Robert Ellis is a tremendously respected singer/songwriter/guitarist. In the wake of George Jones’ death, there has been an outpouring of musical tributes. Ellis’ take on “The Grand Tour” may be the most simple, yet grand we’ve seen. We felt it was worth sharing. Enjoy!
I first stumbled upon River Road Icehouse in early spring 2001. The former dive bar known as The Oasis had been purchased by Ken Jenkines and Amigo Mel. Their goal was to convert the place into a top-notch live music venue and river outfitting post. We were just college kids out for a Hill Country joyride to see where our buddy Doug Moreland was now living. We spotted Doug’s F250 parked out back next to a camper. We saw Bubba Daniels meandering around doing Bubba Daniels type things. Fresh sawdust smell permeated the spring breeze and we were immediately greeted at the front door by Ken and his perma-grin that matched his sweet white mullet.
We weren’t there five minutes before he offered us jobs and a beer. I can say this now without getting any of us in trouble, but we weren’t of age, and he didn’t care. We were the first three employees of River Road Icehouse. Bouncers, barbacks, trash collectors, construction hands. Whatever needed to be done, we did. The first few summers at River Road were special. Some of the best shows and musical memories I have took place at 1791 Hueco Springs Loop Rd. I still hope to do an oral history article or book about The Compound and its infamous place in modern Texas Music lore. That’s another story for another time.
But, as the years have worn on, the old girl has lost some of her shine. Whitewater Amphitheater took away the big … Keep Reading
Gary P. Nunn wrote “London Homesick Blues” in a frigid London flat. Shivering and numb, Nunn’s only companion was a beat-up old guitar. A few years later at the ramshackle, fly-by pants recording sessions that would turn into Jerry Jeff Walker’s legendary Viva Terlingua album, Nunn was called upon to sing that tune. Here he was in Luckenbach on one of those hot August nights we have in Texas where sweat and cold beer are the only relief to be found in an old dancehall, and he was being asked to play that song he’d written while stuck over in England. He famously says “I’m gonna try to put myself back in that place…” as the song begins on the recording. While he’s referring to the fact that it was the song’s second take because the engineers didn’t get the first one recorded properly. Nunn could’ve just as easily been referring to putting his mind back in London. Which is the thought I’m going for.
Music is a transformational experience. It takes you places. Brings you memories. Lifts spirits and drowns sorrows. It’s powerful.
June will mark the 10th anniversary of the death of one of the truest friends I’ve ever known. His name was Trinity Dove and we lost him when he was only 22. I was fresh out of college, he’d just finished his hitch in the Marines. We’d both ended up back in the town we thought we’d never return to, only to find Waco was a … Keep Reading