Ain't autumn great? We've been enjoying this fantastic weather with the many of you out and about enjoying the community festivals and taking in live music outside in the fresh air this past month as our beloved patio season returns. Holiday season is coming up around the corner, a time to be thankful and merry but before it does, let's run down some of the many good things happening out on The SCENE!
FESTIVALS GALORE - We lost out this year on the annual Ballunar Liftoff Festival and in it's place, the Clear Lake region responded with some dandies all around town. We took in the Kemah's first Octoberfest complete with Yoddlers, humungous steins of beer, Om-Pah music, and colorful folk dance by the Deer Park High School German Club.
The return of the Clear Lake Celtic Music Festival was a great time at Clear Lake Park where an all age crowd enjoyed the Kinderkin Dancers, Celtic Voyage, The Travelling Murphys, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Dead Rabbits, and the nationally recognized Cass-Barrington Academy of Dance from the Woodlands. Truly a something-for-everybody event - Well done!
We checked out the Second Annual Seabrook Festival of the Arts and found an event with potential of becoming a quality gathering at the national level. Pretty cool, eh? Outstanding exhibits from across the nation were worth checking into and getting to spend time chatting with the artists as they shared was most enjoyable. Vibrant dance shows were provided by the ADC Studios out of Houston featuring colorful Ballet Folkdorico, wine from Haak Vineyards was served perfect, and Jazz music by The Pat Harris Group and Shake Russell, both from Austin, filled the air with sounds not typically enjoyed by the locals. To be continued!
BOATOBERFEST - And why not? Aside from boats and trucks was the outrageously hot & fun Chili Cook Off along with Dennis Davis and Jerry Diaz & Hannah's Reef on the main stage. We caught up with Jerry before the show and got some insight on his ideal way to record, mix & master albums meaning.... Heads up as there are plans in the works for a new CD album from Jerry & his Hannah's Reef band in 2014. With the Texans having their bye week, and the chores out of the way, the we scored ourselves a touchdown at Boatoberfest Chili cook off with some of the hottest fixings this side of the planet. With plenty to go around for everybody, this event scored a solid success.
FIND OF THE SUMMER - Andy Upchurch once told me to keep an eye out for the two piece groups as they have to be good having no margin for error to cover each other. And with that, we ventured to Scout Bar to check out Fox and Cats, a two piece group covered in the September issue of The SCENE. This unsigned pop/rock duet of Josh Willems- Guitar/Vocals and Nicole Wigginton- Drums pulled off the evening with incredible energy, freshness, spunk, pizazz, and best of all, an authority which marks this band as the find-of-the-year according to my vote. Check them out yourself as they will be at SceneFest 2014! Opening for Fox and Cats were two crisp groups, Radio Spring and Kit & Kay. I was very impressed with the exactness of harmonies Radio Spring put forth to the audience as well as the laid back eclectic pureness of Kit & Kay. These are two young groups worth checking into.
TEXAS TROUBADOUR - The folks at T-Bone Tom's booked a special treat in October bringing in Shake Russell with Michael Hearne for a Sunday evening of perfect musical entertainment. A large turnout of Shake's faithful following were in attendance for an evening of genuine original music by the award winning Texas Troubadour and his band. We spent some time catching up with Shake during the intermission and scored a very well assembled DVD package of his live performance at the Centrum. Captured with three video cameras, tracked off the mixer board, mix & mastered by 3 time Grammy Winner Randy Miller, this DVD successfully presents to viewers the ambience and warmth of a Shake Russell show. Another CD project Shake's involved with is a collaborative effort for the All ATX Concert. With appearances by Christopher Cross, Eric Johnson, Carolyn Wonderland, Marcia Ball, Shake, Monte Montgomery, Charlie and Will Sexton, and many more, proceeds from this concert and CD benefit the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (wondering what ever because of the Houston's Benevolent Musicians Association?). We will be watching for this CD scheduled to come out in January.
OPEN MICS - Got a new one to pass along and that would be every Wednesday Nights at the Cock & Bull. This is a relatively new open mic and we caught just a bit of it before press time with Billy Gilbert pulling off, as usual, the rarely heard rendition of Uncle Albert, before the Queen to boot! Mark this weekly Wednesday night event on your calendar for the months ahead and come hang out. The place and the names may change but the song remains the same... Cheers!
Down the street in Bacliff, we took in a few sets of the open mic happening at Katie's. Amidst the abundance of ferocious music hosted by Ricky Jackson was a strong outing by bass master Steve Redman who was looking sharper than ever and a super strong vocal performance by Fred Linton. I'm thinking the new layout at Katie's designed to better appreciate the music has an effect - Check out a show at Katie's yourself and hear for yourself. Speaking of which, we'll be looking forward to Funksion playing at Katie's in November and the return of Mark May in December. Can't wait!
IT'S A WRAP - This year has gone by fast. Many of us have had a great year and many of us will be happy to get this year behind us. Before we do either, we've got the holiday season coming upon us, a time to reflect, be thankful, be merry, share quality time with family and friends and best of all, be alive and be a part of The SCENE. See you out there!