Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Austin to Fort Worth Texas.

After Baton Rouge i really wanted to head back down to New Braunfels for a few more days but going up to Fort Worth was a better idea since it was also heading North towards home. I also wanted to check out Fort Worth anyway since it was one of the places in my mind that i thought about moving to. So after one more night in Austin i left for Cowtown and Merel had some recording to do and i had to stop by the Capitol services building and claim my lost iPod Touch that someone thankfully turned in after i had lost it during the Lonestar State Jam.
I slowly headed up I-35 making a few stops here and there like in Carl's Corner to check out Willie's Place which is a truck stop souvenir store and small museum complete with live music venue that i guess Willie plays in once and a while. Kept on going and made it to the little town of Crandall Texas around 3pm. Crandall is known as an area where the infamous Bonnie & Clyde hungout for a short time and i guess Bonnie worked in the bank but never robbed it. In fact some of the 1967 film "Bonnie & Clyde" was filmed in Crandall.
"A little known fact about the movie. Several of the movie's
scenes were shot in the small town of Crandall.
Crandall is a city located in Kaufman County, Texas
about 23 miles from Dallas on Hwy 175.
The reason i stopped in Crandall was not for historical significance but because one of the Texas music photographers that inspired me recently opened his studio there in a one hundred year old building on Main street. Todd Purifoy refurbished what is now his photography studio with the help of friends and family and the store front and interior walls are decorated with Todd's work. After having lunch at the Cotton Gin which is an old cotton gin turned restaurant (which is located in a dry, meaning no alcohol county, which they have a way of getting around) and music venue i just hung out and caught up on some photo editing and talked with Todd trying to learn what i could.
The next day i got on I-20 and headed to Fort Worth which is still close to sixty miles from Crandall. I really didn't know where i was going or what to do so i drove straight to the North side of town going directly to the famed Fort Worth Stockyards. The Stockyards is a historic area of Fort Worth which was one of the last places of rest along the Chisholm Trail during Longhorn Cattle drives. Nowadays it is part museum tourist attraction and nightlife hotspot. Besides the world famous Billy Bob's Texas there are many more and much more historic Honky Tonks in the area. My favorite (which we visited later the next night) was a building that was once a brothel started by Buffalo Bill Cody, Pearls Dance hall is an authentic virtually untouched Honky Tonk and i was told the upstairs floors still have the original room layout. Well on this first time visit i went to the White Elephant Saloon and looked around at all the hats on the walls and ceiling, went to Billy Bob's and paid the dollar to get in and look around at the site where so many live recordings have been made in the "Live at Billy Bob's" series with the most recent one being released by Wade Bowen. I also walked through a few western clothing stores before leaving to go meet up with my friend Rob and his wife Julie. Rob is also a Texas music photographer although not professionally for a living he still has some photos on CD covers and web sites he can lay claim too. Rob works for an affiliate of a national television station and he and his wife Julie share a passion for the classic sounds of Texas music and can often be spotted around town supporting local music and musicians like Tommy Alverson, Sunny Sweeney, Chad Rueffer and Randy Brown or Johnny Bush. I already was a fan of Sunny's and i had heard some of Tommy's music but the others were new to me. After looking to see what our choices were for the evenings entertainment we decided on going to the Overtime Sportsbar in Burleson to see Tommy Alverson. I was thinking ok, a sportbar, why would Tommy play a sports bar but it turned out to be a venue that is just as much about sports as it is music except that they could do a little work on the sound system (too gymnasium like) but other than that i enjoyed the place, they get a great steady line up of great music and i liked our server sporting a Steve Rice autographed No Justice T-shirt which is just one of the bands that passes through.
I had a great time hearing Tommy and his very talented band and could have stayed all night but Rob had to work in the morning and later i found out we missed a surprise appearance by Mike Mancy too. The next day Julie, her daughter and i went to a cool little Mexican restaurant called Fuzzy's which was started in the area where they live and has expanded to other areas and then we decided on Pearls and Filthy McNasty's for my last night in Texas. Chad and Randy were scheduled to play and when we walked in i expected to see them on stage. Instead they were sitting at a table with just their acoustic guitars trading songs back and forth performing everything from Marty Robbins to the Band. Chad has a classic country voice that booms out into the room doing justice to many of the old classic Honky Tonk songs of the 60's and 70's and Randy can sing a good harmony and take lead on guitar. After that wound down we stopped into Filthy McNasty's a block down where the Cody Robbins Band was having a CD release party. I was much more into Pearls than Filthy's, they are two different types of places and i was really feeling the old school vibe of Fort Worth that night. I need to spend more time in Fort Worth before i decide where i want to live, i can be busy there or in the New Braunfels area and both have a completely different style to them i like. New Braunfels is all about the outdoors and Americana music and Fort Worth is laid back old school honky tonk but both have a real appreciation for their respective histories.

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