It’s Been a Hell of a Year

This post isn’t about Parker McCollum, 2019 has been a hella crazy year for a lot of us. This is the first time in months I’ve had the chance to sit down for a few minutes to reflect and put a few words down. Much of the craziness in my own life was self-inflicted, my family took on the large project of building our own home in the smallish town of Granbury. My wife designed it wall to wall and I did all the general contracting; plus, we did a lot of the work ourselves (thank you YouTube). It’s was practically a full time endeavor, with me squeezing in my real job in the evenings. Hobbies, writing, and shows took a back seat to trim, caulk, tile, and paint. In mid-October we moved in, and while we still have a list of projects a mile long, I felt that for the first time we got to take a small breath before the pace of the holidays ensued.

The holidays are over, its New Year’s Eve, and 2020 is at our (new) front door. As I perused the volumes of Facebook posts from my friends talking about their year, I figured I’d enumerate my own ups and downs. Of course, despite my relative absence from writing, music was still a big part of my 2019. To end on a high note, I’ll start with the downs.

Turnpike broke up and that is sad. I’m not their number one fan, but I do love them enough to miss the genius of Felker and the booster shot he and his troubadours gave to this scene. My money is on them not being gone forever, though if/when they do come back it will be interesting to see how it manifests itself. I’ll spin it as something to look forward to, whether it’s next year or 5 years from now.

We lost a treasure in Kylie Rae Harris. Her final record was her best to date. I’m not going to pretend we were best buds, though every time you spoke to Kylie she made you feel that way. Our paths always crossed a few times a year, usually at Jub Jam, River Jam, and whenever she’d come through town. If you didn’t know her, the eulogies given by her musical brothers and sisters were spot on, the good and the bad. I originally didn’t plan on attending the memorial service fearing that I’d contribute to a spectacle of showing up just to be seen. But fate would have it I was in town for meetings that day and work wrapped up early such that I was passing Prestonwood Baptist Church at just the right time. I went and sat in the back. I saw Bonnie Bishop and others sing their hearts out. When Kylie’s daughter, Corbie, got on stage to help sing “Twenty Years From Now” there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I saw a music community come together and it was beautiful.

On a personal note, we lost the matriarch of our family. My wife’s grandmother was without a doubt our spiritual leader. I could only dream of filling this woman’s shoes. Over the years, she filled notebook after notebook of journal entries full of love, affirmations and advice. She is the kindest person I’ve ever known and I only hope that I can read and learn from the wisdom she imparted. Never underestimate the wisdom of your elders.

Now for the more positive stuff…

The other big project I took on this year was heading up the rework of the Galleywinter website. It was a nice respite from drywall and shiplap. It kept music in my heart and mind and put a skip in my step on those days I got to work on it. Thanks to Brad and Tank for entrusting me with such a responsibility. We’ll keep it fresh and fun folks.

Shane Smith and the Saints, Mike and the Moonpies, RRB, and Sturgill all dropped badass records in 2019. My favorite was a toss up between Saints and Moonpies, with both making you say “fuck that is good” within the first 10 seconds.

I’m thankful for music. While I didn’t make my quota of shows this year, I relied heavily on the aforementioned records plus my Texas Music Trinity of Randy Rogers, Cody Canada and Wade Bowen to get me through construction blood, sweat and tears. There are times to enjoy the depth of Walt Wilkins, just like there are times to enjoy the hell-raising of Koe. Through it all Randy, Cody, and Wade seem to always be at the center for me, even more so than Pat Green, who got me into this genre 20 years ago.

Speaking of PG, I’m thankful that I got to interview the man himself in 2019. I never got around to posting this, which looking back seems ridiculous. If you would have told me 20 years ago that I’d get to interview Pat Fucking Green, I would have given you a blank stare. Our chat was nothing deep, but it was fun as hell.

Thank you George Dunham for helping string that together and including me in your yearly Jub Jam charity event.

I’m thankful to my parents and my mother-in-law for allowing my family-of-five-plus-a-farty-sheep-a-doodle to invade their personal space for a year. We alternated living between two houses and hopefully didn’t do any permanent damage to either house or our relationships.

I’m thankful for my wife, that she has the stomach and patience to do what we did. We made it babe, love you.

Finally, I’m thankful that we now have a home and that we picked it to be in Granbury. It’s a growing place, but still has plenty of small town charm to be featured in one of those cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies.

Quick Riffs:

  • Cowboys: I love you but you suck.
  • Rangers: I still think your new park is Minute Maid 2.0 but I’m going to visit the first chance I get.
  • Luka is The Chosen One.
  • Star Wars: The Mandalorian is damn good. Thanks Jon Favreau for doing it right. A space western that’s quintessentially Star Wars. More irreverent Han Solo humor and no Jar Jar hi-jinks. Forget Greta, Baby Yoda is the true Person of the Year.
  • I give The Rise of Skywalker an ‘A’ for effort. It was good, not great and JJ did his best to make us GenXers happy. It mirrored my 2019, just A LOT to take in and not enough time to breathe.

The fireworks in Hood County have started popping so with that I bid you…

Goodnight, good day, hello and Happy New Year.

Cody

Cody Starr

Staff writer and resident website mechanic. Raised in DFW, but recently left the big city for quieter, small(er) town life. Family guy, Aggie, software developer, Ticket's Own. I occasionally write for The Dallas Observer, my editor there probably hates me.

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