Blowin' Off Steamboat: The Aftermath
Early on the morning of the festival things were already buzzing at Freiheit Country Store. Tables were rearranged, outdoor lighting was restrung, things were being put into shape for this event and you could feel the anticipation for things to get rolling. Dave Jorgenson was kind enough to come in early and set up his sound system that he uses on the road, and he literally constructed a wall of sound that we were not expecting for the day. Dave, his lead guitarist Slim and rhythm guitar and vocalist Dawn were kind enough to run the sound all day and they did a fantastic job making everybody sound their best.
The first group of musicians which was Steven Vee, Kori Free, Fallon Franklin and Blake Powers arrived early and were kind enough to help Dave do sound checks so he could fine tune the sound system to Freiheit's great dance hall. Chris King was scheduled to join the first set at noon but was unable to due to time constraints. When the first set began; Blake, Fallon, Steven and Kori delivered some great songs to us. Fallon is among alumni of the television show America's Got Talent where she reached the top 25 contestents in 2007 and Blake Powers is an accomplished singer and songwriter on his own and joined Fallon (his cousin) to form the singing duo Blake and Fallon in 2002. They have released 4 albums together and sometimes perform as Blake and Fallon as well as a full band named The Boxers. They have a new self-titled album due out this spring. Steven and Kori have played together for several years, and Kori has been playing guitar in public since the age of 8, and it shows! Kori can be seen often playing on a custom cherry sunburst Epiphone Les Paul that was a gift from non-other than her idol Nancy Wilson of Heart whom she met after a few years of playing guitar. She first saw Nancy on an episode of CMT: Crossroad performing with her sister Ann Wilson in their band Heart. Kori began taking lessons from Steven at the age of 7; and quickly became fluent in blues. Steven retired after a 20 year career with the US Air Force and later worked as a district sales manager for Fender, Inc. Steven writes and performs many styles of music and performs solo, with Kori as a duo and Steve and Kori also perform in a full band known as The Groove Hounds.
Carol Cochran and Two Way Street took the stage at 1 and started cranking out an impressive big classic country sound on a wide variety of country favorites. Carol hosts karaoke night at Freiheit Country Store on most Friday nights throughout the year. I've witnessed the crowd that gathers for Carol's karaoke night and she really pulls in the people! Two Way Street consist of Clark Grein (lead guitar/vocals), Pat Nichols (bass guitar/vocals), Frutoso Balderas (drums/vocals) and Kim Hanney (steel guitar/keyboard/vocals). This band has been playing together for over 30 years and they can play an impressive variety of classic and contemporary country as well as classic rock. Carol often joins them to add a feminine touch to their vocals and you can tell she is at home on the stage.
Brian Keane, Jeremy Steding and Mike Ethan Messick were next up and were joined by guitarist Jason Mills of The Bad Intentions for the set. All 3 are very talented songwriters and performers and have many accomplishments to be proud of. Brian Keane was a founding member of The Band of Heathens, co-wrote "She Left Me For Jesus" with Hayes Carll (which was released by Hayes and won American Song of the Year in 2009), co-wrote "I'll Sing About Mine" with Adam Hood which has been recorded by Keane, Hood as well as Josh Abbott and has quickly become a favorite of many gaining significant airplay. Jeremy Steding has had multiple songs on the Texas Music Chart and has 3 albums under his belt including his last album "I Keep On Livin', But I Don't Learn" which was produced by Walt Wilkins. Mike Ethan Messick is a songwriting dynamo, and has had songs recorded by the likes of Roger Creager, The Trishas and more and also turns on the diversity switch as a well respected writer/blogger for Texas Music TV and he's the Gibson Austin Backroom Bootlegger (look these up, seriously you won't regret it).
Jordan Minor and the Bottom Dollar Band then came in for a full band set and sounded great delivering some of the great songs Jordan has written over the years. Jordan's band consisted of Slim Bawb on lap steel, Court Nance on lead guitar, Stan Little on upright bass and Tony Taylor on drums. Jordan won the "Student Songwriter of the Year" at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2006, and has gone on to perform in venues such as Gruene Hall and Cheatham Street Warehouse, but has also opened for the likes of Hayes Carll, Bruce Robison, Gurf Morlix, Chris Knight, Band of Heathens and others!
Kyle Reed, Court Nance, Tony Taylor and Jordan York are 4 local musicians that not only play in others bands, but also front bands of their own. Kyle Reed delivers powerful vocals and is a skilled guitarist and recently opened for Guy Clark at Sam's Burger Joint Music Hall. Court Nance plays a weekly residency on Monday nights at Tavern in the Gruene, and can often be found at numerous locations playing with other bands or doing his own show. Tony Taylor regularly plays happy hour at Tavern in the Gruene on Friday nights with Claire Cunningham, and like the other guys keeps busy filling in various positions in other bands. Tony can sit in on drums, lead guitar or pretty much any spot in most any band around and he knows the material of most of the local musicians. Jordan York not only plays full-time bass for Seth Candan, but is an amazing singer on his own.
B.J. Thibodeaux and Backwater Blvd is a New Braunfels based band that has a cool, bluesy, soulful feel but can at the same time rock the place. B.J. is backed up by James Thompson on lead guitar, Stan Little on bass and C.J. Gore on drums. This band plays original tunes that are fun and infectious and we'll definitely be seeing more of them.
Pitchfork is a roots rock and americana band that plays both original and cover tunes. Pitchfork front man J.R. Scott brings Fred Fechter on lead guitar, Rob Hankosky on bass and Frank Lewis on drums. This band is incredibly tight and well rehearsed and drew alot of questions and compliments Saturday since they've primarily played San Antonio bars and clubs up until recent semi-regular shows at Tavern in the Gruene and even a show last week with The Grackles at River Road Ice House. I would compare them to an early Ragweed or Reckless Kelly and wouldn't be surprised to see much more from them soon in our area.
Dave Jorgenson is a pure country band. He brought Slim Laurence on lead guitar, Ray Rios on bass and Randall Niemtschk on drums. Dave was also joined by Dawn Tietze on vocals for part of his set. He is clearly heavily influenced by some of the country music greats and plays many classic country hits as well as many of his own great originals.
Bryan Boyce, Steven Roloff are more local musicians that can hold their own as frontmen as well as play lead or rhythm guitar along with most anybody and deliver some great harmonies. Bryan and Steven were joined by Paul Rogers and percussion and John Doolittle on upright bass. These guys have clearly spent alot of time playing gigs and just jamming together because they clearly know each others songs and they can both play and sing in a variety of styles.
T-Bone and the Bluetones is a bluesy, jazzy and "funk infused" band that has a powerful lead guitar and lead vocals from Travis Wheeler, and Ruben Colon puts the t-bone in the Bluetones with his big, brassy sound and his vocals as well. Cameron Moreland plays is on bass and Jay Saldaña is on drums/vocals. This band packed a powerful punch and entertained the crowd and got them moving on the dance floor.
Walt Wilkins took the stage with just his cool voice and his cool guitar and blew us away with a set that could only be delivered by Walt himself. I've heard some great covers of Walt Wilkins tunes by many very talented people, but nobody does it like the man himself. I had narrowed down in my head a list of songs I really hoped he'd play, and almost as if he read my mind he handed them to us one at a time with an energy I've seen from him to much larger crowds with a full Mystiqueros band backing him up and his wonderful wife Tina by his side. Not only is Walt a highly accomplished songwriter, but when he plays that guitar and sings you just get drawn in and you feel the music in your soul. Before his set began he handed me a brand new CD titled Wildcatpie & The Great Walapateya which is an amazing assortment of Walt Wilkins classic, Mystiquero originals and Mystiquero favorites. When this is released you WILL want to buy a copy!
Britton Pyeatt, Justin Bravo and John Reynolds closed out the night with an acoustic set of Red Dirt Ramblers and Stoneface Cowboys tunes. Justin Bravo is the front man for the Red Dirt Ramblers are an "Americana-Rock Band" from Killeen, TX. John Reynolds is the front man for Stoneface Cowboys which is a "Cosmic Americana" band also from Killeen, TX. Britton Pyeatt is a part of a musical family with father Rodney Pyeatt who has played with Rick Trevino, Mike McClure, Stoney LaRue, Blacktop Gypsy, Houston Marchman and more and brother Mitchell Pyeatt who is currently the drummer for Midnight River Choir. Britton has songwriter credits on Midnight River Choir's debut album Welcome To Delirium.
As if the regular line up wasn't enough, we had an amazing local singer/songwriter Alli Mattice join us and play between sets. Alli was accompanied by Dave Clary on guitar and she played mandolin and sang originals by her father as well as some of her own songs plus a great number of covers that she delivers with confidence and great stage presence. Alli also plays piano/keyboard and guitar. I see a bright future for Alli!
Thank you to all the musicians, to Freiheit Country Store and the TX Citizen for helping make the Inaugural Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival a success!