Sunday, October 30, 2005

Van Wilks and Austin That Was

Saturday night Van Wilks had one of his CD release parties at Threadgill's. I think it's the best Van Wilks show I've seen to date in my short 5 years of residence here. We are friends of Van's mainly because of doing a little work for him -- the postcard you see here (and some scanning for his website). Also Van is just a really nice, outgoing guy who will mingle around with the people who come to see him, so it's a hell of a lot easier to get acquainted with a person that way.

Van is a local legend from "old Austin", or Austin-that-was if you want to use the Firefly/Serenity dialect. Way back from when Stevie Ray Vaughan was up-and-coming, the days of the Armadillo World Headquarters, Eric Johnson was playing with Electromagnets and trying to get his first solo released, and ZZ Top couldn't be beat. I wasn't here then, and get all my information from others... can't speak to it personally or provide a decent timeline... but Van was a big part of it. Van is a close friend of Billy Gibbons, and Eric Johnson too. In fact, he recorded (I believe it was) three things with Eric: a rocker on Koko's Hideaway (Koko is his cat!) (sorry if that's a deep dark secret!), and two acoustic Christmas songs. His EJ connection is what brought us out to see him the first time.

He had a pretty good crowd last night, looked like a crowd of "old Austinites", but over in Europe, particularly France, Van is a bona fide Guitar God. He appears on the covers of Guitar Magazines. He headlines at Guitar Festivals. He probably can't even walk around unmolested. The music industry is so weird sometimes!

We started this beautiful weekend with a second viewing of Serenity at Alamo South Lamar, where Eli Wallach was putting in an appearance at a special spaghetti dinner viewing of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". I believe he was in town as park of the big book festival which also featured Bill Clinton, Salmon Rushdie, and lots more but good grief... isn't that enough? We didn't attend any of it. Serenity was even better the second time, probably because we've been watching a lot of the TV episodes on DVD, and the movie is better with more background.

Tonight we will finish off the weekend with Iron & Wine and Calexico at Stubb's. I am mainly interested in Calexico, the opener, but I'm getting the impression that Iron & wine is pretty hot right now.

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