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

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