Music News – March 26, 2020

Due to all live music being cancelled this week and possibly longer, there’s no concert calendar. We aren’t sure when live music will return, hopefully soon. Gruene Hall’s website indicates their next live music to be on Saturday April 4 featuring the Pat Byrne Band at 1pm. Naturally this can all change so always stay tuned to local and state news concerning the latest rules concerning public gatherings. Whitewater Amphitheater has rescheduled the April 17 & 18 Willie Nelson shows to September 4 & 5. Just hang on to your tickets and use them on the new dates. So far, this is the only rescheduled show at Whitewater, but keep checking their website for any other changes. The Brauntex Theatre rescheduled the March 20 show by Mandy Barnett to July 24. The Local Live show featuring the Reed Brothers tribute to ZZ Top scheduled for tonight will now take place on June 12. River Road Icehouse was forced to postpone the March 28 show by rock band Jackyl to a future date, not yet determined. So until further notice, we will just have to make do with the music being live streamed by many artists. Basically every musician alive is out of work until this COVID-19 virus danger is gone and the scary part is that no one seems to have any idea how long this will last.


Stuck at Home With Netflix

No one seems to know what to do with all this free time. I made a four page list of household projects to work on but then I lost the list, so I decided to just sit in my recliner for the entire weekend. I set my own personal record for going four days without a shower and wearing the same shirt and sweatpants the entire time. Trust me, it was not a pretty sight. The folks working the drive through windows in town can confirm this. I did binge watch every music documentary on Netflix. Just in case you might want to do the same, here’s some thoughts on my favorite ones, going alphabetically. The Bruce Springsteen on Broadway captures the Boss at his best, with just a guitar and a piano. He tells his life story chronologically, from his childhood in Asbury Park, New Jersey to his days in California and back to Rumson, New Jersey where he lives today. Bruce is at his best telling stories of the working man though he admits he’s never had a real day job in his entire life. This is one of the most honest glimpses into the life of a rock musician I’ve ever seen.


Echo in the Canyon Documentary

Several of my music buddies recommended Echo in the Canyon and after watching it, I agree with their suggestion. It tells the story of the music that came out of Laurel Canyon in the late 70’s. Located just north of Hollywood, the canyon was home to many artists including Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Beach Boys, Mama’s & the Papa’s, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Roger McQuinn, just to mention a few. It was a clan like culture centered around the mindset of the era. Free love, drugs and music were the order of the day. Jacob Dylan, son of Bob Dylan, hosts the documentary and performs many classic hits with a long list of stars. It’s a fantastic snapshot of a time when music came from a very special place.


Rolling Stones Continue Rolling, Maybe

The Rolling Stones documentary, titled Ole’, Ole’, Ole’, captures their South American tour in 2016 that ends with a groundbreaking concert in Havana, Cuba. Though they include some live concert footage, it’s mainly a look behind the scenes at what it takes to launch a massive Rolling Stones tour. Thousands of tons of equipment had to be shipped to the 10 cities they performed in, then flown to Cuba in huge cargo planes. The show in Cuba had hundreds of political hurdles to overcome before they allowed it to happen. Footage of the thousands of fans crying with excitement as they waited for the band to take the stage makes you realize how lucky we are in America. All rock music was banned in Cuba until just a few years ago so having the world’s greatest rock & roll band play a concert there was a very powerful experience for the Cubans. It was heartwarming to see the band members slipping out in public to talk to local musicians and fans. This year the band celebrates 58 years together with three members of the original lineup still in the band. Unfortunately their tour this year was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. According to the latest reports, the tour will most likely be cancelled completely.


From Taylor Swift to ZZ Top

I saw Taylor Swift when she was just 15 years old and was opening for Brad Paisley in San Antonio. She only played for 20 minutes but the fans seemed to love her songs, especially the younger fans. I’ve followed her career and watched her Miss Americana documentary because I’ve read mixed reviews about it. Whether you are a fan of her music or not, I give her credit for her work ethic and the fact that even today, she still writes her own songs. Not many artists can make that claim. The film covers her career from about 6 years old until today at 30. A film crew followed her around for a year and captured hundreds of candid shots from her home to backstage on the Reputation Tour in late 2018. Her latest album, Lover, was released in 2019 and a stadium tour is planned for later this year. However, due to the COVID virus, the 20 city stadium tour will be cancelled. Last but certainly not least, ZZ Top’s – That Lil’ Ol’ Band From Texas documentary, has strong New Braunfels ties. Most of the recent concert footage was filmed at our very own Gruene Hall. The film tells about the band starting in 1969 and still going strong 51 years later with the same three band members, a feat no other band has ever accomplished. Aerosmith comes in a close 2nd, with 50 years of performing with the original five band members. At press time, ZZ Top’s June 14 show at Whitewater Amphitheater had not been rescheduled.


The Music World Loses Kenny Rogers

Finally, as if there weren’t enough bad news for one week, we learned that Kenny Rogers passed away last Friday at 81 years old. He was a Houston boy, born August 21, 1938, and grew up in a poor housing addition. He was in several local bands in Houston before forming The New Edition. They had a string of rock hits before breaking up in 1976. He started a solo career in country music and had a huge hit with Lucille on his second solo album in 1977. After that came almost 40 years of chart topping hits that lasted until his retirement tour, The Gambler’s Last Ride, in 2015. Rogers died of natural causes at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia. His wife Wanda and their twin sons were present at the time of his death. Due to the virus concerns, a small private funeral was held with a larger memorial service scheduled for a later date.


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