Music News – Nov. 5, 2020

Another week and another legendary singer passed away. You have to wonder how much longer this will continue. Before long all of our old stars will be gone and I wonder who is left to take their place. Especially in country music, there’s definitely a shortage of traditional singers. Alan Jackson and George Strait don’t tour much anymore, Randy Travis is unable to sing, Dwight Yoakam is touring less these days and Marty Stuart is busy building his museum in Mississippi. Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson are in their 80’s now, Rodney Crowell has had health issues lately and is touring less and Vince Gill joined the Eagles and tours with them. Dolly Parton seems to stay busy but Loretta Lynn has retired from performing. Hopefully we won’t lose any more musicians for a while, we’ve had about all the bad news we can handle.

Great songwriter Billy Joe Shaver Dies

It has been a real challenge writing this column for the past few weeks with all of the musicians passing away. Last week we lost Billy Joe Shaver to a massive stroke at the age of 81. He was born in Corsicana, Texas in 1939 and raised primarily by his grandmother while his single mom had to work. After a stint in the Navy, he came home, married Brenda Tindell and they had one son, Eddy, who was born in 1962. Shaver and Brenda would divorce and remarry two times before she died of cancer in 1999, the same year his mother passed away. One year later, on December 31, his son Eddy died of a heroin overdose. Eddy was the guitar player in his band and battled drug addiction his entire life. They were scheduled to play a show that night at Poodie’s Bar, near Willie’s Austin home. Billy Joe played the gig and Willie filled in on guitar. No one in the crowd knew that Billy Joe had lost his son just a few hours earlier. It was a very rough time for Shaver, but he continued to tour and write songs, telling everyone that God must have plans for him since he was alive and his entire family was gone. I had the opportunity to see him in concert and talk to him on several occasions. Once before his show at the old Cibolo Creek Country Club while Eddy was still alive. He told me the story of how he convinced Waylon Jennings to record an entire album of his songs. A few years later I interviewed him backstage at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic and he explained how he accidentally lost two fingers on his right hand in a sawmill accident. He saved his fingers in hopes the doctor could reattach them but when he got to the hospital, the old country doctor threw them in the trash and said, ‘Son, we don’t do that kind of surgery here.’ He laughed while he told the story, saying that’s the kind of luck he’s had his entire life. He’s the only performer that suffered a near fatal heart attack onstage at Gruene Hall back in 2001 and lived to tell the tale. When he shot a man in Waco in self-defense, Willie Nelson was a character witness at his trial and the jury found him innocent. Through all of his struggles, he remained one of the nicest, most humble people I’ve ever met. Widely regarded as one of the best songwriters in America, he never let it go to his head. Willie Nelson often referred to him as the greatest living songwriter and Willie should know. Shortly after his death, tributes started pouring in all across the country. Todd Snider performed the entire Honky Tonk Heroes album on his Facebook page a few days after Billy passed away and earlier this week the Sequestered Songwriters group paid tribute to Shaver by performing over twenty of his hits during their live stream concert.

Alex Meixner Brings Wurstfest to Krause’s Cafe

Of all the millions of shows and festivals we lost to this stupid pandemic, Wurstfest is the one I’ll miss the most. I have so many fantastic memories of the annual salute to sausage it’s impossible to name just one. I was at Alex Meixner’s first headlining show when he moved to the Big Tent, and I witnessed his rise to become one of the most popular acts at the festival. One night a huge group of us got to do the chicken dance with Jimmy Sturr and his band. I think that was the same night one of the souvenir booths gave all of us crazy hats to wear and trusted us to return them all at the end of the night. The food was always so good and it was fun just sampling it all. We always dreaded the parking and sometimes the crowds got tough to handle, but by the next day, we were ready to go back again. If you are missing Wurstfest like I am, you can still get your dose of high octane polka this weekend with Alex Meixner. Yes, he’s back in town for three shows at Krause’s Café. On Friday he starts at 7pm then there’s a special matinee show at 2pm on Saturday. So, if you go to the Farmer’s Market, you can get tickets and hang around afterwards and enjoy his show. On Saturday night he returns for a final show at 7pm. Alex and his guys are one of the best touring bands in America so catch one of these shows and raise a toast to polka music and good times. Hopefully, before long we can all gather together again and enjoy live music at a real festival.

Moe Bandy Comes to Riley’s Tavern

Riley’s Tavern will welcome country icon Moe Bandy on Friday night. Bandy makes an annual stop at the historic tavern and is one of the true honky tonk singers still alive. The last time I interviewed Moe he was telling me about a movie being made about his life. He truly seemed surprised that someone from Hollywood would want to do a story about him. He had a contagious laugh and recalled the comments that his band and other close friends had when he told them about the possible movie. Born Marion Bandy in Meridian, Mississippi back in 1944. It’s also the hometown of folk singer Jimmie Rodgers and Bandy’s grandfather often worked on the railroads with Rodgers. As the old saying goes, he wasn’t born in Texas, but got here as soon as he could. His family moved to San Antonio when he was six years old, which was about the same time his dad nicknamed him Moe. His dad played in a country band called the Mission City Playboys and taught young Moe to play guitar. His father’s hopes that he would show an interest in music was short lived because by his teens, Moe and his brother Mike were competing in local rodeos. When his rodeo career fizzled out, he turned to country music and took a day job working with his dad in a sheet metal shop. During our interview, Moe mentioned several buildings in New Braunfels that he and his dad built the air conditioning ducts for. He fronted several local honky-tonk bands before starting a solo career. He landed his first hit song in 1975 with ‘Bandy The Rodeo Clown,’ written by Lefty Frizzell and Whitey Shaffer. He scored a second hit a year later with ‘Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life.’ Albums, hit songs and millions of miles in a Silver Eagle tour bus became his life for the next several decades until he opened his own theatre in Branson, Missouri. He was able to slow down and let the fans come to him for a change. He still performs regularly at his theatre but does enjoy doing short tours around the country. These tours bring him back to Texas fairly often and Riley’s Tavern is a normal stop. For ticket prices and reserved table information, go to Riley’s Tavern Facebook page, their website or call them at  (512) 392-3132.

CONCERT CALENDAR:

 

Billy’s Ice  (1193 Loop 337, 830-692-8169)

Tonight – Austin Gilliam & Daniel Pelligrini – 8:30pm

Fri – El Saddle – 8:30pm

Sat – Jamie Talbert – 9:30pm

Sun – School of Rock – 4pm / Lucas Taylor – 7pm

 

Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street, San Marcos, 512-353-3777)

Tonight – Kody West – 8pm

Fri – Christian Sparks & Beatnik Bandits – 8pm

Sat – Hill Country Revival – 8pm

 

Dam Red Barn (16520 S. Access Rd, Canyon Lake  830-964-3276)

Sat – Steel River Band – 8:30pm

Sun – Forever Town – 7pm

 

Devil’s Backbone Tavern (4041 FM 32, Fisher, TX)

Tonight – Turn Up Jam – 7:30pm

 

Downtown Social Club (386 W. San Antonio, 830-214-6650)

Sat – Cody Hibbard – 8pm

 

Floores Country Store  (14492 Old Bandera Rd  210-695-8827)

Fri – Randy Rogers Band – 6pm & 9:30pm

Sat – Randy Rogers Band – 6pm & 9:30pm

 

Freiheit Country Store (2157 FM 1101, 830-625-9400)

Tonight – Gabe Garcia – 8pm

Fri – Fast Movin Trio – 8pm

Sun – Colby Albright – 4:30pm

Wed – Zack Walther Band – 7pm

 

Grapevine in Gruene   (1612 Hunter Rd  830-606-0093)

Fri – Bret Graham – 4pm

Sat – Bret Graham – 2pm

Sun – Sylvia Kirk – 1pm

 

Gristmill River Grill (1287 Gruene Road, 830-625-0684)
Tonight – Jackson Parten – 6:30pm

 

Gruene Hall (1281 Gruene Rd   830-606-1281)

Tonight – Adam Johnson – 6pm

Fri – Mark Chesnutt – 7pm

Sat – Bo Phillips – 1pm / Hayden Haddock / Jason Boland & the Stragglers – 7pm

Sun – Bret Graham – Noon / Matt Kirk & the Gueyfarers – 5pm

Mon – Bret Graham – 6pm

Tue – Tony Taylor – 6pm

Wed – The Georges – 6pm

 

Happy Cow (9103 FM 1102, Hunter, TX. 512-667-7510)

Fri – Dirty River Boys – 8:30pm

Sat – Hunter Road Trio – 8:30pm

 

Krause’s Café (148 Castell, 830-632-5076)

Tonight – Soul Ethos – 6pm

Fri – Alex Meixner – 7pm

Sat – Alex Meixner – 2pm & 7pm

Sun – Shane Kelley – 10am / Terry Cavanagh & Alpine Express – 4pm

Mon – NBHS Project Grad Fundraiser – 4pm

Wed – Das Ist Lustig – 6pm

 

Luckenbach Dance Hall (412 Town Loop, Luckenbach  830-997-3224)

Tonight – Stephen K Morris – 5pm

Fri – Chris Saucedo – 7pm

Sat – Jerry DeLeon & the Southbound – 6pm

Sun – Clete Bradley & Friends – 1pm / Jake Martin – 5pm

 

Muck & Fuss/Side Car (295 E. San Antonio Street, 830-312-5387)

Fri – Soul Ethos – 6pm

Sat – Soul Ethos – 6pm

 

NB House Concerts (250 Timber Wild, 210-617-3765)

Sun – Kerrville New Folk Winners – 4:45pm

 

Old River City Café (2771 FM 725   830-620-1900)

Sun – Ryan Waguespack – 10:30am

Wed – Monte Good – 5:30pm

 

Phoenix Saloon (193 W San Antonio, 830-643-1400)

Fri – Steven Vee – Noon / Junior Nash – 5pm

Sat – Silvercloud – 9pm

Sun – Junior Nash – 1:30pm

 

Pour Haus  (343 W San Antonio, 830-214-6033)

Fri – Soul Sessions – 8:30pm

 

Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102 512-392-3132)

Tonight – Tyler Cannon & Manzy Lowry – 7pm

Fri – The Jonathan’s / Moe Bandy – 9pm

Sat – Basil Trio – 7pm

 

River Road Ice House (1791 Hueco Springs Loop  830-626-1335)

Fri – Open Mic Night – 7pm

 

Rudy’s BBQ (844 Loop 337,  830-609-3337)

Tonight – Shawn Hart – 6pm

 

Sam’s Burger Joint (330 E Grayson St   210-223-2830)

Fri – Ruben V – 7pm

Sat – Blackbird Sing – 7:30pm

 

Villa at Gruene (1190 Gruene Rd,   830-625-9463)

Tonight – Willy & Cody Braun, Jonny Burke, Rio Tripiano – 6pm

Fri – Bri Bagwell, Paul Eason, Bo Brumble & Garrett Mann – 6pm

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