Congratulations to bossman Joe Ables (there with the big scissors) on the official opening of The Saxon Pub at ABIA. There with him cuttin’ up is Paula Nelson, Jeff Plankenhorn, Warren Hood, Bruce Hughes, Malford Milligan, Landis Armstrong and WC Clark. That’s a bunch of musical talent behind that ribbon there. Stop in next time you’re out there and try one of Joe’s bloody marys. Exceptional mix he’s developed…spicy enough to blow your hat in the creek.
So in case you’re wondering why I’ve been so silent over the past few months, above is a big part of the reason. Infor sent me on a 10-city photo tour shooting their actual customers, and we’re on city seven. Great job, great people to work with and if this doesn’t wear out my shutter, nothing will. Tens of thousands of images into this thing, I still can’t call it work. Thanks to everyone who has provided support and assistance through this bigtime shoot. Onward.
Brad Dunn has completed his first album and it’s now up on iTunes. Have a listen, buy a song, and tell all your friends that CW is the macdaddy who turned you on to him. You may remember this photo I took of him down at Fosforus Studios. You may also remember when I posted the shot below of him hitting it stiff out of the fairway bunker on #15 at Grey Rock, en route to beating me for the first time. But since he’s been in the studios writing and recording around the clock for a few months, I’ll take him down next time.
It’s not too late. There are a few tickets left for the 2010 Texas Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Awards Show. This Sunday (March 7th) night, me and 1,200 others will sit right there in the irreplaceable Paramount Theatre and listen to Clint Black, alone with a guitar, singing some of the songs we all two-step to. Killin’ Time, Nothing’s News, A Better Man, some others. And Clint will pass the mic to Mac Davis. That’s right. Mac Davis. Some of you know him for his Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me and (Lubbock) Texas In My Rear View Mirror, but get this: Mac wrote Elvis Presley’s mega-hit In the Ghetto. No, I’m not kidding. He also wrote what you kids know as the theme song to that Vegas TV show, A Little Less Conversation. And Lee Roy Parnell will be up there singing Whitey Shafer’s songs that helped skyrocket George Strait to stardom: All My Exes Live in Texas and Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind being a couple of them. Hell, we’ve got a jukebox on the Texas Songwriters’ Hall of Fame website…go listen to a few of them, and buy your tickets right there online. There will not be a more intimate, special, unique songwriter show in 2010. I guarantee it. The late great Stephen Bruton is being honored posthumously with the Darrell K Royal Patron Award, and while Jeff Bridges wanted to come to the show, he has to be in LA that night to accept an Oscar for his performance in Crazy Heart, the film in which Stephen’s songwriting and producing talents were a major influence to the soundtrack. And if you’re in need of a more eloquent articulation of this event, take a look at this post from a friend of mine who’s an incredibly talented writer.
I got an email last night from Tina Bradley-Mayers that her father had passed away. Jackson Bradley was a dear friend to me, and although I didn’t see him all that much, we’d always pick up like no time had passed. He helped me out with my golf swing when we first met in 1986 at The Hills of Lakeway. And again at Riverhill in Kerrville. Then he was kind enough to sit down and tell me stories of his life in golf for an article in Austin Golf Magazine in 2004. After our interview, he insisted we go out and play nine holes at Austin Country Club. (That’s a shot up there of him approaching the 6th green in our match that day.) I was 39 and a 0.4 handicap. Mr. Bradley was 84 and was showing signs of Parkinson’s. We talked about how it really only affected his putting, and if he could time it right, he could still putt fairly well. He shot 37 and beat me by 2, and while I was grinding my ass off, I feel certain that he was toying with me.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Bradley. See you on the other side, where I’ll be calling for a re-match.
I was a kid in Monroe, Louisiana in the 1980’s, and my next door neighbors used to go to Austin to listen to a guy named Robert Earl Keen. For years, they’d travel 500 miles to see a guy I thought no one had ever heard of. A few years later, while I was in college at Texas State University, someone put in a cassette of REK’s No. 2 Live Dinner, and I was instantly hooked on “Gringo Honeymoon,” “Merry Christmas from the Family,” “Sonora’s Death Row,” “Amarillo Highway” and “The Road Goes on Forever,” one of the ones I play and sing at small gatherings of drunks. In fact, I learned to play guitar on REK’s songs. In my opinion, he’s the most talented songwriter in the history of country music. Yes, better than Willie. I’d put the aforementioned songs, “Not a Drop of Rain,” “Mariano,” “Feelin’ Good Again,” and “Lynnville Train” up against anything.
His voice is unique, and his work has spawned a whole bunch of posers who try to sound and be like him, but no one has been able to pull it off. Why? Because of his lyrics. He’s a writer. A WRITER. He just happened to choose music. Rumor has it he moved to Nashville in the mid-80’s, became discouraged by the direction country music was headed and promptly moved back to Austin. If that’s true, and I bet it is, I like him even more.
I was presented with an opportunity to photograph him and his beautiful family for the cover of a new magazine in his hometown of Kerrville. At his home. At 8:30am. I’m not comfortable going into other people’s homes, uninvited by the homeowners themselves, especially when the homeowner is one of my favorite artists. And I get star-struck by just about anyone with any sort of celebrity. This was going to be a tough one.
I pulled up to the Keen’s home around 8:15 and did some iPhone work while waiting in the truck for the magazine editor to arrive. I glanced up the driveway and noticed a barefoot young girl standing there smiling at me. There was no doubt she was Robert’s daughter. Chloe Keen is by far one of the sweetest, prettiest, most well-mannered and talented people I’ve ever met. She welcomed me in, helped me carry some photo equipment, and introduced me to “Bogey,” the Keen’s adorable bulldog, all before anyone else was up and around.
Robert and his wife Kathleen’s older daughter Clara, there on the left, is also beautiful, talented and sweet with a great smile and loads of artistic talent. And evidently, from the looks of all the ribbons hanging in her room, she’s quite an equestrienne. Kathleen made me feel completely comfortable, told me a few stories and even gave me gift from the Keen freezer before I packed up for the drive back to Austin.
I could go on forever about how much I enjoyed spending a couple of hours with the Keen family.
I warned them that anyone who thought they could beat me at any sort of “cook off” needed to get out more. And once I arrived and saw the competitors’ crock pots (you better sit down for this…some of them were electric), I knew right away I’d walk with that medal you see there. Not unlike Seve Ballesteros in 1980. After playing in the US for the first time and watching PGA Tour players chipping out from the trees, he said to reporters, “There’s no way anyone will beat me at Augusta. I knew I was going to win before the plane landed.” He did and went on to become one of the world’s most beloved golfers to watch play. A fearless, swashbuckling Spaniard with no desire to play it safe or finish second.
Last night, as my beloved Saints were getting the job done, I ventured out to the incredible and irreplaceable Robinson Ranch with an old cast-iron pot full of CW’s Secret Chili for the 2nd Annual Good Shepherd Episcopal School Chili Competition. An hour later, I stood in front of the crowd holding that medal. It’s highly doubtful anyone will ever touch that medal again now that I’m in the game, but the third-place finisher last night is a worthy competitor, and since she’s from Fort Worth (they know their chili in FW) and went to school in New Orleans (where they know their cookin’), I’ll have to shift into another gear for the 2011 Championships.
Game on. Geaux Saints.
So if you weren’t at The West Pole yesterday or anywhere near a TV in the Austin area, you probably won’t know what I’m talking about. The very first “Armadillo Day” was held yesterday in Bee Cave, Texas. Evidently, Texans don’t take kindly to others doing their thinking and prognosticating for them, especially when it comes from a mangy groundhog in Pennsylvania.
“Bee Cave Bob” emerged from his hole yesterday, predicted six more weeks of winter and more importantly, that Texas will see a definitive conservative trend in state politics. You see, unlike Punxsutawney Phil, who only makes mediocre meteorological predictions, Bee Cave Bob is a dynamic, multi-faceted creature who makes more relevant prognostications such as the political climate.
The event was hosted by The Benevolent Knights of the Raccoon and was attended by celebrities, politicians, entertainers and scores of Texans. Gary P. Nunn (pictured here at left with John Arthur Martinez and Mike Blakely) was on hand to sing the Armadillo Day Anthem.
Meet Bradley D. Dunn, one of Austin’s up-and-coming songwriters. A good man with a beautiful family, a day job, a solid golf game and tons of songwriting talent spanning several genres of music. Brad was in a hair band back when hair bands were the thing and has played rock and country and traveled the world with Sugar Ray and has thousands of stories from the road, I’m sure. I didn’t ask out of sheer jealousy. Had a good time with him during this shoot down at Fosforus. Have a listen to a few of Brad’s recent songs here.
Don’t miss this one. Some of you know Ryan as the incredible guitar player/singer/songwriter/frontman for the Ryan Young Band, and some of you know him as the kind, generous, thoughtful teacher to your preschooler or guitar student. Either way, he’s very good at what he does and is a decent guy with a big heart, lots of talent and no ego. Well, he has made a new album and will release it this Saturday night at Joe Ables’ Saxon Pub as the headliner, following Guy Forsyth and the Greezy Wheels. As an early-to-bed, early-to-rise sort of guy, it’s going to be tough on me, but I’m going to do my best to be there. Probably with a camera or two. He’ll have his new CDs there…remember this?)