Monday, December 5, 2011

El Toro and the High Road

I have been performing with Loran Cavano and the High Road for a while now.  It is a retro county rock thing and it has become very important to me.  Loran might call it something different, the genre or appropriate style of our music.  Some is cover material, but Loran writes a song or two that totally kills.  Our album comes out soon.

Loran is the band leader, and he chooses the set list while keeping things organized.  I am totally good with that.  I sure as hell don't want to manage anything other than what I have on my plate now, especially when it comes to art and/or expression.  As somebody very close to me most recently put it, "a little unwinding the tightly woven weave" might be in order.  Things have indeed been stressful.  This is my first post since September for Chistsake.  I have much, so much, to say moving forward. Why not?

So why no posts?  Hell, you try and keep up with it.  The writing is a journey of itself, like the music, the cycling, the business, relationships, everything, and I mean everything, is a journey.  Whe're we headed next?  Are we not already on our way?  Damn right we are.

Anyway, I stepped into the music thing to try and get back my harmonica playing roots from way back in Kansas and then later in Houston Texas, back when I was just dabbling with things musically.  I would get up on stage and play with a variety of folks.  Once with Melissa Etherage who was passing through McPherson Kansas at a place called Cooters. She was hot and not at all gay, that I can remember.  (Insert Seinfeld reference).  She was in a circuit band and I cannot remember the name for the life of me.  But they were from Atkinson Kansas.

I used to carry around a harmonica and play it in the car on the lonesome roads between Kansas towns.  I worked at a country club out in the middle of nowhere, and there was plenty of time to blow.  I had a 1977 Monte Carlo with swivel buckets.  It was 1982 and the movie, Urban Cowboy, had been out for a few years.  "Neo Country"  music was prevailing in that part of the world.  Best line of Urban Cowboy, btw:  "All cowboys ain't dumb. Some of 'em got smarts real good, like me".

Later, when I moved to Houston, I had enough skill to play an occasional blues song with a guy named, Joey Long.  He was a southern blues guy with a wicked guitar.  Robby Campbell played the bass and ironically enough, Robby co-wrote the song "Hello Texas" that Jimmy Buffet recorded for the Urban Cowboy soundtrack.  Joey Long and the Texas Brothers was their name and did the house banding at The Gin Mill. 

Another memory on this particular journey was that I went to a party at a joint called Grundy's with a girl that I truly was not interested in at all.  She left me at the bar to join the entourage of non-other than Mickey Gilley, who was buying drinks for everyone.  Yes, I got ditched but the story telling was fabulous.  Gilleys was in Pasadena.  I never stepped foot in that place.  There was a country line dance place on every corner in Houston.

I sucked at the harp back then, but Joey liked me and he always called me up on stage if he knew I was there, down in Southwest Houston Texas. It wasn't until I started playing at the Wolf some 25 years later, that I immersed myself in to the culture and learned very quickly how much work goes in to being a performer.  Now I seem to want more of it.
I got the buzz a long time ago but it didn't surface until now, I reckon.  I know it had something to do with playing the role of Elvis Presley in a school play when I was 12. I lip synced "Blue Suede Shoes" and totally friggin brought the house down.  Anybody could have been picked to play the part but, apparently, I fit role better than the others. I had always taken a particular interest in Elvis and I suppose I had the closest resemblance of any of my classmates.  My mom and sister helped me with my outfit and I practiced a lot in front of the mirror.  Elvis was on TV a lot of the time back then.  We are talkin 1974.  I remember the applause, the smiles and the energy that the performance gave the audience.  I never forgot that feeling.   
Music and performance became a part of me that night, in an auditorium with hanging basketball nets and closets filled with kickballs.  I sure am glad that happened. I am glad everything happens.  What a journey I am on.  We are all on one wild ride.  Sure am glad I have music.  We all need the music, ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout.  


Anonymous said...

I do remember that performance too. You were a good Elvis and I can picture in my mind's eye EXACTLY how you looked.


Anonymous said...

Yes bro, you rocked that Elvis