Written by Eddie Ferranti
Mar 06, 2010 at 12:00 PM
ImageHMR decided to give our second run of coverage to the fine folks of Conroe at the Third Annual Texas Independence Day Fest & Chili Cook-Off. Held at Heritage Amphitheater Park, the event holds up quite well all the way around.

A sloping hill provides for blankets and chairs to bask in the whole deal from up above. Rosie & I dig the view from there of kids frollicking on flattened cardboard boxes sliding down a hill and screeching with joy. Conroe was blessed with a sun splashed day of high 60’s which felt warmer.

This review is  more of an event coverage over music. We travel the country in search of festivals just like these. “Gosh darn” mom and pop feel where you spend $6 to eat chili, beans, and salsa for 5 hours! Believe me, I had my fill-and shared some with my better half, too !! Now that’s sayin’ something. I never knew what a chili cook-off was until I moved to Texas in 1979. From the first one I went to I dug it. Friendly folks handin’ ya delicious homemade grub. What a great country was a term I used over and over during the event.

From the KPFT booth greeting and cuttin’ up with yours truly, to “The Queen of Conroe ” Debbie Glenn running me down to buy me a cold beer, the warmth of the day flowed over me. Many resident in the know true blue music supportin’ sumsabitches were in attendance, too.  Dave “Mr.Stone Coyote” & Peg Miller were there. It was so nice to hug on the Pegmeister who had been laid up for most of 2009! Mr. Dave writes for the local Conroe rag North of the Border (Traveling Good-Time Show) -and has been a staunch music man for years.

The “Pope of Pasdena”, Kenny Pipes, was “only” at his third night of live music in THREE nights. Dude’s a mad man for music and that is no better displayed than at his house concert series Almost Austin. Resident house concert freaks from Piney Woods Performances series (9 years running!), Jamie & Katren Coumbe and their clan including Misti, were rockin’ out. Plus the previously mentioned Debbie Glenn. Girl works her ASS off to breath life into the live music scene in this neck of the woods. She not only expanded the gig to TWO days with fine talent including the likes of Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Gourds,  porterdavis, John Evans , Mike Stinson, and her personal passion Jubalee Young to name a few, the Chili Cook -Off grew 50%!  Awesome.  And oh yeah about the music.

ImageHighlights from our 5 hour or so stay was Jubal Lee Young and porterdavis. Mr. Young has been pounding the pavement heavy in the Houston area backing his third album, “The Last Free Place in America”. I’ve caught his show already a couple times, but nothing like what he did this day. Electric full on band-with Mike Stinson on drums to boot-really played hot as hell. It was a much better way to showcase his whole presentation and more of that would be most welcome in the future.
porterdavis is an unique 3 piece that has been on my regular got to see list for awhile. I was intriqued to see how the big outside arena set up would effect their always intimate sound. They kicked it big time. Their jamming ability just keeps on growing everytime out. Imagination galore played out well to the laid back atmosphere of Heritage Park. Danny on guitar, Simon the wailer on mouth harp, and Mad Man Mike on whatever would fit on his body steamed the joint all the way to the top of the hill. Dudes gave a nice shout out to Mr. Pipes which was heartfelt cool. Always killer “Penny Candy” was just that!  pd won 3 Austin Music Awards and that is no mistake.

In closing, like I mentioned earlier this day was more about an event than just covering music. Having the Wolf Creek Pistoleros and Western Town Gun Fights going on inbetween set changes was old town cool. Kids coloring on a big set up mural was a nice twist too.  Conroe is trying hard and I’m down for their First Thursdays of the Month series in 2010. CHECK OUT that line-up and don’t miss Band of Heathens/Trishas April 1 !  I know HMR won’t and count us in for Texas Indy Fest IV, too………….Ta Ta for now!