Thursday, December 18, 2008

Twenty-four Hours Before Winter Time

The Tim and Bob Show returned to Patty Lou's for a pre-Christmas gig on Sunday, December 14. As it turned out, it was a pre-winter gig as well. Less than 24 hours after the daytime performance ended. temperatures had dropped more than 40 degrees!

I'm sure it wasn't anything we said!

As usual, Patty Lou's was warm and inviting for us. There were plenty of folks there throughout the time we played, and they were responsive and appreciative. Some of them even took home CDs as really cool Christmas presents. We played most of our holiday material, along with our usual mix of originals and covers. Kathy's version of "Santa Baby" got a good reception, as did our four-parters.

Tim and Bob National Casey showed up for pancakes and tunes. We also made some new friends.

We'll be back to Patty Lou to usher in the New Year, as we have in the past. It's fun to go there; it's like being at home -- except someone else washes the dishes!

Tell us what YOU think!

Oh and you can buy our CD by clicking HERE

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tim and Bob Invade Atascosa County!!!!!!!!!

Okay, that might be hyperbole, but on Sunday, December 7th, we did celebrate Kathy's birthday by performing our first ever gig south of San Antonio, at Drive Bar and Grill. This new establishment is part of the Yards complex on Route 16 about four miles south of Rte 1604 on the way to Poteet.

Darin and Ashley were our hosts, although Darin felt a bit under the weather and left it all to his able sister. Drive is a great location and features good service and exceptional food. I had the penne and sausage special, Mary Lou had the black bean lasagna recommended to her by our friend Dana, Steve had the pulled pork sandwich, while Kathy's birthday treat was the asiago chicken. Great stuff.

We set up inside and prepared to play for what turned out to be a small but very enthusiastic crowd. The highlight for all of us was when Kathy sang "Crazy." As we have done on occasion, Mary Lou and I celebrated our absence from the bandstand by dancing together. This time we were joined by some patrons. Fun stuff.

By the end of the evening, we had made some new friends, and had what we all agreed was one of our most fun gigs in recent memory.

After reading all this, I'll bet you're sorry you weren't there. Don't worry, I get the feeling that The Tim and Bob Show will be returning to Drive in the new year. Look for us when we do. You'll enjoy the friendliness, the comfort, the great food and service and, of course, the music!

Tell us what YOU think!

Oh and you can buy our CD by clicking HERE

Sunday, November 30, 2008

One Day -- TWO Gigs!

Wow! What a great way to round out a Thanksgiving weekend. Steve and Kathy got back from New Jersey Friday evening, we had a quick practice, a good meal, and made plans for Saturday.

On Saturday morning we met with our Official Band Photographer, Casey, and carpooled to downtown San Antonio to play at the Houston Street Fair. Our gig was at 1 o'clock. We set up in Alamo Plaza with the North Wall of the Alamo at our backs. We played a combination of Christmas music and songs from our CD. The crowd was friendly, and Rudy, the chief organizer, asked us back, so we must have done well. We even sold a couple of CDs, and met some new friends, Greg and Lupe. Oh, and thanks to Dana of The Lewis and Clark Expedition for dropping our name in Rudy's ear.

After a quiet afternoon that featured a nap or two, we were off to our evening gig. We were returning to WineStyles in Stone Oak, for the second of what we hope will become regular "last Saturday" gigs. The breeze that kept us cool in the afternoon, was chilling everyone by evening, so we set up inside this wonderful emporium. We featured our entire Christmas repertoire, which has grown from four to 13 songs since last year, and -- of course -- we played and sang the songs that our fans have come to enjoy so much. Tim and Bob Nationals Leigh-Anne, Beth and Matt were there along with Loretta, Toni and Malcolm, and Twyla and John. All in all, a tiring but wonderful day.

Tell us what YOU think!

Oh and you can buy our CD by clicking HERE

Monday, November 17, 2008

Of Lightshows, Birthdays, and Loss

This was an up-and-down weekend for The Tim and Bob Show. On November 14, we had a rare Friday night gig at Fralo’s Art of Pizza in Leon Springs. It’s always fun playing this outdoor venue. Patrons are seated in the patio sheltered by beautiful Live Oak trees. We were pleased that the cold weather wasn’t going to arrive until later that evening after the cold front had blown through. What we WEREN’T prepared for was the effect of that front arriving.

Even before the gig had begun we had some concerns about the wind. After we had completed our sound check and before our first song, a huge gust blew over my music and mike stands. We were playing our 2nd or 3rd song when one of our speakers blew over. Luckily, the speaker fell against a plastic chair. Also luckily, Matt and Bethany, and Sandy and his family were there to rush to help put the speaker upright. Most lucky was the fact that nobody was in its path. We lowered the height of both speakers and soldiered on. And, at time, it did seem like war. Every time a vehicle drove into or out of the dirt parking lot, we were pelted by dust and grit. But the patrons were enjoying the pizza and the music, so we kept playing.

Midway through the second set came the light show. The buffeting winds must have dislodged a power-line on the other side of the freeway and, when that line collided with another “live-wire,” we were all treated to a huge blast of thunder and light. There was only a momentary interruption in our playing, though, and we carried on. This happened two more times over the course of about 30 minutes until the management came out an informed us that a dish-washer had just received an electric shock. We were advised to shut down and we did.

Not so many dancing children as we would have liked, but still plenty of attention from the very generous patrons that Fralo’s attracts. In addition to Tim and Bobber’s Matt and Bethany, Sandy, Bobbie, and Katie weathered [literally] the storm. Our new friend, Dick, also dropped by. As we loaded up our dirt-encrusted gear, Steve and I were able to console ourselves that we had finally experienced a pyrotechnic lightshow similar to those enjoyed in the 1970s by many of the bands we cover.

On Sunday, we returned to Patty Lou’s to play at our other “good luck” establishment. We played there on New Years Day 2007 and 2008, and both years were filled with good fortune for the band. I was a little stunned to realize that we hadn’t played there since January, but everyone there was glad to see us. Patty Lou is a special friend to the band, and a friend to live music in San Antonio. We couldn’t wait to get going.

We’d cut out a lot of our raucous stuff – since it was Sunday brunch and indoors – but Steve and I managed to do some jamming and improvising in the key of E on 3 separate occasions. Very self-indulgent, that’s true, but very enjoyable none-the-less.

Casey showed up, as well as Wendy and her friend, and we made a new friend in Mabel. We also had a fantastic brunch, and were treated to some “home made” cake courtesy of the good Patty Lou herself. Why? Because it was somebody’s birthday. Okay, so it was MY birthday. I’m now 62, and still playing rock ‘n roll. We can’t wait to get back to Patty Lou’s. What a wonderful place to spend a Sunday.

Finally, there’s some somber news related to this past weekend. On Saturday evening, we learned that Sam Emerson had passed away at Methodist Hospital here in San Antonio. Sam packed a tremendous amount of love and living into his 24 years. He’s been special to all of us as part of the Young Adult Group that Steve and I facilitate in church, and his mom, Karen, authored and played the beautiful flute solo on our song “It Ends, It Begins.” Sam’s presence and his amazingly therapeutic hugs have been a source of strength, comfort, and love to each of us in the band. He’ll be missed, but he’ll be inside of us forever.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Orderup, Where the Party Never Ends

What is it about Orderup? I mean, we know they have great food. We know they have great wait-staff. But why does it almost always seem like a party when we play there? We don’t know, but we’re not complaining.

Friday, November 7 marked our return to San Antonio’s favorite taco/hamburger/pizza place. We’re regulars there now, and we have many fans who wait for our arrival to come out and see us. This was certainly the case on Friday when Tim and Bob Nationals Pam, June, and Bill returned to their favorite Tim and Bob venue. Once again, we had a good mixture of ages, from small children to my age (!). The common bond throughout was a desire to have good food and good fun. We think we delivered. Thanks to our new friends, Diana, Heather, and Steve for making it a night to remember for us.

We couldn’t stop talking about how much fun we had as the four of us retired to our house for some wine, cheese, and conversation. It really IS good to be in a rock ‘n roll band!

Tell us what YOU think!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No Trick; All Treat

The Tim and Bob Show celebrated Halloween by hanging out under the sheltering oak trees at Beto’s Comida Latina. It was our second gig there during the month of October. We had just found out that we were selected the Texas Music Coalition’s Artist of the Year for 2008, so we were all pretty upbeat. At Kathy’s suggestion, we went in costume – each of us was an “m” – and we showed how “in character” we were by playing sweet music all evening.

Veteran Tim and Bob Nationals Beth, Matt, Patricia, Joe, and Ellen were there to help us celebrate, and we responded with three hours of frighteningly good music, including an extra-scary version of “Monster Mash.” Before we knew it the evening had slipped by, as has the busiest month ever in the 3+ year history of The Tim and Bob Show. In 2008 we were voted San Antonio’s best cover band by the readers of the San Antonio Current, we recorded and released our new CD Take It Outside, and now this recognition from the Texas Music Coalition. We are thrilled and more than a bit stunned by these events – and there’s still two more months until 2009!

What could possibly happen next?

Tell us what YOU think!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Hits Just Keep On Coming

So, how do The Tim and Bob Show follow our CD release party? How does the week that follows NOT be an emotional or professional letdown? I don't know, but somehow, the week after the debut of Take It Outside was even more eventful than the week of. How is this possible? Don't ask us; we're just hanging on.

On Thursday we got a call from Patrice at The Texas Music Coalition letting us know that we had been selected as the Coalition's "Artist of the Year" for 2008. To say we were stunned was putting it mildly. We're proud members of the organization, and even put their logo on our new CD, but we certainly didn't expect this. Having said that, we're NOT demanding a recount. We weren't able to collect the award in person, though, and we'll get to why in a bit.

On Friday we returned to Orderup at the Colonnade for our monthly gig there. It was a fun night, and it was great to play without the pressure of getting ready for CD release day. Casey and Roberta were the representatives of Tim and Bob Nation attending, and we made some new friends as well.

Saturday? Well, we couldn't attend the TMC awards function Saturday night because we were having our first gig at WineStyles at Stone Oak. The owners, Jerry and Jean, like to provide live music on the patio outside their beautiful wine emporium. We played from 7:45 until 10:15 there for their customers, as well as for customers of the nearby Italian restaurant and assorted passers-by. The evening was lovely and the audience was great. Tim and Bob Nationals Beth and Matt showed up, as well as the Offutt's who we hadn't seen in quite a long time. They hung out until the bitter end and bought our new CD before they left. At the finish, Steve and I were so hyped, that we jammed for a few minutes just for our own satisfaction. At some point, Steve invited Matt to borrow his guitar and take a few choruses. Great stuff, and I bet we have some pictures (click here) of the event to prove it.

We're looking forward to returning to both these establishments next month, and for many months to come. We're also looking forward to collecting our award. Once we do, we'll have some pictures of that as well.

After the events of the last two weeks, what could possibly be next for The Tim and Bob Show? I don't know, but when it happens, you'll be able to read about it here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

CD Release Party Review

Well, after months of planning, we introduced our CD to the world on Saturday, October 18, at Casbeers at the Church in San Antonio's historic King William District. It was our first time to play at this venue, although Mary Lou, Kathy, and I are very familiar with the location, having performed there many times when it was the Alamo Street Restaurant and Theater.

We were on the patio, and the weather was magnificent. It was clear and the temperatures were moderate, although the sun was full in our eyes for most of the first set and we could only see shapes in front of us. We designed the gig list to intersperse all 14 songs on the CD with our favorite covers. There was a good crowd to start with, and it stayed pretty much full for the duration.

The list of Tim and Bob Nationals who attended is long and distinguished, and we're going to name them all. Before we do, though, we want to thank "The Blue Team" who helped wrangle the CDs and manage their sale. Bethany, Matt, Casey, and Marcelo did the honors. They hung in from start to finish and even helped us break down. They all got a free CD and a free meal in thanks.

In addition to new friends, David and wife, Marcelo's friend Presley, some great folks from Pet Pals of Texas, and some folks who dropped by after reading Jim Beal's recommendation, here's the Tim and Bob Nationals who attended: Rich; Rodney; Roberta; Nikki & Lee from PrimaDonna Productions; Peggy; Carole and Glen; Meg, Karl, Liam, & Lindsay; Gary; Joe; Ron [The Sweet Music Man] and Rhonda ; Michaele; Keith & family; Marcie & John; Chris & Teresa; John-Michael & Katy; "Doctor Dave" and Linda; Kacey and Krissie; Vicki and Linda [YAY PET PALS!]; Jerry and Mary Ellen, and Teresa and her Little Sister. Wow! That was a bunch.

A special shout out for Mark and Barb who were also there for the duration. Mark took some great pictures of the event, and we'll be posting them very soon.

Well, we sold some CDs and we made some music, and we didn't run out of either. You'll be able to get a bunch of live and recorded music from us at lots of venues all over town for the remainder of the year and beyond.

Watch the newspapers and your email in-basket for details.

Click here to buy our CD

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wow! What a Weekend

While the band is in steady countdown mode towards our CD release party [Saturday, 10/18, 5-8, Casbeers at the Church], we’re still playing gigs at our favorite venues. Columbus Day weekend featured our return to two great outdoor establishments. On Friday night we played at Beto’s Comida Latina for our first of two visits there this month. The weather was noticeably cooler than recently, and it’s late enough in the year for Steve not to have to begin playing with the sun in his eyes. We were under attack by some swaying fronds, but that was a minimal nuisance.

We got fantastic audience response at Beto’s, and not only in terms of applause and generous tips. After we started our second set with “South Texas Saturday Night,” someone shouted out, “Who does that song?” When we replied that it was our song, and that we had written it, he replied, “That’s a GREAT song.” Thanks! [again]. With us on the night were Tim and Bob Nationals Beth and Matt, Katie and Jackson [AKA Chris], Marcelo,Cathie, Marguerite and Peter, and Joe and Patricia. The latter couple introduced us to a new friend, Earnest.

On Sunday we returned to Fralo’s Art of Pizza, where it all began for us more than three years ago. Our last gig there was cancelled due to rain, so it had been a good three or four months since we’d traveled out to Leon Springs for the best pizza in Bexar County. Once again we played to a patio filled with people enjoying eating and drinking shaded by the live oak trees that inspired the lyrics to “South Texas Saturday Night.” Like the audience at Beto’s two nights previous, there were some folks out to have a seriously good time. Our special thanks go out to Birthday Girl Maggie and her fellow medical students “studying for a test” as well as Page and his date for refusing to let us quit on time. In addition to singing the Beatles’ “Birthday” for Maggie, we also wound up doing EIGHT extra songs just to keep them happy [and justify their generous tips].

Once again we were graced by Beth and Matt, Katie and Chris [AKA Jackson], and Cathie. Elizabeth also dropped by with her friend, and we made new friends with Liz and Bob who’ve just moved from Mexico City.

It was a tiring weekend, but man is it fun playing for people who enjoy what you’re giving them. And now it’s on to Casbeers and selling some CDs!

Tell us what YOU think!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

The first weekend of October was a busy one, as all weeks will be this month. The first two of eight October gigs were on October 4 and 5, as The Tim and Bob Show played Saturday night at a very comfortable and familiar indoor venue – Water Street Oyster Bar – and then set up on Sunday morning to play at a gig at a new outdoor venue at noon.

Water Street was fun as usual. We had great food – Mary Lou and I favored the Oyster PoBoys, Kathy had the shrimp enchiladas, and Steve had a roasted chicken breast sandwich. We had lots of folks up in the loft with us, including dancing children [Landon and Ashlyn]. We enjoyed their company and their appreciation of our music. We also enjoyed the applause from our unseen listeners downstairs. And we got to sing The Beatles’ “Birthday” for Danielle who was celebrating with her parents. It was a great night for us, and more was to come.

On Sunday we all drove downtown to San Antonio’s world famous El Mercado. We were to be part of Taste of San Antonio, a music and food festival honoring the diversity of San Antonio’s heritage and the food that goes along with it. The festival ran the entire weekend, with four stages operating, and food stands spread out along the wide walkways. We were to open the festivities on the Museo de San Antonio steps. The crowds were smaller than they would be later on in the day, but there were plenty of people to listen to us. We decided to feature the womenfolk as much as possible, so all but two of the songs we played had them either singing or playing percussion. After almost a full hour of playing, we relinquished the stage to the next group, broke down our equipment, walked a good three blocks to our cars, and then returned to sample the great food available. After tacos, and marinated mushrooms, and shrimp cocktail, and other seriously tasty treats, Mary Lou and I topped it off with a huge lemon-flavored agua fresca. What fun.

With a special shout out to Casey who took photographs, handed out business cards, and helped us tote, and to Oscar, who was our “sound guy for the day,” here’s hoping that we’re invited back again next year.

Tell us what YOU think!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

September 30, 2008 – an Afternoon Visit to Core Media

It has been a long time since I last blogged about the recording of The Tim and Bob Show’s new CD Take It Outside. There’s a reason for this. Once principle recording, mixing, and mastering had been accomplished at Mandala Music, there wasn’t much for we band members to do, other than make plans for the CD’s release, try to drum up some advanced sales, finalize the cover design and art, and – most importantly – get some extra gigs to help pay the bills!

On Tuesday afternoon [what a great name for a song!], Kathy, Steve, and I met at Core Media to take delivery of our baby – precisely 960 copies of our offspring, that is. And it’s beautiful. The cover art is quirky and colorful and representative of the CD, its contents, and the band that produced it. All the important people have been thanked and attributed, and everything is spelled correctly. All the times are where they should be, and – after I cracked open a copy and played it on my stereo – I can attest to the fact that it sounds very good.

The CD is what we all had hoped it would be from the start:
1. It sounds like us [only richer and smoother].
2. It reflects the variety of the music we perform.
3. It takes advantage of the vocal and instrumental strengths of each member.
4. It gives no evidence of anything close to a “typical Feinstein/Hymel song.”
5. It shows that we can write songs as well as we can sing them.

And so we picked up the CDs. We’re developing a list of folks who get a free copy – for either contributing to the creation of the CD, being one of our regular performing venues, or for promotional purposes. The list is fairly long, but I expect that, once the Christmas buying season has ended, we’ll still have a CD or two boxed up and waiting in our spare bedroom.

There will be a CD release party, of course. It’ll be at Casbeers at the Church – the new location for one of San Antonio’s signature music venues. We’ll be on the patio from 5 until 8 on Saturday, October 18. On the day, we’ll be selling the CD for $2 off the usual $15 price. Additionally, for each CD we sell, we’ll be contributing money to Pet Pals of Texas, a charity that has become sort of our personal favorite. Just like we promote each of our gigs, we’re promoting this one. We’ve already done a lot of flier passing-out here in town, and there’ll be advance gig alerts as well as the weekly regular one. All of this is fine if you’re local, but we’re well aware that we’ve got friends all over the country and, in my case, in several countries as well [thanks to my soccer addiction]. So we’ve developed a way to order the CD in advance of the release date for the same reduced price [and the same contribution to Pet Pals].

In addition to the CD release party, we’ll be appearing on local radio and television programs. If there are any video or audio links, we’ll connect our fans to them. We’ll also be linking the CD to various national and international radio sites. We don’t know how to do this, of course. That’s why we have PrimaDonna Productions to assist us. Finally, we’re developing a PayPal link, as well as CD sales through the CD-baby web site. The CD [and individual songs from it] will also be available through iTunes. It’s a strange new world out there for your humble correspondent!

So, how can you get in on buying a copy of our brilliant child? Watch your email in-box for details. Can’t wait? Contact Don HERE and I’ll give you specific information. I’ll also be writing an article for with all the necessary links once the CD release party is history. And every person any of the four of us has ever known or ever chatted with on line or on the telephone will be given every opportunity to buy this gem. Trust me; it’s one of the benefits of being part of Tim and Bob Nation!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Good Fun at Pillar Bluff!

The last weekend of September was one of those rare occasions in which The Tim and Bob Show were NOT performing in San Antonio. This was not because we weren't wanted. It was because where we were MOST wanted was in Lampasas, Texas, two hours north of San Antonio and right, smack in the middle of Central Texas wine country.

Late Saturday morning, we loaded up our rented mini-van with all our music equipment, snacks, and our cross-word puzzle book for the trip up US281 to Lampasas. It was a great day for a drive. The weather was warm, but not overly humid. The skies were clear, and we never tired of the trees and fields. Although all of us had crossed the Pedernales River over the big bridge at Marble Falls many times before, we still were struck with what a beautiful introduction to a city this vista is.

We were headed a few miles north of that river to play at Pillar Bluff Vineyards, a place we'd discovered on a rare weekend off last fall. This would be our second gig there, and we were looking forward to reconnecting with Gill and Peggy, and seeing some of the fine folks that we'd met in the Spring. This time Gill had turned over the premises to the Girl Scouts of America -- at least the Central Texas branch of them.

This was a fundraiser replete with silent auctions and announcements and testimonials and tributes. Of special interest to us was an organization associated with GSA that consisted of women who were successful in business and professional careers acting as mentors for young girls. And because the fundraiser was at Pillar Bluff, there was the usual great food and amazing wine to go along with it. We enjoyed both.

We also did some performing. It was nice to actually see people dancing out there -- "Crazy" was a particular favorite -- and we saw a lot of seated folks bopping along to our upbeat numbers like "Mustang Sally," "Rocking Pneumonia," and "Locomotion." We debuted three new songs for the event, America's "Daisy Jane" with Steve and Kathy doing the vocals, as well as four-part versions of America's "Don't Cross the River" and The Beatles' "Let it Be." We can't wait to perform these for our San Antonio Tim and Bob Nationals as well.

By eight o'clock we were all finished and breaking down our equipment for the drive home. We left with full tummies from the good food laid on for the occasion, the thanks of the Central Texas Girl Scout leadership, and the warm good wishes of our hosts at Pillar Bluff. Oh, and we also left with some seriously tasty Girl Scout cookies!

What's next? Well, October is going to be the busiest month ever for The Tim and Bob Show. Between October 4 and 31, we'll be performing EIGHT times at seven different venues -- three of them brand new to us. There'll be our usual gig alerts for each of them, but we want to give you a heads up for Saturday, October 18. Our new CD, Take It Outside, will be released that date, and we'll be playing at Casbeers at the Church in the King William District. This will be the first time anyone will be able to buy the CD, and we'll celebrate that by (a) selling each CD at a$2.00 discount and (b) donating a portion of each sale to our friends at Pet Pals of Texas.

So, start mapping out your October calendar of events. Check out our upcoming gigs page for the dates, times, and places of all our October doings.

Tell us what YOU think!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More Orderup Means More Partying!

I don't know what it is about the Colonnade location of this great venue, but once again it felt less like we were background music for food and drink, and more like we were in the middle of a extremely fun party.

When we started the ages of our audience members were parents in their late 20s with their children as young as six or seven. By the time we finished, our fans -- and by this time they all seemed to be our fans -- ranged from those in their early 20s to those ALMOST as old as me! And everyone seemed to enjoy the music.

Once again, we began the evening with our original song, "South Texas Saturday Night," and finished it with "Bye-bye Love." In between there were lots of good songs, including the debuts of two Beatles songs -- "We Can Work It Out," and a four-part version of "Let It Be" with Kathy singing lead. Both songs turned out great, and the new four-parters led to requests for even more. As it turned out, we sang 8 of these -- including two we hadn't planned on. Seems the folks liked our sound so much they wouldn't let us go without "Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin'."

How much fun did our audience have? Well, they even applauded our original tune designed to remind people that they should tip their wait staff. Not bad. Two hours flew by, and we celebrated by chatting with some of the customers while noshing down on Orderup's fantastic hand-crafted ice cream. Yum.

Veteran Tim and Bob Nationals Bethany and Matt dropped by as did John-Michael with his friend Katy. Larry, Sam(antha) and Frank were there, and we made new friends in June and Bill, Louie, and Jorge. June told us that she'd had a bad day at work and that our music made her feel much better. I can't think of a better payment for two hours of work than hearing that from a very happy lady.

Tell us what YOU think!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Spares SA; Tim & Bob Rock Beto's

Well, San Antonio appears to have been spared the considerable wrath of Hurricane Ike. While our neighbors to the east are feeling the full brunt, we here in the Alamo City have bright sunshine and a heavier than usual breeze. The hurricane did cost The Tim and Bob Show a convention gig on the Riverwalk on Saturday, the 13th, but our Friday night gig at Beto's was still on. With only half the playing time we had anticipated this weekend, we were determined to give it everything we had.

We changed our usual routine and gave the "girls" more of the spotlight. Instead of our usual two four-parters per set, we scheduled three of them for a total of nine. They seemed to really go over with our crowd. And, speaking of our crowd, we were pleased to see Anna -- briefly in town on a break from her nursing duties in Seattle -- and her sisters Julia and Christina. Julia's friend Cameron also came along. It was great to see the sisters again, and Anna is one of our favorite people in the world.

While it had been a while since we'd seen Anna, the reverse was true for John and Dejah. They had only been enlisted into Tim and Bob Nation a week ago at Rio de Vino, but they came back for more and brought their friends Brian and Jackie. Another returning pair from last weekend -- this time from our Saturday gig at Water Street Oyster Bar -- were Sandy and Steve, who brought their friend Dave along to listen. Finally, Kathy's co-worker Roberta showed up to spend some time with us. All-in-all, our new friends and old significantly swelled the crowd.

Almost before we knew it, it was 10 o'clock, time to break down, get home, and wait in our individual homes for the effects of the hurricane that decided to spend the weekend somewhere else.

Tell us what YOU think!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Venue + Old Venue = 7 Hours of Tim and Bob

No, this isn’t the beginning of a math problem, it’s a very brief recap of our first weekend in September. But, since I’m not really into BRIEF recaps … .

On Friday, September 5, we played our first ever gig at Rio de Vino. We’ve been patrons of this establishment since they opened late last year as a small wine shop at the corner of Babcock and Wurzbach. Since then, they’ve expanded their operations to include a restaurant and wine bar, and – thankfully for us – they are one of San Antonio’s most recent live music venues. It was difficult finding an open date for both us and them, but we “had a match” for this first Friday.

We came ready to play for four hours on their covered patio. The humidity had dropped considerably, and there was a nice breeze blowing, so weather was not a negative factor. It’s been a while since that’s been the case for an outdoor gig. Veteran Tim and Bob Nationals Bethany and Matt dropped in, as did John and Mary and their friends, Ben and Cassie. Jerry and Mary Ellen showed up for more than one song this time, and over the course of the evening we recruited new friends Carol, Alex & Doug, Ryan & Angela, and Dejah & John. We’d like to thank Dejah and John for dancing to “Lady In Red” and to Carol and Alex for dancing to everything!

By the end of the evening, we all felt quite at home and thanked those who hung out for most of the four hours. We told Tom and Lori how much fun we had at their place; we’re hoping to find some more mutual openings again real soon. Whether we’re there or not, however, we encourage all of Tim and Bob Nation to try out Rio de Vino. It’s a great place to go for incredible food and an outstanding selection of wine.

The next evening we visited Water Street Oyster Bar on Broadway and Basse. It was the first Saturday of the month, and that seems to have turned into our regular opportunity to set up and play in their cozy night-club like loft. We had plenty of diners throughout the evening, as well as some folks who came upstairs after dining to have a drink or dessert and to listen to the music. Among the folks who came to listen and enjoy were our friend Chris and HIS friend Teresa, Rod, and Jim and Neesie.

As usual, the folks at Water Street made us feel welcome and served up fantastic sea food. We like playing here because it gives us an opportunity to do our more “mellow” stuff, especially Kathy’s show tunes.

Well, one two-gig weekend down, and we’ve got another one this coming weekend. Ah, the price of fame!

Tell us what YOU think!

Sunday, August 31, 2008


The Tim and Bob Show performed at Beto's Comida Latina on August 29th for the second time in a calendar month. It is NOT our usual practice to play any one location more than one time a month, but hey, there were five Fridays in August and ... who ya gonna call?

We knew it was going to be a good night when we were unloading our gear and one of Beto's outstanding wait staff said, "You guys are a sight for sore eyes." Any night that begins with that comment and ends with the manager telling us "people love you" has to be a great night. And so it was.

Sure we had some drizzle now and again in the evening, but the net covering over Beto's patio kept us mostly dry, and the occasional raindrop on the back of the neck helped cool things off. What was important is that we helped the people in attendance enjoy their evening. That's what we always want to do.

Tim and Bob Nationals Bethany, Matt, and Rodney showed up, and we were glad to see them. I know we made some new friends, and the ones we appreciated the most were the children. Kathy ran up a "special Beto's edition" of The Tim and Bob Show Coloring Book for the occasion, and I know that this made a lot of kids very happy. Occasionally, they abandoned their artwork to get up in front of the band and dance, and I know that this made US very happy.

We debuted one song. Mary Lou sang "This Wheel's On Fire," a bluesy UK hit from the early 70s by Julie Driscoll and the Brian Auger Trinity, and we played a few songs from our soon-to-be-released CD Take It Outside. By the end of the evening, we were all exhausted, but very happy. Off we went to Steve and Kathy's house for wine, cheese, and conversation.

The Beto's gig was the first gig of what is now our fourth year as a performing entity. August 28, 2005 was the date of our very first gig. We're pleased to still be rocking, and we're pleased that people still come out to hear us and are generous with their appreciation for the work we do.

Tell us what YOU think!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Session 9: Beginnings, Endings, Mileposts

Tuesday, August 19, was our last in-studio work with Mandala Music. We had already gone through multiple listenings, tightenings, and revisings. This was to be our last night to get out the ratchet-head wrenches and screwdrivers and tighten everything down – or would that be “tighten everything up?” We started the session an hour later than scheduled, and with a bit of trepidation. Our mini-drought was over and the rains were upon us. Bearing in mind the difficulties of recording during adverse weather conditions, we were more than aware that August 30th – our target date to have acquired the much-sought-after Gold Master – was fast approaching. We were comforted by Bett telling us that the leaks are in the recording portion, but not the engineering portion of the studio.

There were two notable changes on the evening. First was the temperature. At 79 degrees, it was 20 degrees cooler than our usual drive-time temperature for these sessions. The other change was that we brought no musical instruments with us. Recording was essentially over. It was mixing and mastering time now. Our job in the studio was to listen, discuss, and communicate suggestions to Joël in an effort to get just the sound we wanted. Over the next 2½ hours, we reviewed the most recent versions of all 13 of the songs we worked on at Mandala. Concerned as we are with all things vocal, most of our comments dealt with the mix of voices with voices, and voices with guitars. For each song it was, “Can you bring up this track here?” and “Can you adjust this vocal track so that it blends better with this one?” By this time, though, most of the major stuff was over. As usual, the notes that we took on previous versions and that we had communicated to Joël in advance, kept our studio time down. By 9:30 we had all done our best, and were heading out the door into San Antonio’s latest light show.

Joël and Bett had said they’d provide a pre-master mix for us to peruse early the next week. For those of you who haven’t been through this process, “mixing” is the art of taking all the individual tracks of a particular song, and putting them together with the right blend of instruments and voices. A well-mixed song won’t have any instrument buried under a vocalist, nor will it have a vocal harmony track over-driving a vocal melody track. In addition to his technical skills, the producer needs to use his ear to detect any flaws. Being a jazz musician by trade, Joël’s ear is excellent. Being married to a singer, Joël’s concern about vocal quality is also second nature. This makes mixing an art and a science. Joël preferred that he do this without an audience, and we concurred.

Mastering a song is a different matter. The process is far too technical for me to even pretend to keep track of, but the result is that the pointy bits get smoother, the extreme highs and lows get mellowed, and the instrumentation and vocals each get emphasized but not at the expense of the other. The two modifiers I heard most were “sweetening” and “fattening” – as in “the guitars will be fatter” and “we’ll sweeten the vocal mix.”

As it turned out, Joël went ahead and provided us a mastered copy on Wednesday the 27th. I made copies and we all listened. We agreed with Joël that there needed to be one final tweaking of “Crazy Love,” and we did this over the phone from Steve and Kathy’s house, just before we familiarized ourselves with the songs we’ll be playing at Beto’s on Friday evening. Once we get a call from Bett that the “Gold Master” is ready, we’ll pick it up in the usual “kidnap ransom” manner, and that will mark the end of our association with Bett and Joël and Mandala Music. It’s been quite a ride, and we’ve really gotten to like and admire the talents of these two folks. What next?

Well, Core Media Inc. begins their contribution to our CD. They get the final master from Mandala, press it, and put it together with the cover and insert art and verbiage package … . Um … er … what? You mean I’ve been doing this diary all this time and I never mentioned the LOOK of the CD? Well, if that’s the case, it is beyond time to introduce Nikki Young and PrimaDonna Productions.

Kathy, Mary Lou, and I know Nikki from our theatrical exploits and, most recently, through her association with the Texas Music Coalition (TMC). Nikki has been helpful to us almost from the start of the group – from making friendly suggestions to developing our promotional packaging. We decided early on that PrimaDonna was the best company to handle not only the look of our CD, but also the promotion of it. While all of the recording was going on over at Mandala, Chadd and Lee worked on graphics, art, and content, while Nikki made connections through TMC to find us a venue for our CD release party, and avenues for us to promote the CD. As is the case with Mandala, we’re down to the last few details with PrimaDonna. Once we’ve got everything properly attributed, once all the lyrics are correct and the thank-you section is to our liking, once the art is exactly right, they also pass along their product to Core Media.

As for Core Media, we were pleased to discover that we had a production company right here in San Antonio. This allows us to pick up product at the source rather than having stuff shipped to us. These are also local guys and gals who, like us, are TMC members. We’re very pleased that every individual who contributed to this CD belong to this organization.

Meanwhile? Well, we keep playing. We need to. Cutting a CD to our exacting standards is expensive. It has basically taken every penny we’ve earned as a group – that hadn’t already been spent on equipment upgrades – to finance this endeavor. While Core Media combine the contributions of Mandala Music, PrimaDonna Productions and, of course, The Tim and Bob Show, we keep doing what we do. We can’t announce the date and venue of the CD release party – not all t’s have been crossed – but we’re looking at mid-October. I can tell you that the party will also be a fundraiser for Pet Pals of Texas, one of our favorite charities, and that people who attend that function will get a two-dollar [never-to-be-repeated] discount on CDs purchased. I can also tell you that the CD will go on general release the next day. All the band members will provide their mailing lists the link to order the CD on line, as well as the iTunes information for those of you who don’t care how beautiful our cover is!

So, the “beginning” in the title refers to the work Core Media will do over the next month or so. The “ending” deals with the culmination of the much-appreciated efforts of Mandala Music and PrimaDonna Productions. The “milepost?” Well, Wednesday, August 27, is the third anniversary of our first paid gig as The Tim and Bob Show, at Fralo’s Art of Pizza in Leon Springs. We had barely 30 songs in what we laughingly called “our repertoire” – we’ve over 160 songs now – and Steve and I hadn’t even discussed the possibility of writing a song together. We only got the gig because Kathy decided that we needed to stop TALKING about playing in public and actually DOING IT. Since that time, we’ve played over 100 gigs all over South Texas and, venues and audiences willing, we’ll be doing it for a long time to come.

Monday, August 18, 2008

There's a Party Goin' on 'Round Here

Well, that's certainly how it seemed Friday night at Orderup. We always enjoy playing the Colonnade venue, and we're always content with our role as diversion or distraction. After all, their good food is what gets folks in the door there. We're not sure what made Friday so unusual, but almost from the beginning, we got fantastic audience reaction. By the time we had finished our last number, Orderup felt like the site of a private party -- thrown in our honor. Thank goodness we sounded great on the night!

We did have some Tim and Bob Nationals in the house, of course: Muriel and Irv, Bethany, Matt, Hillary, Casey, Pam, The Other Don, Dave, and John-Michael. But we also made a lot of new friends - Jill, Ora, Pat, and Jim and Charlene. We were especially happy to see Jessica and John who came to Orderup after discovering us at a different venue earlier in the month. Finally, we wound up playing one more number than we had planned when friend and fellow musician Jerry Bailey and his wife Mary Ellen came in the door just as we finished our last song. What a ride! All four of us had a wonderful time performing for this great bunch of people. That's what it's all about for us.

Note: Sunday's gig at Fralo's became our first gig in a very long time to be canceled for weather. We had everything all set up and were munching away on their amazing pizza when the rains came down. It eased up for a short while as we packed everything away, but just as the clock hit 6:30 -- our start time -- it started raining harder again. Well, at least some children were entertained by our Tim and Bob Show/Fralo's Art of Pizza coloring books. Thanks especially to Katlyn and Audrey (and their parents, of course) for donating their artwork to us. Finally, as if anyone needed any more proof just how small the world is, just as we were getting ready to drive home in the rain, Steve and Kathy were stopped by an attractive young woman named Molly. As it turned out, Molly was Steve and Kathy's twin girls first babysitter. Molly's family had moved to Denver and everyone gradually lost track of each other. Now she and her husband are back in San Antonio. See, good things happen to you when you go to Fralo's Art of Pizza!

Well, we have a rare weekend off in our future as Steve and Hillary drive back to Oakland CA one more time, and then we'll be playing pretty much non-stop until Thanksgiving. Exactly where? Exactly when? Check out our Next Gigs feature. Oh, and TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

8-08-08 -- Lucky for The Tim and Bob Show!

Numerologists pointed towards last Friday as the luckiest day in years. Why? Because it was the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year in the new millennium. It was why people chose to marry on that date in record numbers. It was also why the Chinese chose that date as the start of the 2008 Olympics. Well, none of us got married on Friday, nor did we do any running or heavy lifting, but we got to play a good "rocky" set at Beto's Comida Latina in front of old friends and new.

I know what your first question is, and "yes" it was hot -- seriously hot and humid -- and we all suffered through it. But, right from the start there were Tim and Bob Nationals in the house. They were ready to hear some rock 'n roll and some ballads, and we were more than ready to provide for them. All four of us were in good voice, and even the guitars cooperated, going out of tune a little less often than in our recent outdoor gigs.

Old friends Peter and Marguerite and family showed up. So did Dana, who was a joy for us because she's a fellow musician as well as a good friend. Seeing Patty, who brought her daughter Rachel, and son-in-law Larry with her was a great surprise for us. This was the second gig of ours Patty had attended, but the previous one was at least 2 1/2 years ago! This just shows the value of putting out those gig alerts.

New friends included Jim, Peter and Marguerite's friends, the Mantegnas, and the lively and fun group celebrating both Kathryn's and Susan's birthday. This last bunch included some dancers, and you know how much we love it when people dance at our gigs.

By the time the evening was over, we were all exhausted, but MAN, did we have us some fun! Until next time, TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Session 8: Dodging Edouard – August 5 Recording Session

In a summer this hot and dry, the phrase “60% chance of showers, some of them intense” is usually encouraging. It usually is accompanied by wistful smiles of anticipation. This is how it normally is for the four members of The Tim and Bob Show as well, but not this summer. We’ve already documented the sieve-like nature of the roof at Mandala Music, and how Bett and Joël often have to camp out on the premises overnight if rain is forecast to ensure that none of the sensitive recording equipment gets damaged. And so it was that the fact that it was a good 15 degrees cooler than any of our previous recording sessions [83 degrees!] as we approached San Antonio’s Southtown, didn’t give us any of the relief that it should have.

We began watching the skies in the early afternoon. TS Edouard was hitting the Texas coast around Houston and was supposed to proceed northwest of Austin. If this turned out to be true, and if we continued to be at the weaker, southern, outer edge of its rain band, then we should be okay. Of course, tropical storms either have a mind of their own or no mind at all. As early as 1 in the afternoon, we could hear the echoes of thunder. I kept in touch with Steve and Bett, and we all agreed to give it a shot and hope for the best.

In preparation for the gig, the three of us – Kathy was in New Mexico this week on business – had reviewed the rough cut of four tunes Mary Lou and I picked up Monday afternoon. Once again, we developed a script detailing what we – the musicians – needed to do, and what Joël – the magician – needed to do. We could tell by listening to the four tunes that Joël had made good use of studio time when we weren’t there. Guitars sounded “fatter;” there was the odd dash of echo here and there. The little touches that make a finished product sound “finished” were starting to appear. We were all getting a bit excited.

This is not to say that we had no notes for the session. On the contrary, we had comments on no fewer than seven tunes. We knew that we needed Kathy to be able to listen to “South Texas Saturday Night” before we could decide on whether or not percussion was required, and we also knew that we hadn’t reached a consensus on whether “Sweet Music Man” was “pure and unadorned” or “thin and in need of instrumentation,” but we still gave ourselves a list of 5 songs to work on. We figured that this would take up plenty of the four hours ahead of us.

The four of us had already discussed enhancements to “Looking Back” and “Decisions.” Each required an additional guitar track from Steve and from me. We started at 6 o’clock, and by 7:35pm, both songs were passed on to the “ready for Joël” category. Things were moving along.

Everything Sounds Like a Song” was next. At our request, Joël had added some finger chimes in a few places. Steve, Mary Lou, and I all had different ideas about the efficacy of adding more chimes in more places. In classic Tim and Bob Show fashion, everyone’s point of view was heard and considered, and then we came to a consensus that embraced but did not exactly replicate any individual’s initial desires. Joël was able to adjust the chimes to our liking, and then Steve laid down a guitar track that considered of down-strumming a low E-minor chord four times. After that simple enhancement, this song also slipped into Joël’s in-basket.

Next up was “Raccoon Rumble-seat”. This song is a classic blues-screamer in E that I began writing about 30 or so years ago. Some time in the mid-1970s, my friend Bruce Limpus handed me a slip of paper with these words on it: “I got my bottle of bootleg gin. I ain’t gonna let no depression set in. I’m at the raccoon rumble-seat flapper-dan crystal ball.” It took me only another five years or so to add enough lyrics to make this into a standard 1-4-5-1 blues. I had pretty much forgotten about it until Steve and I formed the group. We had so few songs in our repertoire at the time, and the key of E is so much fun for guitar players, we added this one almost at once. Steve’s assistance with the song’s structure and his scorching solos over the last couple of years have more than qualified him for co-writer status. From the beginning, Steve wanted two things for this song. First, the two guitars needed to be recorded on a single track. We slow down and speed up and trade licks when we do this live, all of it cued visually between us. This is almost impossible to replicate “one track at a time.” Steve’s other plan was for me to record the vocal late in a tiring session so my voice would be rougher than usual.

The original recording satisfied both those desires. Steve then added a nice rhythm track, and, when we heard this on the rough cut, we had only a couple of “I gottas” to discuss. Joël was able to dispose of them and fix the track in only EIGHT MINUTES. Man, we were seriously smoking. We were about two hours and 15 minutes into our session and had completed all band work on four more songs. Then came “Light in the Night.”

This was the first song we had recorded, and we did it without the clicker – the little metronome thingy that keeps us on tempo. I’m the rhythm player on this song, and I have a bitch of a time with the metronome. Why? Because my rhythms tend to be a little syncopated and this doesn’t work well. So, we recorded it without the clicker. Mistake. On stage we each can keep the other from running away with the tempo on a song with looks or other cues. We didn’t have this opportunity, and so it turned out faster than we’ve ever played it on stage. Since the lyrics are more symbolic than concrete, going fast isn’t a good idea. Unfortunately, we were so new to the process, that we recorded all the vocals and all the guitars all at that breakneck speed. When we heard it, each of us was sick. Money is a little tight in Tim and Bob Land, and we thought about just leaving it. But then we realized that if we left it, we’d hate it every time we heard it played. So, it came down to two choices: start from scratch, or forget the song entirely and go with 13 songs on the CD.

Since we were moving along so nicely, we decided to re-record it. Steve took the initial rhythm track, since he’s much more disciplined than I am in using the clicker. One take got it down. Then I added my rhythm track. So far still so good. Steve then added his lead track. There’s a simple, but gutsy lick here that makes the song rock. As a matter of fact, that lick came before anything else in the song. So, three guitar tracks down and it was time for vocals. As we do with a lot of the songs we cover, Steve and I trade off, with one taking the melody and the other the harmony and, then, switching off at points. This song was written that way, so we needed to do a single vocal track with each of us singing. This is fine, except that one of us making just a little gaffe will, in effect, kill two tracks. We took a lot of time knocking off the rough edges, but we still had all of “Light In the Night” in the can one hour and fifteen minutes after we started. I’m glad we didn’t decide to ditch it. I really like this song.

At this point, it was 9:30pm and we had completed work on five songs. Joël said he’d get a rough cut of “Light in the Night” for us ASAP so we could be prepared for Monday’s session. We’ll have Kathy back in time for Friday night’s gig, and so I’m confident we can work out a script for the three songs not yet fully in Joël’s hands in plenty of time. Joël is guessing that he’ll need a total of four more studio hours to complete all the mixing. The mastering should be fairly speedy, and then we’ll have something to deliver to the presser.

It’s amazing to me. It was only three years ago this month that the band played for the first time. Our gig on August 2, 2008 was our 100th. We started with a repertoire of roughly 30 songs, and now that repertoire includes 159 songs. We’re a cover band about to produce our first CD with 12 original songs on it. When she was setting up microphones for our vocal track, Bett mentioned to me that she and Joël were still waiting for our first in-studio temper tantrum. She was amazed that we had spent so much time working so hard and concentrating on each second of each person’s performance, and we still spent most of our non-recording time laughing. I said that in three years I could only remember about 5 or 6 even momentary losses of temper. I guess it’s just not in our nature.

Well, another gig on Friday, a team meeting on Saturday – wine will be involved – and then into the studio. Life is good when you play rock ‘n roll. Oh, by the way, the rain never really showed up here in San Antonio.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Session 7 and beyond, culminating on August 2, 2008

It's been a long, strange trip getting this CD done. The first few sessions went by like clockwork, and then came the complications. The rain, the heat, the difficulties in breathing, the difficulties in getting “the message” in both directions. It’s been interesting.

Most recently, the problem has been illness. Steve was seriously hammered by one of his periodic allergy related sinus infections and, just as he was beginning to recover, Joël was knocked sideways by food poisoning. This, added to a long illness followed by a bereavement in Joël’s circle, tended to weaken the unity and the focus of the four band members and the two producers. It was in view of the fact that Joël was just recovering and that we had a long, demanding gig that evening, that Saturday’s recording session was scheduled for only two hours – between 10 and 12 in the morning. Our plan was to try to “fix” everything we could that required Kathy, since she was leaving town on business on Sunday and would miss our next session the following Tuesday. We weren’t sure how much we could get done, but we had taken the time to take copious notes on the “rough tracks” Joël gave us, and we arrived at the studio very well prepared.

As it turned out, the two hours we spent were extremely productive. Joël’s method is to complete all the mixing of the various tracks before he goes on to the mastering phase. Our plan to augment that was to provide several observations to help him with his mastering, coupled with a list of things that band members could do to augment the tracks. The most recent rough cut CD including some studio enhancements – “fattening” the guitar tracks and adding some echo to the vocals. We do a lot of multiple harmonies live, and we wanted to make sure that each voice could be heard clearly with none of them at a volume so as to be at the expense of any other. This is, of course, why Mandala Music gets the big bucks. Well, they’re getting our bucks in any event. [If you’d like a simplified overview of the relationship between musicians and producers, your attention is gently invited to the last few lines of the refrain of Ben Fold’s song “Rockin’ the Suburbs.”]

The first thing we did was to revisit “Take It Like a Man.” We came in thinking that we might have to redo the percussion track, both because the claves sounded a bit weak and also because there was a loss of tempo at one point. Luckily, Joël was able to take care of both these problems just by [warning! technical jargon follows] adjusting the thing-y and moving some stuff around. We also realized that we didn’t have to rework my guitar solo at the end. The track was there all along. All Joël had to do was bring up the volume. When we agreed that there was also nothing that needed to be done to Kathy’s lead vocal, “Take It Like a Man” was deemed “ready for final mixing.”

Given this quick resolution, we pressed on apace. How fast? Well, we fixed the “fullness” problem with “Love in Three-Quarter Time” simply by adding an additional guitar track. We were prepared to add a percussion track as well, but the basic act of down-strumming at each chord change provided the extra warmth we needed. Steve was also unhappy with his counterpoint vocals and re-recorded both of them. One more song in the “to be mixed” bag.

When we listened to “Fast” on the rough cut CD, Steve decided that we needed a couple of well-placed oohs. Steve figured out the melody and asked me to add a harmony. The idea was to teach both to the girls. In the end, he was comfortable with how we did it, so, two more mini-vocal tracks, and this beautiful song was already sliding over into Joël’s in-basket.

Then came the CD’s title song: “Take It Outside.” I knew it was much too easy for me when I got both my rhythm guitar track and my vocal track in one take each. There were two gaps in the guitar track where I had rushed the rest by about a second in each instance. It didn’t sound too bad at the time, but after Steve added his lead track and we had a chance to listen to it repeatedly, we knew we had to got back and add more guitar. No problem. After Steve did a little lead “noodling” to the song’s intro, THAT song was also ready for Joël’s magic.

By this point, we were most definitely in fast forward mode. On Mary Lou’s song, “Sweet Music Man,” we knew we needed some more instrumentation, but we only brought one concrete idea into the studio. Once again, as he had with “Love in Three-Quarter Time,” Steve added a very simple rhythm pattern that filled the song out nicely. We know we’d like to do a couple more things to the song, and we enlisted Joël’s and Bett’s brainstorming skills. We’re hoping to hear something from them on that next session.

Finally finished with what we thought we could do, I was busily packing stuff up and toting it out to the car when I heard, at our request, what Joël had done to “Everything Sounds Like a Song.” It’s amazing what finger chimes can do. We’re going to concentrate on this track, along with “Raccoon Rumble-seat,” “Light in the Night,” “South Texas Saturday Night,” ”Decisions” and “Looking Back” in our next session – please let’s have the entire four hours this time. We’re not committed to completing everything in our next session, but we ARE committed to having everything mixed and mastered by the end of this month. Once that happens, and once we’ve got our cover art, and CD innards, plus our CD release party details ironed out, we can start thinking about nagging everyone in the universe who knows us to buy it. We’re pretty discerning critics of our own work and we’re really beginning to like what we hear.

So keep your checkbooks dry and watch the skies for the release date. Until then, watch this space for our next chapter in the recording blog.

Competition for the Backyardigans?

The Tim and Bob Show celebrated the first Saturday of August by performing on Broadway. Well, to be more specific, we played at Water Street Oyster Bar in Lincoln Heights on Broadway at Basse. We love the intimacy and night club-like feeling of Water Street's loft, and we're pleased to see that, in addition to tables for eating, the management had placed some overstuffed couches in the space for folks to linger, libate, and listen later into the evening.

We like Water Street because they pay us twice. The second time is after the gig, of course, but the first time is when we get an opportunity to sample their fantastic food. I swear, it gets better every time we eat there. On Saturday, Kathy had a Cobb salad that featured "the best chicken I've tasted in a long time." Mary Lou and Steve each had a po'boy, and I opted for the shrimp enchiladas. Wow, no wonder the place is so crowded on Saturday nights!

The party began while we were still setting up. Scott and Anita, who had heard us perform at Beto's, brought their friends Jerry and Linda to hear us. It was Linda's birthday, and she was ready to celebrate. So were we. For our third song of the evening, we performed the Beatles "Birthday." Later, we played the song again -- this time for Broderick, who was seated downstairs. I'm not sure if we ever met him, but he might have been one of several people who came up from downstairs to listen to us throughout the night.

One gentleman, and we never got his name, first brought his toddler son up to watch and listen, tipped us and left, only to return with his 5-something daughter. The three of them sat on chairs no more than 4 feet from us. Suitably supplied by Kathy and Mary Lou, they then played some percussion for us -- well, father and daughter did. The son mostly played slam-dunk with his piece of "musical fruit." The father told us that his daughter liked us almost as much as The Backyardigans. Evidently some members of the band knew who they were, and informed me that we should be flattered. I am; we all are.

By the time the evening was over, we had played a healthy slice of the "mellow" portion of our repertoire. We had time between sets to chat with new friends. There's something about the music we play that makes people think, remember, smile, and want to share. We hope to see many of these folks again the next time we're at Water Street. This was a seriously fun night for us. It's good to be in a rock 'n roll band.

Tell us what YOU think!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Of Artistic Children and Dancing Adults

Sunday evening proved to be a hot ending to a hot weekend in South Texas. It also proved to be a good time for the hearty souls who ventured out to Fralo's Art of Pizza in Leon Springs to prepare themselves for the work week to come by enjoying food and music.

And, since the music was us -- The Tim and Bob Show -- we were there to witness and participate in the festivities. As usual, we had lots of fun with Fralo's patrons. We really enjoy spending our break time talking with people who we can tell are connecting with the music we play. And so it was that we met new friends Jef and Lori and we talked with several other patrons who were obviously enjoying the music.

Once again The Tim and Bob Show/Fralo's Art of Pizza coloring books -- created by our friend Bruce and prepared and wrangled by Kathy -- were a big hit. I was happy to highlight one finished product to the applause of the crowd. A nice surprise for us was the dancing towards the end of the evening. We often have children come down front and dance to the music. If you've looked at our photos page, you'll see that we love it when this happens. So imagine our joy when we looked out and once again saw dancers on Fralo's patio -- this time not children, but their parents and grandparents.

By the time the evening was over and we had broken down and packed away our gear, we were exhausted and soaked through. The temperatures were still hovering in the high 80s as we arrived home. But it was a fun night for us, and a fun night for the people who came out to eat and drink and listen ... and dance!

Oh, and a special thank you to Jim Beal who featured us in his "Night After Night" column in Friday's San Antonio Express-News. We know there were people who showed up because they heard about us from you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another Friday, Another Show

But not in Philly or Baltimore. Nope, The Tim and Bob Show were right at home in San Antonio. And since it was the 3rd Friday of the month, we were playing at Orderup.

Ambitious as ever, we debuted two more songs. This makes about 8 or 9 songs that we've sung in July for the first time. This is indeed ambitious as we're also devoting lot of time to recording. Both of the songs were Mary Lou's to sing: Melissa Manchester's torchy "Midnight Blue" and Janis Joplin's raucous "Mercedes Benz." Each was well received. And that's only natural, because Orderup is conducive to having fun, and that's what were all about.

We had a great crowd at Orderup and they all seemed to have a good time. Tim and Bob veterans Pam and Peggy, Karen and Sam, Richard and Justa and Justa's sister Graciela, and John-Michael were there, and we made some new friends as well. Andy [Coach] and Sylvia. Everyone seemed to be having a great night enjoying the great Orderup food and service, and I know the music helped make the evening complete.

It was good to entertain these nice folks. We're looking forward to our next visit.

Tell us what YOU think!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SESSIONS 5 & 6, July 12 and 14, 2008

“California girls are the greatest in the world – each one a song in the making.” So begins the last verse of Jon Stewart’s one hit “Gold.” And so begins this belated recording blog, belated not because I haven’t gotten around to writing it, but belated in that our two previous sessions were postponed – one of them twice. And California girls is the theme of this chapter in our recording history, because these two sessions largely revolve around two prime examples of the species: Mary Lou, and our friend vocalist/flutist Karen Emerson.

About the “belated” part, Mary Lou’s return from visiting her family in California coincided with the first significant rain we’d seen down this way in almost three months. This being south Texas, of course, the interval between welcoming rain and suffering from it can be very short. As soon as the rain started in earnest, Bett and Joël became concerned about the sensitive electronics that form the nerve center of Mandala Music. The studio is located in a somewhat elderly building with a flat roof. And, flat roofs being what they are, leaks occur – especially when precipitation goes from a delightful drizzle to a tropical torrent in record speed. In any event, our late June and early July sessions were postponed until order returned to the universe and Bett and Joël could resume being jazz musicians rather than a two-person bucket brigade. Once the water receded and the rain lilies began to appear, Mandala Music got back into the music business and we rescheduled our two missed sessions into one double session on Saturday the 12th, to be followed by our already scheduled four-hour session on the 14th.

You may recall that in our last sessions we had three songs “complete except for Mary Lou’s vocals.” We made them our first priority. Mary Lou set straight to work on providing the 4th vocal part to “Crazy Love.” By this time, Kathy, Steve, and I were very comfortable with the recording process, but this was the first time under the gun for Mary Lou. Thanks to the relaxed atmosphere that Bett and Joël create, she was able to cope quickly with the unfamiliarity and nailed down her part in relatively short order. Steve announced that we didn’t need to do any “dressing” on this song and that it was well and truly finished. We then moved on to “Take It Like a Man.” Now very relaxed, Mary Lou added her vocals without incident. I was a little surprised that she didn’t have any trouble with the second verse. While she was away, Steve came up with a second harmony and recorded it. I’m not sure whether anyone told her that the harmony would be there, but rather than being distracted, she carried on and nailed it. After another track in which the girls provided the percussion that is a feature of the song when performed live, “Take It Like a Man” was also finished.

And now it was on to “It Ends; It Begins.” Although Mary Lou likes to refer to her contribution to this song as “my one note,” the three of us had developed a somewhat tricky and very precise phrasing while she was away. Once again, no problem. With a touch-up or two, the song was almost ready. We had previously provided Karen Emerson with a rough cut of “It Ends; It Begins” and asked her to see if she could come up with a flute solo for us. We also encouraged her to supply some phrases elsewhere in the song if so inspired. As it happened, Karen arrived to the studio just as Mary Lou had finished her tracks. After greetings to everyone, Karen unpacked, had a single rehearsal play through, and then provided a mesmerizing performance. She had indeed provided phrasing throughout, and there isn’t a bit of it that won’t appear on the CD. I had felt for a long time that Kathy’s haunting lead vocal would make the song a highlight of the finished product. Karen’s contribution only confirmed that opinion for me. Less than 45 minutes after she walked into the studio, Karen was heading out the door. What a wonderful artist and person she is.

With the three “almost” songs completed, all that was left for us to record were four songs. Three of these feature only Steve and myself, and the fourth is the song on the album that we wrote for Mary Lou to sing. Because it only came into the repertoire the night before the Saturday session, we decided to let it wait until Monday. So, the four of us looked at the time remaining and figured that we should at least get the guitar tracks down for the three “Steve and Don” songs before the session was over. And then hunger arrived. Joël was also shattered after spending the previous night recording into the wee hours, so after Steve laid down a guitar track, we took a one-hour food break.

The studio is in the perfect neighborhood for such things. San Antonio’s “South Town” features art galleries, live theater, music venues a ‘plenty, and excellent food. The girls had done some scouting and we settled on Mad Hatters Tea Room for a sandwich and soup sort of late lunch or early dinner. There’s something about the name of that place that appeals to me.

We returned to the studio refreshed and well-provisioned and jumped into the song we were working on before. This is a love song that Steve and I wrote that’s in ¾ time. We call it “Love in Three-quarter Time.” It’s the most complex song we have written, featuring three distinct themes as well as vocal counterpoint. Despite its complexity, the most difficult element for us to execute was maintaining the tempo. I’ve often thought that it’s a good thing that we’re not primarily a dance band! After two or three tries, I gave up, and left it to Steve to lay down the all-important first track. After that, the vocals came relatively easily, and yet another song was “in the can.”

It was always Steve’s plan to save “Raccoon Rumble-seat” for late in a session when my voice was tired. It’s a blues shouter in E, and we always play it late in our gigs so that I can take advantage of the raspiness in my voice. We figured it would be the last thing we could manage, so we jumped into it. Because there are two changes of tempo in the song, Joël thought it a good idea for us to lay down the guitar tracks simultaneously. Steve just played his funky bass runs and I hammered away at the Takamine. Then Steve put in his lead licks, and, finally, I let it all hang out on the vocal. With just a “quick fix” or two, this song was also in the bag. I’m looking forward to hearing this on the CD. More than 30 years ago, an old friend of mine handed me a piece of paper that included what has turned out to be the first fifteen words to this song. It’ll be fun to hand him the finished product.

Unfortunately [or not], we finished the song too quickly and went on to our last “Steve and Don” song. “South Texas Saturday Night” is a good-time song. It’s got a little country and a little rock in it. When I first started working on the lyrics, I thought that it would fit into the genre called “Texana.” Steve and I had some difficulties getting it ready for live performances, and we had put it away for a time before we completed it. However, once we debuted it, it has become a favorite of ours and of our audiences. I also thought that this song would be a problem to record. Steve and I swap lead vocals for one thing, and for another, Steve’s initial guitar lick is keyed by my hammering on the low E string. Not an easy thing to record individually. Joël asked us to play it and, after we finished, he said that we should do it in two tracks – one just guitars and one just vocals. So we did it and, with significant help from Kathy’s amazing ear, managed to get the song’s ending perfectly.

And we were still not finished. We had time for Steve to lay down two guitar tracks for “Sweet Music Man,” the song we had written for Mary Lou’s lead vocal. But that would wait until Monday. Back to Leon Valley we came. The girls picked up some Thai and Steve and I selected a bottle of Syrah to have with it. An amazing day!

On Monday, Mary Lou and I arrived at the studio first, with Steve and then Kathy to follow. I laid down my guitar track to "Sweet Music Man," a song that was inspired by our friend, jazz trombonist, band leader, and vocalist Ron Wilkins. The first hint of the lyrics came to me when we were visiting Ron in the hospital. Steve carried the lyrics around with him and came up with a beautiful, simple tune for it. Steve’s guitar solo on this recording is economic, free of frills, and gorgeous. Mary Lou’s task here was not to over-vocalize. Simplicity should be the key not only to the guitar work, but also the singing. And so, Mary Lou delivered a soft, yearning vocal that pleased the four of us. “Sweet Music Man” was in the can with only 90 minutes gone in the session.

So, all thirteen of the songs we had intended to record were at least in the rough cut stage. Steve, and Kathy took advantage of the time remaining to add some vocal flourishes to “Looking Back.” Mary Lou will have some contributions to make there, and there’ll be even more from Kathy on the song, but we left early so that Joël could provide us with a rough cut of the whole CD. The four of us will listen and decide which songs require a touch of guitar here, a bit of vocalizing there. We have two more sessions scheduled for July, and we’re hoping to use them to make our final contributions. Everything else will be up to the magic of Bett and Joël.

These two sessions were a long time coming, but they were very productive and very rewarding.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Good, The Bad, NO Ugly

The good was that the rain stopped just in time for our July gig at Beto's Comida Latina. Yay! The bad was that when the rain went away, the heat came back. There was no ugly, of course; instead, there was music, and food, and dancing children and visits with friends old and new.

It was in the high 90s when we set up on Beto's patio. Steve had steeled himself for a first set with the sun in his eyes, and we were debuting FOUR news songs -- two of them four-parters -- an ambitious self-imposed task for certain. But, as it turned out the sun remained mostly behind clouds early on, and there was a good, strong breeze. And all four new tunes went off without any injuries.

Steve and I both had "our moments" -- something we now chuckle about and move on. Early in the first set, Steve began the guitar intro for "Everything I Own." He played it well, as usual. The problem is that the song we were singing was "Everything I Do." Later, when we played "Everything I Own" as a request, I suddenly forgot how to play two or three chords right in the middle of the song.

The four new songs went down well. The Eagles' "Heartache Tonight" featured Steve and Mary Lou sharing the leads, with Kathy and me putting in harmonies here and there. Steve has some nice guitar licks on this one. "Hotel California" is a song we've had requested from time to time, and we've taken our time getting it into the mix. Neither of us is Joe Walsh, so there's no guitar pyrotechnics with this version. Instead, we rely on the mix of voices to make the song work. There's a running bass line throughout the song that always fascinated me, and Steve uses that line to end the song using vocal harmony for four voices instead of three guitars.

We also debuted another Tim and Bob original, the last of our compositions to get a live audience before it goes onto our CD. The song is "Sweet Music Man," a tune Steve and I wrote for Mary Lou. There's still some rough edges there, but it sounded good, and we hope to get it recorded in a few days. The last song was CCR's "Who'll Stop the Rain." We now have two CCR songs in the repertoire -- both about rain.

Although there wasn't a soul on the patio when we got there, plenty of folks showed up to enjoy the evening. The crowd was very generous with their attention and appreciation. Veteran Tim and Bob Nationals Hillary, Marcelo, Bethany, Matt, and John-Michael were there, and we made many new friends as well including Caroline, George, Elizabeth, Serena, Buck and Paul. Our favorite new friend of the night was the youngster Curtis, who made several trips to the bandstand to make requests. We were actually able to deliver on two of those requests. Curtis is almost five years old, and very charming. We're already talking about incorporating two of his requests-in-vain to our repertoire.

By the time the gig was over, we were happy and tired. We've got 12 hours of recording to do between Saturday morning and Monday night. It wears us down a bit, but hey, it's music! Life is good!

Tell us what YOU think!