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Greetings Good People! Super Bowl is behind us. Winter came and left and came and left again. We had a great month in January with the hustle and bustle of the holidays finally slowing down a bit and was able to be out there catch a couple GREAT live music shows with you. Around town, here’s some of what went down:

Perfect Paring – Is familiar lingo amongst us merry mongers who enjoy the perfect wining and dining combination. Add to that winning duet some enjoyable live music and you have a trifecta, which is exactly what patrons scored when Andrew Bateman recently started appearing at Mainly Drinks on Main Street in La Porte. The menu at Mainly Drinks never gets old and the wine list is amongst the best in the area. We did ourselves well with the flatbread pizza, seafood pasta and smothered snapper matched with a bold cabernet – All while Andrew laid forth endless sonic canvasses and melodic overlays the entire night. Mainly Drinks, a place to meet and muse the night away with good company.

Krewe duLac King’s Cake & Royal Ball – Good times were had by many Mardi Gras season. We enjoyed Wood & Wind on the T-Bone Tom’s stage during the King’s Cake celebration on perhaps the nicest weekend of the entire month and danced through the night with the Kelly McGuire Band performing at the Krewe’s Royal Ball. Word has clearly gotten out on what a fun bunch this group is as turnout was very widespread this year and other media groups stopping by for a piece of the action. As for the music, readers may recall I’m on a perpetual quest to catch dueling lead guitarist duos trading it back and forth of the likes as Joe Walsh & Don Felder, Mark May & Paul Rameriz, and happy to report McGuire and Ken Reynolds now in that group. Hope to add more in the coming year… We were able to catch up with Kelly McGuire, who is scheduled to release his new album around the end of March. Sticking with his tried and true methods, Kelly says his new songs are written about actual personal experiences, encounters and emotions but this time with a new sound - a common trait demonstrated amongst proven professional musicians. Audiences (me included) have been catching some of his new material and taking well to it. Be sure and catch Kelly at T-Bone Tom’s this spring before heads out on his coast-to-coast CD release tour – Sound like perfect spring fever to me!

Simply Magic – Readers know I’ve been a long time fan of the open mic format, a space where musicians would intermix and collaborate making music that belonged exclusively to neither while reaching levels often way beyond either. So imagine my delight this month getting to listen to three nights of musical magic including the 15th Anniversary of Sherlocks with an acoustic jam of Pirate Radio, Obsolete August, and David Grace in a jam session that I can someday see happening at Darryl’s House; the ever eclectic & classy Cerebelus duo with Rachel Naomi Walker and Amando Vazquez bringing in Hank Wolfe on the kit & Dalton Wheeler playing lead at the Cock & Bull; and over-the-top mention to Michael Shanks Birthday throw down at the Cockeyed Seagull with Freddy Linton, Diamond Lou, James Shabarekh and Wood & Wind. The Michael Shanks throw down was extremely magical in that while the group’s members had played together over the years, they had never played together on the same stage at the same time until that night. This was the first time I got to hear the Shabarekh who once shared the stage with Shanks for the Misfit Toys. I had heard Diamond Lou once before at open mic at the old Heads & Tails and was blown away with his 12-string version of The Rain Song back then. This evening, Lou (who shares his life on a sailboat with his wife, Rachel) brought along a Marshall MG-15 amp that had to be mic’d. I’ve heard the 50 watt versions of this amp before and Geoff Fish’es 2 watt Marshall once before but this was the first time I’d ever heard the MG-15 played live. It took a bit of tweaking getting the board dialed in but WOW was it SWEET!!! Old school setup and fantastic sound of old – Bring me back, please… The music was so good this month, where the bands collective arranged talent and simply let it fly, that I think I’m tempted to make a special effort to catch shows featuring special guests. You should too…

This month, we caught up with some awesome Thursday night action starting down in Bacliff at Katie’s to catch The James Wilhite Band. Like so many before him, James has been busy putting together a new game in recent months and you can hear it through his music. That night, we stayed for an entire set listening to James, Matt Johnson on the kit, and Roger Tausz on bass cover all the genres of blues, funk, rock, soul with heart felt integrity, the type you simply can’t fake if you don’t have it. I’ve hear Matt play before with James and Genghis Orq which qualifies him as a known musical character out on the beat. Roger was new to these ears and was extremely pleasing with his big air skip note arpeggio bass runs. Bob tells me that Burt Wills is scheduled to stop by soon – We’ll have to keep our ears open for that on. Up the road, I was curious what kind of crowd the folks at Jackie’s Brickhouse was able to pack on a Thursday night and with Rat Ranch, it was a full house. Go figure…. Show after show, these guys bring along the sound to go with the songs that people need to hear – And it doesn’t matter if it’s a school night either. Up in the Lighthouse district, we stopped in to catch the open mic jam at Zone 504 with Mark Lum, Christian Weigand, Chris Piper and Yoshi trading strums and reinventing the classics with a crisp reggae sizzle. Mark Lum is an interesting singer with a gifted sense for what’s happening. I’m going to be curious when he starts writing songs about that new star in his life – You know it’ll be good…

We veered off the beat and squeezed into Chelsea’s when we heard Ryan Guidry was going to be playing. I first caught Ryan along with buddies Eric and Jon at the Clifton’s Music Festival and he’s going on strong still with the annual Discovery Green Fab 40 shows and several Baytown 4th of July shows opening for the like of the Marshall Tucker Band and Kansas – Not too shabby and yet to turn 40…. This was the first time Ryan’s played on this SCENE and hopefully, you’ll get to hear him again soon.

Flickball 2015 – Which would mean Superbowl at T-Bone Tom’s for this year’s 3rd Annual Flickball championship. The competition was extremely tight this year and hotly contested with Andy Alonso taking home the trophy. I’m glad I didn’t play Flickball with these cats when I was a kid, they were clearly capable of taking other’s lunch money. Well done to the staff at T-Bone Tom’s for once again, putting together a super fine season – Cheers!

It’s a Wrap – We were able relax after the hectic holidays, kick back, enjoy some splendid snow bird weather and take in some really fantastic live music with you, out and about on the SCENE in January. February should be a dandy as patio season approaches, the coats go back into the closets, and spring begins to tease. Be well and be healthy -- We’ll be out there with you, out on the SCENE!!!
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