So this little place isn't so small, The Rockin' Y Ranch ( http://www.rockinyranch.com/ ) is just a rabbit hair outside of Austin on 71. Book for your own event or just book it for a family weekend. But make sure it is a BIG family weekend. Plenty of acreage, a nice pool, camping, chickens (yup), and of course the rockin part of the ranch...the game room/party barn! With trophy heads on the wall, a pool table, a ping pong table, a bar, and loads of seating, this place was rockin on this particular evening.
Although the event was somewhat a private engagement party....oh what the hell, they went ahead and got married anyway...SURPRISE!! Congratulations Alice and MC! There was plenty of music and fun to go around for this special event.
Dropping in just in time to catch Robert Johnson's Soul ( http://www.rjsoul.com/ ) wrapping up was a pretty great way to start the evening. Here is another Austin guitar specialist, but with what I felt was a more rockin twist than a blues sound. You make the call. Originals and covers to make the fill was a great blend. Opening or headlining would be a great spot for this group. Nice respect to the crowd interaction as well as the big stage feel and presence produced by this performance. Check out the web page.
Next up, and what a special treat this was, Lisa Tingle ( http://www.lisatingle.com/bio.htm ). Having the unabashed privilege of seeing and hearing Lisa again (* check the prior write up) wasn't just great, it was stellar. Enjoying her performance with family and friends who have never experienced that Tinlgey sensation was even better. My sister aspires to be the next great female blues singer, and I believe this was inspirational to her. My daughter, loving music and good music they way I do, was in awe of Lisa's power. My girlfriend and one of her friends both couldn't stop smiling the whole time. Belting out her brand of blues and soul was worth every bit of the short drive to get here. If you get a chance to make a short drive to see her anywhere, it is worth the long trip! While local legend Van Wilks dropping in on guitar was great, seeing these two on stage and laughing and smiling was...well...one of those HOLY SHIT moments.
SO, speaking of that holy shit moment. I have been circling Van Wilks ( http://www.vanwilks.com/ )shows on my calendar for more than a year. Always thinking about it and wanting to go, but never quite walking in the door of whatever venue is hosting the performance. Lucky me, here he is topping off the evening at The Rockin Y.
So here I am, walking up to the bar in the back of the party barn (to get a soda of course) and the party organizer (Pat Tompkins of Pat's Party's) introduces me to the unassuming guy leaning on the bar in the corner. "WOW" and "Holy shit" I think were the words I used. The sense of humor and humbleness was immediately evident with the response from Van "Uh Oh did I do something wrong?" NICE!
Minutes later he is in front of the crowd and it is immediately evident of Vans skills. Joined only by an accompanying guitarist, Van started with this little ditty from the Beatles that got Pat into the Barn ('Here Comes The Sun'). That song and the rest of the performance was lightning quality, and by lightning quality I tell you that it made the hair stand up on the back of your neck. A few technical difficulties later and now we have Van joined by his bass player and drummer.
The best way I can describe this rock/blues sound of Van Wilks was a phone call from my 16 year old critic. Yes, phone call from across the yard. " OMG! Dad what is the name of this song. It's awesome!" Well, hell I don't know, but this instrumental was every bit as kick ass as all of the vocal laced tracks that were part of the performance. Seeing folks get up and dance throughout is proof of his skills as a performer and entertainer. Van may have been running through the Austin music scene for a while, BUT do not take this for granted. I would be proud to take any of my guitarist friends from a number of other bands I have written about and go to a Van Wilks performance. Let that be part of the testament to the joy and greatness it is hearing and being part of the Van Wilks legacy!
* - http://livemusicinaustin.blogspot.com/2010/06/i-felt-all-tingley-inside.html