We left our campsite at Pedernales State Park at about 10am and had about an hour to drive to our next stop, which was Luckenbach, Texas. On our way we ended up coming across the quaint little town of Johnson City so we decided to make a pit stop. We grabbed some coffee at the Black Spur Coffee Shop and chatted a bit with the friendly owner who ended up being a California transplant.
We got back on the road and headed west through the beautiful Texas Hill Country. On our way we passed many wineries and vineyards (I never knew they were so abundant in Texas). Heading west on Highway 290 we finally came across the small, easily passable sign that read “Luckenbach Road.” Well, we actually did pass it so we had to make a u-turn on Highway 290 and then we headed down the little two-laned road which finally led us into Luckenbach.
For those who don’t know, Luckenbach is a small town in Texas which primarily consists of just a gift shop, a bar, and a dance hall. There is also an outdoor stage for live music as well as various sitting areas. What really put Luckenbach on the map was when Jerry Jeff Walker recorded an album there called “Viva Terlingua,” and later when Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson recorded a song simply called “Luckenbach, Texas.” The town sports a rustic ghost town feel where people gather to play music, listen to music, and drink beer.
Of course all of this sounded amazing to me so while we drove into this small little town in the dirt road under the old towering trees I felt like I was entering a dream. We could see cowboys handling a longhorn, people were walking around with beers, the chickens were roaming around and the roosters were crowing. We rolled in only a little past noon and there was already a handful of people there; probably an equal mix of bikers, locals, and tourists. We meandered into the gift shop and looked around and found one of the local cats sleeping in a bucket of souvenir shirts.
It didn’t take long to check out the area, so I finally grabbed a beer at the bar and took a seat outside to enjoy the surrounding.
Not long after sitting down a man walked out with a guitar, sat down outside the bar, and started playing some old country songs. Some songs were originals but most were covers which I enjoyed, especially while hanging out in Luckenback with a cold one in my hand. Since the songs were good I decided to record one and ended up catching this rendition of “Coyotes” which was made popular by Don Edwards (not sure who the guy in the video is):
After having my fill of beer, music, and a little cowboy poetry, we were about to leave when I realized you could get a picture on the longhorn we had seen when were first driving in. Of course this was happening.
I must say I was saddened to have to leave the little town, but it was Friday, and we wanted to get back into Austin and check into our hotel, get dinner, and experience the nightlife there. If you ask me though, I’d bet a night in Luckenback would beat a night out in downtown Austin any time.
After three nights of partying in New Orleans it was finally Fat Tuesday and our last full day in the city. I woke up sleep deprived and hungry (like the last couple of days) so I left the hotel and went in search of food with my buddy Arun. We were able to grab some burritos at a Mexican joint called Felipe’s that was only a couple blocks from our hotel and the place was pretty good. After breakfast/lunch we meandered down Decatur Street near the river where we got to see the Riverboat Natchez close up.
We continued down to Frenchman Street where we were last night. The word around town was that it was a good spot to be for Fat Tuesday, and since we had enjoyed ourselves there yesterday, we figured why not. On our way there we passed by Jackson Square where people were gathered around watching some street performers.
Among the street performers there was this one blues band playing on the street who had an old school bus which the singer was using as his stage.
When we finally got down to Frenchman there was already crowds of people in the streets and mini makeshift parades starting up. A lot of people were dressed in all sorts of costumes and music was playing everywhere.
We stayed on Frenchman Street for a while, just drinking and hanging out and watching all the spectacles happen around us.
We were lucky enough to witness a delivery truck, which was trying to make it’s way through the crowds, stop, and then watched the driver jump out of the truck and start dancing to the nearest music beat. He then proceeded to get on top of the truck and dance around, putting on a show for everyone. It was awesome.
As the evening crept up on us we decided to head over to the Tremé area where there was supposed to be an Indian parade, however we got there too late and missed it. With no other plans we decided to hit up Bourbon Street one last time and made our way down to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop which I had visited the day before. We got a few drinks there and hung out on their patio which was surprisingly not too crowed. Eventually we all got hungry and decided to grab some pizza at Vieux Carre which was nearby; the pizza wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t amazing either. As our night winded down we figured we should stop into one last place for some drinks, but we wanted to make it a good place. We ended up at the swanky Loa Bar in the International House Hotel where there was practically no one inside. The bartender was friendly and the drinks were superb. We stayed there until closing time and then grabbed some snacks (Gator-Tators) and a case of beers on our way back to our hotel. Back at the hotel, Arun insisted on trying on ALL of the beads we had gathered throughout our stay.
When he tried to take them off he got his head stuck in the entanglement of beads and he cried for help but we all just laughed (he was alright after all). In the morning we attempted to ride the Airport Downtown Express back to the airport from the city but became stumped on where to pick it up. After about an hour of walking around with our bags in the gross Louisiana humidity we hailed a cab. We zipped along the freeway in our taxivan and I thought about how great the trip had been, but I must say, all the partying took a lot out of me and I was kind of relieved it was over.
My friend David played his first show in about 18 months on Saturday at this little coffee shop in Downtown Fullerton called The Night Owl. Besides having local artists play there, the place also only brews fair-trade organic coffee, which I thought was pretty cool.
David had a small crowd of friend/fans in the coffee shop, almost too large to fit in the little place. I was lucky enough to get there early and get a good seat up front, from which I was able to film one of his songs. The audio isn’t that great but here it is anyway.
Saturday Ryan and I woke up and got breakfast/lunch at this place called Pita Jungle in Chandler. The menu had an awesome variety of food but I ended up getting this spinach quesadilla thing. The service and the food were both pretty great; I’d go again.
Later in the day we eventually headed up to Cave Creek where we were gonna see David Allan Coe preform at a bar/restaurant called Harold’s Corral. When we first got into town it was still early so we decided to hit up this place called Frontier Town. It had this little bar in the back called “The Pour House” where I thought it would be cool to kill some time. When I walked in I saw the bar tender making a margarita and thought that sounded good so I ordered one. It was probably one of the worst margaritas I’ve ever had and was like $8. Oh well.
Mike made friends with the piano man at least.
We were going to head over to the Horny Toad Saloon next but decided to just go drink some beers in the parking lot to save some dough.
When we got to Harold’s the place already seemed like it was bumpin’. We got inside and ordered some drinks and then found a sweet spot on the porch outside. We got helped right away and ordered more drinks and a pizza. The pizza was surprisingly really good, not the sub-par bar food I was expecting.
The band opening that night was some douchey band called Young Country. They played a bunch of lame cover songs and looked like a bunch of dorks. Is that guy Orange? Totally not what I was expecting as an opener for David Allan Coe. That’s cool though, it gave me more time to go back to the car and kick back another beer.
Once Suck Country was done playing I squeezed inside to secure a good spot to see David. The other dudes were still out on the porch but they came in after a while. It seemed like forever until DAC and his band finally came out. It looked like the poor old dude needed some help getting up to the stage but the crowd was going nuts none the less.
I must say I was a little starstruck to see him live on stage. David Allan Coe is an outlaw country legend and is up there with Waylon, Willie, Hank Jr., ect. as far as I’m concerned. I believe he wrote some of the best real country songs of all time; some of which he played that night.
Some of the notable songs I remember him playing that night were: The Ride, You Never Even Called Me by My Name, If that Ain’t Country (Part 2), and Leave Ole Willie Alone. He also did a cool sample of a bunch of songs he’d written that other famous artists had covered.
For being 72 I thought he put on a pretty damn good show, he even had two shots of whiskey on stage (that I was able to count anyway). By the end of the night I was feeling my own fair share of whiskey after taking many pulls off my flask that I had snuck in; I mean, c’mon, it was a DAC concert after all!
When the show was over we walked outside only to find someone had a little too much fun and had to be taken away in an ambulance. At first I was worried that maybe it was David, but luckily it wasn’t.
I must say the show and the trip up to Cave Creek was some good times. I’d definitely love to go back!
Big Rock Candy Mountain is one of my favorite old folk songs. Although controversy surrounds the song’s origins, it was originally recorded by Harry McClintock, aka Haywire Mac. Whenever I go camping there is a good chance it will be played. While listening to the song it’s hard not to imagine such a paradise hidden somewhere out in the mountains waiting to be discovered.
Unfortunately the paradise the song is referencing is the afterlife, the heaven where hobos go when they die. Apparently during the Great Depression it was not uncommon for hobos to pass away during the cold fall and winter, hence the last line in the song:
I’ll see you all this coming fall, in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
A while back when I would read Crimethinc’s journal, Rolling Thunder, I came across a cool spread they did in issue #4 which had the lyrics to Big Rock Candy Mountain with a great illustration to go along with it.
This Johnny Cash cover band rocked my face off on the day after New Years. They played at El Cid’s in Silverlake. The songs were fast and full of energy; really got the crowd rockin’.