The MQ’s and their Chippewas

No lie: Even though I’ve given 2 pairs of my precious Chippewas (Model # 27914) to fellow troubadors; 1 pair to Chris Berardo, and the other to Mickey Braun, I won’t give this last pair away. This pair of boots fits me like boots fit in songs, like they know me.

Our friend Clark at Chippewa calls this particular style of boot the “Mystiquero” boot & its true. This is the pair the Mystiqueros all have, and wear most often. They are heavy, durable (maybe indestructable), and they are a much cooler looking boot than I should be allowed to wear, because I am most definitely not cool. I elected to have these boots on the front cover of my new record, “Plenty,” not my face. The designer, who works in Fort Worth, Texas, must regard these among his finest creations. I hope so.

The Mystiquero boot is constructed in El Paso, Texas & Joplin, Missouri, and Chippewas a 100+ year old company from Wisconsin. That’s about as home-grown Americanas there is. Check out ChippewaBoots.com; there’s an insanely cool collection of high-quality, iconic footwear. We call it boot-porn.

Now, Chippewa has made a few new pair of our beloved Mystiquero Boot for us to try out in a lighter, sand color, with rough-out leather. They may be cooler than the originals – ‘Hard to say. But I suspect I will wear my new pair of Mystiquero Boots for a long time, and with apologies to many of my fellow troubadors who will without a doubt cast longing eyes down at my new friends, I don’t think I will give these away either.
They’ll be available to everyone before long.

WW

Major League

What Is It About Baseball?

What is it about Baseball? It threads us together. Our passions. Our childhood memories. Our children. We share it. We play it. We can mark our time here by the ups and downs of it. Once again, Baseball is a big part of our Northeast tour. Stopping in Cooperstown to play a house concert for our friend Brad Horn who is a big part of the Baseball Hall of Fame, we were treated to a private look at some of the behind the scenes artifacts at the Hall. I found my self giddy as I saw boxes on the shelf with “Gehrig” on them and undeniably moved at the site of a baseball recovered from the ground zero rubble of 9/11. It would take me a week to really see everything at the Hall of Fame and since it’s always growing, maybe I can just spread my week out over the next 5 years or so. It’s beautiful to see all the people. All the families that flock to Cooperstown in the sweet summer months to pray at the Church of Baseball. Cause it is a bit like Church isn’t it? We have rituals and reverence for it. Prophets and poets. Heros and villains. It restores our faith and gives us hope. I am moved overtime I visit this place and can;t wait to share it with my own son in years to come.

Baseball recovered from Ground Zero 9/11

 

The Great Upstate

I can’t really think of a better way to start a visit to upstate NY than pizza and beer. We met the boys at our friends the Colvin’s house when we all arrived outside of Rochester on Thursday night. I awoke to Mystiqueros sprawled all over the house. What must the neighbors think of the long haired middle aged shirtless guys unloading and repacking mini vans in the driveway! Once we were packed up again we headed into Rochester for a visit with Scott Regan on his radio show “Open Tunings” on WRUR. I’m not sure he quite knew what to think when 6 of us piled into his control room, but we sure had a good time and heard back later from listeners back home in Texas and beyond.

The weather was beautiful and we finally got to play the Abilene Bar outside under the stars. That was the plan the very first time we came up here but it rained. It couldn’t have been more beautiful. The patio was packed with folks and it felt great to

Main Street brodge over the Genesee River, Rochester NY June 2012

have all the boys together rocking out. If I hadn’t managed to trip over a step and fall down on my way out the back gate, the evening would have been perfect…..  don’t worry the only permanent damage done was to my pride 😉

As usual, the Colvin’s treated us to an afternoon of food, beer and fun the next day including the quickly becoming annual wiffle ball game. WW’s team won the day and we headed to Buffalo and the Sportsman’s Tavern. Still and always one of my favorite places. However the pizza joint I always talk about when we play the Sportsman’s was CLOSED! We got saved by No.1 Chinese, right down the street. A little family run hole in the wall with fast fresh tasting food. The interior renovations at the Tavern are pretty much complete and it’s now about twice the size it was when we played out first show here. The crowd in Buffalo is always warm and welcoming and I hope to be coming back here for a long time.

The big surprise of the weekend was The Linda in Albany. Ensconced in an old bank building, the WAMC Performing Arts Center was a new venue and a new city for us and I was hoping that 10 people would show up. We ended up with 50 or so attentive listeners and played a more “songwriter” show that the previous 2 rocking nights. It was sweet and cool. Former Austinite Michael Eck opened the show and we made some new fans and friends. We also got to see the state capital of NY which, after growing up just 4 hours away, I had never seen. Everyone is looking forward to our visit to Cooperstown Baseball heaven and another weekend in Upstate NY comes to a successful end.

Hey Hey the Gang’s All Here

It was actually kind of hard to leave Knoxville. I’m really beginning to love that whole area. We ended our Tennessee time with a stop at WDVX in downtown Knoxville for The Blue Plate Special radio show. This radio station is an exceptional example of good radio. They listen to and serve their community and the are very artist friendly. The Blue Plate is one of my favorite shows to do. Located in the Knoxville Visitors Center, we had a really nice lunch time crowd and folks from NY to Texas were listening online. It was big fun but we had to high tail it to Charlotte for another show that night.

Once again I got to see and play some music with my old friend Lou Mondelli and I managed to leave my beloved and perfectly worn in Chippewa Boots in the hotel room! We spent the early afternoon on a boat on lake Wylie with our local promoter and friends and were 2 hours done the road north before I realized I’d left my boots!! After many phone calls, they have been located and I hope are being sent overnight to me for tomorrow’s show in Buffalo.

We had a good day of driving yesterday to make it up to our friends the Colvin’s house in LeRoy NY, our staging area for the next leg of the tour. We made a small stop to look at the Little League International Baseball Field. Brian, Corby and Ray pulled in around 9:30 from Nashville and when Marcus lands at Rochester International today, will have all the boys back together and ready to rock. Look out upstate NY…..

BBQ, Bluebirds and Fireflies

If there is anything you may have learned about me from past tours it’s that I LOVE to eat in Memphis. We went straight to Central BBQ when we pulled into town on Friday. There is no better way for me to say hello to one of my favorite southern cities than a pork plate with homemade chips and green beans. Fantastic. Oh yeah, we played a show too! As usual, the crowd at the Otherlands cafe was warm and welcoming. Coming to Memphis is beginning to feel like coming home. There’s a good video of us playing “This Old House” on Facebook, check it out.

Of course we had to have both Memphis food groups, so we hit the Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken location in Germantown on our way to Nashville. That is how fried chicken should be. With BBQ, Chicken and a fun show out of the way we headed off to Nashville to visit with friends and play the Bluebird Cafe. My favorite surprise of the tour came when I found out the Danny Flowers would be playing all night at the Bluebird with us. Danny is one of my favorite songwriters and a badass on the guitar. He was kind enough to let me take a verse on the first Danny Flowers song I ever learned, “Tulsa Time.” I couldn’t just gone home after that, cause that was just plain cool. Thanks Danny. The rest of the show was great and we had a nice evening before heading off to the hills outside of Knoxville for a house concert.

As I sit in a “Holler” in the mountains of TN today, I feel as relaxed as can be. It’s beautiful here. When we arrived at Jay Clarks’ house I knew it would be a good night. We got so relaxed before the show it was actually kind of hard to get started, but the audience was so amazing that we lifted up into the spirit moving, music making realm that we love to dance in. The response from these amazing folks in this beautiful setting will be ringing in my head for the rest of the tour. And just when I was sure it wouldn’t get any better, I was treated to the most amazing show I have ever seen. Thousands upon thousands of fireflies lighting up the woods in a patternless dance of blinking light that felt alive. I hope the decide to come out again tonight……

 

Rainy Nights and Louisiana Begonias

I really thought that our old buddy Brad Hines was crazy when he said we should go ahead and play our show outside at the Love Shack in the Fort Worth Stockyards……  in the rain. The stage is covered so we’d be fine but what about people who might want to sit and listen? We really didn’t know what was going to happen, but Brad is kinda the man when it comes to playing the Stockyards so we ate our Love Shack Burgers, plugged in and did our thing. Forth Worth never disappoints. A beautiful group of soggy, music loving faithful gathered and stayed. It ended up being a really sweet kick off to our summer east coast run.

The drive out of Texas is never our favorite part so we put it off by having a visit at Chippewa Boots and lingering over a nice lunch at a Fort Worth hang called the Yucatan Taco Shack. It’s like an upscale take on Chipotle with an interior Mexican twist. Very nice but we had to keep moving and even though I always like being in Ruston, LA,  I never expected to be greeted by shocks of vibrant flowers. Like little clouds of color and fragrance, every corner in the area near the Sundown Tavern is covered with begonias. I always wonder why we’re coming back to this gig until I walk into the bar and the bartender greets me by name. Fine friendly people, good food, and Monty Russell. That’ll do it for me.

So we’ll get down the road to Memphis today. The land of Stax, Sun, Elvis and Jimmy Davis. The sweet smell of Louisiana begonias in our wake.

Off we go….

In the van riding up to Fort Worth to kick off this summer’s MQ East Coast Tour with our good friend Brad Hines at the Love Shack. WW, Jimmy Daddy, and I will be rollin through Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina before heading up to Rochester to meet the rest of the boys and rockin our way down through NY state to DC. Looking forward to the music, the food, the fun and all the great folks we’ll see over the next three weeks. Check back tomorrow and I’ll let you know how it’s going…… Until then.. Peace, El Guapo

a beautiful trip

the mighty mystiqueros did 5,000 miles, 15 states, 19 gigs in 22 days in june, and i could have stayed on the road a while longer, i was having such a great time playing for new faces, and making new friends out there.  there were so many highlights, and so many cool gigs – the rochester jazz festival & nyc & d.c. &  bowman’s in atlanta & the bluebird stand out for me at this moment, but the best part was the folks we got to see & hang & play music with, all along the way.   patterson barrett played with us at the 1st gig in houston & the last one in nashville.   billy’s old friend lou mondelli played percussion with us in charlotte & made us better, as did mike daly & brian langlinais & danny shirley & jon byrd in nashville.   monty russell in ruston, brother jimmy davis in memphis. damn, we’re lucky. and the friends:  billy’s colleague bob doyle in atlanta treated us like kings.  art bowman hosts a house concert in atlanta that has a sterling reputation with traveling folks like us & we found out why. gary anderson & chris thomas in chattanooga – great gifts & we weren’t ready to leave.  homemade kolaches in greenville, s.c. by my friend barry ray. brian deal in charlotte, who’s a texan in spirit.  a beautiful dude.   and the staff at ommengang brewery.  we wanted to live there. at the brewery.  dwayne at sportsmen’s taver in buffalo.  wish we had a weekly gig there. and then: gary & christy colvin in western new york – hosted us with a party at their home, with bar-b-que & wiffle ball & laundry & friends…what a day! and H & ted at the mansion in d.c….wow.   possibly the coolest place i’ve ever hung out. everywhere we went, we had a great time & met great new folks. to be a mystiquero means being on a circus train of cool pickers & poets & great big hearts, and we thank each of you who made our trip so deeply satisfying and so worthwhile. if we saw you up &/or over there, come visit us in texas (when it cools off a bit). and to texas:  always good to be home, with our homefolks, and luckenbach on the 4th felt like the last great gig on this beautiful trip……
gracias gracias gracias.
-WW

first we take manhattan

I learned my lesson last summer, and just like when I came to NYC for a show with Brian Langlinais this past February, I booked us a hotel over the river in NJ for our 2 night stay in the NYC area. Our first night was night off and I finally got a workout in as well as some hot tub and pool time. The hotel was really nice, but the restaurant there was pricey so I took the boys to my old upper west side haunt for some spanish / asian food and a bit off jazz. Yes I said spanish / asian food. When I used to play gigs in the neighborhood there was a great place that we frequented called La Tasita De Oro. The served both spanish and asian fare and it was all really good. I couldn’t find de Oro on this trip and think it might be closed for good, but there was another similar joint down the street that was just great. I ordered the Dominican Chicken, which was served in a piping hot pot filled with yellow rice, peas, onions and chicken. Along with a beautiful plate of fried plantains, I ate way too much and loved it! We stopped at “Smoke”, which back in the day was a place called “Augies” where I played many a show. We just sat for a beer and a quick listen and then headed back out to NJ to rest up for our Hill Country BBQ show the next night.

Our second trip to Hill Country NYC didn’t disappoint. We were treated well, the BBQ is still pretty darn good and we had a really nice crowd. A before show walk around the block allowed my to snap a pic of the nearby flat iron building. It’s always fun for me to get back to NYC for a day or 2. I really appreciate how much time I spent as a young person there, learning my way around. It comes in handy.

We were back on the road the following morning, stopping at the airport to drop off WW so he could fly to a one night gig in Houston and then heading down to DC. Back home to the Mansion. I truly love it here and will refrain from rambling on about it. Let’s just say I feel quite at home. It was Marcus’s first time at the hotel, so we spent some time exploring and watching the amazed look on his face and then the three of us headed out to a pick up gig at Kybecca Wine Bar in Fredericksberg, VA. I don’t think they get a lot of experienced touring artists at Kybecca. Upon entering we were kind of assaulted and a bit put off by head chef and co-owner Kyle’s attitude and list of do’s and don’ts. We were also told that the microphone and stand that were supposed to be there, had walked off. Something it would have been nice to know yesterday! Being Mystiqueros and professionals, we weathered the storm long enough to start playing a few songs and by the end of the 3rd tune we had the place won over. It was a bit stressful at first, but it all worked out and we had a really fine meal there as well.

It’s a treat to be in the same city for a few days, especially one I like as much as DC, and Ray chose a great spot for lunch the next day. Panos Gourmet Empanadas. It reminds my of a Chipoltle or something. You order at the counter and then take your food, but what food it is. we tried as many different types of empanadas as we could manage, but for me the stand out was the Chipoltle Steak. Really well seasoned, tender steak inside a perfectly baked shell. Along with their spicy Aji sauce and a really nice mixed green salad, we were all fat, happy and ready for our show at the new Hill Country BBQ location in DC.

They might still be working a few kinks out in the new DC Hill Country, but all in all it’s a great place. The staff was excellent to work with, the BBQ pretty consistent with NYC and it was packed! Our show was packed with people. It was a really fun night and we let our hair down a bit. The stage doesn’t sound quite as good as the NYC location and I got some complaints about the front of house sound, but the production staff is doing a fine job and with a little support and a couple of adjustments to the stage and the gear, they’ll have a great sounding little room. Our last full band electric show of the summer tour went swimmingly and I’m already looking forward to coming back.

the mq’s take cooperstown

When WW and I started putting this trip together, our friend and chief support in the Northeast came up with a plan to get the Wilkins family together in Cooperstown, NY on Father’s Day. I mean what baseball loving family wouldn’t dig being at the Baseball Hall of Fame and seeing a Hall of Fame Baseball game? Well, the rest of the band wanted in on it and we figured we might as well try to find a gig in the area as well.

We pulled into Cooperstown still reeling a bit from the beauty of the drive down highway 28 south from the NY Thruway. Lush and green valleys. Picturesque farms, beautiful homes, and a little lake that made me want to stop and jump in. Main street in Cooperstown was packed with families enjoying Father’s Day baseball getaways. Did I mention that we got scheduled to sing at the Hall of Fame Classic that day? We did alright. They had passes the game and lanyards to get us on to the field when we got there.

I got to watch one of my favorite all time ball players take the mound in the first 2 innings. Goose Gossage. When I was 12 he was a big part of the 1978 Yankees World Series winning team. I wanted to pitch just like him. It was really cool to see him out there again. And of course no game is complete without a hotdog, so with dog in hand we watched the first 2 innings and then I headed back to the car to change clothes and get ready for our 5th inning stretch song.

As we stood in the tunnel waiting to go out to the field, hall of fame ball players were passing by and the excitement began to mount in all of us. We took the field at home plate and sang “God Bless America” in all of our Mystiquero 4 part harmonic glory. The crowd went crazy and my heart was beating so fast when we got back into the tunnel I couldn’t stand still and Ray, Mertis and I took off for the nearest bar to celebrate our singing victory.

We all met up for an early dinner, where I had a really fine knockwurst sandwich with bacon and a homemade spicy relish, sow more beers and a recap of the days fun. After a good night’s rest, a visit to the Hall of Fame and a bit of shopping, we headed out to the Ommagang Brewery for our Monday Happy Hour show. What a beautiful place. The first thing we were told upon arriving was that it looked like we were each missing a beer. We were treated very well and played a nice set on the new patio behind the cafe at the Brewery. Surrounded by forested hills the sun went down and I think we all knew we found yet another new home in upstate NY. So now it’s on to Pennsylvania and then up to NYC ……  se ya there

MQ’s at the ballpark:

rochester rocks

From the moment we pulled up behind the stage at the Abilene Bar Americana Stage for the Rochester International Jazz Fest, we were treated amazingly well. Having played the Abilene before, I was looking forward to seeing Danny and the crew we already knew and the folks they had working for the festival were great. Professional all the way.

I was shocked at the crowd for both our sets. The tent was full for the first pretty well full for the second. We were revved up and ready to play. WW, Ray Mertis, Brian Tina and I delivered two real good sets of music, at least they felt good to me, the crowed yelled for encores. I’m pretty certain we made a whole bunch of new fans. Shows like that make the whole trip worth it and I hope to asked back again next year.

Thank you to everyone at the Abilene and at the festival. I’ll be carrying that one in my heart for a long time.

the carolina food wrap up

WW was kind enough to chronicle our journey through the Carolina’s, but he did leave out one important thing…..  at least it’s something important to me…..  the FOOD! I know I tend to talk about food more than music, but the road becomes a collection of meals even more than a collection of gigs for me. So……

As we were leaving Tennessee, we had a late breakfast/early lunch at Cracker Barrel and they offered some granola pancakes that were pretty awesome. The only thing better that morning were Danny Shirley’s stories. That guy is a great story teller. It’s a good thing I ate a big hearty breakfast, cause our drive ended up being a bit longer than expected and by the time we arrived, played our show and got somewhere to eat it was 11 pm. That’s not a good thing for me to do and I was so hungry I could barely read the menu at the sports bar we ended up in. So I ordered a burger. It was some special Carolina thing. Blackened with slaw on it I think. I wasn’t very excited about it to be honest and as my food arrived I watched WW receive his order of a chicken and vegetable stir fry with rice. I was so jealous I almost couldn’t eat! I didn’t even see that on the menu! I got out ordered. I felt like I needed something good for me and I got a burger. It may have been a great burger, but I wouldn’t have known.

With the exception of the fine homemade Kolaches that WW’s buddy Barry Ray made for us, the whole next day I ate salads. Big salads with fish on them. One with ahi tuna and one with salmon. Both really good. I ate the second one, the salmon, in an Irish pub in Winston Salem, NC as I watched WW and friend eat fish and chips. I stole a few fries, but satisfied myself that I was doing the right thing eating a salad. It was pretty good and not at all what I expected in a pub.

 

 

 

 

Eating in Charlotte was all about home cookin. I got some time to visit with one of my oldest friends and musical mentors, Lou Mondelli. Lou sat in with us at Puckett’s and had me over to the house to visit with the family for a bit and I was treated to sausage and peppers like only my old friends from NJ and NY can make. It was wonderful.

After our run through the Carolina’s, WW and I had a day off to make as many miles as we could between Charlotte and Buffalo. We decided that Pittsburg would be a good place to stop and I used my considerable Priceline skills to get us a really nice hotel for our destination. We decided to stop for lunch just inside of West Virginia and as we were turning into a hilly driveway leading to the Cracker Barrel we figured would offer the most “real” food we’d find, I spied a sign for a Japanese food restaurant right down the road. We made a quick u-turn and sat down in a nice little restaurant that offered WW the curry dish he’d been craving and me one of the best bento box lunched I’ve ever had. The minute my lips touched the miso soup I felt better than I had for days. The Gyoza was perfect. Hot crispy and porky. The highlight of my bento box was the hibachi grilled vegetables and although the chicken was just a little bit dry, the california roll was perfect as was the fired rice. I packed away just about every bit of my food, before I could even take a picture, and it got me all the way to Pittsburg.

Every time I say the word Pittsburg people say “Eat at Primante Brothers!” Well honestly I didn’t think we’d have time. We checked into our hotel at about 9:30 and when I asked the front desk where we could find some food, it turned out that Primante Brothers was the closest place! So we got back in the car and headed over. Since everyone was talking about the sandwiches that this place is famous for, I figured I had to go for it. Corned beef with provolone, tomatoes and french fries on fresh, soft italian bread. That’s right the fries are on the sandwich! It was good. Very good. I was wishing I had ordered pastrami instead because I think it may take a more full flavored meat to stand up to the fries in the sandwich, but all in all in was fine. WW ordered spaghetti with meatballs and it’s good to be back in a part of the world where you can get a goos marinara sauce almost anywhere.

After a big sandwich and a good night sleep it was off to meet up with Brian on the road, pick up Ray and the airport, eat at Joe’s pizza again and play the Sportsman’s Tavern in Buffalo again. It was a great day and overtime I visit the Sportsman’s I love it all the more. And Joe’s too…….

nothing could be finer

El Guapo & I spent 3 days in the Carolinas this week, having left Charlotte, NC
this morning, after a wonderful night at a place I’d been hearing about for years, Puckett’s Farm Equipment, which is was as cool as I expected. Thanks to Brian Deal, a gentle semi-giant of a man who made us feel at home from the moment we met him. Thanks as well to Rob Mullis, who drug a bunch of his friends out on a rainy Wed. night.We were joined by Lou Modelli, a percussionist extraordinaire, and friend of Billy’s for 20+ years, from NYC days in bands. During the day, we were given a tour through the Muzak Corporate Office there in Charlotte-  mo’ defly not yo daddy’s muzak anymore. Very very cool.

On Monday, we played the very cool Handlebar in Greenville, a city we both kinda fell in love with, on account of it has all manner of pubs, bars & restaurants downtown, a minor league field downtown, and another place where it still rains. Rain, children… I had almost forgot what it felt like.  apparently, it makes trees & flowers grow, and there are lots of those in this area.  We made new friends in Greenville, and were hosted throughout our stay by my old friend Barry Ray, who had homemade kolaches for us Tue morning.  yes, homemade. To get to Greenville from Chattanooga, we passed through the southern section of the Appalachians, a magnificent drive.

Tuesday took us up to Winston-Salem, NC, where we played The Garage, a classic live music venue that I had played with Pat Green back in the day as the kids say, back when those kids were still watching the Flintstones.  A fun night there, and my dear old music/seminary/travel compadre Tommy Swinney fixed an NC breakfast, grits, eggs, sausage. We are not losing weight on this trip.  In fact, Billy popped a button on his road-shorts today, at a gas station in West Virginia, as we made our way to Buffalo.

Today, we are joined by our fellow Mystiquadres Brian, Ray, Tina & Mertis, as we begin the 2nd leg of the journey, this time plugged in & ready to make some Rumble across New York, and down to DC.   Adventure!! Romance!! (well, for me anyway since my baby’s here for the weekend) and more local cuisine, and more new friends & old friends. As you might expect, this is fun & its good to be a Mystiquero.

 

-Big D

the longest chattanooga june day

The Chatanooga Market

WW and I arrived at WSKZ in Chatanooga with a few minutes to spare for our radio appearance. WW was scheduled to play a songwriter in the round show in the Riverbend Festival that night and the radio show was part of it. We had good time on the air and shared our time with Nashville songwriter, and co-writer of “Trains I Missed”, Nicole Witt. And then we had to hustle into town so I could get ready for my show in the Chatanooga Market with Jimmy Daddy and Walt could go on to a meet and greet lunch show for the festival.

If you’re ever in Chatanooga in the spring or summer, get to the Chatanooga Market on the weekend. Filed with locally grown produce, arts, clothing and other products, the Market is environmentally focused and really cool. I’ve had my eye out for a good road food experience and I figured the Market might be a good place to find one. After getting up early and being on the run, I was pretty hungry when we got set up for our show and the closest booth to me was Good Dog hotdogs. So I went over and just got a simple old beef hotdog with mustard. Hit the spot for me and I jumped up on stage with Jimmy for the first set.

On set break I was hungry again, so I went back and asked the Good Dog folks to make me whatever they liked. I got their version of a Chicago Dog. Hot, cool, spicy and really good. It was the perfect fuel for my second set. WW came by during our last hour and joined Jimmy and I onstage. By the end of the show I was hot and worn out. A short nap at the Chatanooga Choo Choo Hotel, really…. and I was ready to rock again. We had to make our way to the Riverbend festival so we decided to go to the hotel lobby and call a cab. You’d think that that would be easy, but as it turns out the lobby was several hundred yards from our room and not at all easy to find.

We finally made it and called a cab. As we waited and sweated in the shade, we were approached by an interesting looking gentleman with a string tied around his head and a sheriff’s star on his shirt. He said he was from Iowa and stuck there in Chatanooga and that he used to roadie for Stevie Ray Vaughn and that he could sing like Elvis and on and on. It was the best homeless guy show I’ve ever had. He sang us a few lines of an Elvis tune and proclaimed that if he had a Honer blues harp it would be like teaching a man to fish, he could make a life. My favorite line was when he told us he played Mississippi style blues harp, like Arlo Guthrie!(?)

When our cab arrived we hugged and blessed eachothers day as a woman ran to the cab and said that she had call and it was her cab. So we shared put ride. We stopped at the Chatanooga projects to drop off our other traveler and then made it to the entrance of the Riverbend Festival. Of course the entrance is about a quarter mile from where we had to play, so we set off in the full heat of the day to find our stage. We arrived drenched in sweat but didn’t have to wait long to play. I sat in the back and played guitar for Walt and for our friend Liz Rose in the songwriter in the round show. As you might imagine we left the show hungry, hot, tired and wobbly. The only place we could find to eat at 11pm on a Sunday was TGI Fridays and I don’t think I’ve ever liked a Fridays as much as I liked that one. We had dinner and a beer with songwriter Jeff Black and then road in Chtanooga’s only Heavy Metal Cab back to the Chatanooga Choo Choo.

5 shows down and we’re off to South Carolina……..

memphis, jimmy and house concert heaven

I know I’ve sung the praises of Jimmy Davis many times on this blog and I’m going to do it again. I love Jimmy Davis! And I love Memphis. I’ve been looking forward to playing at the Otherlands Coffee Bar in Memphis again since the last time we had a show there in February. I was in no way disappointed. The place filled up nicely and they have Shiner Bock. So we set up, had a beer or two, ate a bowl of a pretty fantastic Indian Lentil soup and took the stage with the Reverend, Uncle, Cousin, Jimmy “Snake Daddy” Davis. We rocked, if I might brag a bit. We were excited to see each other and on Walt’s first turn around our circle of three he led us through “Outdrink the Truth” and we sang in full Mystiquero style. I found out that my song “This Old House” is a bit of a hit in Memphis as the whole crowd sang along with me. It was a magical night and the only hard part was shutting down early enough to make the Drive to Atlanta the next day.

House Concerts are quickly becoming some of my favorite shows to play. Always hosted by rabid music lovers, I mean who else would host musicians and a bunch of folks in there house on a regular basis, they provide one of the best environments to do what we do. The Bowman House Concert Series in Atlanta is a perfect example. Nestled in a beautiful neighborhood north east of the city, the Bowman’s house is surrounded by lush greenery and because of the mild temperatures they set us up out on their deck for the show. We had some old friends and fans show up and made some great new friends as well. WW was in fine singer songwriter style and we really hit our groove. House concerts are usually a pot luck affair and one of the dishes we were treated to was an amazing cold rice and vegetable salad out of one of the Moosewood cookbooks. It was fantastic and if I had anyway to carry it with me on the road I’d eat it everyday and be much healthier I’m sure.

We stayed with my good friend Bob Doyle and family who lived a few minutes in the right direction for us and once again the hardest part was leaving. We had to get going early again to make it to Chatanooga for a morning radio appearance. So we said goodbye to our friends and hit the road again.

18 shows in 22 days

And so it begins……

We’re off. The Mystiquero summer 2001 east coast tour has begun! 18 shows, 22 days and …..  I don’t actually want to know how many miles. WW and I packed the van and headed off to Tomball, TX for our first show at Main Street Crossing. Austin musician Patterson Barrett joined joined WW and I onstage for a one hour live radio broadcast and then another hour of music. Great crowd, great beer selection and a fine way to start our trip.

We stayed with MQ guitar player number uno, Marcus Eldridge and loaded up some of his gear for the trip north. Mertis and Ray will be meeting us in Buffalo / Rochester for our shows up there and in NYC and DC. After a fine meal at Goodson’s Cafe, we headed for Ruston, LA and Monty Russell. Monty Russell is one of my favorite people and an real deal honky tonk singing dude.

We took the scenic route to Ruston and I got to see some beautiful parts of Louisiana that I’ve never seen as well as this thing I heard about called rain. We haven’t seen it in central Texas ion so long I forgot what it looked like! We pulled up to the Sundown Tavern just in time for some catfish and a beer before taking the stage. Although it was hard to tell whether some of the crowd was cheering for us or the NBA finals, there are always some fun music lovers in Ruston. As usual, we were treated to not only late night chicken and biscuits, but a fine breakfast. There’s always great food at the Russell house, including something called breakfast rice. (looks like we liked it huh?)

We head to Memphis today to meet Jimmy Davis for a show and then on to Atlanta. I’m looking forward to being back in Memphis today. So thanks Monty and all the good forks in Ruston. See ya down the road.

Spring Wrap Up

Hola tribe!

I know, I know it’s been awhile. I hope you jumped over to my blog at billsmallmusic.com/blog in February and March to follow my east coast adventure. I think blogging is most fun for me on the road, so get ready, cause another east coast adventure is on the way.

The MQ’s took a much needed slow down towards the first of the year and I took off for 3 weeks of travel and shows. Of course there were shows with fellow MQ’s WW, Jimmy Davis and Brian Langlinais. I love my musical family! Over the last 2 months we’ve played some really fun gigs all around our precious Texas with an ever shifting line up that includes original MQ Marcus Eldridge, Jimmy Davis, John Inmon, Corby Schaub, Kim Deschamps and Brian Langlinais and the always lovely Tina Wilkins. (who has a new record coming out soon!)

Ray and I had the pleasure of playing on tracks for the upcoming release by our young brother Mystiquero Corby Schaub, who spends his non MQ time out on the road with Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses. WW has produced a few projects already this year and we all just had a few beautiful days in the studio with Tina. Spring has been good. We could of used some more rain, but it’s been good.

As summer approaches so does our time to head out of state and expand the tribe a bit. WW and I will be heading out the second week of June playing duo shows, as well as hooking up with Jimmy Davis and Monte Russell, as we play our way thru LA, TN, GA, SC, NC, then up to Buffalo, NY to meet Ray and Marcus for a return appearance at The Sportsman’s and a headlining spot on the americana music stage at The Rochester International Jazz Festival. Then to NYC and Washington DC for shows at both Hill Country BBQ locations and also the Mansion in DC. WW and I will wrap it up with a Bluebird show in Nashville on the way home and before you know it we’ll all be tipping back a cold one at Luckenbach for the Wilkin’s Family “Live Free and Fly” 4th of July Festival. (and listening to tina’s new record!)

I’ll be blogging my way from here to Buffalo and back again, so come June check back regularly!

Until then, see you at the show!

Peace,
-El Guapo

Never the Same Twice

As some of you know, we’ve been playing a regular 9pm show on Wednesdays at the Saxon Pub in Austin for quite some time now. Just shy of 2 years actually. We’re there most Wednesdays and it’s really become a great hang. It’s never the same show 2 weeks in a row. Being easily bored and knowing that a regular show is NOT the place to repeat yourself, we regularly invite friends to come play on a Wed.
This fall, with Ray in Lubbock for a bit, WW and I have been showing up with acoustic guitars and inviting amazing folks to come make noise with us. It’s been a blast and I look forward to it every time. 2 weeks ago, we were joined by Band of Heathens drummer John Chipman, Corby Schaub, guitarist for Ryan Bingham (and part time Mystiquero) and this falls regular guest Steel Guitar man extraordinaire, Kim Deschamps.

Here’s a little video of this fine crew…..

-El G

The Fog Rolls In

I know, I know, bad blogger, bad…..  I have been quite remiss in my MQ blogging duties of late, but to be honest, we’re in the slow season for all things MQ. Spending time with family and playing a few shows close to home. So, not much new news here. Don’t worry, come next spring, you my get tired of all the activity!

The Divine Jessie Scott and the Music Fog folks have released another video from our shoot at the mansion on O street last August. At this time of holiday reflection, I am truly grateful for the amazing people that surround our little music tribe. Thank you all.

-El Guapo

Enjoy…..