Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Tradition of Music Continues

Clay Failla plays drums while Mitch White belts out one of his outstanding originals.
Our weekly jam session still rocks every Friday night.  Beginning our fourth year, we now hold it at the Filling Station Diner in downtown Navasota. It's still the unpredictable blend of all kinds of LIVE music, and we still refer to it as the "box of chocolates." Because you never know what you're going to get!

During football season attendance wanes a little, but the musicians are committed to gathering every week.

In the past few years, we have attracted artists from all over the region, and especially those from the Bryan - College Station area. Randy Pavlock, Tubee Pushee, Chris Puente, Mik Finn and even Ezra Charles of Houston once drove up and jammed with us. Some of our original jammers three years ago ended up forming the Brazos Mudcats and getting gigs!

We are fortunate enough to have a veteran professional performer, Misslette the Singing Cowgirl, to serve as the director of the jam, which operates in a round-robin system. Misslette can do it all, from her classic country and western songs to gospel to blues. She is a cross between a band director, music tutor, spiritual mentor and den mother! She has a few rules that we live by, but they are reasonable and easy to embrace, and the progress in the musicians has been very exciting.

 Mitch White owns the diner, which he shuts down for the jam. He has turned out to be one HECK of a picker and songwriter.

It is a family friendly event, and there is no smoking allowed inside. You can bring your own food or beverages if you wish. This is Dave Webster showing off his new little girl... who thinks he is the best picker there! I'm not sure anybody would argue with her either!

Jason, Doug Taylor of the Fathers of Texas, and Chris Puente, of the Old Bridge Rhythm Band.
We start at 6:30 and play for at least four hours... or until we all fall on our face. It is Country, pop, blues, rock 'n roll, even some Gospel. Young, old, and a bunch of the middle, but we don't pay attention to these kinds of things.

But I gotta say, we LOVE young people, and want to encourage young adult musicians, by providing them a place to learn their craft and grow.  This is Navasota's own Robert Herrera and Saul Garcia, who have some really great songs.

There turns out to be a bunch of talent right here in the Blues Capital of Texas! Musicians and music lovers are all welcome. It's FREE and fun and downright inspiring! 

You're missin' out!

Ezra Charles Gets Down in FLAMES!

It was all part of the act. Ezra Charles thrilled us when he came to our jam session at Blues Alley a couple of years ago and made a major impression. We have been hoping to see him at the Navasota Blues Fest ever since. After his concert in April in downtown Navasota during our Mance Lipscomb birthday celebration, he finally got his chance at Blues Fest, and he did not let us down.

Charles brought along an all-star brass trio of fabulous young girls that could actually match him on the stage and an excellent electric guitar player to make his sound POSSESS the Grimes County Expo Center during his performance Saturday night... everybody around me agree it was one of the best in the event.

I was dog tired after days of sleepless nights getting ready for the various shows and events... and then he WOKE MY MIND. I don't have a pic, but at the end of his set his piano shot flames four feet in the air. With him blasting, those girls rocking and blowing, and those flames licking I had trouble ever going to sleep after that.

And that was just one of many GREAT shows featured at the 18th Annual Navasota Blues Fest. And for the record, the thing has been AIR- CONDITIONED FOR 18 YEARS. IT'S SO COLD IN THAT HALL THAT EZRA BROUGHT HIS OWN HEATER.

Thanks to my brother Reynolds for sending me this pic from his cell phone.

Local Musicans Kick-Off the Navasota BluesFest Weekend...

It was a packed house at Mallett Brothers for our third Blues Capital Revue.
After a couple of years of financial debacles promoting local musicians, we at Blues Alley took a little time off this year. ..

But Lo and behold, the local musicians did not want the two year “tradition” to stop, so Misslette the Singing Cowgirl got everybody together and made a wonderful event at Mallett Brothers BBQ, to kick off the 18th Annual Navasota Blues Fest with some local talent… And it was a smash!
The loyal Navasota public filled up the place, leaving standing room only. This just made Bert and I glad we finally got out of the way. Thanks again to Mallet Brothers for hosting this event, which meant a lot to everyone. And thanks Misslette for never, never, never giving up, no matter how much I try to convince you otherwise.

If you missed it, you really missed a glowing moment of Navasota history.

For the first time in my experience, we got several of our excellent local recording artists on the same stage, often playing together. I’m pretty sure Misslette was in cowgirl heaven, with such stellar musicians backing her. She genuinely loves these musicians and Thursday night they loved her back. Several years of jams led by her at Blues Alley, the VFW hall, and now at the Filling Station have successfully sewn the music community together, and it was a sight to see. And a privilege to hear.

Here are a few highlights!
WOW! A whole string of local stars, a veritable constellation of elation, shows the best of our musicians in their best combined effort ever.Misslette, Randy Pavlock, (Clay on drums but out of sight), Chris Puente on stand up bass and Tubie Pushee help bring Misslette’s Down Home Blues home to Navasota.
Musicians filled in between the sets… so there was little down time, as Robert Herrera and Saul Garcia, high school-aged artists, showed what a promising future our music community has. Everybody was impressed with them…this is the kind of fun we have every Friday night at the Filling Station Diner in downtown.
Dave and Sasha Webster blew everybody away with their powerful vocals and haunting deliveries, that kept everybody nodding and smiling and ready for another song. These two could go on the road, but God we would miss them. And with a brand new baby, maybe we can hold on to them a little longer!

Probably the biggest hit of the night was Nick Baca’s original rockabilly-roller anthems. We had met him just a few weeks ago, but what a find! He brought the house down, with the help of Jason Shive’s electric guitar licks. Both of these artists played original songs, and their energy and enthusiasm were very easy on the ears.

The biggest, most pleasant SURPRISE of the night was when local restaurateur Mitch White took the stage and convincingly performed a couple of riveting original songs that should be recorded. Everybody knows Mitch, but nobody but those of us at the jam session at his restaurant, knew what talent he has been hiding. This was his public debut, and he ROCKED! Yeah, I’m kinda proud of all this… Then I even got to sing a few songs.

Thanks to Steve Seymour, we can say that KEITH RICHARDS WAS THERE, IN THE FLESH!
Planning a possible tour of the west coast, the Old Bridge Rhythm Band brought their arsenal of folk ways and played without any microphones. The crowd quieted down and they were well rewarded. Maybe someday they will manufacture electric SAWS for music, but in the meantime, Erin leaves everyone spell bound with her blade.

Still young and full of surprises, blues-rocker Randy Pavlock showed up with his acoustic guitar and Will Rose, his favorite acoustic bass player, proving his versatility and creativity in a given venue. What came out was a veteran performer, still growing and still making great music. Check out the signatures on that guitar!

Last but never least were Tubie and the Touchtones, led by Tubie Pushee who once again demonstrated why he is the undisputed dean of Navasota musicians. When asked about his participation, he committed himself and all his resource to the event, which, in typical Tubie style, meant loaning his drums, and oh yeah, Clay HIS DRUMMER, for the whole event. He has never been part of a problem, and always been a part of the solution whenever I’ve been around him. But he’s not just a great guy… nor his band members, but top professional musicians whole can lay it all down and give you a memory.

Thanks to all the musicians who made this possible, especially to Misslette, who pulled it all together. And for those who came out, thanks for supporting LIVE MUSIC in Navasota!