Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Springtime Music Under the Live Oaks

The weekend of March 28 and 29 is well into South Texas springtime, and that should mean certain things. Will it be cold? Yes. Will it be warm? Yes. Will the dreaded Mountain Cedar pollen be under control? Yes. Will the dreaded Oak pollen be raging? Yes. But will there be wine and pizza and music? Oh, most definitely yes. And so it was that The Tim and Bob Show had yet another two-gig weekend. And since the weather was cooperating, both gigs were held outdoors.

Our first appearance was Saturday night at WineStyles, Stone Oak. Our last two performances there found us inside sheltering from the cold and, as a result of the constricted space, doing without the musical stylings of the women. Steve and I did our best, but it can't be the band's best without Kathy and Mary Lou. This time, all four of us were there, and we capitalized on it in a big way. Our set list was chock full of four-parters and everyone did his or her part to rock the premises. We set up under the shelter of a huge Live Oak tree in WineStyle's patio and offered our music up into the stars.

Tim and Bob nationals Hillary and Matt were there, and so was "the other Matt" also known as FulhamAg, who dropped by after the USA Soccer match to order a beer from San Antonio's finest wine shop. It was a great night, made even better by the presence of both Kathy and Mary Lou. The former will be in a play shortly, while the latter will be visiting relatives also in a short time. It was good to have them with us.

The same was true the very next night at Fralo's Art of Pizza, the site of our very first gig going on four years ago. The weather was cooperative -- it was a bit warmer than the previous evening -- and the skies were clear and the Oak trees sheltered the band. We did our usual mixture of covers from the 60s and 70s and original tunes. Steve wailed out on the electric when the material called for it, and allowed us to enjoy some deft finger-picking on his Taylor on quieter selections. Once again we rocked the joint. The favorite for me for BOTH gigs was our original "South Texas Saturday Night" -- a song inspired by Fralo's and included on our CD.

Tim and Bob National Casey showed up along with Leo and Belen and their daughter Laura. It was great to see Leo and Belen, who last saw us at Fralo's two years ago. They said they drove down from Austin just to see us, but I think they really came down to see Laura. We also made new friends in Steve, Eileen, and Ian, and James and Steffy. When the night was over, Fralo's presented us with "a pizza to go." What a night.

And what a weekend. What next? Well, you know you want to find out. Check out our website's "next gigs"! page [while you're there, look at the photographs!]. and watch your inbox for gig alerts.

It's time for outdoor live music, folks! Support your local rock 'n rollers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eating Steak Tacos and Saluting Volunteers – and then Steve gets 700 Years Younger!

The weekend of March 20 and 21 was a wonderful time for The Tim and Bob Show. On Friday, we got to return to Orderup for our regular monthly gig. We really missed this funky little Taqueria, Pizzeria, Burgeria, since we had to cancel our February gig due to the unparalleled horrors of South Texas Cedar Fever. We were all better – at least physically – and were ready to rock and roll for our close friends. We were short Kathy, however, who had once again yielded to the muse of live theater. She was rehearsing her new play – Angel Street – the play on which the classic movie Gaslight was based. So, in other words, she gave up singing with the group for a couple of months in order to be Ingrid Bergman. Go figure!

We did our best without her, and had a great time. Our loyal friends Louie and Cathy [and their daughter Olivia] were there – they hardly ever miss us – and they brought their friend Stephen, who was visiting from Colorado Springs. Casey and Pam, who never miss an Orderup gig, were also there, and new Tim and Bob Nationals [but old friends] David and Chara finally made the grueling 5-block trip to come and listen.

As usual, Orderup meant a party with even the glorious wait staff getting in on the fun. All too soon it was over, and we were packing up and resting up for Saturday.

On Saturday, we drove over to Friedrich Park to set up for an afternoon gig. The Friends of Friedrich Park were honoring the hard-working volunteers who educate and guide visitors to this lovely public space, as well as helping to maintain the aesthetic purity of the environment. Like all volunteers, they do their work from love, and like all volunteers, they’re not paid. We were there to entertain them while they received thanks from the group’s organizers and while they tasted the fantastic food that was prepared. Kudos to the miniature quiches in phyllo dough laced heavily with roasted garlic. A major, serious yum!

I had already had an incomparable Saturday morning, and was looking forward to a great afternoon. I was definitely not disappointed. Because we had missed Kathy’s contributions the night before, Steve and I decided to list as many four-parters as we could manage. Included in the list was our debut of “Afternoon Delight.” Now, I had demurred at adding this to our repertoire, but people kept saying that it was perfect for a guitar-based four-person mixed group who relied on harmonies and acoustic sounds. Wow, That’s us! So, we relented and have been working on it for a long time. We were a little nervous, but – what can I say – we nailed it.

The audience was very appreciative, but we couldn’t say good-bye without saluting them and the good work that they do preserving nature’s beauty and helping people enjoy the wonders of South Texas ecology. We were referred to this worthy group by old friends [and education and theater colleagues] Karl and Melva. While we met a lot of new friends, we reserve special mention for Diane, Peggy, Patsy, and Jayne. What great fun to play surrounded by nature.

Once we broke down, we followed Steve and Kathy back to their Green Spring Valley home for a quick change of clothes. Once that was accomplished, it was off to the San Antonio School of the Performing Arts. They were having an open house, and The Merrie Court Singers were performing selections from their Renaissance repertoire. Steve and Kathy have been members of this a’capella choral group for over 20 years. Along with Tim and Bob Nationals Gary, Karl, Meg, and Lindsay, they dress in period costumes – Steve says his makes him look 700 years younger – and knock out audiences with their incredible vocal styles and audience rapport. Mary Lou and I have been their biggest fans and unabashed groupies for seven or eight years. They do most of their work during the Christmas season, but this was one of their wonderful Spring/Summer performances – including works written by composers as famous as a young student of the clergy who later grew up to be Henry VIII of England.

While Kathy is the acknowledged theater performer of the group, Steve wound up stealing the show with his antics during “Now is the Month of Maying.” Mary Lou and I sat with Matt, Hillary, and a group of others smiling, applauding, and completely blown away by their talent. A quick change and the four of us were off for Thai food and a toast [with water] for an enjoyable, if tiring, weekend spent in the service of music as healing for the soul.

Life is good – especially when music and friends are a part of it.

Back to the world of work and then we’re off for more adventures next weekend. In the meantime, TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

On the Road Again

Early Saturday morning -- well, early for musicians anyhow -- The Tim and Bob Show retraced the route of our favorite road trip: up US281 for the two-hour jaunt to Pillar Bluff Winery in the bustling metropolis of Lampasas, Texas. Bustling, did I say?

Anyhow, we experienced a few sprinkles as Steve and I picked up our rental van from the SA Airport. We're in a strange position down this way. We get so little rain, we hate to complain about it when we do, but the previous evening's gig had been canceled by what we fervently hoped was the last of a three-day downpour that amounted to more than two inches in the immediate San Antonio area, and nearly four inches in some places over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone -- just as our prolonged drought was threatening us with water-use restrictions. There were about 15 more drops of water as we loaded up the van with our musical equipment, folding chairs, and road trip necessities like cheese, grapes, crackers, water, a well-thumbed crossword puzzle book, and a bottle of the elixir of life for both Steve and me. For the uninitiated, that elixir is commercially known as Diet Dr. Pepper.

As usual, Steve was at the wheel as we motored up. Eventually the raindrops disappeared, but there was still heavy overcast, dark skies, a bit of north wind, and temperatures in the low 40s. And ... we were heading north. When we arrived at Pillar Bluff, we noticed that Gill's covered event area was devoid of the tell-tale earmarks of impending partying. When we stuck our noses inside, we discovered that the wind, damp, and cold had convinced Gill to move the performance space inside -- that is in the cask room and in the patio out back where cases of wine are stored. We figured to have more space to play in the latter area, but were unsure how it would be an improvement over the wide open covered ring-shaped space we have grown used to in the past year. Well, we hadn't seen what Gill could do with opaque plastic sheeting, a rickety step ladder, and alligator clips. [Note the picture above!] Once he was finished, we had a good windbreak behind us, and a propane pedestal heater to warm the cockles of ... I guess, everything. By 2 o'clock we were ready to play.

The crowds remained small throughout the day, but they really paid attention to what we did and were appreciative of our efforts. With Kathy being cast in a show, and with Mary Lou just a month or so away from a visit to her family in California, we knew that we wouldn't be able to play a whole lot more gigs with a full four-person compliment, so we pretty much threw everything we had into performing. About midway through our second set, we established a firm connection with the folks who were seated near us and in the next room. From then on, it was party time at the winery. Sure-fire crowd pleasers like "Locomotion," "Mustang Sally," and "Pretty Woman" got people rocking, but I believe it was the performance of our original four-parter "It Ends; It Begins" that excited people the most. Mary Lou and I left the stage to Steve and Kathy after that one for a bit of rest. We didn't get any, though, because once folks realized that this was an original tune and was available on our CD, the two of us spent most of the short break selling CDs and saying "thanks" to the folks that dropped money into our tip jar.

The good party atmosphere continued right through to our traditional last song "Bye-bye Love." We had to interrupt our break-down of equipment to shake hands with the remaining Pillar Bluff customers, and pose for some snapshots. Wow, what a day. All of us sounded good in solo vocals, duos, and in our four-parters, but if there was a "star of the day," it had to be Steve's new baby -- his Epiphone electric. All our rockers sounded harder and edgier whenever he wailed away. Great day.

What made it an even nicer day was the fact that Joyce and her friend Tom drove down from North Texas to see us. We had met Joyce on our first visit to Pillar Bluff last year, and it was the first time we'd seen her since. She told us she'd planned her whole weekend around our performance. That was very nice to hear. We also discovered that we weren't the only people to drive up from San Antonio. Steve and Sandy drove up from Schertz and brought their friends Trish and Angie. We also made some new friends in Amy, Rick, Vi and Stephanie.

What could possibly top off a day like this? Well, Gill invited us out to dinner in what appeared to be "Historic Downtown Lampasas'" ONLY restaurant. Along with Gill's wife Peggy, his brother Bill, and his sister-in-law Susie, we enjoyed a great meal in Eve's Cafe -- a funky little place with friendly wait staff and wonderful German-themed food. Bill, who is also a Vintner, brought along a sample of his most popular wine (Petite Syrah, yum), and we each had a glass. Wow. Texas wines are wonderful.

Finally, we were off, retracing our steps through the Hill Country and back into San Antonio. Although we were all exhausted, nobody came close to closing their eyes. Since Steve had left his night driving glasses at home, I was chosen to pilot our rental van back home in the dark. Believe me when I tell you that EVERYBODY stayed wide awake at that frightening prospect.

Where next for the unstoppable Tim and Bob Machine? Check out the "upcoming gigs" section of our home page. And while you're there, go to our guest page and Tell us what YOU think!.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Back at Central Market Again!

On Saturday, March 7, The Tim and Bob Show returned to our newest indoor venue – HEB Central Market’s great café. We’d not been there since our introduction to the space in January, and we were itching to get back. All of us except Kathy had been suffering from allergies – so severe that we had to cancel two gigs – and then Kathy wound up with a virus that gave her basically the same three-note vocal range of croaks as the rest of us. When we had actually improved enough to be able to sing, the space we found ourselves in was just big enough for Steve and me.

So we headed down to Alamo Heights with a renewed determination to give it our best, and that’s exactly what we did. It had seemed forever since we had been able to sing our signature four parters, and we jumped into them with some gusto. We even introduced a new one – The Beatles’ “Long and Winding Road” with Kathy taking the lead.

We had some surprise visits from Tim and Bob Nationals Peggy, Arline, and Pam, and made some new friends. Ann joined us for the first time. Elisio, Ingrid, and their three children showed up, and Ingrid showed us all how to applaud while holding a three-month-old baby.

As had happened before, when we ventured into Mamas and Papas territory, our audience expanded beyond the boundaries of the café. Shoppers in the produce section and those by the deli counter stopped what they were doing to listen intently to our four-part versions of “California Dreamin’” and “Monday Monday.” It was very satisfying.

We had really been looking forward to this gig, and we were not disappointed. Based on their response, it appeared as if our listeners were similarly pleased. We can wait to go back. When will that be? Check out our web site and find out.

Tell us what YOU think!.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tim and Bob Show 2 Mountain Cedar 0!

Well, the nasty South Texas allergies that caused The Tim and Bob Show to cancel two gigs the weekend of February 20-22 mitigated long enough to ensure that Steve and Don could pull themselves together and play some music for the fine folks at WineStyles-Stone Oak (WineStyles-Stone Oak was celebrating their one year anniversary by the way) on the last day of the month. Yes, because a "norther" blew in and dropped the temperature a good 40 degrees, entertainment at WineStyles moved indoors. This means a space reduction, and this means that the girls get a night off.

And what a night it was. Undaunted by the economy or the vagaries of South Texas weather, a good-sized crowd showed up on Saturday night, and we were there to entertain them. Many were veteran Tim and Bob Nationals. Alice, Mike, and Anna showed up, along with Anna's sister Rosa and Anna's friend Andrew. Bethany and Matt were there, fresh from their engagement celebration dinner, along with Hillary, Leigh-Anne, Marcelo, Preslee and Veronica, and new friends Kandie, Kaci, and Tommy. Some non-members of Bethany's posse who became new Tim and Bob friends included Cynthia and Don, Emily and Robert.

Sound like a lot of folks? It was, and even with all of those, we contributed less than half of the clientele on the evening. The joint was jumping almost from the very beginning, and we rocked on until a good half hour beyond closing. At the end of the evening, the owners -- Jerry and Jean -- asked for a special round of applause for the tired and somewhat hoarse musicians.

From the beginning to the end, it was a great night for Steve and me. We really miss the girls, though, and the good news is that we should be able to play outdoors more often now, and that'll allow us to change up the personnel and the sound more often.

We're busily booking up through the month of November. Between restaurant gigs, wineries, parties, and the like, 2009 looks like another busy year for The Tim and Bob Show. Keep checking your email and checking out our website. Before you know it, we'll be playing at a venue very near where you're sitting reading this.

Tell us what YOU think!