Monday, November 28, 2011

Country Weekly Magazine photos.

Country Weekly magazine featured an article on Joe's Bar
in Chicago and asked me for a few photos to accompany what they wrote.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"I Ain't From Texas But I Got Here As Fast As I Could"

Is a Texas thing seen in souvenir shops around the Lone Star State. It actually took me a long time. Some of you who know me personally or follow this site of mine know i have been talking about moving to Texas for a long time. Picking up and moving is not as easy as it used to be during my carefree Volkswagen camper van driving days.
This time i had to at least have a place to live first. Well just as i thought i had to prepare for another winter in Michigan, a good friend invited me to stay with her in San Antonio. So, here i am, i'm pretty much settled in, changed my address, have Internet and a roof over my head. Time to get busy and get back to doing what i love, which is also the reason i have wanted to move here and that's photography and music, specifically photography of music.
So i am looking for local bands who are in need of live concert, promo and portrait photos for use on web sites, CD's promotional material and anywhere else. We will work at it until you are satisfied.
I know of the more popular bands in Texas but i have yet to really explore the local music scene here in the San Antonio area so if you are a musician, introduce yourself and ask me about what i can do to promote you and your music through my work as a photographer.
Explore the photos and links i have here such as my LinkedIn profile and contact me with the email address i have on the right side of the page.
* Photo is Dierks Bentley from my last show at Joe's Bar in Chicago October 9, 2011. Keep an eye out for the November 21st issue of Country Weekly magazine, hitting stands November 14Th with some of my photos from Joe's Bar.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jack Ingram at the Venetian Festival

For 33 years now St. Joseph Michigan's Venetian festival has brought south west Michigan a wide variety of entertainment including live music and this year on Sunday July 17th Jack Ingram and the Beat Up Ford Band came up from Austin Texas to play country music. A few weeks before the show i found out that Kalamazoo's own the Bronk Brothers were opening for Jack so it was good to know i would have plenty of friends to talk to and the day would be filled with good music. I left here and drove the 45 minutes to St. Joseph and got there early since i had to text Kevin "Frenchie" Sciou
Jack's rockin guitar player when i got there to make sure i was cleared to shoot photos and had the proper pass so security wouldn't stop me. We have been stuck in a heat wave up here for a couple weeks now so it was great to spend some time on the beach and jump in the big lake. The concerts are held in the outdoor Shadowlands pavilion which is a beautiful structure in a beautiful setting right along the channel where the St. Joseph river meets Lake Michigan.
Venetian festival itself is basically a carnival atmosphere with food & beer sales and all the usual carnival rides.
The Bronk Brothers took opened the show around 4:30 and played songs off their "Here
For the Good Times" album and a few new songs and were well received by the crowd. About
45 minutes later Jack and his Beat Up Ford band which consists currently of Kevin
Sciou on lead guitar, John Michael
Goodman on bass and "Brother" Pete Coatney on drums took the stage as it was about as close to being hot like Texas as we have had up here. Jack opened with one of my favorite songs "Mustang Burn" off his album "Hey You" which he followed up with that song. He also played acoustic versions of "Biloxi" and one of my new favorites
"Jonesin for Haggard" that i hope he records soon. You can find that one here on You Tube. The band came back out for a few more songs before Jack took off his boots, balanced them worn out sole to sole stacked on the mic stand and invited the crowd up on stage
for "Barefoot and Crazy" and a little dancing on the shores of Lake Michigan. Click here for more photos.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Photography isn't always about music for me...

I love to photograph the places i visit and the things i see along the way. I go to Chicago often and i have always tried to photograph the skyline (i have yet to do it at night, but will) and wasn't happy with the results until now. I shot this photo from the North Avenue beach on June 23rd. I had a professional print made at Full Blown Color, a division of Kal-Blue Graphics here in Kalamazoo, Michigan and thought it looked fantastic. I had some initial interest from friends and family so i thought, why not offer it for sale to the public and see what kind of response i get.
So if you are interested, the image will be printed 35x14 1/2 inches on heavy stock paper, with out the border you see here so that it can be matted and framed anyway you like.
I am asking $50.00 U.S for each print, that covers the cost of printing and shipping in a cardboard mailing tube anywhere in the United States. Please email me at the address found here on my blog for ordering or for more information. I prefer Paypal but a money order or cashiers check is ok also. Click on the photo above to view it full screen. Copyright (C) Jeff Dykhuis.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A recent experience as a photographer left me puzzled...

Miranda Lambert played her only club date of the year in Chicago at Joe's Bar June 23, to a sold out crowd who bought up tickets in record time and waited outside for hours before the show. Not at all surprising since she has escalated to the top of the country music world winning every award available over the recent year and selling millions of copies of her "Revolution" album. Most of what Nashville calls country music these days i don't ever listen to but Miranda is one of the few that i still look forward to seeing and hearing and one of the few i will continue to support by purchasing her records.

The only downside to her popularity (and this is not meant in any way as negative commentary towards Miranda as all big name artists have been, will and are being handled this way) is that her image is closely guarded by her publicists. Front Page Publicity has a contract to sign if you are a professional photographer, this is nothing new, i knew i would be sent a copy to sign before the show, or given one when i arrived as i had to sign one last year. These contracts are nothing new but over the last few years they have become increasingly strict and have infringed on the rights of the photographer with some contracts going so far as to state that said photographer must give up the copyrights to all photos taken and that the artist may reproduce those photos by any means, anywhere with out credit or compensation given to the photographer. The only way these contracts will go away is if every photographer that is presented a restrictive contract simply refuses to sign it. Now that being said, i did sign this one, why? Because i was being employed by the venue to photograph the show strictly for them so they may post the photos on their website. I had no interest in trying to profit from the photos or send them to any publication. Plus by signing that contract i am not allowed to post the photos anywhere, not here, not even for use in my own personal portfolio. So if i wasn't hired to photograph this show by the venue, i would not have had any reason to even attend the show except that i happen to love Miranda's music. Now some may say but if you don't attend then you miss the chance that you may get a shot that might be worthy of seeking approval from Front Page Publicity, true under some circumstances but not this one, not with this contract. As a photographer i was restricted to shooting photos only during the first two songs (the standard is three) and only from FOH, front of house, which means from the sound board behind the crowd. From that location you are pretty much guaranteed to get shots at one angle, many times with the microphone right in front of the singers face leaving every shot looking two dimensional and flat. So here is where things stop making sense, why are professional photographers, hired to do a specific job faced with so many restrictions? Miranda's contract is actually not that bad, take Beyonce for instance, her contract only allows photographers to shoot the first 60 to 90 seconds of a show from one angle. Katy Perry's tour is not allowing any photos but the company that bid on or won the rights to do so will be the only ones allowed during the entire tour. I can go on and on, years ago no one was allowed to bring a camera into a concert unless you were a pre approved professional, now it is the opposite, anyone that is not a professional may bring in a point & shoot camera or phone that not only is capable of taking a half way decent photo but they also shoot video, some even shoot high definition video that can be edited in the phone and posted on the web before the next song starts. So why bother with restricting a professional who as a professional should be concerned about what images he or she allows the public to see? Most photographers worth anything, edit their photos meticulously and are very careful not to post an unflattering shot. Whereas most people with a point & shoot camera in the audience could care less, what ever happened to going to a show and enjoying the music you paid to see? Now a days it seems that people go to these shows to be seen themselves instead of going to seriously listen to live music. One interesting point i found on a legendary photographers blog brought up a great point. Most of the photographers with credentials such as his are keeping busy these days providing manufacturers of retrospective CD and LP box sets and galleries with prints from their vast archives they built up over the years when a photographer was allowed to shoot an entire show. They were able to capture those moments at the peak of energy in an artists performance, those moments never happen during the first three songs. Which brings up another valid point, right now photographers that were able to photograph those iconic moments forty years ago, 20 years ago, maybe even five years ago are providing the public with photos on these box sets, t-shirts and merchandise and their work is on display in various galleries. Twenty five years from now when a label or publicists needs photos from a show that happened yesterday, what will they have to work with? Either a photo taken by a professional that did the best he or she could, which is two dimensional and flat or they will have to pull a photo off some ones Facebook page that may or may not even be in focus, let alone flattering. So now i am left wondering, if i had a decent point & shoot camera, could i have put my professional camera away and could i have pushed my way up to the front and taken photos (maybe even with a flash) the rest of the show? That probably would have enabled me to send the venue better shots than what i got them from FOH.

* This photo posted here was taken by me in 2008 with a point & shoot camera, not my best work but Miranda loved it and it's still posted on her website. One other photo i took at that show with that same camera is hanging in Miranda and Blake Shelton's ranch house in Oklahoma.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gary Allan @ B-93 Birthday Bash.

A friend of mine called and said she had a few extra "free" tickets for Sunday's second day of the B-93 Birthday Bash held at Martin's US 131 Drag way. Earlier in the week i attempted to contact the appropriate people at the radio station to line up a photo pass, after getting a little bit of run around i was told that they "were all set" so i debated about even going at all but decided to give it a try walking through the photo line for fans. I wrote free in quotations because only the tickets were free, handed out at various locations weeks in advance, parking was twenty dollars per day, seriously? Food and drinks were available on the dreaded ticket system and drinks including light beer worked out to be five dollars per ticket. Food was a different matter, four tickets for five dollars and conveniently your always short a ticket or two or are left over with a few. After parking and a beer it became harder to part with anymore cash. The Bash was also held on Saturday, the day before, i didn't attend but followed what was going on using Twitter and Facebook. A record crowd of over 60,000 people attended Saturday, traffic was backed up along US 131 for over eight miles with more than a two hour wait just to get off the highway but Sunday was completely the opposite probably because it
was fathers day or because Saturdays attendees were broke. I hate to complain about the heat because
temps in the eighties really isn't that hot but when you have to sit in the blazing sun all day with no shade in site it can really take it's toll and in fact a few people were treated for heat exhaustion
Anyone who knows me knows i am not a fan of pop country and i don't listen to the radio except for a couple stations online like KNBT in New Braunfels Texas or 95.9 The Ranch in Fort Worth so i was not familiar at all with most of the acts playing all weekend. The only reason i went was to see Gary Allan, who i still like because he has an edge and is still country to me.
I left before the headliner Josh Turner took the stage because we didn't want to wait in traffic. Had i known the traffic going in on Sunday wasn't bad at all we probably would have just shown up later for Gary. I am thankful at least to find that B-93 still had a photo line for fans to walk through as in years past, although they herd you through like cattle and don't let you stand long enough to compose a shot i was able to get some pretty good photos sometimes having to ignore the distracting taps on the shoulder telling me to move along. I know i'm complaining quite a bit and if i was a fan of pop country, had plenty of money and was impervious to sun burns i would have probably been able to enjoy the day and i know that i am in the minority up here in Michigan when i admit that this just isn't my kind of music festival anymore. The days line up included Kip Moore, Randy Montana, Ashton Shepherd, Josh Kelly and Gary Allan followed by Josh Turner. Click here for more photos.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ronnie Dunn @ Joe's Bar

If you tuned your radio into a country music station at anytime in the last two decades the voice of half the duo of Brooks & Dunn, Ronnie Dunn is a very familiar sound and instantly recognizable. He is also someone recognizable in any other medium, his looks have not changed much over the years, still has that same hair cut and facial hair, he's gotten a little older and so have we who grew up on his music but his voice has remained as youthful as when we first heard hits like "My Next Broken Heart" and "Boot Scootin Boogie" back in the early nineties.
One of the most popular duos in the history of Country music, winning nearly every award up for grabs, Brooks & Dunn called it quits and performed their last concert in September of 2010 and Ronnie Dunn has gone back to doing what he did
before those days, being a solo artists. Ronnie released his first solo album in over 20 years simply entitled "Ronnie Dunn" on Sony
Records and things have a way of coming back around because this show at Joe's Bar in Chicago was also Ronnie's first club appearance in over 20 years. Drawing on singles from that new release like "Singer in a Cowboy Band" and "Bleed Red" as well as songs from the fourteen plus albums recorded with Kix Brooks in Brooks & Dunn, the show clocked in at a little over 75 minutes and was a run through the greatest hits of some of the
best and most popular country songs written for modern
country radio. The days of Brooks & Dunn as a duo maybe over but that familiar voice still is heard over the airwaves and that's the "Honky Tonk Truth". Thank you to Chicago's premier country radio station US99 for bringing lucky ticket winners another big show at Joe's.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Texas Part IV

Thursday i woke up surprisingly early, for me anyway
and i made some good coffee i had left over from camping in New Braunfels, and brought a cup over to Jeff Mack who was already hard at work a couple hours
making sure the video for the day was prepared. I was anxious to see what i got the night before so i worked on some photos and made my way to the Allsup's acoustic stage to see Max Stalling
and Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis. The crowd grew larger as the day progressed and by the time Kyle Park opened up the main stage they were expanding to the left and right of the stage and back and the beer was flowing. Kyle's music is something i have never really paid any attention too, nothing ground breaking but enjoyable and listenable Texas country.
I already knew the rest of the day was gonna rock With the Departed, Josh Abbott, Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers closing out the evening.
Cody Canada and the Departed face the task of ask of shaking off the old and bringing on the new with their decidedly more mature approach.
Fans of old
Cross Canadian Ragweed need to realize people grow
up, the party songs
have outgrown
themselves and a new band of five rejuvenated serious musicians has arrived,
it is obvious that the Departed
is full of new life and new found energy and they are doing what they love to do again. The songs
may not be familiar right now unless you grew up with or explored Oklahoma music but they are a look back at the rich history of what the
state where red dirt music originally came from
has contributed over all. The hecklers will find someone else to
complain about
and new
fans will be taken in. I can't wait for "This is Indian Land" to come out in a couple weeks, i pre ordered my copy a month ago and i can't wait to see what they do when
Cody Canada & the Departed
becomes just the Departed and also becomes
the full fledged
rock & Roll monster they set out to be. One of the bigge
st drawing bands currently
in the state of Texas, the Josh Abbott band was on stage next. Josh has risen to the top at a head spinning rate, comparisons to other top acts in the Lone Star state seem to have faded and Josh has a firm command of a huge audience with his infectious melodies and entertaining sets. A beer bong was passed to the stage and Josh slammed a couple beers with it, Charla Corn made an appearance to sing a song too. He has become a favorite all over the state and is making good headway elsewhere. Josh has been debuting new songs and has a new album in the works and he has even organized his own festival, JAB fest is in Lubbock June 18th.

Wade Bowen was on next and by this time the sun was down, the lights were up and the beer was going everywhere including towards the stage, i had to keep my camera in mind while i was shooting so that it didn't get as soaked as i was, someone threw nearly a full beer and it hit me on the head and it fell at my feet. I remembered seeing signs stating that anyone throwing objects will be removed from the festival but how do you point out who threw what in a crowd of 20,000 people? Well i didn't remember that sign myself because i picked up the beer at my feet and tossed it over my shoulder back into the crowd, i didn't intentionally throw it, i tossed it high into the air and then realized i shouldn't have done that. It got the other photographers talking but i never heard anything later so i guess i was alright and i did get hit again later, when Randy Rogers was on and Brady Black being the stand up guy he is, walked over to the sound board and tossed me a towel, thanks Brady! The Randy Rogers band were having fun with the crowd, coming out to the edge of the stage, Randy was trying on hats passed up to him and smiling, having a good time and later shared the stage with band members from the acts who played earlier in the day. After the show i stumbled around for a while and ended up in front of Stoney LaRue's bus listening to him and Larry Joe Taylor trade dirty jokes and i got to meet Ben Dorcy otherwise known as "Lovey". Ben is known as the worlds oldest roadie, having gotten his start in 1950 he has worked and is still working with the biggest names in Texas and Nashville country music. A documentary about his life and the true and not so true stories of the road has been produced and is set for release soon. A few minutes later i was invited to go on a hayride with the Randy Rogers band, Wade Bowen and Josh Abbott and friends, guitars in hand we rode around through the camp sites and made our way to the stage where Radney Foster and it all started on Tuesday night for a song swap with Matt Wayne, Kyle Park, Josh and Wade and a few other singer songwriters. I think i finally turned in around 4 am even though i knew i had to drive to east Texas for another festival in the morning and it wasn't long before i was questioning why i ever left.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Texas Part III

Well my intention was to take 281 from New Braunfels to Stephenville and after asking for directions i was told i had to go to Austin first to get on 281, well some how i missed my exit and ended up taking 29 from the Round Rock area over to Burnet. I arrived at Melody Mountain Ranch in the afternoon and went through the gates and met up with my friend Jeff Mack who has been a sponsor and videographer for the Larry Joe Taylor festival off and on over the years and this year he was in charge of running the video feeds to the jumbotron on either side of the stage. There was not a lot for me to do while he was getting things in order so i just walked around on the grounds before the mayhem started. Tuesday was much of the same throughout the day until people started showing up, i ran into some friends like the crew of Winding Roads Music. Later i helped out Rick Lovett by operating a video camera while we went to Larry Joe Taylor's house and picked him up in a limo and drove him back to the festival site, Rick interviewed Larry along the way. In the afternoon James Lann and Ryan Turner started things off in the City Limits tent and Tuesday night is always a laid back acoustic concert for less than 500 people around a campfire and this year it was kicked of by none other than Radney Foster.
One memorable moment was when Josh Abbott appeared from the side of the stage and passed on his award from the Texas Regional Radio Music Awards to Radney for his song "Angel Flight" written about the soldiers of the Red River 44 and the crew that brought them back home. Radney also performed "Its Already Tomorrow" which is a new song with Bill Lloyd and the two are reunited as again as the duo Foster & Lloyd. Later in the evening Matt Martindale, Dave Perez (Tejas Brothers) Deryl Dodd and Larry Joe himself traded songs well into the evening.
Later i listened to stories traded back and forth between the crew of Winding Road Music and called it a night.
Wednesday is when things start to build momentum at LJT. Things started off with Cody Riley and Jed Zimmerman in the City Limits tent and the main stage kicked off with Six Market Blvd and James Hertless bass player for the Josh Abbott band singing the National Anthem followed by local KHYI battle of the bands winners The Troubaderos. I did not have access for any of the shows on Tuesday until later in the evening so i tried to shoot a few shots from on stage but i wasn't happy with what i got and i would post a few here but they were part of the casualties suffered in a hard drive crash after i returned home.
The rest of the days line up was fantastic with The Turnpike Troubadours, Mark McKinney, Rich O'Toole, Bart Crow, Kevin Fowler, Stoney LaRue and the stellar return of Pat Green who has not played a show at LJT since 2000.
Stoney was sporting a ball cap instead of his trademark bandana and has a new stripped down band sans Steve Littleton who went on to join the Departed and Jeremy Watkins who moved onto Jason Boland & The Stragglers.
Casey Twist was filling in on bass guitar.
Pat Green stole the show singing his familiar anthems of the Lone Star state
with Ben Danaher on guitar and sharing the mic later in the show with Josh Abbott,
Kevin Fowler and Larry Joe Taylor and an appearance by Tommy Alverson on guitar......

...Beer was being slung everywhere and no one cared but i wasn't about to waste good beer so i did what most people do and drank it. I found my way to the Red Se7en entertainment acoustic stage and met a lot of new friends like Matt Wayne and Ryan Turner and i ended up playing percussion with Ryan on a five gallon bucket and someone has that on video so if you do, send me a link. Matt Wayne was around the whole festival and i kept running into him and i was really impressed by his song writing and powerful voice. I don't know what time i went to bed and i am sitting here having to rewrite parts of this because i didn't remember it too well but i think i got it right finally.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Texas Part II

After the Lone Star State Jam Heather and i walked around on 6th street in downtown Austin for a while and then i went back to Merel's place and the next day i worked on the photos i took. Monday night i went out to the Flying Saucer Drought Emporium because i wanted to try 512 brewing company's Pecan Porter, very cool place with a great beer list and Monday seems to be the best night to get good specials on beer. Tuesday morning i went outside to find that my Jeep was broken into right in front of the house, they smashed the passenger side window out and must have been in a hurry because they only grabbed my GPS which was in a plain unmarked black bag that isn't made for a GPS. It was laying between the seat and console because i used it to find the Flying Saucer and they left the cord and mount but later i found out they stole my travel humidor i was storing some pretty good cigars in too. I was just glad that my camera gear and my new laptop were still in the house from the night before and that they didn't take anything else i had in there like my camping gear or my mountain bike.
I filed a police report, had the window replaced and drove to all the pawn shops in the area, mostly to find another GPS but also to see if anyone tried to sell mine, bought some beer and wen't back to Merel's. Wednesday i went out toward Dripping Springs because i wanted to see Hamilton Pool which was an amazing place.
It was late in the day and there weren't many people there and the water was pretty warm but i'm used to the cold of Lake Michigan so most water is warm to me. Perch nibble at your feet and the water is clear enough to see them, you can swim across and under the waterfalls and explore the trails that lead to the Pedernales river. Only 75 vehicles are allowed in per day until 5:30 pm, check the website for more info and call ahead to make sure you are not number 76. Later that night i went down the street and checked out a little honky tonk called Ginny's Little Longhorn (website seems to be down so here is a Google search that came up) which is a mom & pop beer stop that hosts a lot of great local honky tonk bands, Robert Banta was there and i talked to his bass player Josh outside during a set break. A few weeks later i ran into him in east Texas and found out that he is also Brandon Rhyder's Merchandise manager and plays bass for a few other musicians as well.
Thursday i packed up and left Merel's place for New Braunfels to spend the weekend on the Guadalupe river and do some camping. I stayed at Mountain Breeze campground where every campground seems to be, on River Road. After picking out a spot that wasn't reserved i set up camp and jumped in the river and waded in with my camera to shoot some sunset photos. New Braunfels Texas is one of my favorite beautiful places in the state with its high rock cliffs on the river banks, clean flowing water, tubing, friends and great music venue's like the world famous Gruene Hall in the Gruene historic district. Friday night i could either go see Micky & the Motorcars at Gruene Hall or skip the big crowd and go down the street to Tavern on the Gruene where Stoney LaRue's brother Bo Phillips was playing and that turned out to be a pretty good time, Bo is a very funny guy with some good tunes and he even did a few of his brothers songs and i think he does a better Willie Nelson impersonation. I made the long winding five mile long 20mph drive back down River Road in the dark and the camp ground was pretty quiet and dark so i had a few more beers and called it a night.
Saturday i woke up sometime and made some French Press coffee with organic beans from some rain forest somewhere roasted by some place in Norfolk Virginia i bought before the trip and went swimming again. Heather drove from San
Antonio again to meet me and we had a few beers before going back to Gruene and Gruene Hall to see
Cody Canada & The Departed. I left the camera at the campsite because i wanted to pay attention to the Departed since it was my first time seeing them and because taking a professional camera into Gruene Hall sometimes isn't welcome and i didn't want to take the chance. It was a sold out show and after the opening band, the Statesboro Review ended their set Cody Canada & the Departed took the stage. The Departed in case you have been living off the grid is Cody Canada, former lead guitarist and vocalist of Cross Canadian Ragweed, bass player and former Ragweed member Jeremy Plato with longtime friend Seth James also sharing duties on guitar and vocals with Cody and Jeremy and Steve Littleton formerly of Stoney LaRue's band playing keyboards with David Bowen on drums. David is an amazing drummer who has played with Bleu Edmondson and even Wynton Marsalis, he is a true artist on the drums and all together the Departed is a super group of a band that is getting tighter every show. The Departed have their debut album coming out soon and are taking pre orders now on Lone Star Music, get your autographed copy now. The album consists of songs from Oklahoma singers and songwriters they were influenced by like Tom Skinner, Bob Childers and Jimmy LaFave and iTunes will have an exclusive track called "Stand Up" which is originally a song by the late fellow Okie Mel McDaniels up soon that they rocked up and made their own. I ended up camping one more night before heading up to Stephenville to meet up with my friend Jeff Mack to work the Larry Joe Taylor festival for the first time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I was not held against my will......Texas Part I

This year just like last year i made plans to spend some time in Texas starting with shooting photos at the Lone Star State Jam which is held on a Saturday each year in Waterloo
park in downtown Austin Texas. Then my friend Merel told me that if i could get down there by 2pm Friday that i could ride along with him and his wife's band, the Sarah Pierce band to Luckenbach because they were playing a show in the dance hall later that night.
Well i made it with a few hours to spare and i got to experience what Waylon and Willie and the boys sang about for the first time. Luckenbach is really a piece of land off FM (Farm to Market) 1376 near Fredericksburg in the heart of the Hill country that is really just a small group of old buildings like a post office and general store operating since 1849 and an authentic original dance hall complete with wooden shutters that prop open large windows and another staple of Texas dance halls, the Christmas lights that are strung out in the rafters. I got to talk with Abbey who is in charge of planning events and really manages all aspects of Luckenbach's day to day operations about the history of the place and take it all in. Sarah Pierce and her husband Merel Bregante are working on a new record and while staying with them in Austin i was able to hear Merel mix the songs which feature RecklessKelly members David Abeyta and Cody and Willy Braun plus Cindy Cashdollar and George Ensle and i can say that this is shaping up to be her best effort yet and it's also more my style with it's rocked up edgier sound.

i met up with my
friend Heather from
San Antonio
and made our way to Waterloo park for the Lone Star State Jam.
By the time we arrived the
crowd already seemed larger than last year and it actually turned out to be a record crowd for the day long festival. I missed current "The Voice" contestant Curtis Grimes and the Turnpike Troubadours were on so i began shooting photos right away. This is always a well run festival and when one band is done the next stage on the other end of the park starts
up and it's back and forth all day without a hitch. This was my first time seeing the
Turnpike Troubadours, Josh Abbott and Kevin Fowler and it was great to see them in Texas playing to such an enthusiastic home crowd.
Josh Abbott is fast becoming
one of
the top
drawing bands in Texas
and when
few notes of "She's Like Texas" get played the crowd goes wild.

Brandon Rhyder sounded great with Matt Powell on guitar, Casey Donahew introduced a few new songs and Roger Creager got everyone going with an energetic performance on a beautiful perfect day in Austin. Roger played a few songs that will be on his next album and the Eli Young band played a few too including a great cover of the Will Hoge song "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" that is on their latest EP "Crazy Girl" available on iTunes. Kevin Fowler was an experience, he's a great entertainer who knows how to work the crowd with his revved up redneck persona and honky tonk party songs and was a great way to end another very successful festival.