Thursday, March 18, 2010

Austin and the broken spoke, march 17th.


Beautiful day so far, brilliant day. Texas is quite vast, lot’s of plains, ranches. One highlight of the drive was a speckled cow in the a cage pulled by a truck, Amanda took a picture. I got dropped off in the middle of Austin and within minutes was given a beer and place to stay. There was a coffee shop attached to a bike shop, while buying a java, I got into a lively chat with a fellow with some fancy flattop laptop, was well received by the cool barista then sat on the deck under the beating sun. I pulled out the banjo and my tunes fell on grateful ears. Three fellah had united in Austin for the weekend and we started chatting, they had all met in San Fran and were having a reunion. I mentioned I had come from Cape Girardeau Missouri, and it turned out there was a banjo player from that same city working at the bike shop. David turned out to be a real cool guy, who offered me his couch within moments of our meeting. The sun beat down on my appreciative skin, the stella tasted so good and I played that banjo with joy. Pedal cabs seem to be quite popular here, that’s bikes modified to have a seat for three or four on the back. All types of cool looking people waked in front of me and got in line for the hip hop show next door. I got some hints about places I might check out in texas and the Pacific north west, then headed inside to check out the bike store. I picked some tunes for the staff as they packed up, then helped take bikes from the main room to storage in the basement. A pretty lady with cool style asked if I started working there. Eventually it was time to take off and the streets were crawling st Patrick’s day activities. The plan was to go to the broken spoke for two step dancing lessons. David is a real cool cat, former completive cyclist, classical trumpet player and amateur pilot, now he’s all about picking the banjo and doing the two step.

I’m at the broken spoke, which refers to a wagon wheel and this place is pure Texas. Red and white checkered table cloths cover folding tables and chairs, in the middle of the long room is the dance floor where a bleached blond vivacious 50 year old is telling everyone not to hesitate with the swing. “Rock Step” she hollers as they swing. David looks nervous out there, but he’s having a good time. Yesterday I put a sticker that says “listen to the devil” on the back of my lap top, I wonder what people think of it. Cowboy hats, boots and neon beer signs abound. I’m going to watch the lesson.

I think I’ve reached a new plane of existence, I bought a beer for a girl who reminded me of my childhood friend Kristy. Hanna turned out to be a song writing, horse breaking, truck driving, competitive soft ball playing, two stepping seventeen year old. Dale Watson and his band were playing, and they were incredibly tasty. He calls his music “ameripolitan” heavily influenced by roots, it’s basically how country is supposed to sound like.

I had a number of different dance partners and had some wicked conversations, the one that sticks in my head the most was with a evangelical Christian named Karen of Asian decent; she organizes dodgeball tournaments to raise money for AIDS charities in Africa and in Austin. Another said she was political, big into the second amendment, gun rights. Made for interesting conversations later on. Eventually I started breakdancing, Dale called it the first ever “two step breakdancing” I got lot’s of smiles. The evening felt surreal, so much love, awesome music and the two stepping was quite special. There’s something highly intimate and erotic about falling into repetitive rhythms with a dance partner.... when I’m not flailing around the room, trying not to bump into the twenty other couples on the floor.

Plus and most especially fun, I met some super cool musicians, one was Marike Jager, , from Holland, who met Dale in europe, and was in Austin to help shoot a documentary about Dale. She started a record label, is drop dead gorgeous, is a good dancer and is hella cool. We had some good business chats, The consensus seems to be that no one know what the hell is happening with the industry. Just how I like it. My favorite song of hers is Fling Flack Toodah, check out the video on her myspace.

Another musician I met was Whitey Morgan. All day I’ve been on band alert, whenever I see a group of people dressed in similar fashions, I’ve been chatting them up. At the table were three huge guys with beards, jean vests and tattoos. Whitey and his crew were the coolest dressed folks I’ve come across so far, well...Bears of Blue River are in contention, I’ll repost their link.

But listen to Whitey, I hadn’t heard his music since checking it out now. Hell yeah.

After the gig, Daniel, his friend Jason from New Zeland, Hanna, her friend Angela and an Italian artistic Iron worker who’s fist name I forgot, but who’s last name is something like fortunado, and I went to a diner. We were all feeling the vibe, it felt like we were all old friends.

So if any of you are ever in Austin, check out the broken spoke.

Who knows where it goes from here. I’m thinking the country.

Questions, comments and love/hate mail :



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