Music News – May 7, 2020

One of the hardest things to maintain during these trying times is a positive attitude. I’m normally a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy but I must admit these past few weeks have been really tough. The news continues to be going from bad to worse on a daily basis. At last count, over 27 major concert tours were cancelled for the remainder of this year. As the state tries to slowly reopen, no one knows what the future holds for the live music scene. If people flock back to the music venues like they did this past weekend to the beaches in Port Aransas, things will be ok. Someone on Facebook commented that the people making all the stay at home rules are not affected at all financially by these rules. Politicians continue to get paid, have full insurance coverage and unlimited travel privileges. I wonder if I’m too old too run for office. Kinky Friedman ran for Governor once with the campaign slogan ‘How Hard Can It Be?’ My slogan could be ‘I once hung out with Willie on his tour bus.’ Since I’m a huge dog lover, is Dogcatcher an elected position? There was some good news this week that I’m happy to share with you. George Strait was given his own channel on Sirius XM Radio and Nicholas Cage has been signed to portray Joe Exotic in a scripted show about the Tiger King.

 

Freiheit Country Store Reopens

Freiheit Country Store is leading the way with their return of live music last week. They had a phenomenal turnout which is certainly good news for other venues. This afternoon starting at 4pm they will feature Braydon Zinks, Mario Flores, Clay Hollis and Aaron Copeland. Keep a close watch on Freiheit’s Facebook page and Website for a detailed list of upcoming live shows. At press time, Zack Walther just announced that his Walther Wednesdays are resuming each week on the Freiheit stage.

 

Gruene Hall Prepares for May 18 Reopening

Gruene Hall and KNBT-FM officially announced the cancellation of this year’s Americana Jam. This is sad for two reasons. First of course is all the fantastic live music that takes place at the Jam and second, I feel bad for the non-profit organizations that miss out on a major donation from the proceeds of the event. Gruene Hall is also doing live-streaming shows, not at the hall, but at the artists house. Each artist wears a special Wish I Was at Gruene Hall t-shirt during their sets. Mark your calendars for May 9 with Jason Boland at 8pm and Josh Ward on May 16 at 6pm. At press time their website has May 18 as their re-open date. Hopefully that will happen, and no more delays will be implemented.

 

Whitewater Amphitheater Hoping for The Best

Whitewater Amphitheater are still planning on their four concerts scheduled for June. They include Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen on June 13 and ZZ Top on June 14. Hopefully the June 20 show featuring Sheryl Crow will still happen. This will be her first appearance in our neck of the woods. Billy Currington is set to make a return appearance on June 27. He’s a popular performer at the amphitheater and is known for his high energy concerts. I spoke with Will Korioth, the owner of Whitewater. He’s trying to remain optimistic about the current situation and hopes to keep all the shows on the schedule. Keep an eye on their website at WhitewaterRocks.com.

 

Tavern in the Gruene Closes as a Live Music Venue

In a very honest and heartfelt post on their Facebook page, the new owners of Tavern in the Gruene have made the difficult decision to close as a live music venue. They explained how challenging it is to run a bar and after the COVID virus hit, they could no longer afford to keep it open. It will remain a special event center available for weddings, parties and private bookings. I hated to hear this news because I have many fond memories of seeing live music here. Unfortunately, there will be many more stories like this before things get better.

 

Walt & Tina Wilkins, singer, songwriters, Cedar Park, TX

Walt Wilkins is easily one of the most respected songwriters in the business. He has written songs for hundreds of people and obviously for himself. His wife Tina is a fantastic singer, songwriter as well. They are two of the nicest and most positive thinking people I have ever met.

They are hanging out at home in Cedar Park with their son Luke. “We’ve had over 55 gigs cancelled, including our Waltstock & Barrel Festival this month. Like everyone, this time at home has been challenging, but at the same time, a gift.  We have really enjoyed quality time with our son, who starts college in the fall. His Senior season as a baseball player, graduation and so many other fun things. cancelled. With his extra time, Luke has been working on school projects and released an album on iTunes called LUCAS -18. He created the entire thing by himself, in his room. We are so fortunate that he has this outlet and passion. otherwise, it could have been a really long 6 weeks, with his parents. Walt has made our backyard a little sanctuary, full of native plants and many sweet places to sit and enjoy the season. He is also working on a new EP. Mostly though, he has been visiting his dad, who lives in an assisted living facility about a mile or so from us. He visits him through his window several times a day. He is a wonderful son. I have been burning things, I mean cooking, walking, writing and gratefully, singing. We stay connect with our friends via Zoom happy hours and really have enjoyed watching The Crown on Netflix. This is the most time we have spent together in 20 years of marriage. We still like each other, so that’s good. We have also been enjoying a few cocktails. We have loved listening to our friends on Facebook Live! We rarely get to see a whole show by our friends, so it’s been great to sit outside, have a beverage and enjoy! We have also been listening to vinyl. Nothing like vinyl on a Sunday afternoon! And Tom Gillam in the morning on KNBT. I’m an official “early morning listener”. Even though throughout the shutdown, my early morning has been stretched to mid-morning. I still catch a few tunes though and some witty repartee. Walt bought a really cool Julie London record before the shutdown plus John Prine, Little Feat and Bonnie Raitt have graced our living room lately too. We will file for assistance with MusicCares, a program through NARAS (the folks who put on The Grammys). We will file for a small business loan too, if there is any money left. Fortunately, most of our musician friends have been making enough to get by performing on Facebook Live, singing telegrams and personal concerts via Zoom. We have been blessed with many kind folks who watch our Thursday night online show from our front porch. Their generosity and kindness have been a Godsend. We cannot say enough about how wonderful it has been to “see” friends online. We miss playing live, but this has been a great way to stay connected. We have a virtual tip jar that we post with each performance. Amen and hallelujah for the online tip jar. We play every Thursday at 7pm on Walt’s Facebook page: Walt Wilkins Music.”

 

 

Live Streaming Concert Calendar

Almost every musician is doing some sort of virtual live streaming 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.

 

Adam Johnson – Solo live concert – Thursdays at 8pm

 

Alex Meixner – Facebook Polka Time – Sundays at 1pm CST.

 

Band of Heathens – Tuesday night Supper Club – Tuesdays at 7:30pm

 

Brett Cline – Facebook Concerts at BCMusic Live – Thursdays at 7pm

 

Bret Graham – Monday Night Live – Mondays at 6pm

 

Carolyn Wonderland – Live from Wonderland – Wednesdays at 8pm

 

Cody Canada – Facebook Concerts – Wednesdays at 8:30pm

 

Drew Kennedy – Live in the Backyard – Mondays at 8pm

 

Garth Brooks – Inside Studio G – Facebook Concert – Mondays at 7pm

 

Max & Heather Stallings – We Ain’t Drinking Alone – Wednesdays at 7pm

 

Phil Hurley – South Austin Moonlighters – Facebook Concert – Tuesdays at 7pm

 

Ray Wylie Hubbard – Live on KOKE-FM – Tonight at 8pm

 

Radney Foster – Live from Nashville – Thursday at 6pm

 

Reckless Kelly – Music from The Mountains – Sundays at 7pm

 

Sean McConnell – Live from His Studio – Thursdays at 7pm

 

Sequestered Songwriters – Weekly Tribute Shows – Mondays at 6pm

 

Todd Snider – Live from East Nashville – Sundays at 11am

 

Wade Bowen – Wade’s World – Fridays at 8pm

 

Walt & Tina Wilkins – Walt Wilkins Music – Thursdays at 7pm

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