The Big Check

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Very pleased to announce we presented Lauren Clawson a really big check in the amount of $3,399.18 for Callen's Castle! This is one of many fundraisers they will need to raise the money needed to build Callen's Castle, but it's a nice start! Once again thank you to everybody involved in making this year's Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival a success, and that includes all of you because without live music fans in our area, there would be no music to tell you about! Keep supporting live music so we can continue to help make a difference in our community!

Read my recap of the 3rd Annual Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival

The Aftermath

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According to a Scottish proverb, of which I had no idea there was such a thing, the third time is a charm. It feels as though Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival has been charmed (or more appropriately blessed) from day one! We somehow managed to have (according to Weather Underground) 68 degrees and cloudy on January 19, 2013, 69 and sunny on January 18, 2014 and this past weekend we had 71 and partly cloudy. THIS IS NOT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA! Good weather isn't the only blessing we have received, we also happen to live in a town that has so much amazing musical talent that we have managed to stay with mostly first-time bands and solo artist each year with very few exceptions.

We continued the tradition of alternating between acoustic song swaps and full bands with a few bonus solo sets thrown in as well. Every performer brought their "A" game and I am very grateful that it all worked out so well. We opened the day with an acoustic set from local singer-songwrites Gerald Burns, Buddy Vargas and RC Sanders. Nick Rogers and The Randoms rocked the next set with a hard-driving electric trio that was surprisingly a band that had never played together before last week since Nick's regular band was unavailable for this event. From here we moved on to another singer-songwriter set with Scott Morgan, Caleb Boles and Manzy Lowry. Kori Free and Steven Vee of The Groove Hounds were up next to give us a taste of what is to come when they ramp back up their performance schedule next month which includes a Heart tribute show at The Brauntex Theatre on February 26th.

Carol Cochran and Two-Way Street do primarily tunes from all eras of popular country music, focusing primarily on the 50's through the 70's. Clark Grein has been playing with most of the members of Two-Way Street for around thirty years, so they have quite an extensive arsenal of songs at their disposal and they do them all very well. Alli Mattice was back with her big, beautiful, sultry voice along with David Clary and his highly skilled and somewhat animated guitar playing. Ashley Monical joined JJ Villarreal and Doug Garrett of the JJ Garrett Band for an acoustic set of both originals and covers. Folk and western songwriter Dennis Jay was up next armed with both his stirring originals and western standards. BJ Thibodeaux was kind enough to join us this year in place of Dave Jorgenson who unfortunately had to drop out after a death in the family. BJ also took over Dave's role running sound and providing our sound system for the day. Backwater BLVD was missing a lead guitarist, and thankfully Doug Garrett stepped up and did a fantastic job filling in for their set.

Alli and Dave stepped up for a second time while Zach Nytomt, Bo Brumble and Daniel Thomas Phipps set up for their acoustic song swap. All three are very skilled and entertaining songwriters that draw in a drown with both their songs and stage presence. Zach brought a fiddle player with him for a little extra depth, and he played along with Bo and Daniel's songs as well. Smoke Wagon was up next with their highly polished Texas country covers of bands such as Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers and MANY more. With a highly skilled 6 piece band including a fiddle, Smoke Wagon brings a sound that could be stacked up against many of the bands they are covering. I know for a fact that lead singer Jay Brown has songwriting chops, so I keep watching (and so should you) for some originals to start coming out of their camp too.

Dennis Jay took the stage while we prepared for our home stretch. Dennis has been writing cowboy anthems and western folk songs influenced by greats such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Gram Parsons, Lefty Frizzell and more for many years. K Phillips was up next by himself since Ryan Ready became sick the day before the event. K always amazes me, his songwriting is entertaining and his delivery is flawless. Apparently his genius has been noticed beyond the Wurstplex, as he was recently attending The Outlaw Roadshow (co-founded and produced by Adam Duritz of The Counting Crows) as a performer, when he found himself listening to one of HIS songs (Kat's Song) being performed live on stage by Adam Duritz himself. This was a collaboration between Nakia (Austin, TX) and Duritz.

The last two sets were both big, six piece bands. Poor J Brown is a great New Braunfels-based band with big instrumentation, great songwriting and wonderful stage presence and vocals with a bluesy, cajun-seasoned, southern rock feel. An interesting bit of trivia, a former lead singer of Poor J Brown (or Country-Fried Pickles at the time) just so happens to be Smoke Wagon lead singer Jay Brown. PJB has a lead guitar, keys/rhythm guitar, bass, drums and accordion. Yes, accordion! Devil's Hollow closed out the night with a huge sound of mostly blues with hints of influences from classic rock and even hints of latin. Justin Murray is lead singer and lead guitar when there are blues licks required, all the shredding is left to Nick Doe. Devil's Hollow throws keys and congas on top of a great four piece blues band and mixes it all into a big, tasty treat for your ears.

Aside from the beautiful weather, great music, great crowds and the best burger in New Braunfels, it was a pleasure to get to know Lauren and Colby Clawson and learn more about their journey into this noble task of raising money to build Callen's Castle, a park that is not only safe, but fun and mentally stimulating for kids of all abilities. I sincerely hope that the 3rd Annual Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival was a nice jump in the right direction for this project! Be sure to watch Music of New Braunfels for video clips of Blowin' Off Steamboat, and start preparing yourself for next year, there are plans in the works that could possibly pack more great music than ever before into one weekend.

3rd Annual Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival

One more in the books

Devil's Hollow closing the 3rd Annual Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival!
The 3rd Annual Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival is now behind us. I'll be posting some random thoughts, pictures, videos, etc as soon as I can get my brain to re-congeal. It was a GREAT day and let's just say we had a 3 year record number of people through the door for this event. As soon as I find out how much money we were able to raise for Callen's Castle I will definitely get that info back to you! I want to thank our sponsors, all the wonderful musicians who came and played our event that is still trying to work on a somewhat meager budget so we can maximize our donation to Callen's Castle, plus all of you that were able to make it out and enjoy some or all of the day with us, it was a very fulfilling day and we heard 12 hours of GREAT music. We admittedly ran behind on set times all day and that never got corrected, but I hope nobody minded too terribly and hopefully most people in attendance didn't even notice.

Watch for plenty of photos and video coming soon!



Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival - The Performers

Devil's Hollow - 10:30pm

Poor J Brown - 9pm

K Phillips & Ryan Ready

Smoke Wagon - 7pm

Zach Nytomt, Bo Brumble & Daniel Thomas Phipps - 6pm

BJ Thibodeaux & Backwater BLVD - 5pm

JJ Villrreal, Ashley Monical & Doug Garrett - 4pm

Carol Cochran & Two-Way Street - 3pm

Caleb Boles, Scott Morgan & Manzy Lowry - 2pm

The Relatives - 1pm

Gerald Burns, Buddy Vargas & RC Sanders - NOON

Special performances all day by Alli Mattice, Kori Free, Dennis Jay and MORE!


An Old Fashioned Castle Raisin'

by Nick Rogers, TX Citizen

There is something about personal tragedy that propels some people forward to the beneļ¬t of others.

In 2012, Lauren and Colby Clawson lost their infant son, Callen. Today, the couple wants to provide a haven for children and adults with disabilities.

Lauren had developed complications while pregnant, and oxygen was cutoff to Callen, causing brain damage. The prognosis was not good.

“The doctors weren’t expecting him to live,” she said. “He made it through birth and stayed in the NICU for about a month. The doctors thought he wouldn’t be able to do anything other than lie there, unable to eat or move.”

But neither the parents nor Callen were ready to give in.

“We were very fortunate to have the therapist we had, who worked with him weekly while I worked with him daily,” Lauren said. “He got to where he could roll over and hold his head up and eating from a bottle.”

Despite Callen’s enormous progress, there were, in the end, too many problems to overcome.“

His brain damage caused him to have seizures,” Lauren said. “At about 5 a.m. one morning, he had a seizure and asphyxiated. He passed away.”

The Clawson’s moment of clarity came after Callen’s funeral in Round Rock.

“My sister took me to the Play All-Abilities Park in Round Rock, where we saw a 4-year-old playing with a child who had Downs Syndrome,” Lauren said. “Never once did that 4-year-old see any difference between them. To those two kids, they were just superheroes out to save the world. It was amazing to see. My husband and I agreed that this park was something we need to do.”

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Wade Bowen's National TV Debut on Conan

Photo courtesy Will Knaak
[press release]

Last night, Wade Bowen made his national TV debut on Conan, adding another milestone to a remarkable list of accomplishments since the release of his self-titled album late last year.

Watch him perform "When I Woke Up Today" here.

The biggest independent release of his career, Bowen's self-titled album has, in many ways, surpassed the success of his last major label release, climbing to #2 on the iTunes country chart and already topping 1 million plays on Spotify.

"When I Woke Up Today" has also been added to rotation on SiriusXM's The Highway, adding national momentum behind the single, which spent several weeks at #1 on the Texas Music Chart.

Bowen's new album marks a true breakthrough for his music, both artistically and professionally. "On all my earlier records, I think I felt like I had something to prove. On this album, I threw all of that out the window," he says. "I felt like I needed to hit the reset button. That's what this record feels like - the start of the next phase of my career. It was nice to make music for the right reasons and just to have fun with it. Hopefully people will enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it."

A household name in his native Texas, Bowen's renewed songwriting approach has resounded with a wide audience, earning him new fans around the country. Critics have taken notice, too.

Highlighting a track from the album in NPR Music's "Songs We Love" feature, critic Ann Powers said, "Bowen's calm delivery is perfectly reflective, framed by gentle guitar lines in a sideways motion, like rain on a moving windshield."

Billboard praised the album as "some of Bowen's most potent lyrical work to date." Rolling Stone called it "that rare personal project with universal appeal," while PopMatters recommended the album for "any fan of true country music from Bakersfield to Nashville."

Wade Bowen will continue to tour in support of the album throughout 2015. See below for a list of upcoming dates, with more TBA.

1/15 - Cedar Park, TX @ Wild West
1/16 - Kingsville, TX @ JK Northway Coliseum
1/23 - San Angelo, TX @ Midnight Rodeo
1/24 - Lubbock, TX @ Wild West
1/30 - Tyler, TX @ Coaches and Cowboys
1/31 - Waco, TX @ Wild West
2/6 - College Station, TX @ Hurricane Harry's
2/13 - Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
2/14 - Houston, TX @ House of Blues
2/19 - Wichita Falls, TX @ Denim and Diamons
2/21 - Stillwater, OK @ Tumbleweed Dancehall
2/27 - Navasota, TX @ Texas Birthday Bash
2/28 - Nacogdoches, TX @ Banita Creek
3/26 - Fort Worth, TX @ Billy Bob's
3/27 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Wormy Dog
3/28 - Abilene, TX @ Outlaws and Legends Fest
4/9 - Lubbock, TX @ Lubbock Lights (TTU Campus)
4/10 - Bossier City, LA @ The Stage at Silver Star
4/11 - Marshall, TX @ Davis Farm
4/18 - San Antonio, TX @ Fiesta Oyster Bake
4/24 - Mesquite, TX @ Mesquite Real Texas Festival
4/25 - Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom
5/23 - Sarepta, LA @ Muddy Bottoms ATV Park
6/26 - 6/28 - New York, NY @ FarmBorough 2015

Mary Chapin Carpenter coming to Brauntex Theatre

Brauntex Theatre just announced the Mary Chapin Carpenter will be performing live on Sunday, March 29, 2015! Tickets will go on sale this coming Monday, January 12.

Blowin' Off Steamboat Music Festival 3

You might start seeing this poster pop up around New Braunfels, that's because we're less than 2 weeks away from Blowin' Off Steamboat at Freiheit Country Store, click the poster for more information!

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