I get it, I get it. As a reformed neo groupie of the 1980's, trust me. I totally get it. However, if you are a mom, live in the sticks, er, burbs, have a wonderful husband that you'd rather stay at home with and make fun of the Batchelor on ABC, sometimes it can be hard for it to always be about the music. Nothing makes me feel older than trying to look glam while simultaneously making sure my upper arms are covered and that I'm wearing sensible shoes. (Thank you Jesus for the cowboy boot.) When you tell people you are moving to Austin, the first thing these never lived in Texas souls squeal is "OH MY GOD, I LOVE Austin! Music Capital of the World! I'm so jealous!" Trust me, it's as predictable a response as the failed relationship count of the Batchelor - who, by the way, best BATCH ever? Brad Womack...a former Austinite, who apparently, local gossip just found out last weekend, has moved to Houston (What up H-town?!) to find a "normal" girl. Good luck with that Brad. Here's hoping you come back often to your Austin bars because I'm one of those goobers who would actually make it a destination just to be able to take another cool facebook photo with you. Here's hoping our next photo op together turns out better than the one of us at the airport where I could use some serious photoshopping...is that a word?
Anyhoo, when I moved back here I thought sure, it would be cool to be able to see a few bands in a more casual and close setting. I made a bucket list of musicians I'd be willing to take the long and scary at night drive down Hwy 71 for: (forgive the bad grammar, it's just the way I speak)
1. Radney Foster
2. Kelly Willis
3. The Wagoneers
4. Raul Malo and The Mavericks
Radney Foster at The Shady Grove. He even sat a few booths away eating dinner first. I tried to be non-chalant about the whole thing but I was dying to know if he was having the chicken fried steak, or the vegan burrito. He's my favorite singer songwriter, and while I've met him before in a small venue in Berkeley where he and my hubs discussed websites they owned, it was still as thrilling as before. Bucket list Texas music count: 1 out of 4, Facebook photo count 1. Radney Foster: CHECK.
The Wagoneers at The Continental Club. While I'm still good friends with my buddy Tom Lewis, drummer extraordinaire, I hadn't seen the other guys in years. Partly because they hadn't played together as The Wagoneers for years. Now on the comeback scene and about to blow up bigger than ever, I was very excited to come out and hear and see my friends again. Funny footnote; these guys played my first wedding....the best memory I had from that day, that's for sure! Here's where it gets icky. Being in that club, seeing all the "Bettys" and the chicks giving me dirty looks for getting some attention from my friends just made me quickly realize how much too old I am for this kind of high school feeling scene. Don't get me wrong, the band was amazing. They even did a special dedication to me from the stage. I was touched. The years have been good, no GREAT to these guys and I know their success is going to be huge, which is well deserved. It's just that icky "don't look at my man" kind of immaturity that left me feeling a little sad, but a little glad that I could go home and hug my kid and hubs and let them know how grateful I am that I have them. Bucket list Texas music count: 2 out of 4, Facebook photo count 2, plus I made it into the music video they made that night. If you blink, you'll miss me dancing 80's freestyle. The Wagoneers: CHECK.
Kelly Willis, FREE show at our local outdoor mall. My 6 year old dancing up front in his dirty T-ball uniform. 'Nuff said. Bucket list Texas music count: 3 out of 4. Kelly Willis: CHECK
The Mavericks at La Zona Rosa. First of all, here's a word of advice if you do live in the burbs and are coming into downtown for a show. Diet Coke is your best friend. Plus, zero Points Plus! Raul Malo is the VOICE. I'm sorry all you contestants on some silly TV show, Raul has already been given the title of The Voice by me and many others , apparently at birth. The Mavericks were one of my favorite bands EVER. Once I went to see them at the Warfield in San Francisco. My buddy Tom (see above), was opening up for them so he took me backstage to watch the show from the side of the stage. I got to meet everyone in the band except Raul. (Curses!) Robert Reynolds, bass player , (aka: the ex- Mr. Trisha Yearwood) even gave me a little kiss on the cheek when we said goodbye. To which I blushed and tried to act cool and walk away casually. Only I didn't realize the door I had opened to walk through was, in fact, a custodial closet. I sat in the dark for a few seconds before making my own version of the walk of shame out of the closet where, you guessed it, the guys were still standing. I got a round of applause for that one. Not my most proud moment. Anyhoo, flash forward to last weekend where I found myself standing right in the front of The Mavericks, (Thanks to Whitney's husband and Erika who pushed my 5.2 frame to the front of the stage!) Let me just say something to the guys out there who are reading this. Listen closely...If you are a DUDE, you shouldn't be pushing your way to front row unless it's a Metallica show. It's just wrong. You think Chris Isaak wants to see you? It was the same with this show. There was one particular buggar who looked like an old, fat, drunken version of Radney Foster. He kept trying his move of trying to drunk dance next to some girls who were near the front, thinking we'd be all like, "Woo! Yeah, Party, Come Stand By Me Upfront!" I'm sure that was his game plan, but I wasn't budging. I noticed him try with a few girls. Didn't work. Then he made the mistake of trying with me. Elbows firmly in place and ignoring him stance not working, I finally, at the displeasure of my friend Erika who I think thought he would kick my 5.2 ass, say to him, "Dude! Why are you trying to push your way up here? Guys shouldn't be fighting to be front row. Leave it for the girls!"...to which I then realize that he's wearing a gray ruffled mini skirt. #KeepingAustinWeird. Once I got over that laugh, I have to admit, I enjoyed the show just as I would have way back when. With Raul leading the band, and in a quiet moment when his voice alone could command silence from a rowdy and drunken crowd, it hit me. I felt the tears fall from my eyes as he sang an unexpected Waltz Across Texas, and for a little bit, I forgot about how I didn't need to hear live music, how I was OVER Texas, and if my arms were looking fat. For that little moment, I got it. It's the music stupid. Bucket list Texas music count: 4 out of 4. The Mavericks: CHECK
So now what? I've got a check mark on all my Texas music bucket list wishes. It almost makes me a little scared that now that those are done, is there really anything left here to look forward to? Once you get past the music, then what? Sigh....maybe Willie Nelson and I can hang out at the car wash sometime.