Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rich with Autumn's Gold

The Tim and Bob Show's one busy weekend in November was the 20th and 21st of the month, where we welcomed in the Christmas season and bid a brief adieu to outdoor performing.

We began at our traditional "Third Friday" gig at Orderup at the Colonnade. In the past, this venue has seemed almost like Party Central for us, and Friday was "one of those nights." There were Tim and Bob Nationals new and old on display, and we were almost embarrassed by our riches. Matt, Debbie, and the ever-charming Seth were there, as were Casey and Pam. A huge crowd featuring Kathie, Marguerite, and Peter were there. Dylan was also in attendance with a friend. With them were Christina, Ryan, & Aaron, and Rob & Kimberly. It was also a distinct pleasure to see Paul and his daughter Fiona [Bug]. Fiona overcame her innate shyness to perform on percussion with the band and to pronounce her belief that "Steve is cute."

This performance was notable for a couple of reasons. We resuscitated our Christmas repertoire just in time for Friday, and Kathy's rendition of "Santa Baby" and Mary Lou's take on "The Man With the Bag," were big hits, as was the girls' work on jingle bells for "Jingle Bell Rock." We also saluted the 100th anniversary of Johnny Mercer's birth by performing our a'capella version of "Dream." Casey said that even the servers stopped talking while we sang this beautiful song. Finally, at the explicit request of Seth -- who wanted to hear something with kazoos -- we did "Ob-la-di Ob-la-da." It was a great night, and we thank everyone for coming out.

On Saturday, we motored our way up IH10 to Boerne to perform for the second time at Mi Casa Tamales. Once again we enjoyed the ambience of this location -- we love playing under the sheltering oaks -- and the incredible food. I hear that the margaritas are "cherce," but as long as they have Shiner Bock on draft, I may never find this out for certain. As was the case in October, the chill air and the full college football slate kept attendance down, but we do appreciate having Hillary & Brian, Larry, Jean, and Jason & Megan, who joined us for the first time. We had plenty more music in us when the customers started to drift away, but we're looking forward to getting back there in the Spring. Good food and great people deserve good music -- and we got plenty of that.

That's it for us for November. We'll see you for a somewhat abbreviated December schedule. Until then, check out our website for our "End of Year Sale" bargains, and TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"The Days Dwindle Down ..."

It's fitting to begin a blog with a line from "September Song," since September weather in post parts of the United States is just about what we experience here in South Texas in mid-November. And so it was that on Friday, November 13, we played our last Beto's Comida Latina gig of the year -- outdoors ... on their patio ... and [for the first set and a half] in tee-shirts!

We had a good-sized crowd in attendance for our regular "second Friday" performance, and it was filled with friends old and new. Veteran Tim and Bob Nationals Bethany, Matt, Hillary, Brian, Dick, Dave, Martha, and Marcie were there, and we made several new converts. Marcie's new/old friend Sandy was pleased to hear us. Hillary's co-workers Rene, Willy, and Diana attended. Josie and Amelia [and their parents] loved our music and requested "Sweet Caroline" and even Dan and Tara [from Phoenix] stopped by to fortify themselves with Mexican food and beer prior to their participation in San Antonio's Rock 'n Roll Marathon the next day. I guess this is why Beto's keeps asking us back. We bring in the business for them.

How was the music? It was sensational, and thank you for asking. We debuted the Hollies classic, "He Ain't Heavy; He's My Brother" which features Steve on lead vocals and Kathy on bass. Steve got a chance to tear off a bunch of searing guitar solos, and we got all sorts of compliments over our rendition of "Mustang Sally."

Before we knew it, we were breaking down our equipment. Beto's doesn't have music on the patio In December, January, or February, but we're pretty sure we'll be back in the Spring. We hope to see you when we get there.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Of Friends & Families, Beautiful Brides, and Go-to Girls!

Things have been really crazy for Steve and Kathy recently. Now we're not talking actually insane [although there are times ...], we're talking about frantic, frenetic, exhausting times. All of that has been coming on top of all of life's usual craziness: jobs, unexpected remodeling, the aches and pains of ... uh ... the decade they share, and the "robust economy" we're all navigating. And, all of that is on top of all the busy-ness associated with The Tim and Bob Show -- the gigs, the fundraising for our favorite causes, the accumulation of new repertoire, the strange family they're partnered with in that particular enterprise. It's enough to drive a normal couple LEGITIMATELY insane. Well, there's two things to be thankful for: (1) They AREN'T a normal couple, and (2) The crazy times are gradually returning to a more manageable level of insanity.

For the last several months, a central part of Steve and Kathy's life has been getting ready for the marriage of their daughter Bethany and her guy, Matt. Now, Mary Lou and I don't have children, but for some reason, both Bethany and her twin sister Hillary love us and we love them right back. We'd do anything for these beautiful, willful, talented, compassionate, passionate young women. And so it was that the first week of November would culminate in the wedding of Bethany and Matt. And that wedding would help restore a bit of normality to Steve and Kathy's every day life. That's assuming that being in a rock 'n roll band can be described as "normal."

Weddings mean family gatherings, and this was going to be the case for this wedding. Kathy's parents -- Irv and Muriel -- flew in from Florida to attend. Steve's parents -- Herb and Bertha -- arrived from New Jersey. We know them all, and enjoy their company. It was especially nice to see Herb and Bertha, because it meant that "Bert" was healthy enough to fly. And so, we gathered at Steve and Kathy's house on Thursday afternoon for an impromptu "house concert." Irv and Muriel had heard us play before -- Muriel on multiple occasions -- but Steve's parents had only heard our recorded voices. Almost all of the equipment was being stored at our house for the duration of the wedding week, but there was enough for everyone to hear Kathy's new bass chops, Steve's new guitar, and some solid four-part harmony. Everyone enjoyed it, and that included Mary Lou and myself. As it turns out, when you love people, not only do you love their children, you also wind up loving their parents.

More family was on the way, of course, in the form of Steve's sister Faye , her husband Arnold and daughter Ilana, Steve's brother Jeff, Jeff's wife Monica and daughter Madeline and son Robbie. They missed the concert, but they were there for the main event.

And what a main event it was. My father always told me that there was no woman so beautiful as a bride on her wedding day, and -- face it -- Bethany had a HUGE head start. Mary Lou got to the church around 4:30, which was a good thing since she had custody of the wedding dress. I arrived about a half-hour before the ceremony was to begin. The womenfolk were all hidden away, of course, so I had a chance to talk to Matt and his dad, Steve, as well as long-time Tim and Bob National Marcelo who was in the wedding party. Everyone looked great, especially OUR Steve, who was wearing a tux for only the second time since I met him. There was a bit of nervousness around, so I decided to walk into the sanctuary to get a seat. Bethany's choice of music consisted of about six songs, two of which were Tim and Bob Show songs. I couldn't have been prouder.

Finally, it was time for the wedding. The grandparents and parents entered, followed by the bridal party. Bethany's twin Hillary was beaming as she strolled down. Finally, Bethany entered on the arm of her father. It was an amazing moment for everyone, and I was overcome with emotion seeing my partner so incredibly happy. Reverend Bret took over then and vows were exchanged and readings were made. At one point in his discussion of Bethany and Matt's voyage to the alter, Bret referred to Matt as Bethany's "go to girl." The male attendants were, somehow, able to keep things together. And then, suddenly, we were introduced to Matt and Bethany as husband and wife.

Mary Lou and I led Muriel and Irv down to Southtown for the reception at the Blue Star Art Gallery. We chatted with dozens of people, and exchanged stories. We did a lot of hugging there, especially with Steve, Kathy, and Hillary. Long before the party began to get rowdy, I exercised my "old age option" and Mary Lou and I drove home. It was a memorable night.

Monday, November 2, 2009

October Part 4 - Tim and Bob's Pet Pals Weekend

October is so chock full of performances, that we're not going to report on each gig individually. Rather, I'm going to put them in several small groups throughout the month. And here is the last of them:

Back in September, The Tim and Bob Show dedicated an entire weekend to fundraising for Pet Pals of Texas. We designated a Friday night and a Saturday night to promote this wonderful organization. We planned to give half our tips to Pet Pals as well as a cut from any CDs or tote bags we sold at the gigs. Well, as it turned out, the only largesse that weekend was provided from above. We had been suffering a prolonged drought, and only around 9 inches of rain had fallen in the first 8 months of the year. It was looking like stage three water restrictions were inevitable. In the six weeks beginning just before our Pet Pals weekend, however, almost SEVENTEEN inches of rain fell. Everyone was happy about that, of course, except for The Tim and Bob Show and Pet Pals, since both our planned gigs were outdoors. Further frustrating us was that the "designated Saturday" on that weekend was to be our debut at Mi Casa Tamales in Boerne.

Well, we were able to re-schedule Mi Casa and, as luck would have it, it was again going to be the second gig in a weekend. Presto: Pet Pals Weekend Redux! Would the weather have an impact? Yes it would. Something even rarer than rain visited South Texas for what was also Halloween weekend -- AUTUMN. Yes, highs in the mid-70s, lows in the mid-40s, crisp cool breezes, and lovely blue skies. The Great San Antonio Thirst had been slaked, now it was time for some rock n' roll!

One concern, however, was whether Pet Pals of Texas's president -- and Tim and Bob's biggest fan -- Vicki would be able to join us. She did make it out with Linda for a few minutes after we had set up on Friday, but she was seriously under the weather, and missed both performances. Kelly and her family represented the organization and gave us some Pet Pals tee-shirts to sell and some brochures to distribute before they left.

Our Friday gig was at Orderup's Colonnade location -- a long-time favorite of ours. We had a nice turnout of veteran Tim and Bob Nationals -- Casey, Karen, and Matt -- and initiated two more members into the cult ... er ... club: Karen and Mary. Mary had performed with Mary Lou and Kathy on stage, but this was the first time she'd seen us perform. There were also a lot of folks new to our music, and they were as generous as our friends. It was a good night and we got good responses from everyone.

On Saturday, we were able to make our delayed debut at Mi Casa Tamales. Sandy called us and asked us to start a little early, as she was unsure of how cool it would be out in their patio later in the evening. And so we started at 6:30 instead of 7:00. In addition to competing with trick or treaters for attention, we also had to fight the allure of University of Texas football, Oklahoma football, PLUS Notre Dame in the Alamodome -- all while we were playing. For good measure, the San Antonio Spurs were also on television. Despite this, and despite the slightly chilly evening, the crowd size surprised and pleased the folks there. Tim and Bob Nationals Martha, Dave, Casey [AGAIN!], Mara, Hillary, Brian, Jeanna, Sarah, Sheri, and Roy showed up just to hear us, and to support Pet Pals. They were very generous with their applause and their contributions. The hits of the evening were Kathy's bass playing, Steve's scorchers on the Beck, ML's wailing, and the final 2009 performances of "Monster Mash."

We were very pleased at our debut, as was Sandy. We're coming back in November, and we hope to feature there for a long time.The food is wonderful and, so I'm told, the Margaritas are fantastic. I wouldn't know. Since they have Shiner Bock on draft, I'm unlikely to give anything else a try for a while.

After the gig was over, Steve and Kathy followed us home so that we could stow all the band equipment at our house. They have family coming in for their daughter Bethany's wedding on the 7th, and they needed to clear the space. As long as they were over anyhow, we broke out some wine and snacks and sat around our dinette for a good hour or so chatting and laughing about the band and our adventures. What with work and theater and wedding and the odd illness, we'd gotten out of the habit of ending our gigs this way, and it was nice to do it again.

As for Pet Pals, well we'll be doing more fundraising for them in the future. That's a certainty. It's a worthy organization and we all love Vicki as much as she loves us. As of this writing, I'm not sure what the total income for them will be, but it was increased on Sunday morning when Tim and Bob National Larry, who was unable to attend either gig, gave me a contribution at church. Good times.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October, part 3 -- Wearing Pink at the Quarry; Singin' on the Radio; Crowning New Royalty -- all for free!

October is so chock full of performances, that we're not going to report on each gig individually. Rather, I'm going to put them in several small groups throughout the month.

The second half of our October marathon featured us playing in new locations three times in a row. October 16 was a very rare Friday afternoon gig. Steve and Kathy's friend [and Tim and Bob National] Joe helped us land this one. The band was happy to donate our time and talent to help support The Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer "Drive for the Cure" fundraiser at the Quarry Golf Course club house. We set up outside on their party patio with the course behind us. We were there to entertain those individuals and groups who contributed to a check for over $40,000 that the event raised. Since it was the most beautiful day of the year thus far [except for a somewhat strong breeze], we had a great time. This gig is also noteworthy because we finally got fed up with the "adventures" that our mix of Fender and Mackie monitors provide to us. As soon as this gig was over, Steve went out and bought us some new JBL monitors. We've donated the two Fenders to Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering here in town to help then with their brand new music program. The Tim and Bob Show is always happy to support arts education in the schools.

On Thursday, October 22, the band met at KSYM radio on the San Antonio College campus. With the Texas Music Coalition's (TMC) annual fundraiser approaching, The Tim and Bob Show were going to help TMC's publicity guru, Carol Sowa, publicize the event. We were going to appear on Jim Beal's Third Coast Radio program, be interviewed, and maybe sing a couple of songs, while Carol talked about the event. We were asked because we were -- at the time -- Texas Music Coalition's reigning Artist of the Year. Jim's a friend of the band and, when wearing his hat as music editor for the San Antonio Express-News has given us several mentions and a couple of features. One of those gave us one or our favorite nicknames: "San Antonio's Peter, Paul, and Mary -- AND Mary." We sang four songs and talked about the band and about Texas Music Coalition. We emphasized the benefits of the organization for networking. When we put together our CD -- Take It Outside -- the recording, mastering, pressing, design, and promotion were all handled by TMC members and organizations. We had a great time and, as we left, promised Carol that we'd see her on Saturday.

Saturday, October 24 was the Texas Music Coalition annual fundraiser at Sam's Burger Joint. This is one of SA's legendary music venues, and we were looking forward to playing there and showing off our rocky side. We were one of six musical acts appearing, and we had the double duty of crowning the next TMC "Artist of the Year." Mary Lou and I got there very early to help Carol and Patrice set up the decorations, the silent auction space, and the door prize list. Tim and Bob Nationals Steven O., Betsy, Rod, Larry, and Scott and new friends Christina and her husband, were there to listen to us. We took the stage around 8 for a 10-song set, and really let it all hang out. Steven O and Larry had only heard us at our more subdued locations and were surprised [pleasantly, we hope] at our more raucous songs. I know all four of us enjoyed it. As the set came to an end, we chose Mary Lou to present the award for 2009 TMC Artist of the Year to The Lavens. We love this family group and could not be happier to help recognize them. It was a very close ballot this year, with Katherine Dawn and Laura Marie just getting "pipped at the post." TMC presented them with awards recognizing their making the runoff.

So, three more gigs are history,and the band continues to keep on chooglin'. Next up is our "Pet Pals Weekend," and we can't wait. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements. Oh, and stop over to the main part of our website and TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

Monday, October 12, 2009

October, part 2 -- A Chilly Night at Beto's; A Gem of a Gig at The Menger Hotel

October is so chock full of performances, that we're not going to report on each gig individually. Rather, I'm going to put them in several small groups throughout the month..

The Tim and Bob Show's mind-numbingly busy October continued with two more gigs the weekend of October 9 and 10. On Friday, the band -- minus Kathy who was rehearsing for a theater production and had to miss the gig -- returned to Beto's Comida Latina. We've been kind of snake-bit there recently, with scheduling confusion and weather keeping us away recently. It almost looked like weather would intrude again, as we had a huge downpour beginning late Thursday night and persisting most of Friday morning. Luckily, for us and for Beto's, the skies stopped weeping in time for our performance. But, it was CHILLY. Beto's is one of our "tee-shirt gigs," a venue where we purposely dress down -- wearing jeans and one of our Tim and Bob Show tee-shirts. We were wearing them on Friday as well, but all of us had an additional article of clothing on top of it. Usually at our outdoor gigs, Steve and I are constantly retuning due to the heat and humidity, but on Friday as the temperatures and humidity dropped, we had to retune even more often. Finally, perhaps in shock of being outside in weather under 90 degrees, my B-string committed suicide just before the end of the last set!

Our new friend Oscar [who joined Tim and Bob Nation late last month] showed up along with his wife Ann. They live nearby and hope to make all our Beto's gigs. They really enjoyed the music. We also met some new friends Wendy, Jim and Nadine, Dino, Shannon and kids, and Ellie and Conner who had a great time and stayed with us through the end. Steve's new guitar got a good workout, and my favorite portion of the night was when he played "Blackbird." I never thought the song could sound so good on an electric guitar, but Steve's new JR Beck has a variety of "voices," and all of them are pleasing to our ears.

On Saturday, the 10th, the full band reunited to play our first ever gig at San Antonio's historic Menger Hotel. The Texas Jewelers Association was having their annual bash there, and we were asked back by their event coordinator -- and our good friend -- Joe. Although we've gotten a ton of rain in the last few weeks, this event didn't suffer the fate it did last year, when it was cancelled because of Hurricane Ike. We set up in a ballroom complex to provide some music for people while they were eating and drinking and perusing the beautiful merchandise available. With Kathy back we concentrated on our strong-suit -- four-part harmonies. By the end of the evening we had attracted a relatively small, but very enthusiastic and generous, crowd. We got a lot of encouraging comments, and exchanged some friendly banter with the group.

One of the jewelers, also named Steve, turned out to be quite a musician himself. Although we had already packed away our guitars, both Steve and I pulled out our axes to do a little unscheduled jamming. It was a fun end to a fun night.

Well, that's four gigs down, and only five more to go before November rolls around. We're ready. How about you?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October, part 1 -- Happy Birthday Louie; National Night Out, Adams Hill

October is so chock full of performances, that we're not going to report on each gig individually. Rather, I'm going to put them in several small groups throughout the month..

October began with a significant amount of rainfall, so it was good fortune that our very first gig this month was indoors. On Saturday the 3rd, we played our regular "first Saturday" gig at HEB Central Market's Cafe. We like this gig for a lot of reasons:

1. It is indoors and climate controlled
2. It has no mobility access problems
3. We can be heard by people who are shopping nearby, and many of those stop by to listen.
4. It ends with plenty of Saturday night still to come.
5. It's NOT on a Friday.

Number 5 is most important recently, since enthusiastic Tim and Bob Nationals Louie & Kathie have been having Friday evening conflicts that keep them from dropping in on us. We love it when we can play for them, since they enjoy our music so much, and they always bring lots of friends. As happened the last time we played at Central Market Cafe, their friend Sandra [who is now, of course, OUR friend] showed up for the very first song of the evening. By the time the gig was over, there was a huge table full of Louie's family and friends who all gathered to help him celebrate his birthday. We did our Beatles birthday song for him, and each of us stopped by to shake his hand and congratulate him. What a wonderful family!

Other Tim and Bob Nationals were there, including Linda, Vicki, Mara, and Steven O. We also made new friends in __________, and we had a great time playing for everyone who showed up.* We're not sure when we're playing there next since we're all going to be pretty busy the first Saturday in November, but we'll be sure to let you know when that will be.

On October 6, The Tim and Bob Show played our first ever Tuesday night gig in San Antonio's Adams Hill neighborhood. We set up and played in front of Adams Hill Elementary School in support of the National Night Out program. Now some readers may be confused at this point since most of the nation observes this event in August, but trust me, you DON'T want to sponsor an outdoor bash in early August down this way. Our LOWS were in the mid 80s a couple of months ago. We were invited to the event by Shirley, the VP of the Adams Hill Homeowners Association, who had seen us play many months ago at Oasis. We were enthusiastically greeted by Billie and Ken [who had also heard us play our "unplugged" concert for our recently departed friend, Bruce], who volunteered their services for the event. The main organizer of the was Johanna, who was dressed in prison stripes and was wearing a sheriff's badge!

There were lots of people from the neighboring community there, along with some representatives of San Antonio's fire and police departments. We were also visited by Elmo -- who, surprisingly, is close to 6 feet tall. We played for about an hour to very good response and a lot of positive feedback from the organizers. We hope to be asked back.

Well, with two gigs coming up in a couple of days, part two of October blogs will be coming before you know it. Enjoy what you're reading? Stop by our guestbook and tell us what you think!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Three Gigs in Less than 20 Hours?

What are we, nuts? What are we, in our twenties? The answer to at least one of those questions is a resounding NO, but The Tim and Bob Show marked the end of September by playing three gigs -- between 7 p.m. on Friday and 2:45 on Saturday afternoon.

We began the weekend with an indoor gig at Orderup's Stone Ridge location. This was the third time we played there, and we had a good night. Tim and Bob National Rod showed up, and we made new friends in Debbie, Karen, Athena, and Oscar. The crowd was friendly and attentive, and we all had fun. We were also glad that the gig finished at 9, since we had a busy Saturday looming.

When we last played at Becker Winery, we made contact with Deb, who is part of Asia in the Curriculum [AIC], an organization that is dedicated to teaching students more about the world's largest continent. Deb said that her organization might like to hear us play. We made contact with HER contact, Franke, and set up a short set during AIC's reception, beginning at noon on Saturday. The venue was San Antonio's legendary St. Anthony Hotel, and we were all excited to have a chance to play there. All the staff and management were friendly and very helpful in getting us parked, set up, and broken down, and the AIC participants were enthusiastic about our music. We took advantage of the room dynamics to build a set heavy on acoustic-guitar sounds, and MOST heavy on four-part harmonies. At the end of the gig, we had to rush off, but not before several members of AIC thanked us, as did Deb and Franke. What a great bunch of people!

Speaking of rushing off ... four block away from the St. Anthony was our venue location for the [unfortunately] LAST Houston Street Fair. This very popular convergence of commercial and artistic San Antonio in a public downtown celebration has lost its funding. While there was brave talk on the day of bringing the event back with commercial -- rather than civic -- sponsorship, the HSF is now a very fond memory. We were pleased to be able to play, but sad that future events have been canceled.

We took the opportunity of the outdoor venue to debut Steve's new electric guitar. Steve is really very happy with this instrument, and so are we all. Just as we went "mellow" at AIC, we went "rocky" at Houston Street. Kathy got a good workout on her bass, and Steve got off several scorching solos. Many of our Facebook friends showed up in the heat and sunshine to listen and show their appreciation. Swelling the crowd of celebrants were Tim and Bob Nationals Casey, Mara, Susan, Linda, Vicki, Elizabeth, and Bubba. Although there were a series of glitches throughout the short performance, it was good to have the whole band working together and rocking an appreciative crowd.

And in between Saturday gigs and after the last one came cardio! Since the venues were only blocks apart, and since the wonderful folks at the St. Anthony were so kind as to let us park and stow some gear for free, we trekked on foot to and from the Houston Street Stage with each of us carrying several objects and with Steve pushing our cart. The trip back was made easier with Casey's assistance. It was getting close to 3:30 when we pulled out of St. Anthony's parking area and drove to our homes. Mary Lou and I were exhausted and moved as little as possible for the rest of the day. We heard later that Steve and Kathy were equally wiped out and took afternoon naps. It was a lot of work, but even more fun.

This very busy last September weekend leads to an October which features the band performing no fewer than NINE times. Where will we play? You'll just have to wait for our email gig alerts, or check out our "upcoming gigs" on our main website. And while you're on our website, go to the guestbook and TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mary Lou's Relatives Invade Orderup!!!!!

Our regular "third Friday" gig at Orderup @ The Colonnade turned into family night on September 18. Mary Lou's mother, Eileen, is visiting from California, so Eileen's brother Pat and spouse Ginny drove down from Rockwall, TX to visit. Pat and Ginny's daughter Elaine lives very close to Orderup and came to the gig along with HER daughter Danielle. The family commandeered a long table and made themselves at home, enjoying the great food and good music. Pat, Ginny, and Eileen are long-time Tim and Bob-ites [although from a distance], but the rest of the crew definitely fits into the "new friends" category.

Not to be outdone, Steve and Kathy's family also was there in force. Tim and Bob Nationals Bethany, Matt, and Hillary were there, along with Hillary's new boyfriend Brian. The girls were pleased to listen to the band play "their songs:" "Brown-eyed Girl" for Hilly, and "Pretty Woman" for Beth.

While it may have seemed like it, the place wasn't filled only with relatives. It was, however, pretty much chock full of Tim and Bob Nationals. Peggy, Pam, and Karen were there, happily sitting with Larry and enjoying themselves. Legendary Fulham FC supporter Matt was there and brought along his sister Debbie, and her son Seth. The music was good, but it was Seth who stole the show, simulating guitar playing, doing some sort of three-year-old's version of Pilates on Orderup's furniture, and flirting shamelessly with Hillary and Bethany -- well, what red-blooded young man wouldn't.

There were only a couple of somber moments in the midst of the evenings festivities, as the group recognized the passing this week of Mary Travers. As a group that depends on the pleasant blending of voices, we have a lot of affection and respect for the work of Peter, Paul, and Mary, so we dedicated our versions of "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" and "Puff, the Magic Dragon," to the memory of her life and her body of work.

Finally, yet another party-atmosphere evening at Orderup was over, and we packed up and drove home.

Where will we be next? Click here to see the locations of our "upcoming gigs".
Doing a little early Christmas shopping? Click here to purchase our CD, "Take It Outside".
Dying to tell us how much you love us? Click here to leave the band a message.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Good-bye to Bruce

Yesterday, at Ft. Sam Houston [San Antonio, TX], there was a full military funeral service for Bruce H. Limpus. All four of us were there, because Bruce touched each of us over the course of his life. Bruce had one career in the USAF, followed by another as a high-school English teacher in San Antonio’s poorest school district. During all this time, Bruce was also an artist – a painter, sculptor, poet, playwright, director, actor.

In his life, Bruce inspired hundreds of young artists, writers, actors, and directors. He also influenced the lives of literally thousands of young students, many of whom left San Antonio’s Edgewood and Memorial High Schools to go on to an Ivy League education. As for the four of us, well … .

Steve and Kathy’s daughters both are involved in careers in the arts, and Bruce found the time to nurture their ambitions and talents. Kathy, Mary Lou, and I had the great honor of performing in his “murder mystery/comedies” in roles written specifically for us. The fact that Mary Lou sings in a band is directly down to Bruce, who cast her in several singing roles in his British-style holiday pantomimes.

As for me, Bruce was my very first stage director [in 1967] and directed me in my last role nearly 40 years later. Almost as soon as we met, Bruce and his wife Sheila began to teach me about art, music, theater, philosophy, and psychology. In the span of a 42-year close friendship, Bruce and Sheila stood up for me at both my weddings, welcomed Mary Lou into their family, and spent hours with us going to theater, having dinners, and talking, talking, talking. Some time in 1976, Bruce handed me a piece of paper with 23 words written on it. I took those words and, with Steve’s help, finished a song that is on our CD and is very popular at our gigs.

Bruce and Sheila used to love to come to our performances and, when his health began to fail him, welcomed us into his home for an “unplugged” concert. He loved us all and we loved him right back.

While most of the service consisted of an impressive display by a USAF ceremonial team – complete with a rifle salute and taps – the culmination of the service was Kathy singing to Steve’s accompaniment. The family requested this of Kathy, one of Bruce’s most favorite chanteuses and dancing girls, and she was happy to comply. Bruce’s favorite film was Casablanca, so Kathy sang a very touching rendition of “As Time Goes By,” to Steve’s guitar.

And that was that, after 81 years on this earth, Bruce was gone. It’s a terribly trite cliché, but in this case, there’s no denying that he lives on in the hearts and souls of all of us in the band, and many, many others. Good-bye, our friend.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Come Rain or Come Shine

The last full weekend in August proved to be an adventure for The Tim and Bob Show.

On Friday night, we experienced a rarity: our patio gig at Beto's Comida Latina had ... wait for it ... a rain delay. Yep, smack in the middle of the hottest summer on record, and approaching serious drought conditions, our gig on Friday was held up by a good 35 minutes due to rain. Once we started, we had a good evening. All the people who fled the patio during the shower returned to listen to us, and we put in as many four-parters as we possibly could. We had a chance to reacquaint ourselves with Tim and Bob Nationals Colleen and Steve, and we were entertained by some VERY attentive children, most memorably five-year-old Sophia, and her four-year-old friend Sophia. When we asked the "elder" Sophia what sort of music she liked, she stunned us all by saying, "Well, I really like James Taylor!"

The rain kept away for the rest of the night, and we celebrated our somewhat-delayed but very enjoyable return to Beto's by gathering at Steve and Kathy's house for wine, prosciutto, salami, crackers, and some more hits off "the never-ending block of Jarlsberg cheese." We couldn't stay out too late, though, since we had an early afternoon gig near Fredericksburg the very next day.

We met Saturday morning a little before 11:15 underneath IH10 to caravan up to Becker Winery, in Stonewall, near Fredericksburg. This was to be our fourth gig there, and we were looking forward to playing our first "grape stomp." Several Tim and Bob Nationals had promised to make the trip up, so we were looking forward to greeting friends old and new. We set up at the edge of Becker's spacious porch, and began to play at 2, under friendly Texas skies giving no hint whatsoever of rain. Since it was a two-hour gig, we decided NOT to take a break. Being outdoors, we had plenty of room to feature both Steve's Epiphone electric guitar and Kathy's Fender bass. Kathy is getting quite adept on it, and looked cool in her hat and sunglasses. Steve is increasing her repertoire, and we're all getting a lot of enjoyment over how much more full our sound is when she plays.

We met a lot of new friends ... Richard, Ellen, Valerie, Debra, and Kelly, but we rally hit the mother lode with Tim and Bob Nationals who made the trek up just to hear us -- oh, and to drink some fine Becker wine also, of course. Sheri and Roy were there, along with Hillary, Don and Dave, Rolf and Horst, Vicki and Linda, Ruth, and Wild Woman Patrice. The highlights for us were performing "Heartache Tonight" while Vicki did wheelies in the grass, and Patrice and two unknown young ladies who shook their groove thangs to "Mustang Sally." It was a wonderful gig, and tremendous fun for us. Thanks again to Nichole at Becker for making all the arrangements.

On the way home, we decided to stop and have dinner at Mi Casa Tamale, a soon-to-be venue for the band to play. Mary Lou and Kathy were in dire need of a Margarita under the oaks after all that work, and we all needed some of their great food. The band playing on Saturday were The SA Blue Cats, and are fellow-members of The Texas Music Coalition. We encourage all Tim and Bobbers to check these guys out soon. And we also encourage all members of Tim and Bob Nation to keep reading our emails so as not to miss our debut there in September.

In the meantime, check out our website for photographs, upcoming gigs, product purchases and maybe even go to our guest book and TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tim and Bob Join in with Voices of a Grateful Nation

On Sunday, August 23, The Tim and Bob Show joined 1855 of our closest friends standing in a ditch in the middle of the make-believe town of Luckenbach, Texas. Why were we there? Well, there were two basic reasons. The first was to take part in a fundraiser in support of Voices of a Grateful Nation, a group associated with The Welcome Home Project. The second was to take part in breaking a world’s record for the greatest number of guitar pickers ever playing the same song together.

Sunday morning broke clear, blue, and hot. We knew that 104 degree temperatures were forecast for the day, so we set off together with grapes, cherries, Diet Dr. Pepper, and plenty of water. We had already played that weekend, but there was no way we could resist this opportunity to contribute. We’ve done several fundraisers for several worthy causes in the four years the band has been together, but nothing on the scale of this. As we were to learn, the guitar-picking and The Welcome Home Project were a more natural match than one might have expected. The project is very concerned with the plight of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans whose wounds include severe head trauma. One of the treatments most successful in repairing the brain’s control over physical activity has proven to be music. Specifically, many soldiers have enhanced their therapy once they were taught to play guitar.

And so, there we were, on the top of a hill overlooking the ditch. We got there pretty early in the day, and located a spot set aside for members of The Texas Music Coalition. Since we’re their current Artist of the Year, it seemed the natural place for us to set up our chairs and wait for the event to begin. Of course, being in the middle of all those guitars makes it difficult to just sit there, so it didn’t take long for Steve and me to get into a couple of jam sessions.

Soon, “the professionals” in residence mounted the stage on the other side of the ditch from us, and began to entertain. About 15 minutes later than advertised, those of us with the white, numbered tee-shirts on were invited to take our guitars and find someplace to stand in the official area. Counting would soon begin. Naturally, there were delays. But these delays allowed for more jam sessions. During one of them, we heard someone say, “What a great way to spend my 40th birthday!” Steve and I looked at Mary Lou and Kathy, and a split second later, we launched into The Beatles’ “Birthday.”

The delay, we learned, was to ensure that everyone who was arriving would have a chance to get in place and be counted. While we waited, we played several songs, including “London Homesick Blues,” and “El Rancho Grande.” Finally, the final count was given – 1,859 guitarists were about to let ‘er rip. This was a full 56 more pickers than the total attracted by the German group that set the previous record. While they played “Smoke on the Water” for 10+ minutes, we had something entirely different planned.

It had been decided that the group would play TWO songs of 5 minutes duration each. Since we were where we were, the first song we played was “Let’s Go to Luckenbach, Texas.” And, since we were where we were, the second song was “This Land is Your Land.” When we finished the last notes, we lifted our guitars into the air and hollered as loud as we could. The effect was amazing.

As more jam sessions broke out, the four of us decided that we had been baking our brains long enough. We packed up and drove away from dusty, remote, ecstatic Luckenbach with a memory it will be exceedingly difficult to erase from any of our minds.

If you’d like to see some photographs and videos of our adventures, go to The Tim and Bob Show’s Facebook page. If you’d like more information about Voices and The Welcome Home Project click here -- oh, and there’s an “official video” on that site also.

The Return of "The Fifth Beatle."

On Friday, August 21, The Tim and Bob Show made our way to Orderup at The Colonnade. As usual, we helped create a party atmosphere, and the band enjoyed themselves immensely. Judging by the response of Orderup's patrons [and staff], we weren't the only ones.

Tim and Bob Nationals Casey and Karen [more about her in a bit] were there, along with Jim and Pacita. The latter two had heard us play at Beto's and decided to come to Orderup after reading one of our gig alerts. We also made new friends in Amy and Caroline.

With Mary Lou back in full voice and all of us itching to be able to perform at our usual volume, we featured a lot of our trademark four-part harmony melodies. Once again, I think we impressed a lot of people with Steve's arrangement of "Hotel California." But the highlight of the night was our performance of the Tim and Bob original "It Ends; It Begins." Our friend Karen didn't just come out to listen as it turned out. No, she brought her flute with her and, to the delight of everyone -- especially the four of us -- she duplicated her amazing solo that is a feature of our CD. As the applause died down, Steve thanked her referring to her as "our fifth Beatle," and I said, only slightly joking, "You complete us."

It was a great moment on a great night, and we're on the verge of being spoiled by the sheer number of great moments and great nights we've had over the last four years. An even more amazing experience was just around the corner, but that's for the next installment of this blog.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Anna and Her Sisters

On Friday, August 14, the band traveled to Stone Ridge for our second gig at Orderup's newest location. We spent a lot of time during our very quick setup chatting with Janine, who manages this location. She was very busy in her office when we played their before, but on Friday she spent plenty of time making us feel welcome and wanted. Her friendliness and concern over the comfort of anyone who comes through her doors is typical of everyone that we've met that's associated with this small San Antonio chain. What a wonderful bunch of people to work with.

Steve had an idea for how to set up our speaker so as to maximize our vocal and instrumental quality and minimize our volume. Stone Ridge's design creates some challenges for any group that's amplified, even one that only uses electronics for balance and not volume, like us. We had some trouble last time out with our sound bouncing off the ceiling and walls and reverberating behind their counter, but this time there seemed to be no trouble at all.

A good night got considerably better when one of the band's favorite families arrived -- en masse! Anna, who has worked with Kathy, Mary Lou and I in local theater, was home from California to visit her family, and she brought most of them with her. In addition to sisters Julia and Christina, Anna's mom Alice was also there. Making the crowd even bigger was Julia's friend Paige. Alice's husband Mike wasn't able to make it, since he was on rotation in Afghanistan, but everyone who was there seemed to be enjoying themselves.

But this group wasn't the only representative of Tim and Bob Nation. Nationals Jeanna & Sara and Steve & Jackie were also there, and we were able to meet two new enthusiastic friends, Colleen and Steve, who we hope to see again in the near future.

Before we knew it, our two hours were up, and it was time to pack up and go. Once we had loaded everything in our cars, Mary Lou and I shared some of Orderup's magnificent cinnamon ice cream on the drive home. Good friends, good food, good music, and ice cream for dessert. You just can't beat being in a rock 'n roll band.

Where will we be next? Check out our "upcoming gigs" page on our website.

And while your on our website, check out our photographs, leave us a comment on our guestbook, and -- if the spirit moves you -- order a copy of our CD!

See you soon, San Antonio!

SWUUSI Thursday and Friday

On Thursday, we left the resort after breakfast and drove the van into Tulsa. We enjoyed ourselves touring the downtown area and looking at the deco buildings and following Tulsa’s downtown guided walk. After a great lunch at a downtown diner. We then spent most of the afternoon touring the Gilcrease Museum – a must see for those who enjoy Native American artifacts and history, as well as paintings of events and people important to the history of Oklahoma and the American West. The traveling exhibition documented the first diplomatic contact between the British government and the Cherokee Indians – then still residing in Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia. Since much of the activity centered around Williamsburg, VA and London, two areas Mary Lou and I have lived near, we found it especially interesting. Kathy was so taken by the collection of artifacts on the lower level, she brought the rest of us down there to share the trove with us. It was an impressive collection, impressively stored.

Once we had returned to Rainbow Hills, we began preparations for the Thursday night gig. While we were setting up, four members of the Hogwarts group greeted us VERY enthusiastically. It appeared that all of Kathy’s hard work had paid off. Several of the group had, indeed, become Tim and Bob fans. I asked them if any of them had made the Monday concert, and one 12 or 13-year old girl responded, “I was about to come in, but then I saw my grandparents dancing, and I turned around and left.” They weren’t going to leave on this night, however, as they quickly made “seats reserved” signs for themselves, and then spent the hour or so before we performed making suggestions on how we could better promote ourselves and sell more CDs.

As expected, there were not quite as many folks on the Thursday concert. Since this one wasn’t being filmed, however, more of the house lights were up and we could see how much they were enjoying themselves. The evening had two highlights. The first one came when I told the audience about an earlier concert where we had several people “snake dancing” to “Locomotion” – which was the song we were about to perform. The audience took that as a challenge and at least 30 of them joined up in a multi-generational conga line that lasted the entire song. The only drawback to this is that since all four of us were playing, none of us could take a picture of it!

The second highlight occurred, believe it or not, right after I broke a string on my guitar. As Mary Lou and I left the stage to replace the string, Steve broke into “Rocky Raccoon” and Kathy grabbed her bass and started playing along. I was a little stunned to discover later that she didn’t have the tabs for this song with her, and played it all from memory. Kathy definitely deserved the cool bass-player hat that Steve bought for her to perform in. As was true with Monday’s effort, we scheduled as many four-parters, bass-playing songs, and Epiphone songs as we could. Everyone who was there approved.

We ended the concert amid cheers and handshakes and “thank you’s.” We exhorted everyone to come over and buy a CD and a “Take It Outside” bag. And many of them did. All four of us were invited to a party in one of the larger cabins, but Mary Lou and I were wiped out by the time we finished breaking down, and left Steve and Kathy on their own. I don’t know how much they enjoyed the party, but Kathy’s toes were painted a bright color and Steve had a tattoo! Relax, folks, it was a temporary one.

Once Friday morning came around, we were ready to leave for home. We attended the lakeside farewell service, loaded up the van with luggage, musical gear, snacks … and Hillary who would be traveling with us. It was around 9 on Friday evening when we got to Steve and Kathy’s house, and past 10 by the time Mary Lou and I got home.

It had been a remarkable week. The band functioned very professionally while working and had plenty of fun during whatever down time was available to us. Everyone in attendance seemed to approve of what we were doing, and it was certainly nice being able to meet and talk to the folks we had entertained earlier in the week. I don’t know if there’s any group of people anywhere so dedicated to enjoying themselves and sharing the joy with others than are UUs. They were great to us. We hope we did them some good.

Now that we’re back home, we’re maintaining contact with a lot of the folks that we met up there – primarily through Facebook. We’ve heard some nice things from them, and we’ve received a lot of photographs of our concerts. The moment we heard we had been selected for this position, we were excited and sure that we’d have fun. As it turned out, we weren’t wrong. To slightly paraphrase the Hoyt Axton song recorded so many years ago by Three Dog Night, “We’ve never been to heaven, but we’ve been to Oklahoma.”

If you're so inclined, check out our guest book and TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

SWUUSI Tuesday and Wedesday

On Tuesday, Steve and I completed our song-writing course, while Mary Lou and Kathy visited as much of the nearby wildlife that could be found. They especially enjoyed photographing a wide variety of butterflies, and watching the falcons, hawks, eagles, and owls being fed and exercised. In the afternoon, we splashed around in the pool. Steve and Kathy’s daughter Hillary was there with quite a few Young Adults, one of which could be heard saying, “I didn’t realize it was ‘bring your parents to the pool day’, Hillary.” I hope we didn’t embarrass her too much. That evening, we let the YA’s feed us at their BBQ. They were also sponsoring a dance on the tennis courts, but we decided to give that a miss, as the weather had turned as hot and humid as … as … as San Antonio!

Wednesday was Kathy’s day. Kathy’s a former teacher and took the afternoon Hogwarts mini-concert as her own special chore. We had even added seven new songs to our repertoire specifically for this concert. The Hogwarts group was facilitated by our friend Shari, and they received our hour-long performance well, but somewhat quietly. As a matter of fact, we weren’t sure that we had any effect on them at all. We were about to find out differently – in spades. Wednesday evening was supposed to be divided between watching the camps talent shows [one for adults one for children and youths], and dropping in on the Young Adults “bunkhouse” for some chat and guitar picking. All four of us watched the youth talent show, but only Steve and Kathy watched the adults. I wasn’t feeling all that well and passed on the YA get-together. Unfortunately for Steve and Kathy, the YA’s were so exhausted from the community project that they’d worked on all day, nobody had the energy left for a jam. So Steve and Kathy went to the adult talent show. I’m very sorry I missed it since it included some of the people from our song-writing class performing a song they wrote as their assignment.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday at SWUUSI

On Monday, after we’d familiarized ourselves with the camp and met as many folks as we could, Steve and I conducted the first day of our class, while the ladies toured the resort, cameras in hand. We had about 8 or 9 participants with various levels of experience in writing and performing music. We put together a decent overview of the craft and of the wide range of themes, modes, and styles of song. We sent everyone away with what we hoped were helpful hints and new ideas, and exhorted them to return the next day with at least a partially written song. As our group disbanded, Steve and I were delighted to discover that Kathy and Mary Lou had brought with them four Sonic Rt. 44 Diet Cherry Limeades!

That evening we performed the first of our two concerts. We had the main hall and had plenty of time for us to set up with our “sound guy,” Chris. We were able to hang the “The Tim and Bob Show are proud to support Pet Pals of Texas” banner in a very visible spot [where it stayed for the remainder of the camp], as well as tune our various instruments. On this trip there was an additional instrument because Kathy chose SWUUSI to debut her skills as a bass player. Mary Lou and I had no idea that she had gotten an instrument and had been working on several songs until about 10 days before we left for Oklahoma. We had decided that each concert would feature songs that allowed her to do her stuff.

The concert went well. The Young Adults came en masse to listen to Steve. In his many years as a youth counselor, Steve had known and had the privilege of being advisor to many of these young people, and they all seemed to love him. They congregated off to the side of the band, and provided us with a lot of energy. As a matter of fact, there was plenty of energy on all sides from folks under 5 years of age to a couple who had to have been past 80. There was a lot of cheering and a lot of dancing. We often get a few children to dance at our gigs; they haven’t yet learned that it can be embarrassing to enjoy yourself so publicly, you see. But we had people of all ages dancing, and it was a wonderful thing for all of us to experience. Mary Lou got a chance to demonstrate that she’d completely recovered from her thyroid surgery by using her full vocal range, and Steve got plenty of use from his Epiphone electric guitar. And, of course, Kathy played her bass. We had a wonderful time and played about 15 minutes longer than we had expected.

More to come.

Well, We’ve Never Been to Heaven …

Early in the morning of August 2, The Tim and Bob Show began our biggest road trip to date, both in terms of mileage and importance. We set off from Steve and Kathy’s house before breakfast to drive to Western Hill Guest Ranch on the shores of Fort Gibson Lake in northeastern Oklahoma. We were going there to take our posts as “Artists in Residence” for the Southwest Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute, popularly known as SWUUSI. For an entire week, each of us would be acting primarily as members of a band. Our day jobs, our volunteer work, and even my increasing addiction to Fulham Football Club were all taking a very long and very distant back seat to acting as artists. Amazing. As our trip would take 10 hours to complete, however, we’d have plenty of time to acclimatize ourselves to the concept, as well as to do crossword puzzles, snack, search for radio stations playing “our kind of music,” snack, and generally chatter and snack.

It was a hot morning on its way to another all-too-typical South Texas triple digit day when we stopped for breakfast on the north side of Austin. We weren’t really all that hungry by the time we got to West, but our ancient rented minivan [alright, only 3 years old, but with 50,000+ miles] was, so we stopped for gas and, of course, for coffee and kolaches. West is famous for these Central European treats, and justly so. My first kolache was eaten by the time we reached freeway speed! Thankfully, the other three had more restraint than me, so we were able to enjoy these throughout the week. Good stuff.

Once we crossed the Red River, our trip took us through most of Eastern Oklahoma. The farther north we drove, the less the landscape looked like the flat, bleached out, parched oven that we left behind. There were plenty of hills along the way, lots of lakes and rivers, and several shades of green fields, hills, and trees. Steve and I traded off the driving duties, only stopping for gasoline and food along the way. Kathy and Mary Lou kept us hydrated, loaded with snacks [grapes and cherries, yum], and entertained as we drove. We got to our destination with plenty of sunlight remaining in the day.

Western Hills is near Wagoner, OK. The “ranch” facility where we stayed is on a narrow peninsula surrounded on three sides by Fort Gibson Lake. There were lots of tall trees, egrets, and deer. While SWUUSI has been held annually for years, this was the first year for this location, so Mary Lou and I were as much in-the-dark as were Steve and Kathy about the resort’s amenities. We didn’t know whether the accommodations would be spartan, and we weren’t taking any chances. We were pleasantly surprised, then, when we discovered that our adjoining cabins each had a flat-screen TV[!] along with a comfortable queen-sized bed and a nice bathroom. Steve and Kathy’s room had a small refrigerator, a hot plate, and a microwave, so it only seemed fair that we eat and drink in their room and use ours as the repository for everyone’s guitars, music stands, luggage, and miscellaneous band paraphernalia. Had Mary Lou and I experienced a sudden emergency in the night, it would have been easier for us to escape through our partners’ room than through our own front door only a foot or two away!

We knew that the Artist-in-Residence responsibility included two evening concerts, as well as a small private performance for the middle-school aged group called “Hogwarts.” In addition, Steve and I volunteered to teach a two-day course in song-writing. In between there were to be opportunities to swim in the pool – and maybe in the lake? – as well as perusing the nature trails, looking at the horses in the nearby stable, watching the daily feeding of the predatory birds that have found a sanctuary there, and attending other classes. Additionally, we had planned a day “off campus” to visit Tulsa’s historic Deco District, as well was examine the artworks and historical objects in the Gilcrease Museum. We planned for each evening to end with the four of us polishing off a bottle of wine and noshing on cheese, fruit, crackers, and the like. And some time during the week, darn it, Steve and I were determined to find a stretch of grass where we could play catch.

More to come, stay tuned.