Written by James Killen
Aug 12, 2011 at 08:00 PM
It’s always a nice evening to spend Friday night at Heights Presbyterian Church listening to some great Texas songsters perform, and Friday was just such an evening. If you’ve not been, the church offers a spacious setting for a “house-like” concert, bringing in the likes of John Dee Graham, Mitch Jacobs and Ginger Leigh. It’s a BYOB event and listeners should not feel shy about bringing an ice chest or a bottle of wine to a Protestant church as that is more the rule than the exception, although, I’ve never seen anyone drink to excess there. They are somewhat famous for the slide show that they provide during the performance with pictures from the artists file. And, of course as all the regulars know, there’s PIE!

Friday night brought Matt Harlan and Brian Hudson to the Heights stage after a summer tour of the Mid and Northwest, starting in Telluride Colorado where Matt won first prize out of 600 entrants to the Telluride Troubadour Competition. Brian Hudson, formerly of The Hudsons, brings a soft spoken hard hitting song writing style that compliments Matt’s rambling story-telling style. That along with the ability to play leads on each other’s songs, made for an excellent evening of song swapping.

The show kind of bumped to a start as each of them found their groove and then honed in on the other’s groove, with Harlan’s “Walter” and Hudson’s “Problem Song”. Matt stumbled a bit on the lyrics of “Over the Bridge” and then, like his voice burst through a sheet of plastic, the show synced up as Matt sang the words, “Now I’m looking around and I can’t remember how I called this concrete garden home.” They went on to play Harlan’s “You’re Just Drunk” and his nod to Samuel Becket, “Waiting for Godot” along with a few new tunes, that hint that there may be a new disc in the near future. They did a number of Brian Hudson’s songs from his solo disc, including “Walking Shoes” and “Working for a Woman” and a number of tunes from his days with the Hudsons.
One of those songs that really intrigued me was “Lonely as Balls”. Even though Brian’s lyrics gave lots of examples about how lonely that would be, I just could not grasp how lonely, “lonely as balls” would be, until as the song came to a close, the slide show screen showed a rear view picture of three boar hogs at the trough. Let me tell you something, anything that looks like that is pretty lonely. Rachel Jones joined the pair to sing back up on three songs, including a cover of Paul Simon’s “Papa Hobo”. The guys closed up the show with a killer cover of Blaze Foley’s “Clay Pigeons” and the title track of Matt’s CD, “Tips & Compliments” (an excellent production, by the way, that is worth owning). By the end of evening, it sounded as though Brian and Matt had been playing together their entire lives.

Matt is getting packed for his upcoming European tour, so it may be a few weeks before we get to hear him back in Houston again, but I urge you all to check him out. He’s got that genuine Boerne born Hill-country mellow grin that always seems to say “Glad to See You”. Houston should be proud to have this great talent choose here to call home base.