Friday, May 15, 2015

The Caddo Sessions - June 13, 2015

If you know me and the music bug that's buzzed around my life for as long as I can remember, then you are aware of my tastes for different flavors. The only thing I've ever been able to compare it to is food as I like to mix things up like a chef in a kitchen just to see what it tastes like. And finally after so long of wanting to do this, I'm able to throw several dishes on the table mixed the way I've always wanted them to be and serve them to a small intimate crowd right here in downtown Tyler, Texas.

So what am I cooking? For years, we've thrown soul, blues and bluegrass around a campfire at Caddo Lake with close friends. This allowed me to expand on sounds that I was never able to experience within the guettos of South Dallas. But while doing this, that music bug would never leave me alone wanting me to add more to the flavor within those deep Caddo woods.

After twenty years of wondering what it would sound like, I'm happy to share with you something brand new that no one has ever done before on stage. We'll be adding soul to the sounds of bluegrass with David Brashier on dobro, David Burns on drums, my background vocalists and Nashville's own Chessboxer. Oh yea, I'm in there somewhere on harmonica and vocals.

Chessboxer is made up of fiddle player Ross Holmes who was recently on tour with Mumford and Sons, Matt Menefee on banjo and Royal Masat on upright bass. They will be joining me between concerts with Bruce Hornsby while performing in Dallas and then on to a show for Austin City Limits.

To purchase tickets, visit the link below:

Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children under twelve.

Liberty Hall is located at 110 W Erwin St, Tyler, TX 75702,-95.301229,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x8649ceb0ed72a89d:0x270d18140dd9d507

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Miss James Brown

In a state of Christmas fever like a little kid about to rip open his presents, I took all the boys to see the recent James Brown movie starring Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul himself.

As far as movies go, it was highly entertaining and wonderfully edited. Creating a bit of work for the audience while piecing different parts of James Brown’s life together, it produced an incredible colorful story from beginning to end.

But from all the highlights of his life, his influences, his shows and hardships, the movie slightly hinted at the most important part of James Brown and what he stood for. Perhaps Hollywood shied away from it due to their own views of America but the fact is that James Brown loved and stood for his country. A vital piece of information that really wasn’t showcased all that much in the movie.

James Brown was and will always be the symbolic poster child that proves anyone can make it in America if they work hard enough. As he was, as we all know, the hardest working man in show business. In 1969 and shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., James expressed his convictions on the Mike Douglass Show stating that a man should believe in himself and live by the sweat of his own brow. In his own words, staying true to your own convictions. A message that has become a memory with a society that now believes the world owes them something.

I find it interesting but not surprising that Hollywood left out something so significant as this. We all seem to be bombarded by the left as well as our own leadership feeding America and the rest of the world that we’re just not that great. And to prove my point, a popular video from HBO’s Newsroom featuring Jeff Daniels is making the rounds on the social sites these days as his character makes the claim to a room full of college kids that America is not great. I don’t know about you but I think I enjoyed him better in Dumb and Dumber. Seems to fit his current character even more so.

Even though Get On Up made small mention of it, it’s important to understand just how important James Brown was to America. Especially black America when he was called to Washington during the riots after the assignation of MLK. Speaking on live television, James Brown single handedly calmed down one of America’s most tragic moments in history speaking from his heart. 

“I guess you know I started as a shoeshine boy in Augusta, Georgia. I didn’t get a chance to finish the seventh grade. But I made it. I made it because you believed in me. Cause I had honesty. And dignity and sincere and I wanted to be somebody. That’s the reason today I talked to the kids. Tell them to stay in school and don’t be a dropout. Because if I hadn’t lucked up and through the will of good people, I wouldn’t be here. An education is the answer. Know what you’re talking about. Be qualified. Be ready. Know what you’re doing. You know in Augusta, Georgia, I used to shine shoes. On the steps of the radio station WRDDW. I think we started at three cents then went to five, six…never did get to a dime. But today, I own that radio station. You know what that is? That’s black power. Right here. It’s not in violence. It’s knowing what you’re talking about. Being ready. Now I say to you cause I’m you’re brother. I know where it’s at. I’ve been there. I’m not speaking from imagination but experience. Let’s live for our country. Let’s live for ourselves. Please go off the streets.”

My generation missed out on this thankfully. But for all of us who are now in our forties, I will ask you to think back to our youth and remember just how unsure we all were during the cold war. Most if not all of us had no idea what the cold war was but we knew that Russia had nuclear weapons and they were the enemy with their finger on the button. “The Russians have a bomb…we could all die any day.” – Prince


But out of all that fear, one man spit in the face of Russia and reminded us all that America is and will always be the greatest place in the world. Kind of makes you wonder where all that pride went. It sure isn’t with our current leadership. Perhaps America would have been better off if we had elected a man that spoke from his heart rather than a teleprompter.

Here’s to living in the greatest place on earth. Be proud of who you are and remember...

Livin' in America-eye to eye, station to station
Livin' in America-hand to hand,across the nation
Livin in America-got to have a celebration

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hey Dad...That would be a cool place to play.

When it comes to kids, they see everything. They approach life with eyes wide open so it was no surprise when my thirteen year old pointed out the stage at Bergfeld on our way to church. “Hey Dad…that would be a cool place to play…don’t you think?”

I’ve driven by Bergfeld a million times but have never given the stage a second glance really. So out of curiosity, I drove by on my way home one day, parked the truck and took a walk around the stage. Pleasantly surprised, our town has a really great stage and I don’t think anyone ever uses it.

Rolling the idea around in my head and then discussing it with Rose Festival folks, we
decided that a good way to celebrate the Strutters 75th anniversary would be to hold a concert at Bergfeld this year.

Now for some, you are all too aware of what a large production it is when I perform. Not that I’m a big deal, but I do have certain standards when it comes to equipment and not really knowing what the facility had to offer in the way of electrical, we contacted the city for further examination. And in doing so, we discovered that the stage at Bergfeld Park has enough power to run sound and lights for a Texas Stadium concert. And no, I’m not exaggerating as the Rolling Stones themselves could plug in and blow the water right out the seal fountain in our modest little park.

Learning this about Bergfeld, it made me realize just how many diamonds we have around here that no one really appreciates. I’ve been parked on the brick streets of College and University now for two years and every day I look around at what I believe could be the next Fort Worth. Buildings with incredible potential that are left empty and abandoned. My hats off to a couple of local guys for taking on the People’s Petroleum Building as it takes this kind of vision and attention to detail when you bring something like that to life again.

I had a conversation with a city councilman who received a call from someone who was barking at him about Tyler not having an outdoor venue for concerts. He calmly told them that we do but no one ever uses it. Forest for the trees I suppose.

So….on October 16th of this year, I’ll be bringing it like you’ve never imagined. In tow will be over a quarter of a million dollars in sound and lights which will exercise the power in Bergfeld and provide enough base to shake the leaves off the trees. Shouting from one of the prettiest parks in East Texas, I hope to showcase what no one really appreciates and open the eyes of Tyler to yet another diamond in the rough. And I hope that you will join me as we celebrate this park as well as the tireless efforts the Strutters put forth each year coordinating the Texas Rose Parade. It’s a great bunch of guys and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Oh...and did I mention it’s free?

See you in October. And yea Homer, that will be a cool place to play!