Flanfire (Duggan Flanakin) is bringing LIFE to Austin music -- and telling the world how sweet it is!

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Wow - has it been so long since I posted here? Well, tough. I was up on a mountain in Montana - at a dude ranch, no less - at an all-expenses paid conference for environmental journalists. And then I came down from the mountain and had a mountain of work.

So today was our 25th wedding anniversary - Nancy has been a saint to put up with me (though she would not put up with my shenanigans and has been iron sharpening me for all of these years). To celebrate, I took my daughter Melody and her baby Caleb to the dentist (where he was oohed and aahed over by all of the employees and she learned news of her dental future), then to breakfast (for her, not him) and on other errands.

Tonight, I took Nancy out to Oak Hill to the Y Bar & Grill (where my pal Pat McCann plays on Monday nights while others watch Monday Night Football). The food was quite tasty, especially the chocolate creme brulee and the corn chowder and the jerk salad. The big surprise was learning that the manager (and part owner) is John Laney - whom I had met when he opened up the Austin Hard Rock Cafe (when he had a lot more hair).

Seems he was due to be shipped out to Vegas but decided that Austin was home (after 31 states and other ports of call over the past five or so years), and had a vision for a nice place to eat and listen to great Austin music out in a part of town that had very little of either and now has more of both. If you live south and west - or either - or just want a little adventure in your life - just GO. The outdoor patio will soon be covered, so that even in the rain you will be able to sit outside (with heaters on colder days and fans on warmer ones) and enjoy the view and hear some music.

While we were eating, at the table next to us a young man was expounding on life to his two female dinner companions (who were co-workers of sorts). He was explaining how the first six months of marriage involve learning (among other things) everything about your spouse that you do not like, and the second six months are in part about determining whether you love the person enough to either overlook or work mutually to alter certain of each other's behaviors. Getting through that first year is a major milestone, he told the younger women, that provides a template for dealing with things in a marriage that come along routinely or not afterwards. Repeating, the first year of marriage requires very hard work both to identify and address those quirky things about each other (from leaving socks on the floor to funny noises to whatever) and create a system for learning to work together -- one that may well include "time out's" to regroup after shocks to the relationship occur.

The guy went on to talk about how he had been a singer in bands during high school and college and how his wife has now drafted him to sing in his church's worship team. I think he was rather proud that he had been volunteered, and is looking forward to using his vocal gifts again. As for church, he explained that his wife had been raised Catholic and he Assemblies of God, and that they found common ground in a nondenominational church. His own belief is that as a sinner himself (redeemed though he is) he is in no position to judge or condemn anyone else and is more than happy to find common worship ground with anyone who is also seeking to worship and learn more of God. It was a pretty profound lesson - on the side - while enjoying a fine meal in a cosy environment.

Later I had my private and very real treat -- for the first time in God knows how long (and actually for the first time ever for a solo performance) I got to see and hear the wonderful Sarah Dashew - at the Saxon Pub, her old hangout. Sarah has been living on the Left Coast and completing an entire CD about sailing (her lifelong passion that she shares with her family) and learning about her dark side (according to her) and staying healthy for over a year now.

Sarah has opened for (among others) Michelle Shocked, and oddly, I was thinking about how her performance was just about as exciting as, well, Michelle's even before I re-read her website (which continues her long tradition, shared with old pal Ginger Leigh, of keeping a journal on the web). She only did one song off "Music for Cruising" tonight, but inasmuch as Nancy and I are about to embark on the Shelley King-Floramay-Susan Gibson songwriters cruise this weekend, I had a clear message to BUY THE CD!!!! Sarah explained that the CD is rather mellow, and she has so many songs to share and only had an hour and a little more (and on top of all of it, her finger pick broke and she kept playing with a flat pick but still ended up with a cut finger).

Earlier today I had bought the Michael Fracasso live CD (cut in Oklahoma with Charlie Sexton), yet Sarah's was even better. But Sarah LIVE is special -- her rants (what else could I call them?) in the middle of her songs are amazing. There is hope (hers and that of many others) that she will be back in town for SXSW -- but if you like New York folkies (though Sarah is not a New Yorker, while Fracasso sings about the Bronx Bombers as if they were his own team) or if you like adventurous songbirds who are very open about their lives and fortunes in their own songs and chat, then you will love Sarah's stuff. By the way, she closed her regular set with her song, Fortunate Days (another paean to her surviving a life-threatening illness that lasted over a year), and then did an a cappella encore (bleeding fingers, you see) of Mercedes Benz that Janis herself would have cheered.

On another day I will talk about the Brennen Leigh Band (Brennen and her brother Seth and company) -- but that will be another day. November 12 at the Broken Spoke, November 15 at Ross' Old Austin (way up North Lamar), and November 16 at Gruene Hall.

Meanwhile, I am packing for my cruise. OUT!!!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?