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

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Toneheads unite -- Tahni and her troops were out at Ruta Maya again tonight (as the rain fell outside) - once again with Danny Bennett and Glenn Rexach on lap steel and lead guitar, respectively, but with Mike Longoria on drums and the Taste Buds (Toni Allen and Colleen Schoonmaker) on harmony vocals (and yes I forgot the bass player's name). This was a hotter, bluesier, rockier show than her December CD release party (which focused mostly on her acoustic CD "Back Again." Tahni featured several new songs as well as renditions of rock and roll classics for good measure. The gig came one day after she was live (acoustically) on KUT-FM's Eklektikos noon hour show - and it was clear that some of her audience came from KUT.

We have been busy, what with the new house and out-of-town trips and baby sitting, but we have attended a Shelley King show at Jovita's on Bonnie Whitmore's birthday (complete with cake), Carolyn Wonderland at the Saxon (with a seven-piece band!) on a night she could not play enough gospel, and the Sis DeVille acoustic show (Carolyn, Shelley, and Floramay Holliday - who is now living in the Dallas area with her new hubby but who will be BACK at Artz' Rib House with the Sistahs next Wednesday). Intended to get out more, but have been a little under the weather.....

Not much else to report -- but be on the lookout later this spring for the Hope Chapel Arts Festival.....

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Brother T and Jubilee PLUS Mark Ambrose!!! What a night at Ruta Maya (and we left early, before Doak Short and Shelley King). It was billed as an Aquarian birthday celebration for various folks (including the inimitable Sparky, who turned 50 today). Mark has a new CD on the way soon, featuring duets with Gillian Welch, that will take him on the road for most of the summer and fall, so catch him while you can. What a performer and all around good guy whose BEST asset will always be his wife-life partner Deb (who is also his road manager).

Brother Tim has come a long way back from a heart attack a couple of years back. He's been rehearsing the Jubilee for a year now (John Hallmark on lap steel, Al Sato on guitar, and a bevy of beauties from the old South Austin Gospel Choir doing the harmony vocals -- Judy, Linda, Stormie, and Cindy) - and the bass player woman whose name I forget at 2 am. One of the songs they did on Friday night was his own (two more are in the works), and there were faint memories of the Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers and the Blind Boys of Alabama in the soulful set that shook the rafters of Ruta Maya and made all the coffees Irish.

Our computer has been down due to our recent move to a new home (dew drop inn) and the fear of the cable installers of two dogs in the neighbor's yard where the cable box lies. We got back up late today - so I have to tell you about a couple of other recent events. A week previous, I trekked over to Jackson's house for the annual party celebrating vinyl records - it was a dancing bonanza, and lots of fun. Mark and Deb Ambrose help throw this gig and the trio also perform as the Minor Miracles (to songs from - who else - Smokey Robinson).

But again I had to split early from the scene to catch a set by The Addictions (Jason and Beth Richard and their mates) at the Back Room on Riverside Drive in the heart of apartmentville. What a silly concept! Open a music club in a place where people can walk, ride their bikes, or even drive and park on the premises! And right in the heart of a huge community of young people, many of whom might just be customers. After all, the only people who LIVE on or near Sixth Street and Red River are in the Salvation Army barracks and most of them are supposed to be doing cold turkey rehab stuff. Twas a SHORT set, but they will be back on Groundhog Day with a 101X show at the Back Room and play again there later in February. Big stage -- colored lights that actually work in flash and such -- and loud enough to sit far enough back to hear the band. If you like loud rock and roll with pizzazz, get thee hence with Puxatawney Phil.

Finally, sitting in our new home a few days ago, I was listening to Jody Denburg on KGSR as he played Judy Collins singing the Sandy Denny song, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?," from the old Fairport Convention days in the 1960's -- a band I got to see in Washinton, DC, while Sandy and Richard Thompson were both on stage. Sandy died tragically as she tripped down her stairs at home MANY years before her time. But what a singer! And what a song! Anyway, I was just about to call Jody and thank him for playing one of my favorite songs ever when he announced that the seventh caller who could tell him the name of the songwriter (DUH!) would win tickets to see Judy Collins at the One World Theatre -- a place far too expensive for my budget. So I thought, who else? And called, then called back and WAS the seventh caller!!!@#! So the beautiful Nancy and I got to trek over to the upscale end of town and relive our halcyon days of yore. Judy is in her sixties now, with whitish-gray hair that is more striking that Emmy Lou's (and I also remember HER when her hair was brown and she was very young) -- and she can still hit the high notes (even when she has a cold, as she did that evening). This sensitive woman reminded me why music is so special when done well and with depth of emotion and passion -- and she could tell a few tales if she chose to do so, but the biggest story of the night was how her brother (married and failed three times and sworn to bachelorhood forever) ran into his high school sweetheart (recently widowed) and was smitten all over again and yes they are about to be blissfully wed! Judy lost her only son to suicide (something we know very much about) and has triumphed in her own grief to be a beacon to others along that hard path.

So now I am off to Baltimore for a week (also Washingtundysea).

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