Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Whirlwind of Music

Just had to share this. Back in December I kept quizzing my son (in his junior year in college) about what to get him for Christmas. He's matured to the extent that he said that he really couldn't think of anything that he wanted. Soon after that I happened upon a post on a harmonica related forum about the Experience Hendrix 2014 tour. Not sure why the poster was posting it, but my son has developed amazing skills at picking the six string and on our visit to Chicago a few years back (documented somewhere here) he was disappointed when we crossed paths with the venue that was hosting said tour and they were, of course, sold out. BUT, for this Christmas I ordered tickets in Dallas for the tours third stop. That date coincided with his Spring Break in March (last week) and also my daughter's, who teaches at SMU. So, the stage was set to take him and my daughter and her music loving husband to see some whomping guitarists doing Hendrix.

As the date approached, my wife (who loves classical guitar,  having seen Andre Segovia at a young age with her father) insisted that we expose him to the genre. So...to begin the week (Saturday, March 8), we went to Round Top, Texas to see Celil Refik Kaya. The young man absolutely ruled with a world class performance.

We travelled to Dallas to the daughter's house on Tuesday for the Hendrix tribute, which kicked serious butt. Jimi Hendrix's baby sister introduced Billy Cox, Jimi's original bass player, to kick off the show which included Eric Gale, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Buddy Guy, Doyle Bramhall II, Eric Johnson, Dweezil Zappa, Mato Nanji, with Chris Layton on drums. It WAS overwhelming. http://www.experiencehendrixtour.com

In between all this, my son scored tickets to the Heartbreaker Banquet held on Willie Nelson's ranch. It is a private party for only 500 or so guests and features a plethora of bands (most unknown to me) benefiting the Sims Foundation. The setting is an Old West movie set, called Luck, Texas, built for Willie's movie "The Red Headed Stranger". Said daughter and husband also wrangled tickets. We returned from Dallas on Wednesday in order to turn around and head 30 miles north of Austin to partake in this musical experience. The day was full of brilliant sunshine and brilliant music. There were 20+ bands, I won't go into details, but we did get to enjoy three great bands in the intimate setting of Luck's small church. Some of those were Sons of Fathers, Shaky Graves, Willie Watson. Harmonicas were played by several in the folk style context. We watch several other partial sets by other very talented bands. http://www.heartbreakerbanquet.com/#heartbreakerbanquet

Everyone had high hopes that Willie would show up at the party. Rumors floated that since his son, Lukas Nelson, was headlining that surely he would be the "Surprise Special Guest". It was a foregone conclusion that it would happen when Lukas invited Mickey Raphael (harmonica content) to the stage to play harp on one of his numbers. AND...sho' 'nuff, the Texas legend hit the stage with his family band and, of course, kicked big butt with his son doing a great rendition of "Texas Flood" thrown into the mix of Willie's classics. Now, back in the day, I saw Willie play many times over around the San Marcos area, but my son witnessed his greatness for the first time.

I only thought that the flood of music was over for the week when my brother-in-law called to tell me he had tickets at the marvelous Conroe venue, The Crighton Theatre, to see the Los Lonely Boys on Saturday. My son decided it would be best to catch up with what he needed to catch up on and returned to his abode, but my wife accompanied me to witness the magic of those Tejano blue rockers, Henry, Jo Jo, and Ringo Garza rocking the hell out of the venerable venue. Gotta say that Henry earned "Guitarist of the Week" honors IMHO (which says a hell of a lot). He even picked up the harp and wailed a hell of a number. http://www.crightontheatre.org

Can't say that I've ever been immersed in this much music in one week in my life. I'm still processing how the hell it transpired, but it will always be a memory that will never fade...particularly since it was all shared with FAMILY. 'Nuff for now.