Written by James Killen
Apr 13, 2013 at 02:00 PM
ImageWhat? There is a suddenly announced song swap in a park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon? Matt Harlan, Brian Kalinec… and they’ve got Don Sanders coming out for a spin? I am there!

Brian Kalinec and Lindsey Lee (of Rouse House Concerts) in conjunction with the Houston Heights Association arranged to set up a PA system in the gazebo at The Heights’ Marmion Park for a free two hour song swap. The Heights is fortunate to have many talented residents, three of which are Matt Harlan, Brian Kalinec and Don Sanders, that offered to donate their time to entertain residents and passers-through (like myself).

Matt Harlan, this year’s Texas Music singer/ songwriter of the year and nominated for “Darker Shades of Gray” in the 2013 bluegrass(?) song category by the Independent Music Awards committee is the youngest of the three. His career seems to be on a steady upswing and is looking forward to another tour this summer with his Danish friends that backed him up on his latest CD, “Bow and be Simple”.

Brian Kalinec was born in Beaumont, moved to Houston and has been exclusively in the music business for the last twelve years. His traditional folk songs have been nominated and won for numerous awards, including second place in the 2008 Woody Guthrie songwriting contest for “Fences”.

Brian is also founder and president of the Berkalin Records Label that has released a number of records including Matt Harlan’s. In addition to being a great singer/ songwriter, Kalinec is one of the most intuitive acoustic lead guitar players that I’ve seen. He seems to be able to sit down and lay out a lead with anyone that he shares the stage, getting straight to the heart of the melody of the other writer’s song.

ImageDon Sanders is a patriarch of Houston folk music. He was featured prominently in the Anderson Fair tribute documentary, “For the Sake of the Song” and has influenced many songwriters, including Brian Kalinec and Lyle Lovett. Sanders has been involved politically in the Houston area for decades, having actively petitioned city council on issues and being one of the people that brought a Pacifica Station to Houston by being a founding member of KPFT in 1970.

Over the last few years, Sanders has spent his time teaching grade-schoolers bi-lingual songwriting, story-telling and music appreciation across the Southwest.

Since the release of “For the Sake of the Song”, Sanders has gotten with Rock Romano and put the finishing touches on some tapes that Rock had been hanging onto for years and releasing the CD, “El Mosquito in my Kitchen”. Sanders’ songwriting style is witty and saucy, and likely to sneak his point across before you see it coming.

Each of the artists played a nice selection of his best known work. What was truly noteworthy for the day was that people got up from their couches and from behind their computers, gathered friends and family together and went out to spend the day in the park listening to music. There were handshakes all around as neighbors got to know each other. Teens rode their skateboards on the sidewalks of the park. Preschoolers laughed and played chase. It was a wonderful afternoon that brought back memories of a time when a diverse group of people were tied together by being a community and enjoyed each other’s company. And, it was all free.

Get up, get out, and support live music.