Written by Eddie Ferranti
Mar 27, 2009 at 08:00 PM
ImageHouston Music Review got to engage in something we’ve come to embrace over the last couple years recently – House Concerts. We’ve been a big supporter of what Kenny Pipes is doing with his Almost Austin gig in Pasadena, Texas since 2007. By his and other’s recommendation,  we finally got to go to the Piney Woods Performances in Conroe, Texas to catch a favorite band of ours “porterdavis”. Gracious hosts Jamie and Katren Coumbe have been putting on their shows since December 2001. Good for them!  In today’s concrete jungle we live in, it is really hard to find true country dwellings.

Well, these folks live in the “boonies” and I mean that in a good way. Nestled off  Old Highway 105 outside of Downtown Conroe they have a tight little adobe setting which really works for gigs. All acoustic for sure is different, but this evening it really showcased the talents of three fine gents. porterdavis is fresh from snaring some gaudy accolades from the Chronicle in Austin, Texas. No small feat to pull off these awards:

-Best Roots Rock Band
-Best Drums (Mike Meadows the box whacker)
-Best Instrument, Miscellaneous  (Simon Wallace the harp blowin’ sumbitch)
-#3 Best Blues Band
-#5 Best Male Vocals (Ultra smooth bad ass Dan Barrett)
-#6 Best Electric Guitar  (Danny Bee)

The Chronicle is a respected rag and swings some major weight in a music heavy town like Austin.  porterdavis approached the pre-voting time by sending out a message that basically said we’re not big on thumping our our chests, but would appreciate you taking a minute to fill out a ballot.
Apparently the approach worked with their many fans. Rosie & I had not seen them full acoustic since they set up outside the Crighton Theater years ago. They caught our ear then and still do today.

Swampy and soulful are fitting words that come to mind when describing them. Simon’s harp sounded so silky smooth throughout and was really cool when he did a solo “Chain Gang Song(?)”. Do not know if that was the actual title, but it was sweet.  Mike had tamborines on his feet with bells wrapped around his shin and his “Moe Howard” hair in his face. Classic. How that dude coordinates all those things at once while thumping his “box” is beyond me. And then there is Dan. It was his birthday and the present was given to us in attendance. He was presented a cool cake which was a nice gesture by PWP. His sincere piercing sweet voice captures you in a spellbinding way, especially in such intimate surroundings.

Stalwarts like “Smack You Back”,  “Penny Candy”, “Custard Pie”,  “Janey” (you don’t know my name) and “Heaven Help Me” just scorched the joint.  Plus one of my new faves is the killer version of the Bill Withers classic “Use Me” that Daniel nails !  The boys told me a new CD is close. The iron is red hot right now coming off the heels of the Chronicle awards. They would be better served to get that baby out sooner rather than later. Considering they have only been playing together since 2004 in Austin speaks volumes of how far they’ve come.

In closing, I’d like to take my hat off again to folks like the Coumbe’s and some of their loyal “groupies” if you will .  Like Misty Thomas and Joy Wren, who achieved huge pleasure from the porterdavis experience!  It was quite infectious and cool to this reviewer and my better half Rose…Until the next gig, I’m out.