Austin Blues

I was singing the blues about this time last week when the holidays were over and I had to return home to Austin. I wasn’t mentally prepared in the slightest for alarm clocks and grocery stores and laundry and responsibility. But, I am delighted to report that my blue period over returning to the Live Music Capital of the World didn’t last long.

feature picasso old guitarist

I awakened the next morning and made a beeline for Tacodeli breakfast tacos which solved everything in a flash. BEING BACK HOME IN AUSTIN ROCKED! No place in the world does a breakfast taco like Austin Texas does the breakfast taco. DAMN I LOVE THIS TOWN. Spirits lifted.

I was still a little rusty on the regular routine however. I couldn’t remember what time Sophie started school, I missed the turn-in to pick her up, and I ate too many breakfast tacos too close to my Orangetheory workout class and almost lost my Bean Papas & Cheese (on corn) doing some vile Plankjack exercises.

But we muddled through the first week back with moderate success and topped it off with a very Austiny Austin weekend. Last night we joined some good friends at a venerable South Austin spot called The Whip In. The Whip In, located on the charming frontage road of I-35, is a package store meets brewpub, meets Indian food joint, meets live music venue. It’s a unique beast to be sure and beloved by old hippies and young hipsters alike.

But last night the slightly middle-aged parental people of West Austin swarmed The Whip In overtaking the hipsters and their super hoppy craft beers. We were like a seventeen-year cicada infestation, buzzing around in vast numbers to support Bryan Barksdale who was the performer last nigt. It was a blast. Bryan Barksdale is a friend of the good friends who invited us to join them. Great crowd, coolest spot in the world, good wine and beer. Tom and I shared the two specials of the day: The Elvis Double Meat Bacon Cheeseburger and the Spicy Chicken Curry. Odd culinary bedfellows to say the least but the unexpected blend matched the paradoxical tone of the overall evening.

Bryan Barksdale was fantastic! He covered two of my favorite Jerry Jeff songs, Jealous Lover and Little Bird. (See postscript added at the end of this post addressing the typo I just made.) He rocked Merle’s Rambling Fever as well as some Avett Brothers and others. Plus he kept the crowd in good spirits all night.

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We were having such fun that when it was time to go home we just couldn’t quite go all the way home. Thankfully one of the coolest Austin live music venues is just over 100 paces from our house. Literally, waking to C-Boys Heart and Soul is our Hundred Foot Journey. So we decided to pop in and catch a few songs by Jimmie Vaughan. Brother of Stevie Ray, mentor to Gary Clark Jr., and badass blues musician representing Old Austin in the here and now. Jimmie Vaughan was at C-Boys within a sandwedge from our driveway.

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jimmie vaughn at cboys

When you talk about having the blues in other cities, you may need to grab a prescription for Xanax. But just as there is bad cholestoral and good cholestoral, bad bacteria and good bacteria, trans fats and healthy fats, there are the bad blues and then, there are the good blues. Austin has the good blues. Has ‘em something fierce.

So now that we’re getting back into the groove, I’ll share what we are looking forward to in early 2016…

  • We are oddly fired up about an upcoming overnight to Dallas to visit The Travel & Adventure Show. As many of you know, Sophie (and frankly everyone in this family) is a bigtime fan of Rick Steves. So we are roadtripping up to a travel trade show in Dallas to hear him speak.
  • In February we’re taking Sophie to Lawrence Kansas to do a college visit at The University of Kansas and we are really really excited! Does anyone have any 8.5 women’s snow boots we could borrow? Apparently Kansas gets cold in February. Eek. But Lawrence sounds like a very cool college town so we’re all excited to see it. I’ve heard it described as “how Austin was in the 70s” and “the Berkeley of the Plains.” Right on. Rock Chalk Jayhawk. I have no clue what in the hell that means but I suppose we’ll learn when we go see a basketball game there.
  • Sophie and I are reprising our over-the-top-luckiest-people-in-the-world Spring Break strategy with another mother/daughter trip to Italy in March. This time we’ll be in Rome for a week. I am basically singing Dean Martin songs and Frank Sinatra songs 24-7 and google-imaging Roman pasta dishes around the clock. Beyond psyched.
  • Which leads me to address a question that I have been asked quite frequently of late, “Are you writing anything new?” Well I finally have an answer: YES. I am starting work on a third book which will be about…Italy! The art, the food, the faith….and the hilarity of being an American studying and visiting in Italia. Stay tuned for updates…
  • But I’m not just about the new book mind you….I am fired up to get back to my first two babies. PADDLEFISH and HONKY TONK DEBUTANTE are still for sale my friends! I look forward to speaking to more classes, book clubs, book stores, Rotary Clubs, women’s groups….you name it…in 2016. Shout at me if you are in an organization that needs a speaker because I love doing it.

As you can see, we’ve no time to be blue. But there’s always time for some good Austin blues. DO IT BLUE IN THE 512.

[Update to this post: In the comments section below you can see that loyal reader Bob correctly notes that I botched the title of one of my favorite Jerry Jeff songs. It’s Jaded Lover not Jealous Lover. Which I knew when I was singing along the other night….I am simply the queen of bloggy typos. I have decided to leave the mistake above instead of editing it because it accurately represents the post-holiday fog I am still in….Thanks for actually reading my posts Bob!!]

2 Comments on “Austin Blues

  1. Im sorry – this is going to sound bad at the start – please stay with me! Your Jerry Jeff favorites should shave said “Jaded Lover” not “Jealous Lover”. The thing that makes this funny is that I wanted to hear this song two days ago and I had to look it up (that’s the only reason I’m sure I’m right!) and I sang it all day when I went on a shooting adventure with my dad (think about it, darlin’) Your reentry into Austin sounds marvelous and just so you know, it’s now on my life list to go and enjoy Austin before I die. If you see me, you’d better catch me then!

  2. HAHAHA!! Yes, Bob you are absolutely correct. how has no one else caught that egregious error? THANK YOU. what can I say, my head is still not on straight in 2016. such a great song. now I have to go listen to it……

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