners in their own right... like Jeneé Fleenor.
Kerry Goff: Onstage and Off 2/16/2011
Kerry Goff’s title is Artistic Operations Manager for Fredericksburg Theater Company. So does he prefer to act, direct, design lights, sing, or build sets?
His answer: “Yes.”
Who Likes A Ukulele? 2/9/2011
George Harrison composed his hit songs on it, Steve Allen made Lipton soup in it, and at one time it was the most popular instrument in the United States.
Kathy Bauer: Destined to Sing 2/2/2011
She’s been near the top. She’s been below bottom.
Now Kathy Bauer is right where she needs to be.
The sound of the "Guitjo" 1/25/2011
It was Christmas in January for Cowboy Doug Davis, and his present was a “guitjo.”
Finger Pickin' Good: David Hamburger 1/19/2011
He’s played at Merle Fest and the Kerrville Folk Festival, written guitar instruction books and magazine articles, played folk, bluegrass, jazz, and blues, and toured with artists such as Joan Baez. And on Saturday, January 29, you can sit in the same room with David Hamburger while he teaches everything from music theory to fingerpicking styles to hot blues riffs.
Windows: Totally Texas 1/12/2011
What started as a spark of an idea in 2002 has become an event that lights up January with the blazing talent of Texas music. This weekend marks the 9th season of Windows on Texas, a showcase for music that is totally Texas.
The Wolf Sisters 1/5/2011
Ready to hear (and see) something different?
Meet The Wolf Sisters - Becca and Sarah.
“We’re twins,” they said in harmony.