Birthday Musings

I promised my best friend, while we were sitting down for lunch on my recent birthday, that I would flourish some poison penmanship if I didn’t at least receive a phone call from my blood relations this year. Mother has at least called in previous years, whether she understood the implications of the call or not.

I even mentioned the subject later, when my fellow former S*T*A*R members surprised me with chocolate cake and other goodies (Mark, keep that elbow immobile. Mr. Humor with the White Elephant gifts…) before the Wife and I headed out for our movie marathon.

The children were upset that they were going to miss my birthday, because grandma (The Wife‘s Mom) wanted to see them this summer, and the only available week was the week of my birthday. But my brothers and sisters…? Well, they were watching Da Boys in Central Park (with my Mom, as well. At least Mom confessed) and hadn’t thought to trouble me with the knowledge that they were all getting together. On my birthday. To watch a concert. In New York City.

…Without me.

CBSLos Lonely Boys Jam – Aug 16, 2008
Los Lonely Boys – Nobody Else (from Live at The Fillmore) Mar 10, 2016

Sure. I don’t fly these days. I get vertigo and headaches and the list goes on. Plenty of excuses to go around. But not to even tell me…?

What a burn.

But, every time I started to write this post, something important that I was missing kept bothering me; something I was missing, that I didn’t show proper appreciation for at the time.

Two groups of friends took time out of their busy days to drop by and drag me out to have fun. The Wife and I had a great time watching films that we had put off seeing all summer. The Children brought me gifts, and the Daughter may never speak to my family again, she’s so outraged.

I have friends that care. I know that they care because there isn’t much that I can do for them in return for their kindness. They aren’t kissing up to me looking for favors. I have a wife that I love and who still loves me after 20 years, and I have children who care more about my status in the family than I do.

What else could you ask for on your 45th Birthday?

(Shut up, Id. Tickets to an LLB concert in Central Park were never offered, were they? And that boxed set of SG1 is being delivered. So pipe down back there.)

What else could you ask for?

LLB & the Guero in the Barrio

I went out and picked up LLB’s Forgiven a few days ago. I had to go to Wal-Mart because my brother (I’ve mentioned him before) clued me in to a surprise on the album. But it’s only on the album available at Walmart.

Track 14. Plain as day to me. My brother’s voice on a major release album. I’ve heard him singing before. His band Hazytrane had their own album but you couldn’t buy it at Walmart. You don’t believe that’s my brother singing? Check out the (live) video on Yahoo! Music. Here is the studio track:

Los Lonely Boys- Guero in the Barrio – Jan 4, 2009

Yeah, that’s him singing. Every day I find additional evidence that the universe is indeed weirder than we can imagine. Congratulations, my brother.

The album? It’s better than their initial release. I heard the songs on the first album before they were prettied up for the general public (connections have their perks) and I preferred the sound (Hurt, my favorite of the pre-release songs, has never been released) This album has that same playful edge that you get at a live LLB concert, that was present in the pre-release songs from the first album. Just three guys (and apparently my brother) jamming in a garage somewhere. Pick it up if you get the chance.

Editor’s note

Yahoo music lost the song at some point. There is a live video linked of him singing on stage. I prefer the live version to the studio version. The energy of the crowd comes across in the live recordings. The live video author will not let the video be embedded, so I have to settle for a link.

Steele Penny Pub & Los Lonely Boys

This is a blog entry I’ve been threatening my brother with for a long time. I just can’t put it off any longer though, not with The Stones playing in town tonight; and opening for The Stones (perhaps the oldest and still most popular rock band actively touring these days) one of the newest bands to hit the charts, Los Lonely Boys.

Last week they were featured at Austin City Limits Festival, and this week they are opening for The Stones. They’ve hit the big time, these three guys from San Angelo, thanks in no small part to my brother.

Why my brother? Let me tell you a story…

There was a little place in San Angelo called the Steel Penny Pub, one of the few places in that town where you could go to get good cold beer and great live music. My brother opened the venue with the intention of creating a place for his band Hazytrane to play, only to discover that the demands of owning a business took up too much time for him to continue pursuing his own musical career. Not too long after starting the Pub, his band folded up and went their separate ways. The lead guitarist became a lawyer. I still can’t wrap my head around that transition.

What he did instead of featuring his own band was to look around for another house band to fill the void that was left where his band used to be. What he found was Los Lonely Boys. Even though (as this article notes) they were underage at the time, Russ gave the boys the job, and they honed their already impressive skills playing several nights a week at the pub.

I would really like to say “I heard Los Lonely Boys at the Steel Penny Pub” but I was a professional architect working in another town, and I didn’t have time to fool around with music in those days. Somehow I managed to miss all of their performances there. Luckily for them, Willie Nelson didn’t. While in town for a show of his own, Willie stopped by the Pub and heard Los Lonely Boys for the first time, and recognized their talent right away. Within a few months they were playing at festivals and concerts alongside Willie Nelson, and not too long after that their first album debuted.

…And the rest is history. Heaven (not my favorite song on the album, but definitely a very catchy tune) reached the top ten, and stayed there for 18 weeks. My brother handed over management of the Pub to his business partner, and went on the road with Los Lonely Boys as their road manager for nearly two years. It was quite a ride.

I finally got to see & hear Los Lonely Boys play at Antones here in Austin, early in their first tour. I’ve never seen anybody play guitar like these guys can. If you get a chance to see them live, you’ll kick yourself later if you don’t take the time to go see them play. Live is the way to experience most music; and live is without a doubt the best way to experience Los Lonely Boys music. You just won’t know what it’s really like until then.

The last time I saw them was in the largest ever attending crowd (30,00 plus) for the Town Lake summer concert, which they turned into a concert video. And now they are opening for The Stones tonight. I know where my brother is going to be. Wouldn’t mind being in his shoes tonight, not one bit.