Felkers Fro, Topless Sorority Girls, and a big middle finger to KOMA

It was about time someone shaved that thing off of Evan Felker's head, but much like the sword in the stone, only one man was up to the task of removing all that foliage.


I'm not saying I wouldn't let him cut my hair (especially since I'm lacking in that department) but I wouldn't let him cut MY hair.  He can produce the hell out of whatever he wants, but I've seen him wield a machete with less than surgical precision...

However, Felker is no Sampson and Mac is definitely no Delilah.  The Troubadours provided a few hours of unadulterated crock and roll for the fine folks of Tecumseh, fro or no fro.  They're salty as the flats and tighter than a highwire and it doesn't take a genius to realize these cats deserve every bit of the ridiculously good press and awards and recognition and buzz-chat that they get.  We Damn Quails opened up the gig with a slightly pared down full band...only 7 guys on stage this time.  Which brings me to my next point.

I have desperately missed playing electric guitar.  The first year Gabe and I started this whole duo fiasco, we played somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 acoustic shows...and 2 electric shows.  We're doing our best to tip the scales the other direction this next year though, and I've got to say that I've never had the pleasure of picking and grinning with so many insanely over-the-top talented guys.  It's a marvel to behold from my little corner of the stage.

So, in the spirit of getting back into the electric swing of things, we took Dan the Van on his second trip to Stillwater for an electric show at the College Bar last Tuesday.  Dan's road legs are getting officially worked in as we've put on just over 1000 miles in the past few weeks.  Still, there is one fatal flaw in the design of our lovable, mid-90's GMC Safari: No CD Player.  We got a tape deck though, but good luck finding anything other than Conway Twitty and Kenny Rogers tapes at truck stops.  They don't carry Tom Waits tapes anymore.  Due to this lack of tunes, we decided to kick the radio dial over to 92.5 and see what kinds of delicious oldies we could come up with to make the drive more pleasant.  As it turns out, the music played on KOMA has seriously changed in the last 10 years since I've actually listened to the radio.  It seems they've gone to a strictly Eagles/Eddie Money/Eagles/Captain and Tenille/MORE EAGLES kind of rotation instead of the really good music that has existed for the past 50-60 years.  So, I decided to do something I haven't done in almost a decade...I called the request line to a radio show and talked to the icon himself:  Mr. Danny Williams.  I was almost certain my first request would garner a "nice tune!" or something of the like from Danny Williams, followed by a prompt spinning of Leon Russel's "Alcatraz" and much joy and rockin' by everyone in the van.  Instead I got a hard "Nope.  We don't play any Leon here".

No Leon Russel.  At an Oklahoma based station that plays the best of the 60's, 70's, and what little there was to choose from in the 80's.  NONE.  Much to my dismay, I threw out my safety pick.  "How 'bout some "Blueberry Hill" then, Danny?  "No, we don't go back NEAR that far."  An oldies station doesn't play one of the most rockin' duple-type piano songs from the immortal Fats Domino in 1956, or Elvis Presley in 1957, or Little Richard in 1958, or Bill Haley and His Comets in 1960. 

Disgusting.  It's not Danny's fault, but someone should wring the necks of whoever is programming KOMA these days and remind them that the Eagles weren't the only band to create music in the past 60 years, and not everything that's old is lame.  Guess it was time for KOMA to get hip to the vibe of the ridiculous crap that's played on most other commercial radio stations...the lamest of the lame of anything that was extremely popular and nothing else.  But I digress...

The first time we played here (College Bar in case you got lost in my KOMA tirade) the crowd was huge and we had them eating out of the palm of our sweaty, grubby, musician hands.  This time, the crowd was huge but we had to forcefully tie on a feed bag to get them to eat...until the booze kicked in about midnight, that is.  College Bar is one of those places that reminds me a lot of the Deli.  They have cheap beer, strong shots, live music, and a smokey "just smoked a pack without ever lighting one up" vibe.  I love it.  Not to mention the tables and tables of sorority girls out for a night on the town.

About halfway through the second set, we decided a freebie T-shirt might get things moving on the merch front as there was not a lot of interest due to the high content of frat boys that were annoying just about every piece of tail in the joint.  So, after turning around and tossing a ladies small like a wedding bouquet, I turned around just in time to see one of said sorority girls taking off the shirt she'd worn into the bar to change into her brand new, slightly too small Damn Quails shirt.

And the frat boys were instantly converted to lifelong DQ fans.  See you at the show...


There's Definitely Something in the Water

For a colorblind man, packing for a trip is generally a wild guessing game resulting in a conglomeration of clashing pastels and oddly patterned button up nightmares.  Lucky for me, there's no real shower to speak of a the Something in the Water Festival at the White Wolf Trading Post in Regency, Texas.

But there is a river.   And snakes.  And some of the most down to earth folks in Texas.

Since a change of clothes was optional, it didn't take long to load up the van.  For this particular little jaunt to the Lone Star State, we  traveled with guitars, a tent, sleeping bags, a few guitars, harps, cables, tuners, picks, strings, things, etc., not to mention two singer/songwriters, a harp player, and my sister.  The joke gets better.

Straight line winds made it tough to navigate as Dan the Damn Quails Van was constantly being shoved towards the median like a big white brick cruising down the highway.  However, hats off to GMC for a van that rides like a big comfy boat on still water.  (Heh...Stillwater)  The Safari is the pinnacle of the 1993 Passenger Vans, and even still has ashtrays for smoking convenience. And it's got red shag, which makes me feel like I'm driving a mobile 70's porno set that's rocketing towards Texas.  We got lost in a shady part of Fort Worth trying to find the 377 South loop and ended up passing what appeared to be a crack junky in the middle of a great binge wearing a black leather poncho, carrying an assortment of sticks into a condemned apartment complex and smiling like he'd just been saved.  Then there was a wrong turn at the Japanese Festival!!! and a mere 5 hours later, we were more or less isolated in the glory of Regency, Texas.

It was 30 minutes to the nearest anything and a true sight to behold.  Regency is home to one of the oldest and only wooden suspension bridges left in Texas.  It was mostly raised by hand nearly a hundred years ago on top of land that was once home to a slew of Native Americans for centuries before the white man ever set foot south of the Red River.  The White Wolf Trading Post is nestled in Regency, Texas and home to Alton and Sue Watson, some of the honest-to-God nicest folks in the history of nice folks.  Not to mention the fact that they're both terrific musicians and songwriters and more hospitable than a hospital...by far. 

Regency Routine (or, The Gospel According to Regency)

Wake up (if you've been to bed) to a Texas Sunsise
Saunter (or stumble) to the trading post and say hey to the folks that are still up.
Pour a cup of coffee, a bloody mary, and eat some eggs and sausage.
Play music.
Repeat Process.

We got the pleasure of watching some of our longtime favorite songwriters as well as a host of new friends.  Skinner rocked it, as per usual.  Susan Herndon is always a pleasure to watch, especially when she's swapping songs with Tiny.  The Real Bill Williams was much better than the fake.  Alton and Sue sound like a couple that's been singing together for more years than I've been alive.  Shelly Phelps and John Randolph are always amazing, and Joel Melton is as crazy as ever in sobriety and sounding as good as I've ever heard.

All in all, another successful trip to Texas for a band that's on the way to doing a whole lot more gigs where the stars and bright and whatnot.  If you're in Fort Worth, hit up Spencer's Corner on a Monday night for our good buddy Mike McClure's Monday Night of Manly Musicianship.  We'll be back there soon.  And if you're in San Saba County, go to the White Wolf Trading Post and talk to Alton and Sue for a while.  It can change your entire perspective.  Until next time, folks.   See you at the show.