Blowin' Off Steamboat 2: Aftermathier

The rule of sequels is just a suggestion, we shattered it on the floor at Freiheit Country Store and luckily the pieces vaporized so nobody had to clean up the mess. I was so grateful that we were able to turn this great day of music and fun into a benefit for the New Braunfels Puppy Playland. Just for the sake of the music this would have been rewarding enough, but the fact that we were able to use this day to help give something back to the community makes it one for the books. This is the second time we've turned an otherwise mundane third Saturday in January into something way cooler, and I'm still grateful and in shock to be a part of it. This year much like last year, we ran a mix of acoustic song swaps and full band shows all day from noon to midnight, but we shifted it into a higher gear for the last few hours of the night. Tom Gillam's Kosmic Messengers and the Aaron Stephens band closed us out for the night with ultra high energy, rockin' sets.

Every part of yesterday was great, we had almost non-stop music between our indoor and outdoor stages. Wes Nickson, Haley Cole, Austin Gilliam and Anthony Mustaca kicked it off outside with an unplugged acoustic set at the picnic tables while we put the finishing touches on the 2 stages. Slim Bawb came in unmasked, but soon fixed that as he laid down his cool, signature swampy groove, and was followed by a set from a young band of sisters TBA (Tristan, Brittney and Aubrey), then we had a song swap outside with Chris King, Mike Ethan Messick and Jeremy Steding. There was then 2 full-band sets in a row with a high-energy rock-inspired country set from the very unique group The Hillbilly Jug Band, followed by Alli Mattice and her beautiful who were back this year to carry us through set changes. Meanwhile, The Captain Legendary Band took the stage and brought the afternoon to an energetic apex with their unique blend of roots rock and all things southern.

Megan Ford sang us a few beautiful songs while the next song swap with Scott Morgan, Jordan Minor, James Pardo and B.J. Thibodeaux set up. Alli Mattice came back while Carol Cochran and 2-Way Street set up for a set of classic country w/a mix of classic rock from a flawless, highly skilled band that has been playing together for well over 30 years. Alli Mattice returned and entertained the crowd as The Groove Hounds loaded in for a set that shows just how much this band has grown throughout 2013. It's hard to believe that 3 of the 4 members of this band aren't over 17 years old, but they've been well mentored by seasoned veteran Steve Heffelfinger who usually plays acoustic rhythm guitar in the band, but was bringing the funk on the electric bass at Blowin' Off Steamboat. Local songwriter and regular open-mic host at the PourHaus Jon Magill then joined the ALWAYS entertaining Al Barlow and Paul McLaughlin for an hour of singin', pickin' and story tellin'. Al is a songwriting marvel and has written some amazingly humorous tunes over the years, and has played with some of the greats such as Robert Earl Keen and Terri Hendrix. Paul McLaughlin is a multi-instrumentalist that can pick a guitar like nobody's business. He has honed his craft for years with various bands, one in particular that stood out to me was Paul's time as a member of Jerry Reed's band.

This brought us to 9pm, when Tom Gillam's Kosmic Messengers cranked it up to 11 and held it there with a great mix of Tom's wonderful original tunes and a few classic rock favorites. Between Tom's astounding vocals, and Tom and David Spencer's dual-lead guitars shredding their amazing set into tasty morsels of musical delight for everyone's ears, this is clearly what Tom Gillam was put on this earth to do. Tom and the Kosmic Messengers are currently playing Wednesday nights at Gruene Hall, and Tom is the host of the morning show w/Misty Malone on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, as well as host of his Sunday night Kosmic Power Hour show that can both be heard on 92.1fm KNBT Radio New Braunfels. Alli Mattice came back for her final set of the evening while Aaron Stephens band prepared to wrap us up for the evening. I can't say enough about Aaron Stephens, but I'm going to try to keep this as brief as possible. WOW. Aaron typically has shared lead guitar duties with Rio Tripiano, but with Rio off at a prior engagement, Aaron took "soul" responsibility for leads, and this really highlighted just how talented a guitarist he truly is. Aaron and the band ended up playing for about 2 and a half hours by the time the after party ended, and he NEVER lost a beat. B.J. Thibodeaux ran sound for us on both stages all day, but he still had the energy to belt out a soul stirring rendition of Bill Whithers' "Use Me" with Aaron and band backing him at around 12:45. Aaron is in his early 20's and attending his final year at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX., and he and his band are currently playing a Wednesday night residency at Billy's Ice.

Thank you to Hippy Gypsy, Rambling Gypsy Productions and M&S Engineering for your generous sponsorships. Thank you to the TX Citizen for a great partnership that has made this possible. Thank you to my friends B.J. Thibodeaux and Steve and all those that helped by donating time and/or equipment to help make all the moving parts work smoothly. Thank you to Freiheit Country Store for hosting our shenanigans, and a special thank you to those of you that made it out and joined us, we hope to see even more of you for our 3rd annual show in 2015!

2nd Annual Blowin' Off Steamboat

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