Monday, March 29, 2010

Of Becker, Bluebonnets, and Brides to Be

Well, it’s been a while since this blog has been active, but spring is strongly with us here in South Texas, and with the renewal of our wildflowers [thanks, Lady Bird!] comes the rebirth of The Tim and Bob Show blog. Since we left you in late January, we have become accustomed to what seems to be our 2010 routine. The band basically lives in two iterations now – the rocking, four-part, full band augmented by percussion, bass, and smoking electric guitar, and the basic Don and Steve acoustic sets. Each has its merits, and Steve and I have been enjoying this monthly trip back to our roots, but there’s nothing like the fun we have when all four of us are working together.

The full band has played together only three times since our last blog entry at the end of January. A private gig in Austin was followed by our first regular monthly gig of the year at Beto’s Comida Latina. And this past Saturday we traveled 85 minutes into the Texas Hill Country to perform at Becker Vineyards in Stonewall. We’ve played there several times before, and always enjoy the reaction we get when our sounds mix with their wine. Since this Saturday featured the best weekend weather of the calendar year, we were hoping for a big crowd. We weren’t disappointed.

One feature of regional vineyards is that they are often the first choice of pre-wedding bridal celebrations. This was certainly the case on the day. Relatively early on in the set, we caught the ear of a group of about 12 ladies who were on Becker’s porch chattering, drinking, and singing along. They were among the most noticeable contributors to my favorite moment of the day. Steve and Kathy were singing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” to the accompaniment of at least 30 folks singing along. The song ended in applause and cheers so strong and enthusiastic that Kathy was momentarily shaken by its strength. As Kathy and Steve went into their next duo, I wandered over to the bridal party and thanked them for their attention. They asked if we sang “Sweet Caroline” since it was the favorite song of the bride-to-be and I said that we did and that I’d be happy to have the band play it for them.

We were about 16 bars into the song, when an even larger bridal party showed up and “intercepted” the song. This group wasn’t interested in sitting down, though, and they hooted, hollered and danced about a foot from me and not much farther from the rest of the band for a good half hour. Now the porch at Becker’s Vineyards has a metal overhang, and the noise these celebrants made echoed so strongly that the band could hardly hear ourselves for several songs. Each bridal party seemed to be competing with the other to see who could drink the most wine and have the most fun. Well, since we only had a sip of wine ourselves, they won that contest, but at the end I think we enjoyed playing just as much as they enjoyed listening.

Now I'm not going to mention all the Tim and Bob Nationals who showed up, but it was good to see Hillary and Bethany and their friend Kirsten, along with Loyce, Linda, Vicki, and Summer. Debbie showed up to the venue where we first met, and Bob was there along with Tim and Cindy. Okay, I guess I AM going to mention all those names. We also made some new friends, most notable of whom were a couple who bought our CD to take home with them to Alaska. The Tim and Bob Show Meets the Last Frontier!

We were exhausted at the end of this two-hour set with no break, but as we were breaking down, I noticed that Steve had sat down with some Becker customers, unpacked his Taylor and had begun to sing. Kathy told me that there was a couple who said they had come all the way from Houston to Stonewall just to hear us and had missed the gig. So after Steve finished his song, I joined him for two others. And even this brief “unplugged” mini-set got us some warm applause.

At this point, with the gig firmly summed-up, I’d be ready to put this blog entry to bed, but there were a couple of post scripts to the weekend that bear talking about.

We had planned for the four of us to stop in Boerne on the way back from the gig and check out Mi Casa Tamales. Kathy hadn’t been able to contact their manager about securing any gigs for us. Unfortunately, ONE MEMBER of the band declared himself too tired to even consider stopping for dinner and a margarita and then going home to unload the gear. Okay, I confess; the tired old man was me. Steve and Kathy did have the energy to go, however, and in the process were able to secure us yet another outdoor full-strength gig for this coming Friday. Good work, partners!

Finally, Sunday evening, we met at Ken’s studio to hear the final recording of the three tracks we laid down a while back. These songs were designed to augment those available for our demo CD. Since the original songs we cut for this purpose featured only Steve and me, we didn’t have anything to show prospective clients what the whole band sounds like, and what variety we can provide. So, we listened to – and helped Ken polish up – our renditions of “Monday, Monday,” “Afternoon Delight,” and “Heartache Tonight.” They should also be available on our web site.

I think that qualifies as a notable weekend. I promise not to wait so long between blog entries, if you promise to enjoy this glorious spring, support live music, and TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!.