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

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Ladies' night at Waterloo Ice Hice! But first it was Jovita's for an acoustic show by the hot new electric rock Aaron Hamre Band (who will play Jovita's a little LOUDER on January 19). Aaron, Uppy, and Miguel are all New Mexico boys who knew each other long ago and got together musically here in Austin last summer. (Aaron is the one with the waist-length blond hair and the fast-fingered electric guitar - he also writes sophisticated songs, only some of which have singable choruses.) The band, after playing a couple of gigs in far north Travis County, are just back from a Christmas season tour of their native state, where they played to crowds in the 300's to 400's. It might be really great for these guys to be opening for the reborn Fastball soon. Had a great burrito at Jovita's too.

Then it was up to Waterloo at 38th and Medical Center to catch Bonnie and Blythe - my first time to hear Jamie since her long vacation in California. The place was packed - and the harmonies were better than ever. Lots of covers, lots of original songs - and a promise that the well-packaged version of the new Bonnie and Blythe CD will be out later this month. Seth Hulbert (just back from Florida and the Bahamas) sat in on Bonnie's version of "Ain't Misbehavin'," but we are still waiting for Jamie to belt out some of the songs she sang as Annie on stage in San Antonio in her childhood days. Both of these babes could sing the phone book and people would stick around -- it won't be long before they're playing bigger Austin venues (and maybe even with a full backing band!).

From Waterloo to Waterloo -- Sixth and Lamar this time, for the (slightly) older generation of divas -- Jenny Reynolds (who's playing the Saxon late tonight with Scrappy Jud and Artz' Rib House on the 27th with Warren Hood and Jon Emery), Kerry Polk (who's off to Fort Lauderdale to compete for a major folk music award next week), Catherine Berry (whose one-woman show "Spin" won HUGE mention in the Austin Chronicle as one of last year's best!), and Austin newcomer Jean Synodinos (who won huge kudos from John the Revealator Conquest/Conqueso and Third Coast Music for her debut CD "Lucky").

Berry played leadoff - showed off some new songs as well as older ones from "Geography" - what a classy woman, who knows how lucky she is to be married to "rock star" David Hamburger (her words, not mine). Synodinos, who arrived here 3 years ago from New York City, exudes an urban sensuality that turns purrs into growls, and is just plain thrilled to be on stages singing for her supper. Reynolds - a former English teacher - was kidded by her buds about having the Merriam Webster dictionary as her computer homepage and then told a story about a kid in one of her guitar classes informing her he had just learned that Sting used to be in another band. For a city girl from Boston, she can really take you out into the winds and waves and quiet places of the heart with her songs. Polk sings like she is 19 and you are in another era -- every time I listen to Kerry I feel much much younger. No wonder she is my very favorite.

After a very late night, we fed breakfast to a bunch of hungry college students on our way to Hope Chapel - where we got a report on last year's pan-African day of prayer that involved about 20 million people - and plans for this year's Worldwide Day of Prayer on Pentecost (May 15) -- which will start in Fiji, where the island republic's governor has announced strong support and circle the globe with the sun - ending up (for some odd reason) in Dallas.

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