Music News – April 16, 2020

The stupid Covid-19 virus took another musician last week when John Prine lost his life after an extended stay in ICU. His wife Fiona had contracted it first, then John caught it. She recovered but unfortunately John didn’t. Prine had just completed a successful European tour that had to be cut short due to severe hip pain. When he arrived back in Nashville, he underwent successful hip surgery. He had a slight cough, so the doctor tested him and Fiona for Covid-19. She tested positive but his was OK. Fiona stayed at a friend’s house while John stayed home and continued his after surgery physical therapy. Once she was over the virus, she returned home but stayed upstairs and away from him until the health department cleared her. A few days after she was cleared, he started feeling bad. She took him to the hospital and within two days he was in ICU and on a ventilator. Ten days later the hospital granted her a compassionate end of life visit so she could sit with him in the ICU on what turned out to be his final day. He passed away on April 7 at the age of 73. Countless musicians have paid tribute to him including a special Prine Time virtual concert featuring many of our local musicians. If you aren’t familiar with John’s music, please seek it out. He was one of America’s most gifted songwriters.



Robert Earl Keen, singer, songwriter, basically the Godfather of Americana, Kerrville, TX.

Robert Earl Keen is credited with starting the massive wave of Americana music in Texas. He wrote The Road Goes on Forever, which became the anthem for all Texas music fans. Robert checked in from his home in Kerrville. “All of my shows have been temporarily suspended. I’d say probably around fifty, some have been postponed and about ten or so might take place in July or August. Some have been moved to late September and later, the rest have been officially cancelled. I’m spending all my time cleaning out closets, making lists that prioritize things I can sell and filling out loan applications to keep everyone’s salary and health insurance in place. I’ve been watching movies more than listening to music because the visuals help keep me from worrying about my family and band. Two records I return to are Among the Ghosts by Lucero and a Jesse Winchester record. My band, office staff and bus driver are still in place with a salary, insurance and a retirement plan. It’s my goal to keep it that way until the cows come home. It’s a blessing to live in Kerrville, not that a virus plays favorites, buts it’s comforting to be out of the fray and have a place where one can easily avoid the infection. There are a handful of cases in Kerr county but personally I know no one who is sick. I did a live stream for El Arroyo in Austin a couple weeks back that benefitted the restaurant and bar people in Austin. I just finished doing an international roll call for Aggie Muster. The event pays tribute to Aggies who have passed away. It will air worldwide on April 21.”


Jamie Cameron, band leader, guitarist, for local band Soul Sessions, New Braunfels

Soul Sessions is one of the most popular bands in town, using several featured singers they provide the best pop, rock, soul and R&B music in town. Jamie provided the following information on how the Covid virus has affected his band. “So far 14 gigs cancelled or postponed with a loss of over $10,000. We are all practicing individually, writing and providing live streaming watch parties. I’ve been watching music documentaries, like the Ken Burns History of Country Music. I have an eclectic palette for music so I’m listening to everything from classical to Celtic. Most of our players are all full-time professional musicians and will be checking into the government assistance programs. So far no one has had to get a day job and no one in their circle of family or friends have caught the virus. Keep a watch on Soul Sessions Facebook page for their live streaming sessions.


Cody Canada, singer, songwriter, leader of his band, The Departed, New Braunfels

Cody helped start the iconic Cross Canadian Ragweed and when they broke up in 2013, he started The Departed. Along with his wife Shannon they opened our local School of Rock. “We are all hunkered down at home here in town, we have to be ready to open the school when its time. So far, every single gig I had was and is cancelled until July. I am always writing, just not in the sense of sitting and writing but ideas and riffs are recorded to my phone. I’ll put them together when I’m ready. I have been relearning my catalog and other covers. Unfortunately, more covers of the musicians we have lost to this. I’ve been listening to Mr. Prine’s catalog but during this I’m listening to my comfort artist, Merle Haggard. He’s always been there for me. My wife Shannon is a whip when it comes to the biz so she’s handling the government assistance issue for me. Jeremy Plato (bassist) has been working in construction for a bit and Eric (drummer) is helping his farming family in Oklahoma. Our tour manager Brian Kinzie is working in his family’s garden and Andrew our bus driver is helping everybody like he always does. We’re able to still pay everyone as of now and I’ve been doing Facebook shows on Wednesday nights at 8:30pm to help pay my employees. I will do whatever it takes to take care of this Canada and music family. Ray Benson is the only friend I have who has contracted it and he seems to be kicking its butt.”


Brett Cline, does solo and band gigs plus plays with Soul Sessions, New Braunfels

Brett is another local musician, plus teaches music, so before things went crazy, he was busy every night of the week. “All my live gigs plus my in person private lessons were cancelled which resulted in a 90% loss of income. I’ve been writing new material, recording songs, learning new tech steps for live streaming, adapting my teaching strategy for video lessons. We’ve been listening to lots of Bill Withers music, even before he passed away. I’ve been listening to soul and jazz music lately, it’s soothing and inspiring. I’ve realized during my live streams; several songs have taken on new meaning when viewed through the prism of current world events. I’ve found myself listening to records from my childhood like Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, Sports by Huey Lewis, The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby and Dude by Quincy Jones. So far, I haven’t applied for any financial help and I’m trying to avoid doing it if possible. In spite of all the challenges, it’s been nice having more time with my family. There have been many fried gold moments that likely wouldn’t have happened if we were not in this situation. My Facebook group is called BCMusic Live so people can catch my weekly performances from my home studio.”


Eric Middleton, singer, songwriter, vocalist for Midnight River Choir, New Braunfels

Eric is a founding member and chief songwriter of Midnight River Choir, one of the best bands in our city. Eric filled me in on how he’s keeping busy with all this unexpected time off. “We have had about 10 gigs cancelled so far with more to come I’m sure. Thankfully I’m using this time to write and record new music. I’m also taking online guitar lessons. I’ve played guitar for 16 years, but I’ve just started lessons to teach me more about music theory. I’ve also joined an email-based songwriters’ group where we challenge each other to write a complete song weekly. Lately I’m listening to the Grateful Dead as always, but also listening to anything new our friends are releasing during this crazy time. Willie Nelson’s album Countryman is a good album to keep the mood up. Our band is a small business with employees that are losing income due to the pandemic. We are filing for small business loans offered by the state to supplement what we are losing. Our keyboard players brother has the virus. He lives in Houston but is doing good thankfully.”





Live Streaming Concert Calendar

Almost every musician is doing some sort of live streaming virtual concert. As information becomes available, I’ll list those that maintain a regular schedule for their events. Events are listed alphabetically. To watch these shows, log onto their Facebook pages. Please tip the musicians if you can afford to at PayPal or Venmo.


Brett Cline – Facebook Concerts at BCMusic Live – Friday nights at 8pm


Cody Canada – Facebook Concerts – Wednesday nights at 8:30pm


Garth Brooks – Inside Studio G – Facebook Concert – Monday nights at 7pm


Reckless Kelly – Facebook Concerts – Sunday nights at 7pm


Wade Bowen – Wade’s World – Friday nights at 8pm


Zack Walther Band – Walther Wednesdays – Wednesday nights at 7pm

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