Written by Eddie Ferranti
Mar 10, 2011 at 08:00 PM
In these stressful times we live in it is important to have a place to leave the workplace behind, put your mind at ease, and have a good cold beer. One of thee best kept secrets to do that sort of thing is goin’ on at Blancos at the corner of West Alabama and Buffalo Speedway in H-Town.

As they state on their site: “The only place to be if you want to dance since 1982.”  It is a lot more than dancing though. HOW many places offer Thursday’s FREE music promptly at 8pm with $10 SIX beers buckets?   A kitchen with above average grub, including some great french fries @ $1.99 that stays open until 10pm!

This joint has some of the coolest staff headed by the owner Karin, lil ball buster Michelle, along with Ami, Bonnie, and Katie waiting on you like they’ve known you all their life.  And oh yeah, the music!

This night was a chap by the name of Mike Stinson. Dude hails from Virginia, but called Los Angeles his home in 1991.  MS culled his country roots admiring the works of Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and George Jones to name a few.

He released an album, “Jack of All Heartache”, which spawned a tongue-in-cheek ode to California called “Late Great Golden State” which Dwight Yoakum later covered himself. “Counting My Lucky Stars” from his second album, “Last Fool at the Bar”, was featured on the TV show Cold Case.  Pretty cool stuff.

Stinson played drums for the likes of Christina Aguilera , Lucinda Williams, and Randy Weeks, but he relocated to Houston in 2009 and is now fronting his own band and playing guitar. Dude is a no nonsense performer who gives you beyond your money’s worth every time out.

This night his long ass first set included many covers and originals with lyrics/song titles that just fractured me.  Here are a few that came to mind:

-“I Guess I’ll Take this Bottle to Have and to Hold”

-“Jack of All Heartache”

-“$2 Dollars in the Juke Box 10 Cents at a Time”

– “I Got Your Message When I Never Got Your Call”

– “I Found the Other Side of the Blues”

– “I’ll Pray for Rain so the Grapes Can Make More Wine”

– “Mind Your Own Business Because You Won’t be Minding Mine”


All classics with a bang up band featuring Lance Smith on lead guitar, Charlie Davis on bass, and Ricky Davis on pedal steel. When the tandem of Smith and Davis turn it loose it is honky-tonk with tabasco on it brother!   Mike’s latest album released in 2010, “The Jukebox in Your Heart” got him rave reviews in Houston and has a killer tune, “Stop the Bar I’m Gettin’ Off”.  This cat is working his butt off showing up all over Houston and wearin’ the tires off hitting Austin as well.

When you are ready to try a new place for an evening you cannot go wrong on either count.  Hitting the unpaved parking lot of Blancos and stuffing in a delicious tuna melt or chicken sandwich or playing pool or shuffleboard is a nice way to unwind at one of Houston’s unabashed honky-tonk jewels.  And catching a killer nice guy like Mike Stinson is a MUST for the music lovers of the Houston area!

We should be proud that one of the best kept musical secrets of the country scene chose to reside in our Bayou City………SO get out and support not only him, but all the musicians that help us escape reality 2+ hours at a time……………God Bless!