Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Texas Renegade loses their harp player

Kasey Klepfer the harmonica player for Texas Renegade recently sent out this statement. It will not be the same to hear Texas Renegade without Klepfer's harp wails, but best of luck to him in his new ventures. Apparently he is leaving the band in good graces. The band is taking this opportunity to seek out a new band member, harp player, or other. I look forward to see what they come up with.

After Six years and over 800 shows, I am leaving Texas Renegade. I love this band and our music, but it is time to move on to the new things in my life. I will be going to graduate school, traveling, and trying new music projects. The last six years have been so amazing. To record three albums and spend so much time with Eli, Tyson, Andy and Luke has been one of the greatest times of my life. I love them and our fans with all my heart. I will be playing until the end of December, and my last show will be at Cheatham Street Warehouse on Jan 2nd. It is only fitting that it ends where it all began. Thanks for a great six years!! "
- Kasey Klepfer - Harmonica – TXR

Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Show Last Saturday in Apline, Texas

We went down to Alpine, Texas to play a show at the Granada Theater for the Sul Ross State University Alumni Christmas Ball this last Saturday. I had never been to Alpine before but had always heard good things about the small town. Alpine, Texas is nestled in the mountains leading to Big Bend National Park. The scenery was spectacular and the town's rustic feel was a refreshing downtown to take in. Unlike many other tourist laden town traps, Alpine's buildings were a mix between the old and new blending together seamlessly to give the place an overall authentic air. There wasn't a heavily zoned downtown frozen in the "frontier" days but instead you could pick up the sense that Alpine hasn't yet totally caught up with the present.

We played in the Granada theater which has been newly renovated. The Doodlin HogWallops opened up for us. They are a local three to six piece band that played strong traditional country tunes which were refreshing, well written, and well performed. Having been newly renovated, the Granada's stage had an amazing set up. The acoustics coupled with the brand new sound system was phenomenal. If you ever happen to make your way up into the mountains make sure to catch a show there. The crowd was good and danced to just about every song we played. I truly enjoyed the visit and being there to play live music to a new enthusiastic crowd was the icing on the cake.

Also, we found our future tour bus while checking out the Transpecos Guitar store downtown.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rodney Parker and The Fifty Peso Reward

Last Saturday our band had the pleasure of opening up for Rodney Parker and The Fifty Peso Reward. I had heard of them through RadiofreeTexas.com and some of the state wide Texas Music magazines circulating around. For one reason or another I just never got around to looking up some of their music. The band was a friendly group of guys and had a lot of talent when they plugged in and took to the stage. Their live show was energized and great to watch thanks to their close knit vibe and their not "run of the mill" sound thanks to random instrument cameos such as the banjo and accordion. Songs to note from my humble opinion; "200 acres" which is a great narrative song glossing over many scenes of rural America with a catchy chorus. "Firefight" something that reminded me of almost Irish punk rock, but in a great way. This song does a good job of capturing their unique sound and giving the uninitiated a cross section of what to look forward to. All in all, it was a great live show to catch and I recommend dropping by whatever stage they are gracing and give them a listen.

Here is a recording of Rodney Parker and The Fifty Peso Reward's song "Firefight".

The music video to "200 acres".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Band of Heathens on Austin City Limits.

The greatly talented Band of Heathens gave me a surprise the other day when I clicked on P.B.S. There on the widely popular show Austin City Limits, playing like it was just another easy going gig were Ed, Gordy, John, Seth, and Colin. The Band of Heathens shared the hour long broadcast along side Elvis Costello. In my opinion, and most likely a biased one, The Heathens stole the whole show. If you have yet to experience their music and most importantly their great live show, I urge you to run to their next gig in your neighborhood, or at the least buy their album.

Click here to watch a video of "Jackson Station" performed on the aforementioned Austin City Limits airing playing on The Band of Heathens' website. If it is no longer playing on their site, I'm sure Youtube.com would be more than happy to oblige in your search.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Norton Buffalo dead

A single sentence message came from Norton Buffalo's Twitter account this morning solemnly stating, " RIP Norton. Rarely does the world see such talent. " It is my assumption that he has lost his fight to the cancer he had recently discovered in his lower lungs. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. He was a talented harp player and will truly be remembered fondly and missed.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Trishas: worth your time and attention

For some time I have been running across a band called The Trishas in magazines, Twitter posts, and through word of mouth. I had never heard them play a song, but from the pictures and write ups I was seeing in passing I didn't expect much more than a Dixie Chicks reincarnation. At the end of the day you can't know too much about a band until you press play, and luckily I was proven wrong regarding my assumptions. Their sound is soulful and bluesy filled with great harmonies and a wide expanse of americana instruments. This Austin based band is comprised of four women who bring a lot to the table when they step up on stage. They are accomplished musicians, songwriters, and performers. I hope to get the pleasure of seeing them live soon. If you're looking for a type of music that transplants you to the Mississippi delta but is narrated by four beautiful voices twisting in and out of soul, blues, and bluegrass, you'll feel home with The Trishas. Good Stuff.

The Trishas playing "must be time" while hanging out with the Musicfog.com guys.

The Trishas playing "Whistling" again with the Musicfog.com guys.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Up on the Austin Universal Entertainment Artist page

I wrote previously about our band signing on with Austin Universal Entertainment. The contract has yet to be signed, but AUE went ahead and listed us on their website as one of their signed artists. This is an exciting time for us and it's great to see our band listed beside many talented peers who have had a great amount of representation from AUE.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Zach Huckabee has hit the Texas Music Charts

Our band's good friend Zach Huckabee has a new album out and his single has shown up on the Texas Music Charts. The Texas Music Charts is a lot like other charts where it ranks Texas Music bands according to radio play. This chart ranks by the spin counts a particular song gets across approximately eighty stations across Texas. Zach Huckabee's new album "Was It You?" released earlier this summer and has been crawling across Texas catching the ears of plenty of people. His single "The Fight" has emerged on the Texas Music Chart currently at number thirty eight. If you haven't yet caught Zach out on tour make sure to swing by his website and try to find a weekend when he's nearby. His live shows have always been a great pile of energy. If you're stuck somewhere untouched by live music, then make sure to grab hold of his album and make your own dance party at the house.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Norton Buffalo update

If you are looking for information on how Norton Buffalo's fight with cancer is going, make sure to follow him on Twitter. He has been fairly consistent on updating his followers on his progress. His name on Twitter is @nortonbuffalo. His most recent post is helpful for all you well wishers.
"For those asking where to send cards/letters: Norton Buffalo, 5905D Clark Road, Paradise, CA 95969."

-- Posted From My iPhone

Monday, September 21, 2009

Austin Universal Entertainment

Some good news came to me from our lead singer Cody Davidson while I was in Austin for a business trip. For some time we have been trying to branch out from the venues that have become our regular stops. To be fair, these venues are great and have always been a good show when we stepped up on stage, but we were ready to branch out our exposure. We had become aware of a booking agency called Austin Universal Entertainment that was representing a few bands that have come through our regular bar The Hog Pit. Long story short, we have now signed on with the agency. After reviewing the stipulations in the contract it seems to be a win win situation for us and the agency alike. They will be booking, at the least, one road show a month at a venue with great exposure for us. Meanwhile we will continue to book our regular shows alongside these intermittent larger AUE gigs. We haven't yet seen any of this come to fruition since hearing the good news a few days ago, but I am excited to see what turns out. AUE represents other great Texas bands such as Texas Renegade, BIlly Joe Shaver, Boddy Duncan, Emory Quinn, Grady Skelton, and Zach Walther and the Cronkites.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A very short harp solo from last weekend

I had the pleasure of playing with Zach Huckabee and his band the other weekend when they rolled through Midland. Here's a very short impromptu solo that my girlfriend captured of me while jamming with the guys. Apologies in advance for the quality, it's a little bit loud and cellphone-ish. Probably because it was captured on one. It comes out loud so make sure to turn your volume to half.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Norton Buffalo

I learned of some bad news the other day. I had posted the other month about seeing Steve Miller band live and loving their harp player Norton Buffalo. Apparently he has been diagnosed with cancer in his lower lung's lobes. He had been suffering from pneumonia and through following him on Twitter read this, "Discovered that my last update was a bit premature.I was told,Weds nite,that my pneumonia was caused by a cancer in my lower rt lobe(lungs)." My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family as he begins his battle with such a horrible disease. His personal website has an amazing gallery of images of him playing through the seventies to the present with more than a handful of my favorite artists. As I said earlier when I saw him live I was blown away by his harp. His diatonic work was so crisp and the tonality was awesome. Later he took the whole crowd's attention with a beautiful chromatic solo. I was even more blown away to find that he sent me an e-mail through twitter to say hi and sorry to miss meeting me at the show. I can only urge everyone to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. With the good lord's grace he will pull through to hit the stage again.

The following pictures are from Norton Buffalo's site's said gallery. For bio info, pictures, show dates and all other things Buffalo visit http://www.norton-buffalo.com/

Norton Live with Steve Miller
Day On The Green • Oakland Coliseum Stadium 1978

Norton Buffalo, James Cotton & Paul Butterfield
Harmonica Summit • Marin Civic Auditorium 1980

Friday, August 28, 2009


I have decided to take on learning the mandolin. I borrowed an epiphone electric one from Cody and am wearing my fingers down already. If I actually start seeing some improvement I think I'll have to buy one that has double strings because those little single string hurt like none other. So far I've got a few of the basic chords down. I like the sound of it and it's always fun to hear something make music from your work.

Our band is doing well and had a great practice tonight going over some new songs we can hopefully have ready by next Saturday for our pre labor day bash at The Hog Pit.

-- Posted From My iPhone

Friday, August 14, 2009

Steve Miller Band Recap and Dottie Hill Musicfest Tomorrow

Tomorrow we are playing at The Hog Pit in Midland for The Dottie Hill Musicfest. It is a cancer benefit concert in memorial of Dottie Hill and the proceeds are donated to The American Cancer Society. Last year we were able to raise ten thousand dollars to donate towards fighting cancer. This year we are hoping for more. The music starts at seven and goes on until the bar closes down. The line up will start with Manda Hill playing an acoustic set along with other acoustic surprises. The full bands then start with The Jackson Lee Brooks Band, then Black Eye Shiner, followed by Quincey Harper, Cody Hughes Davidson Band, and then headlining will be Mike McClure. It's going to be a great festival and I hope to see you out there.

Steve Miller Band last Monday was very fun. We played before the concert in the V.I.P. tent and had a fun short set. We didn't get to meet the band or anything particularly special but it was a fun show to be a part of, even with as small a part we had. Steve Miller Band took the stage and blew the house down. I was very pleased to see that with age the band hasn't lost a step. They played with a good energy instead of that sad familiar show of an old touring band that has lost the will to step up on stage. Steve's vocals were clear as the recordings and the band all together just knocked it out the park for me. Here's some pictures I was able to squeeze in between cheering and singing along to the hits.

The man in the foreground with the white hair, is the band's harp player. I believe his name was Buffalo? He had a very significant chromatic harp solo in one song I couldn't name. Also he accompanied just about every song with either diatonic riffs that were great to pick out or some well placed rhythm instruments.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Steve Miller Band Private Party Tomorrow

We're playing at a fundraiser tomorrow in Midland and guess who we're opening for? I bet you've probably guessed by now considering the title, but yes we get to open for Steve Miller Band tomorrow. Incidentally, I just purchased a great Nikon camera and there are going to be so many pictures the next blog post will be eight pages long. Maybe I won't torture ya'll that bad, but i promise some great pics. Really really pumped for the show.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dottie Hill Musicfest August 15'th

I just wanted to start getting the good word out now. There will be a much more comprehensive blog post to come. A show you should make sure to make will be August 15'th at The Hog Pit In Midland. Six or so bands, ourselves included, with Mike McClure ending out the night. The line up isn't with me nor are all the ins and outs. For now, just remember the date and makes sure to pencil it in. I'll have a good thorough post coming soon.

The last weekend shows went quite well. Lubbock was kind to us as usual, as well as Grahams in Odessa and Kroc's in Midland. Kroc's was by far the most entertaining to me though. The stage there is very close to the crowd and makes for a great experience when the people show up to listen. There were some familiar faces as well as quite a few new ones and everyone seemed to be having a stellar evening. What more could you ask for?

-- Posted From My iPhone.
So, my apologies for the spelling errors.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Three shows this weekend. Thursday 23'rd Blue Light - Lubbock, Friday 24'th Graham's Central Station - Odessa, and Saturday 25'th Krocs - Midland

We are hitting the road Thursday and playing Lubbock, Texas at the famous Blue Light in the Hub city's Depot District. We have played there once before and hopefully this time there won't be a freak snow storm the night of the show. Friday we will be headlining the country bar inside of Graham's Central Station in Odessa. We will be playing a three hour set with a break in the middle from nine thirty until last call. Finally Saturday we will be headlining at Kroc's bar in Midland. Our friends The Jackson Lee Brooks Band will be opening up for us at Kroc's which should be a fun time. Jackson Lee Brooks Band goes on at nine and we follow to the stage around ten o'clock. I hope to run into some familiar and new faces alike on our triple show weekend.

Other than that not much new to report. Make sure to drop by our Myspace site and take a listen to our new song "Paperweight" as well as become a fan of The Cody Hughes Davidson Band on our fairly new Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Old School Effects, Pedals you need to take a look at

I have come across a pedal company that is worth a look and hopefully your money. The company's name is Old School Effects and Sam, the proprietor and mad scientists of the pedals, is making some quality hardware. Cody, our lead singer, recently acquired a fuzz pedal from Old School and I was very impressed by the quality, price, and craftsmanship of the pedal. As of right now Old School Effects offers six different types of pedals that will be handmade for you as well as optional custom artwork for the exterior casing. The names of the pedal are a bit wild such as the ass nipple or stinky pinky, but the circuitry and effects coming from these pedals are dominant. Notably, Cross Canadian Ragweed is currently touring with a few of these pedals, and I haven't heard any nay-sayers regarding their tone as of recently. I will be a customer in the coming weeks once I get some other important finances taken care of, and will keep you updated on the goods coming from the Old School Effects lab. In the meantime give them a look and hopefully you'll find something that peaks your interest.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quincy Harper and Cody Hughes Davidson Band Tomorrow

We are playing with Quincy Harper tomorrow evening in Midland. I haven't heard of his music until I found out we were gigging with him, but was happily surprised when I visited his site. He is from the Fredericksburg area of Texas and has a strong acoustic sound. His voice has a good grit to it and his songwriting shows a lot of promise. A portion of his song's words and images followed a familiar path, but there were other facets and choices that really shone through when I listened. Needless to say, I'm excited to see him live on stage and am optimistic for the outcome of the night.

We practiced the new song Cody and I wrote recently. It is strange to watch something you have such a set notion to, evolve in the hands of other people. The song has grown and changed, but still holds true to its original great stuff. I really can't wait to play it tomorrow and see the reaction, if any, from the people at the show. New songs always have such an awkward growth period on stage. The first couple of times everyone is still thinking too hard over it to give it any wiggle room. Eventually the song becomes second nature and people in the band start loosening their grip on it, letting its personality sneak out. I am ready to start that process with something I had a hand in writing.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New songs in the works with The Cody Hughes Davidson Band

Cody Davidson and I have spent a few days this week trying to hammer out some new songs for the band. So far we have finished the skeleton of one, and we're really proud of it. The writing came easy between the two of us and Cody's guitar work was great to play along with as usual. I made a rough recording of that song which we titled "Paperweight" using my iPhone. For those harp players out there, this is not master harmonica work on my part, but it was the third take after the words were written. It is me mostly fooling around in the first position trying to find where I want to put myself in this song for the future. Writing with Cody has been a blast and we have talked about recording our acoustic works as they come out, such as this one, and title the compilation the iPhone sessions. To have a listen to our new song "Paperweight", follow this link, or simply go to our Myspace page and select the song in the music player. I really look forward to our next full band practice to see how this song translates with the rest of the guys. Hopefully we can tie it all together with one another and have it ready for our upcoming album which we will hopefully be recording later this summer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hooray for me and Zach Huckabee

It is officially my birthday today! Other than that, our band is playing at The Hog Pit in Midland Saturday opening for Zach Huckabee. Zach's new album is coming about and a great deal of good things are expected from this up and comer of the Texas Music scene. He is a great musician and it should be an awesome show. I have to go to bed now since even birthdays apparently don't get you out of working a seven a.m. shift. More posts to come since I finally have legitimate internet at home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blaine's Friday Coyanosa Saturday

Friday we are heading back to our favorite road trip bar Blaine's Pub, in San Angelo. It will be a guaranteed good time and I hope you show up if you happen to be in the area. Saturday, we are playing a brisket cook off and party in Coyanosa, Texas. I have never been to Coyanosa and and am not sure if it even exists yet. The band played this same party some time ago before I joined in, and said it was a blast. So my trust is with them. I'll let you know how they both go.

I bought a BBE Two Timer delay pedal for my pedal chain and have to say they are some great pedals! It is very harp friendly and has fattened up my tone a considerable amount. If you are looking for a delay pedal, I strongly advise you to take a look at this two channel delay pedal for your harp chain.

Speaking of harp pedals, here is a cool Youtube video of a man using his pedal board along with a loop pedal with some very cool results. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

MIdland Reporter Telegram now voting for Midland's Top 100

The local newspaper The Midland Reporter Telegram is taking votes for its annual Top 100 in Midland Texas. By the grace of the powers that be, we have been voted two years in a row Midland's favorite band. If anyone feels like our band may be worthy of a three-peat just follow this link and put Cody Hughes Davidson Band in the "Person Local Musician" slot near the bottom.


In other news, the band this coming weekend will once again be playing down in San Angelo at Blaine's Pub Friday. Saturday we will be playing I believe a private party somewhere in the middle of Texas. I'll fill you in once I get a better handle on the itinerary and such.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

recap of the last two weeks

Last weekend I drove down to Austin and New Braunfels to have a mini vacation and to watch the Locks of Love Benefit in New Braunfels. It was worth the drive. My girlfriend and I walked into Billy's Ice House at 5:30 and found ourselves right in the middle of Stephanie Briggs and Cody Canada (Lead singer of Cross Canadian Ragweed) having a little acoustic time on stage to a crowd of maybe one hundred. They swapped songs back and forth for an hour and then The Dead Rock Stars took the stage and blew my mind away with dominant creative renditions of great songs. I missed most of the Los Garza Brothers so i can't really give much of an opinion of what I did catch, but they were on stage after The Dead Rock Stars. After that, Stephanie Briggs and The Oso with special guest Cody Canada playing lead guitar took the stage. It was very good. Cody was a great addition to the band's sound and he added some great riffs. They spent an hour or so on stage and you could see the crowd slowly growing as word of mouth grew regarding all the great musicians donating their time for a free show. There was a section of the bar set up with stylists cutting people's hair off so they could go to children affected by Alopecia. Alopecia is a condition where usually in your youth, all of your hair falls out and it never grows back. My father incidentally has Alopecia, no eyebrows, no arm hair, etc. and growing up it never was something I noticed as odd. He did at times share with me the hard times he had as a child being the different one in the crowd, and I was really happy to see an organization doing something about it. The hair donated there would later become a prosthetic implant of hair for someone suffering from the condition and giving them a better chance at a normal life. Reckless Kelly headlined the event and burned the bar down with their high energy show. They finished up the evening with "Crazy Eddies Last Hurrah" and Billy's Ice House, now packed to the gills, sang along to every single word. It was a great trip and one hell of a concert.

Cody Canada and Stephanie Briggs playing acoustic.

People donating their hair. Notably, Cody Canada and Matt Briggs gave some inches for the cause.

Reckless Kelly finishing up the night.

Yesterday, our band played at the Hog Pit in Midland, openeing up for Billy Joe Shaver. Cody was still on the mend from his brain trouble he had last week and the show had a rough way of things. Cody's vocal mic was running a short and kept shocking him while he was singing, which of course caused some mayhem to our tempo and so forth. Rough show but they do happen once in a blue moon. We finished strong on our last few songs so it wasn't a complete wash. I had bought a BBE Two Timer two channel delay pedal and had a blast fiddling with my delays during the show. It's always fun to bring a new sound to the stage. Billy Joe Shaver, although older than the dirt blowing in the wind, put on a great show. He had a ton of energy on stage and kept bouncing around punching the air with his fists and flapping his arms to choruses. He was a pleasure to talk to and was very friendly to all his fans. He spent the better part of his night, after getting off the stage, taking pictures with people and signing autographs.

Our band at this very moment is taking to the stage down in Rockdale.We are playing for The Jubilees Day Rodeo Dance. I am on my computer because I am in Midland thanks to too much work. This coming week Cody and I are doing an acoustic show in Fort Stockton for their summer lawn concert series. I will be back to my constant blogging soon enough once we get our internet troubles figured out. My apologies to anyone who has noticed my infrequent posts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Locks of Love Benefit Sunday May 31'st in New Braunfels

We were booked to play down in New Braunfels this coming Sunday at the Locks of Love Benefit at Billy's Ice House. Chad, our lead guitarist, let us know a few weeks back that he wasn't going to make it down because of scheduling conflicts. We said okay and talked Keith Davis, who produced our first album, into jumping in with us. This last week, our bass player Ronnie let us know that work had revoked his vacation because he had to cover another employee's disability time. So then Cody and I planned to have a simple acoustic set for the show. The bad hoodoo continued to jangle around and now Cody has a very serious sinus infection. He has been getting reoccurring sharp pains throughout his head. Apparently the pain is so bad that his whole body spasms and doubles over with the onset of an attack. The MRI he got yesterday showed a nasty infection creeping around in his head throughout the sinus cavities. He's on a gamut of meds prescribed from the good doctor, and hopefully is on his way to an expedient recovery, but nonetheless we had to cancel the show all together. If you're in or around New Braunfels you should most definitely make an appearance at Billy's Ice House on Sunday. The lineup still includes Stephanie Briggs and the Oso, The Dead Rockstars, three other awesome bands, and some special guests who are going to bring the house down. Come out for a great cause and a great show. I am still planning at this point, to head down that way with my girlfriend to see the amazing show and maybe do a little pouting for not being a part of it. Our band has a well packed summer of show dates ahead so missing one will be alright in my book. I feel terrible for Cody for having to miss the fun and struggling through this illness. Send your good thoughts and prayers out to him for strength through the pain, and a good solid recovery.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pictures from Last Weekend

Well the weekend came and we were on the road playing at Blaine's in San Angelo, and then Ballinger the next day for a music festival. Blaine's was great. We had women dancing on tables and a good rowdy crowd. Ballinger was a short set since we were the only band to get rained on all day. The wind picked up and tried to blow our stuff off stage, which made some tough song transitions. Many thanks to Brian Milson and The Short Road Band as well as Darren Kozelsky's crew, for helping cover our gear while we were trying to finish our set in the shower. I looked over at one point and saw Chad, our lead guitarist, crawl under a blue tarp teepee to change guitars. We were all in good moods though, and we didn't let it ruin things as we enjoyed the rest of the show and festivities. Here are some pics that I remembered to snap along the way.

Somewhere on the highway.

Parked in front of Blaine's for sound check.
Blaine's from the stage.
Ballinger, Curing Cancer Street Dance. It was at the end of a runway between two big airplane hangars. This is right when we got there before sound check.
Darren Kozelsky brought his Prevost bus.
Brian Milson and The Short Road Band played before us. They play a traditional style of Texas Country, and are very very talented. Also they help out other bands when rain threatens electrocution and gear destruction. Great guys in my book.
Then came the rain we played in.

Just like that, we were off stage watching Darren Kozelsky play. The rain hung around for ten minutes after our set, and then was through messing with the good times. This picture is right after we got off stage, and you can still see the majority of the crowd watching from the dry hangar.

After a bit, we decided to head on back to Blaine's to say hi to our friend Brett Crenshaw and his band. They had a great show even though their bass player couldn't make it because he had taken ill. I snuck my way on stage somewhere in their set and played along with them for a couple songs. After such a long day at a music festival i really wasn't in good playing shape though, so I snuck back off stage just as quick. Good trip good times.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blaine's Pub and The Curing Cancer Dance

The band is jumping on the road this weekend for two shows. The first will be Friday at Blaine's Pub in San Angelo. I don't think we're having a band open up for us, so that means we'll be playing three good hours of music. I have always enjoyed our trips to Blaine's. My only complaint about the venue is how tiny the stage is. Ronnie our bass player has to stand behind me to fit all five of us on the thing. Aside from that, San Angelo State University will be finishing up their finals and hopefully the students will stick around to get rowdy with us. After the show we'll sneak into our favorite motel and maybe this time, just this once, I won't have a crazy lady attack me from the shadows for a beer or meet the motel "security patrol" (dead serious) pacing the halls with his flashlight keeping an eye on us "band types". These are the things that make playing on the road so fun.

A view from the Blaine's stage. Little bit tight for a five piece but always a blast.

Once we wake up, it is off to Ballinger, Texas and the 1'st Annual Curing Cancer Dance. It will be at the Bruce Field Airport of course in Ballinger, and hopefully on one of those big roomy metal stages. The gates open at three and we will be playing on stage around sundown somewhere in the center of the line up. The show goes on until midnight with Zach Edwards headlining the whole event. I like playing the music fest style shows because it gives us a chance to meet with other musicians that may not regularly play in our area. Another great thing about such long line ups in shows like these, is that the crowd that's there when you're on stage is probably in the mood to listen to your music. Shorter line ups usually equate to a late coming crowd getting to the venue just in time to hear whomever is headlining. This show is set up as an all day party so more people will come early to set up camp and check out the bands in the meanwhile. We are playing the show for charity and the proceeds from the event will be going to the American Cancer Society. My girlfriend and I finally replaced our point and shoot digital camera that broke. Hopefully, the follow up post to this weekend will include some great pictures.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Nifty New Road Case

This is a fairly self explanatory post. As of this month, I have been with The Cody Hughes Davidson Band for a full year. At a recent practice Cody was showing off a road case him and Troy, our sound engineer, had made. It's a cool setup that holds both his Fender electric amp and his SWR Strawberry Blonde acoustic amp in one housing. The entire case is on caster wheels and the front and rear of the case can be removed with latches. This makes setting up a ton easier for Cody's gear. All he has to do is roll it on stage take the front and back off and plug in. The interior is cased in foam fitting the two amps snug in place which makes travel safer for the amps. I was impressed. Recently when the band played in Dallas they came across a used music gear store and bought a smaller road case that was apparently used for holding a ton of vocal mics. The case measured roughly two feet long and a foot and three quarters tall and maybe a foot and a half wide. It was twenty bucks so they picked it up hoping to use it for miscellaneous gear since the interior was foamed and sectioned off into compartments. At the practice session after staring at Cody's set up for a bit, Troy and Cody thought maybe that twenty buck case would make for a great harp player road case. Low and behold, eyeballing the size of the case, it seemed that my amp, pedal board, and harp case could fit fairly easily in the interior with some minor adjustments to the compartments and foam. We went to work after practice, me really just watching and holding stuff, and them drilling out rivets, ripping out wood slats, and making other random innovations. A few hours later, below is what we ended up with. My modified year with the band harp playing road case appreciation present.

Here's the case empty except for a front slot that can hold extra mic cables and backup mics. The gray area in the top of the case comes down and that is where I put my pedal board.

Here's what for the most part fits in the case. My Hohner amp, my pedal board, and my harp case.

It has a handle on the top for lugging around but I plan on putting some small caster wheels on the bottom since it is such an awkward size to carry from the handle. It was a great present from the band and now I don't have to worry about my amp dinging up in the trailer or carrying around my briefcase of harps.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Rio Show

The concert went well. There was a great deal of people there and for the most part they were paying attention to us. Diamond Rio wouldn't share a stage with us because of their fear of us upstaging them. So, we got our own stage on the exact opposite side of the arena. Our stage although not as great as Rio's, was maybe six feet raised above the floor and around forty feet long. The people working for the society and for the arena were both very accommodating and friendly. We played our first set during the dinner and drinking period. People ate and watched us silently, as we went through an hour and fifteen minutes of good music. There was an auction for charity and then Diamond Rio took the stage. I remember their songs now and that's all I want to say about that. After Rio's hour long set we climbed back out of the RV and set to our stage. I honestly liked the second set a whole lot more, and that may very well be the tasty Michelob Ultras I had on the RV. Also, we fell into a good vibe with one another and lengthened some of our songs as the solos came out. The crowd was leaking out of the arena at this time, but we had a good deal of party goers who hung back and watched us finish our set. It was a whole lot ofmore fun than I expected and we as a band had a wonderful time playing for the American Cancer Society.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Harp Tone Trouble and Diamond Rio?

Since our last show I have been a bit in my head about my tone and the way my harp is resonating in the sound of our band. My biggest dilemma is that I want a good crunchy Chicago sound on our blues songs, but for the others I need to maintain a more acoustic sound. I have thought about getting two different amps, one for blues one for more country, but have ruled that out as impractical. I looked into setting my amp on a very clean setting and then using some type of pedal to bring some distortion in. I used to play straight through a D.I. box running to the P.A. with a BOSS Blues Driver pedal for the blues songs, but that was never a very good sound. The Blues Driver with my amp just spikes too much feedback since it's essentially a gain maker. I looked into Lone Wolf Blues Company and their Harp Attack pedal, but don't think that will do the trick either. My rig I am playing through right now is as follows; Shure 545 S vintage mic to BOSS Harmonist octave pedal through a never used Blues Driver to my Hohner 5W Hoodoo amp. Right now I set the amp somewhere in between scooped and bright and use my hands and positioning to set the tone one way or the other. I cup tight for blues tone songs and the mic distorts great. I usually have an open hands approach for the acoustic tone and vary my distance from the mic so to not be overbearing in some parts. I also use a stand now for the mic since it helps a ton in all of this choreography for tone. I was hoping there was a simpler way to do it. It works fine for me right now, but eventually I would like to just carry the mic and not rely on the stand and all this hand and distance finagling. If you are reading this and have some good advice please leave a comment. I might have it better than I think and am getting manic over things, but I would love to see some suggestions on the matter.

In other news, I was just informed by our manager that we are playing this Saturday at the Midland County Horseshoe Arena opening up for Diamond Rio. The event is for the American Cancer Society and is their Roundup 2009 Cattle Barons Ball. I am happy to be a part of an event that is related to furthering our research in fighting cancer and whole heartedly support the American Cancer Society in all their efforts. There have been a few people in my personal life who have dealt with cancer and the terrible mess it tends to bring along. Live shows are fun, but live shows with good intentions are always better. We are the opening act before Diamond Rio goes on. Also, we will be the band playing for the after party once the formal concert is over. I have no idea what to expect for this one. The Horseshoe Arena is a big venue and sadly our sound equipment can't quite cover that much square footage. Will they provide sound? Are we borrowing Rio's rig? Are we just going to pump our P.A. to eleven and see how far the soundwaves go? No idea. We also don't know if we are playing on the huge stage or in a smaller convention area. I like shows like this where this is a lot to speculate about. It makes it more fun to see what turned out like you guessed in the end. I can't think of a Diamond Rio song off the top of my head, but I know they have a strong following. It'll be cool to see a larger band and sound crew hustling around doing their thing from the backstage perspective. I have never set foot in the Horseshoe Arena but I know it's the same place that many large touring bands play at when they pass through town. For instance Korn is playing there May 5'th. I've wanted to check the place out before but never had an incentive. The complex is a hundred plus acres and can accommodate an event for three thousand people or more. I think there are three or four different areas available to rent for an event like this on the grounds. For all I know, we could be playing on a couple of card tables in the parking lot. I really can't wait to see how all this goes down and of course, I'll let you know.

Something Witty......

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Friday's show

The show this past Friday was a fun one. Jackson Lee Brooks Band opened for us to an enthusiastic crowd and set a good tone for the night. A great deal of their songs remind me of early Cross Canadian Ragweed stuff. The lead guitar had that same fuzzy distortion tone, that is prevalent in Cross songs. Tyson Kerby is the lead vocals for the group and does a good job steering the band through songs. Also taking part in vocals occasionally is Jarrel Brooks who plays rhythm electric for the band. He sang a good cover of Mickey and The Motorcars' "Twilight". The band as a whole is fairly new to the stage, but I could see that they were comfortable performing and had few serious hiccups. I'm sure they have enough staying power to be gigging for quite some time and will easily carve themselves a niche here in West Texas.

Our two sets were pretty vanilla in the spectrum of all the shows we've had. No one forgot any words or notes and the crowd was having a good time. I personally felt off for most of the second set. Some kind of funk settled in on me and it was hard to shake the mental block. I played my parts and solos fine, but I was a little lost in my head and kept finding myself really not liking my tone at this part or my phrasing in that last solo. Mental hoodoo is always frustrating and I've had those demons bouncing around in my head before on stage. It makes an annoying cycle where you keep being too hard on yourself while you're playing and at the same time can't really improve because you're focusing so much energy on your momentary flaws. I shook it off finally near the end with the help of the band's collective stage energy and was able to hop off stage, for the most part, satisfied.

There was talk about playing a show up near Amarillo next weekend, but I do believe that it never got hammered out all the way. The weekend after that we will all be celebrating Cody's engagement to his girlfriend Sarah and not playing any shows. The rest of May is going to be a busy couple of weeks sending us on the road to a few different places. I'm excited to have some more time to practice on my personal sound which has been bothering me slightly. Hopefully by the time I find myself on the way to our road shows i'll have some of those tone kinks hammered out.

On a harp side note I was thinking recently about buying a Harp Attack Pedal made by the Lone Wolf Blues Company. It is a tube powered pre amp pedal that gives a great deal of warm crunchy tone when used with a P.A. and some amps. I threw some e-mails back and forth to, I think the owner and builder of the pedals, and found sadly that it would most likely not be the best purchase for me. What was really cool though was that Randy, the man I had been talking to, was very helpful in telling me the pro's and cons of using that pedal with my rig. He had no problem losing a sale and giving the advice to hold off on buying one of his products since he wasn't sure it would provide what I was looking for. I really appreciated his honesty and good ethics. I urge any harp players out there to have a look at his products because they are bulletproof and are backed by a man with better intentions than solely profit.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jackson Lee Brooks Band and Cody Hughes Davidson Band at the Hog Pit

Tonight we are playing at the Permian Basin barbecue cook off at the Hog Pit. Jackson lee Brooks is opening up for us and I have heard a great deal of good things about them. On a personal note my sister and our good family friend are flying in for the weekend to say hi. It makes the show much more special to me to be playing for family that never gets around these parts. Hopefully the night will go off without a hitch and it'll be a blast. Look for a review of Jackson Lee Brooks after the show some time this weekend.

If you're in a more southern region of Texas and aren't planning to be roadtrippin your way to our show, you should go check out The Duck Jam in College Station, Texas April 25'th. Clay Walker, Bad Company, Kevin Fowler, Band of Heathens, South Austin Jug Band, Seth James, Brett Crenshaw, Dr. Zog Zydeco Swamp Band, and a ton of others are all jumping on stage. Also to boot, there will be a great deal of other festivities including a barbecue cook off, crawfish boil, dock dogs big air competition, and monster truck rides. I apologise in advance for the masses of Aggies you will encounter, but aside from them it should be a great time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Short and sweet about last week

This last weekend was a great time. The Martini Glass Grill had not gotten its liquor license yet, but I could see the potential of the place as a great bar. I had the chance to eat their food and was very happy with the quality. I had the Prosciutto wrapped chicken stuffed with some kind of pesto and almond sauce. On the bad side it was a bit pricey. For instance, an eight ounce rib-eye steak was thirty dollars. Hopefully the prices will drop to normal people money once they have their liquor license secured. A little birdy told me that once they do start serving alcohol, there will be around a hundred and fifty different kinds of martinis to choose from.

Stephanie Briggs was a pleasure live as usual. She played most of her songs from "Birds Barely Know Us" her newest album. Also she played some favorites from "Spark" as well as some songs coming out soon on i-tunes that were left off her new CD. She played on a classical guitar while Matt Briggs accompanied her with a standard acoustic. Hearing the newer songs acoustic in that style was an interesting perspective and one I enjoyed.

Cody and I did an impromptu acoustic show during Stephanie's break. It was fun to play acoustic with Cody. It is strange how different it feels to play without drums, electric guitar, my amp, and all the other noise. It helped me zone in on what it is I do in spots of songs where I know no one is usually listening to me. Always fun to have a new perspective on a heavily played song.

Our show Saturday night opening for The Band of Heathens was a ton of fun. It looks like Midland has finally gotten the message about the heathens and the place was fairly packed. On our first song the lead vocal cut out three words in but after Troy, our sound guy, threw around some cables the set went smoothly. I got an ovation for a solo I played mimicking the high end trill dance that John Popper likes to do so much of and then I looked up and we were off stage. Good times never last long enough. The band of Heathens took to the stage and burned the place down. Every time I see them I am just in awe at how tight they are on stage and how flawless their live sound is. Go see them if you haven't it is worth whatever cover you're paying and it guarantees a fun night.

Next weekend we are headlining at the Hog Pit Friday for the Permian Basin Barbecue. The Jackson Lee Brooks Band is opening up for us. They are a brand new band, but have all the symptoms of being around for a while. Saturday at the Hog Pit Texas Renegade is playing. I will not be attending. My family will be in town for the weekend. Also I wouldn't want to be there and someone invite me up on stage for a harp duel with Kasey where I would have to destroy his brain with my skills.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stephanie Briggs + Band of Heathens= great weekend

Tonight (Friday 17'th o' April) Stephanie Briggs and the Oso will be in town playing at the Martini Glass Grill. The Martini Glass Grill is a brand new bar that has opened in downtown Midland touting a more refined night of drinking to its patron. I have never been, so I'll let you know how that pans out. Stephanie Briggs is cruising through town on her CD release tour for "Birds Barely Know Us" which is a fantastic album and I urge you all to pick this one up. After tonight's show she will be headed to Fort Worth playing at Woody's Tavern Saturday evening. It is always such a treat to catch her playing around "these here parts" and I'm happy to see other people becoming fans.

Saturday night we will be opening up for The Band of Heathens at the Hog Pit in Midland. If you haven't heard of this band yet, you should take a long listen. They are based in Austin and their sound is rooted in Americana, soul, blues, and southern rock. They put on a great show and always vibe well with the crowd. If you're in the area make sure to come catch the show. I'm excited to be getting back up on stage after our three week sabbatical. Hopefully I haven't forgotten anything too important, since work kept me from practicing with the guys this week. This will be a great warm up show for the schedule that will be gaining momentum all the way through late May. If you live in San Angelo, Ballinger, or New Braunfels, good news...we'll be seeing you soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Twitter you got me.....dang.

Well I've broken down and joined the Twitter band wagon. If you haven't heard about Twitter yet it is kind of like a bare bones version of Facebook. They tell you what other people are doing as they update their status (tweet) as well as on their profile there is a short bio, link of their choice, and picture. In the short time I have been using it I have run across some really cool people and sites. A big plus about Twitter over Facebook is that there aren't just people to follow. You can follow an array of channels such as CNN, Pitchfork media, the Onion, and so forth that update you regarding their pertinent information. My user name is Texharp and you are more than welcome to become a follower.

Speaking of followers, a side note, if you like what you've read here on this blog please feel free to become a follower. You get updated when there is a new post so you don't have to waste all that free time checking the site over and over again. Also, it's always an ego boost to know there are X amount of people who have an interest in what I'm typing. Just look over to the side bar and click on "follow". Now back to twitter talk.

I have found the bands I like through Twitter and now get updates about what they're up to and where they're playing. I've found other cool channels regarding Texas Music as well. Galleywinter is a Texas Music news website and forum spot that now has a Twitter page you can follow along with. Lone Star Music is a similar site that reviews and sells Texas Music and they have also followed suit on Twitter. Radio Free Texas the site that provides free streaming Texas Music as well as a strong forum for anything Texas is tweeting away too. Another great channel is the Twitter feed for Music Fog. This site covers Americana music and other good sounding independent acts throughout Texas and other regions. Recently in my SXSW post, I used their videos of Ray Wylie Hubbard and Jimmy Lafave playing in Austin. The site is well maintained and a good one to follow.

Among the random and cool people I've found on Twitter is the blogger for AMP. He is a professional photographer for Joe's Bar in Chicago, which hosts great country acts as well as the bigger Texas bands every now and then. (Most recently Cross Canadian Ragweed and Stephanie Briggs had a show there) His pictures are great and really worth taking a look at. You can find his blog on my blog roll in the sidebar as well as through his Twitter profile.

Long post short, Twitter isn't too bad if you're already addicted to checking updates, e-mails, blogs, and friend suggestions. They have brought me to some interesting sites I wouldn't have known of before. It is certainly a worthy addition to those sites that give you that impulsive need to turn on the computer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Harp Mics

(This post is all about old microphones and harmonica playing so if this isn't your niche sorry for the bore, but read along and fill up on some random fact potpourri.)

Since the band has been on our two week break from shows I have had a lot of time to focus on my electric tone. The problem with people who play blues harp is that finding that perfect electric tone is a terrible cyclical process. You find a new amp, mic, pedal, or other electronic and pore over it for days, weeks, and months. You might even find a friend or a music shop where you can try out this tasty new gadget and see how it fits in with your sound. The day comes where you feel you know enough to spend enough and a new member of the chain comes home. After a handful of gigs or jam sessions the new thing breaks in and slowly slips into your now more robust tone. A few days later a tickle forms in the back of your head and the cycle begins anew. It feels at times like you will never find that perfect fit and that's probably the truth. There will always be a cool new gadget around the corner advertised to really fatten up that bottom end or bring out that old nasty Chicago crunch. At least we will never get bored with our hobby.

Through the years of playing I have amassed a collection of harp mics. These are some of the quickest ways to switch around your tone and thanks to ebay won't kill your budget. Also as you amass your microphone army it becomes a fun hobby. (Or an obsession to some) Each one of my mics lying around is a reminder of a certain point or memory in the time line of my playing. Also it's good to hold on to your old mics because as you progress you'll notice that some old mics sound a lot better with that new amp, pre amp, pedal or playing style you just picked up. Things change and it is always fun to have something around the house to remind you of how much that is true.

A random collection

Here's a brief overview of some of the mics I went through and have.
I started with a generic Shure Green Bullet 520DX. These are great starter bullet mics. My cons with this mic were its weight, feedback issues with some amps, and a personal funny feeling playing with bullet mics in general once I tried some others. It has a great acoustic tone which is good for bluegrass and the likes, but it has a hard time crunching up with the blues. Kasey Klepfer of Texas Renegade plays with one and gets a good sound out of it, but it's just not my kind of mic. Next up to bat was a vintage Aiwa mic which I liked a bunch, but it was too brittle to really ever play with except for at home. It had great bottom end tone and low low feedback issues but it was made in the sixties and time hates solders and rubber gaskets. I played with random P.A. stick mics along the way and really liked the shape of the mics over bullets. Out of all the current production stick mics I used I always liked the Shure Sm-57 the most. Jason Ricci and I believe John Popper both play with modified ones and that is about all the endorsement you need. It had a great frequency response and good all around sound to it. Personally they were great through a D.I. box with some pedals to fatten it up. Using an amp would have probably brought some feedback issues without a feedback buster or other helper gadget. After that I played with a Hohner bluesblaster for about ten minutes and returned it. This was my only return, but a good decision. It had a thin sound and wasn't worth the bloated price. The next was a Shaker Madcat microphone and it was one of my favorites. (I'm playing with it in the picture at the top of the page) It has an ergonomic design somewhat like a lavaliere mic. The element sat in your cupped hand and on the other side a volume pot stuck out of your threaded fingers. I have a lot of fun playing this mic because you can do a lot to change the sound while playing by adjusting the acoustics of your hands. In the end though the element was too small to hold a good full tone and I got the itch to move on. That brings us to what I'm playing with these days. It's a vintage Shure 545s unidyne II with the pistol grip. This is my favorite so far with very few drawbacks. There is little feedback and a ton of volume. The tone is very full and it distorts well in a hard cup. Without cupping the mic you get a very clean acoustic sound to your playing which really helps me switch between the blues songs and the more acoustic country harp songs just by fiddling with stance and my hands. One piece of advice is to buy back-up everything if you own a vintage piece of equipment and expect to play with it. My 545 uses a four pin XLR cable which is no longer in production and of course when we were playing in Lubbock at The Blue Light it decided to self destruct.

My current favorite mic in my bag.

Another thing to remember when considering harp mic is what you're playing through. Some mics are finicky about what they get plugged into. There is a world of difference for my mic when played through my amp compared to a direct line to the P.A. system. Sometimes certain amps just don't want to play nice with certain mics. When I first got my Hohner Hoodoo Box amp I plugged in my Green Bullet. I thought the amp was broken at first. I had to almost full crank the knobs to get a sound and sadly that sound was all feedback. eventually I got it all tweaked to work, but soon after realized that the pair just weren't going to work out together.

The best advice that is always drilled into any discussion about improving harp tone is always the same. It doesn't matter what you're playing through if you suck. So keep playing and wood shedding and that tone will come with much more ease once you plug in.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Things Going On

Our band has been off for the last week and we won't be playing again until April 18'th because of scheduling conflicts. We will be opening up for The Band of Heathens at The Hog Pit. They are a band based in the Austin area with a ton of talent. If you haven't had the chance to listen to them I urge you to. This weekend they are playing at The Grit N Groovefest hosted by Ray Wylie Hubbard down in Luckenback. This is the first year of the event and surely not the last considering Hubbard's great music and his devoted fan base. Along with the Heathens other acts will include Patty Griffin, Charlie Sexton, Omar Dykes, Sam Baker, Ray Wylie Hubbard and many others. If you live in the hilly parts of Texas I would try to put it on the top of my to do list this weekend.

Stephanie Briggs and The Oso released their new album yesterday titled "The Birds Barely Know Us". This was a long time coming for people waiting on it, but it has turned out to be well worth it. The album has been in my truck's CD player since I pulled it out of the mail. This is a good album and it has an array of songs that could just as easily appeal to you or that person over there you think is your bizzaro nemesis. Invite him over, open a beer, never mind that growth on his neck you guys are listening to some good music. This album comes after Stephanie and Matt (The Oso) signed with 36D management who also represent Cross Canadian Ragweed, Randy Rogers, Seth James, and Micky and The Motorcars. She recently skipped around the western U.S. with Cross Canadian Ragweed opening up for them on their tour to California. when they finally reached the coast she polished the last bits of this album and set it to wax. Buy the CD and show greatly deserving musicians some love.

Stephanie Briggs and The Oso.
(photo by Stephanie Briggs)

After our break, the month of April appears to be a fairly fun one for the band. April 18'th we will be at The Hog Pit in Midland opening for The Band of Heathens. The 24'th we will be headlining for the Permian Basin BBQ cook-off also in Midland. These will be some fun shows leading up to our string of road shows in May. Come on out if you're around, and if you live someways away keep on reading and maybe we'll make it there eventually.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Waiting on the internet

Sorry for not posting recently. I am currently moving apartments and will have spotty "borrowed" wifi access for a bit until we can schedule a cable/internet set up for the new home. I'll probably be back posting this week or even tonight, but the frequency will be spotty until the internet is hooked up and flowing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

SXSW Austin and random video finds.

Well while we were running around west Texas playing beer joints trying to scrape a spring break crowd in college ghost towns, there was something rumbling down south. South By Southwest was last week in Austin and thousands flocked to the hundreds of live shows, parties, and magical randomosity that only Austin can provide. Bored as I was, I got on Youtube and the blogosphere to see what all I missed. Here's a few videos I stumbled across that I liked for one reason or another.

Playing For Change

Metallica's "secret show"

Explosions In The Sky

A Guy With A Camera Standing On 6'th St.

Street band called Baskery

Jimmy Lafave

...........and on and on and on and on. I've caught SXSW once and it was a great experience. Hopefully sometime soon I can find myself that way again. For everyone that made it down (or up) to Austin this last week sorry for your hangover, but I don't feel bad for you.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

His Orchestra

Ran across an old friend from back in the day. He's playing bass/guitar/banjo for a great band based in Los Angeles. The band's name is His Orchestra and they have a phenomenal sound. I posted one of their songs here for the listening pleasures of you my random reader. I have an eclectic taste in music so it may not fit your idea of what would be posted here, but hopefully you'll get over it. They're album is available on i-tunes and of course if you happen to be in the L.A. area you could always just drop in on one of their shows.

Stars & Heights

Friday, March 20, 2009

Saturday in San Angelo at Blaine's Pub

Tomorrow we're jumping in the bus and heading to San Angelo to play at Blaine's Pub. We have played at Blaine's maybe three times and it has been a blast every time. The bar layout reminds me of sixth street in Austin. It is a very long narrow bar with a tiny stage. The stage is raised about five feet off the bar floor and pretty cramped. Ronnie, our bass player has to stand right behind me for all of us to fit. It sounds like no fun, but actually it has always made a fun show. We stay much more in sync since we're on top of one another and have always ended up having a ton of fun.

There won't be an opener for us this time around which means we get to have a three hour set instead of two hours. Good and bad. The bad side, my mouth is going to get out of shape somewhere around our break. I play harp with both the lip blocking and tongue blocking techniques. After an hour or two of bends, trills, and plain old playing my mouth gets pretty weak. It feels kind of like when you've laughed too much and your cheeks get sore. When this happens it makes it harder to hone in on single clear notes in a fast paced solo or a good punch note. It gets easier the more you practice and the more you build up your facial muscles for that kind of weird strain. Thankfully we have a break in the set and I think I will survive. The good side of playing a three hour set is that we will probably play every song past and present that I have ever sat in on with the band as well as random covers and fun blues jams. It'll be a bit more off the cuff than the regular cut and dry set list and that gets me pretty excited for tomorrow night.

In other news Cody is heading down to New Braunfels next weekend to play at the first annual friends for friends benefit Saturday March, 28'th at the Mountain Breeze campgrounds. There is going to be a line up of great singer songwriters playing from five to midnight. Cody and Shad Blair are the last to go on in the evening. If you happen to be around the river on the 28'th make sure to drop by.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Paul Aaron Hughes and the Hog Pit yesterday

Paul Aaron Hughes opened up for us last night in Midland. He was a really great guy. It was his cd release party week so he was having a great time. The lead guitar playing in his band came in from Austin. The two local band members were the bass player and drummer. He also had a dobro/steel guitar player who was his producer for his cd. His voice reminded me vaguely of Mark David Manders and the sound of his music was old school country.

We had a fun show and celebrated St.Patty's with the green beer and shots. I might have won six hundred dollars on a scratch off before our show but I also got pink eye somewhere along the way and am getting really tired of my weird luck thing.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blue Light last night

We played last night at The Blue Light in Lubbock. I was really excited to come back to my old college town and play on the same stage I watched so many great bands play on. The ride down was nice, but we had a hard time squeezing the RV into the back alley to unload our gear from the trailer. I forgot how much colder Lubbock is in the winter than the Midland/Odessa area. We got off the RV and it had just started drizzle thin bits of frozen rain and snow. We unpacked and set up stage with little trouble and the sound guy was a friendly one instead of those run around yelling and throwing cables kind that you sometimes get.

I set up my mic, pedal board, and amp up on stage and turned everything on. The second the light went on in my amp all you could hear was a nasty buzzing. After some troubleshooting I found the junk was coming from my mic cable. The bad news was that I play with a vintage Shure 545 microphone which is out of production now. It's so old it uses the ancient four pin XLR connection rather than the modern day three pin. Idiot that I was I never got around to ordering a back up cord since the one I had was a little shaky. It finally decided to die and at least it did so before we had started the show. Troy who runs sound and roadies for us grabbed an Audix instrument mic for a fill in for the night. I had some trouble playing on a new mic because each different mic reacts differently to an amp. Some feedback like crazy to the smallest hint of gain or overdrive. Others are bulletproof and can handle full ten gain and volume. Then there are the thousand possibilites in between.

We sounded in got monitor levels set and then loaded back on the RV for some food and time killing before the bar officially opened. The show was great all around. There were more than a hundred people there at one time and it was pretty full for the size of the venue. Lots of people danced and I even saw a few singing along with our songs knowing the words, which is always good to see. I let the mic issue get in my head and kind of phoned in the first set, but I was able to shake off some nerves in the break and had a great second set.

Good show and a fun trip. I didn't see any cameras set up so I doubt I'll have a video to link here from the Blue Light's website, but maybe next time. The staff liked our show and were promising a return gig in the future.

Tonight we're playing at the Hog Pit on comfortable ground. It's going to be the St. Patty's day celebration with a bunch of drink specials so it should be a fun full crowd. We slept in the RV behind the bar last night giving our hotel room up to Cody's mom who had recently fractured her hip. There were seven of us and we all had a bed, but six snoring guys in one place makes for light sleeping. So I think I'm going to try and squeeze in a nap before sound check.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

random videos

This is what happens when you surf youtube too long looking for something entertaining. I ended up on Stephanie Briggs and The Oso's youtube feed and found these.

This video is hard to define. There are a few notable musicians in here dominating the rap game, suckas. Try to figure out where Cody Canada and Wade Bowen are in the video. They're sneaky.

Stephanie Briggs and The Oso have a tour blog that she puts up on youtube. This one is from when she came and played up in Midland and then hung around and caught our show. Things to note are Matt Briggs (The Oso) jumping up and playing with us on stage with his corn cob pipe. There's a couple golden seconds of me blowing some smoke rings before I grew a man beard. Also there's a creepy guy at the end who stole their camera and proclaimed his love for Matt Briggs.

This one is another from her tour blog when she dropped back in on Midland and played for the Dottie Hill Memorial Cancer Benefit. The line up made for a great concert. We played along with The Band Of Heathens, Stephanie Briggs, Tyson Kerby, Keith Davis, and a few more great acts. This video is a take on The Hills from MTV. Cody Davidson takes a cameo role as well as other great seasoned actors.