Written by Eddie Ferranti
Apr 19, 2012 at 05:45 PM
ImageSince the late 70’s I’ve been fortunate to be able to “escape” to the capitol of Texas in Austin. It started out with the infatuation with the water part, meaning beautiful Lake Travis and its attraction of “Hippy Hollow” with the soothing coolness of Barton Springs. This year, like others, my soulmate Rose & I got to check out the beauty that is the Johnson Wildflower Center with all of its natural color and bird chirping glory. But the true love that keeps us coming back as often as possible for the last 20+ years is the MUSIC.

A-Town has been dubbed the music capitol of the world and the city embraces the “Keep Austin Weird” monikor. You can be whomever you want to be in this great city without any judgement whatsoever and that means a lot to a media type like myself.  You see it ALL is this loosey goosey city for sure, but most of it is harmless and fun.  Like I said, music is front and foremost in every corner of the city, but most prominent to my taste on the South side of town.  Recently Rose & I cruised in for Easter weekend for the second year in a row and I’d like to give a capsule comment on the venues and musicians we got to enjoy!


This was our first venture back to the college town area on famed Sixth Street in a long time.  Mainly because it is what it is-a college drinking, puking, partyin’ till you drop environment of loud crammed venues jammed together.  Recently a cool venue on the “other side” of 6th Street, Momo’s, got closed for some reason that I’m not privey to, but this cool joint picked up the slack on a neat project that Miss Ginger Leigh had initiated.

Basically GL brings 2 other performers and thay play in turn their own songs and help out on each other’s, too. We’ve been riding the Ginger train since we caught her at the Almost Austin house concert series in Pasadena, Texas over three years ago and she’s a gamer. Girl just has a motor that keeps running and a powerful set of lungs to boot. Her stage presence is always engaging and she “gets after” you no matter where you are sitting.

This venue set up nicely for her program with an 8:30pm start and chairs lined up in front of the performers. With Leigh’s hard work the sound was cleaned up to a very enjoyable level, too. Leigh is a tireless promotor of herself and the city in a very nice way and her charisma wears off on ya and makes you feel glad you came. Catch her in Houston April 29 at Anderson Fair.

One of her guests this night was Shelley King, whom we’ve been chasing for years and finally got to see. Woman has the whole soulful blues thang goin’ on like a blender full of Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, and Etta James mixed all together!

In 2008 she was honored with the Texas State musician of the year, the first time a woman garnered that award.  No small feat. She’s getting ready to cut her 5th album and it is a collaboration with the Subdudes.  That is something I for one am looking forward to! Her soothing and booming voice grabs ahold of you and it is really a treat.

The other performer this night was Kanude , aka Chris Knudson. He’s originally from Texas, but has been in LA for quite awhile and recently moved back to Austin. His guitar work fit in nicely with the two ladies, especially Leigh, and he got my attention. He has a laundry list of contributions throughout his career with the likes of Yogi Lonich, Billy Harvey and Brad Albetta to name a few.  He has a date at Natachees in Houston 4/28/12 that is circled on my list to do.

Topping off this steal of a deal for $12 was a cat by the name of Bling Johnson who airs a TV gig on KBVO in Austin with the catch phrase of “Lets Get Famous” who taped the show which will air sometime soon as his 2nd season gears up. Check him out on line to view the shows! (www.blingjohnson.com)


This quaint hole in the wall on South Lamar has been a stopping point for us for years. Their Sunday Gospel brunches are beyond a hoot bringing together the WHOLE gambit of characters that South Austin offers! This night, Friday 7-9pm, one of the “Patron Saints” of the Ausin music scene, Leeann Atherton, brought her wholesome blues/country rock package to the table.

This lady is one of the nicest persons you’ll ever wanna meet! Her ‘Full Moon Barndance’ backyard concerts on 2nd Street are beyond a good time. It is a flowing hill set up with BBQ’s going and a potluck set up to die for. Everyone comes together for $10 or so and get’s their money’s worth and then some. LA is a harp blowin’ sumbitch who also doubles as a 3rd grade music teacher. Those kids should be grateful!

This night she was pumped that she bought her first new car and she was so excited. She has this gig on a regular basis and it is a tip jar set up every Friday.  Go check it out on a nice evening…you won’t regret it and tell her Edge said HEY!


This was the gig we had circled from the get go and WEEEEEKS delivered and then some. He’s been doing a steady show here 8-11pm on Fridays for awhile. Playing with a full band is so nice to see for us. We’ve been on the RW trail for like 5 years running and this night he’s never sounded better. Billy Mullins has come aboard as lead guitar and this was our 4th time seeing him with Randy. It IS working folks. I’ve always thought that Randy sells himself short on his guitar prowess and the pairing cooks!

Weeks seemed at ease and fired up delivering at least five new tunes this night.  “Closing Time” really grabbed me with the lyric ‘She blew a hole in my soul’ !  “Thinking About You” and “Can’t Get You Off My Mind” were killer also.  Weeks says there are some new ones and some he’s just not dusted off yet.  He IS the man on stage and he’s got a band that’s hitting on all cylinders for sure now to deliver his classic gambit of tunes. Faves of mine always were “Give Me Back My Soul”, smokin’ “Cant Let Go”, “Fine Way to Treat Me”, “Sugarlee” rules, and the always enjoyable “Fu Manchu”!

This guy’s live gigs just seem to roll on in a good way and hangin’ out with RW and his lovely wife Mary Lyn is always a treat.  Just hearin’ him say “Hey Pal” lights me up!   Makes ya feel like you just saw him.   Randy did tell me he’s searching for more venues in Austin to showcase this present line-up and I know HMR will be on the look out for that!  The stage is nice at Jovitas and the sound was excellent, but the set up for viewing a band perform really is weak.  I applaud Jovitas for trying to make music a main focus, but with this layout-and poor turnout- I’m afraid it will catch up to them.  This gig was worthy of a packed house for a full band $3 cover………..It ALWAYS feels good to let out a wall rattlin’ WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKS at his gigs!  Try it some time soon…….

Our last stop of this fine visit to Austin had us hit a favorite South Austin place called the Saxon Pub. Venue always has good sound and if you get there early enough you get a nice seat. This night we came to see Bonnie Bishop. This was our third time to see her, dating back to when she was at Hayes Carll’s Stingaree Fest some years ago. Back then, she was a blond country singer with a dog on stage. Did nothing for HMR really, but then we caught her in Conroe at Heritage Park and she had transformed into a dark haired blues singer who wailed and rocked!

Tonight, she was solo with guitar and piano only. Her strong and raspy voice fit well in this tight venue and she was strong on “Badseed”.  She’s riding high right now with a new CD on the way in August and having Bonnie Raitt covering one of her tunes on her upcoming album also! Her growly gravel bluesy pipes sounded awesome on RAITT’S classic “Give Me An Angel” and the hilarious true story about a “fan” of hers from East Texas on “Trent Rawlins” was classic.

Overall, it was a worthwhile show, but we got spoiled on her with a full band. A lady like her tends to sound too much the same without back up. Not a slam, just a preference.

As far as the venue, one change for the worse was how it is more expensive now. Used to be if you came for the first gig on the bill and paid a cover ($10), you could stay all night if you desired. Not so now. They wanted another ($15) cover for Guy Forsyth after BB. No biggie really because you still get two killer shows for $25, basic Houston prices for one performer. It won’t make us stay away that’s for sure. LOVE this place and location. If you are ever in doubt at what to do, you can always experiment here!

In closing, 157 miles away is really not that much for us to go to Austin and we plan on trying to go more than we do.  The food is delicious and nicely priced as well. Wahoo Fish Tacos rule and JO’s coffee shop is a mainstay on Congress for years.  Hop in your rig sometime soon and go to the “Weird” Capitol city!  I bet you have a good time…………..Later and see you somewhere soon I’m sure.