Peter Dawson & Drew Kennedy Reunion Tour
ver the past few years, Tuesday nights in the Hill Country meant a good time was being had at the River Road Icehouse. Tuesday nights at RRIH insured that Peter Dawson and Drew Kennedy were hosting one of the finest song swap happy hours to be found anywhere. They had rotating guests some weeks and other weeks, it was just the two of them. The Texan who had been to Nashville and the Virginian turned Texan formed an improbable friendship and musical partnership.
Peter Dawson had made many waves after returning to his native Texas and releasing his first album “Do You Don’t or Do You Do?” The album included one of his signature songs, “Willie Nelson For President”. That record’s initial success launched him full force into the Texas Music fraternity. He was sharing stages with Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen, Cory Morrow and all the other top dogs. Peter was making a name for himself with his smooth, booming voice. He cut a second album, which was a live effort entitled “Coupland Live” and upped the ante. Peter had never sounded finer or had such great momentum in his home state.
Drew Kennedy, like so many others, discovered the pull and influence of Robert Earl Keen’s music as a freshman in college. That first encounter with Keen’s music would forever alter Drew’s life course. It was at that moment, that he decided to make music for a living. He began writing songs and honing his skills in bars around the Virginia region. The music he was making was in the canon of Gram Parsons and Steve Earle, but definitely all Drew Kennedy. He recorded his debut effort, “Hillbilly Pilgrim” that included songwriting gems such as “Cincinatti” and “Down In Flames” boosted by his giant voice. From afar, he watched as the Texas Music movement began in earnest and picked up steam. He longed to be a part of it and realized that for him to make this truly work, at some point he’d have to pack up his stuff like Guy Clark in “L.A. Freeway” and head to Texas to immerse himself in the revolution.
Around this time period, Drew was booked to play a private party for a fraternity with the Peter Dawson Band in Dallas. Due to typical frat circumstances, the show was cancelled at the last minute; after Drew had traveled all the way from Virginia. Accounts of what happened next conflict. Drew claims Peter offered to bring him up to his gig in Oklahoma City later that night; while Peter claims the promoter pressured him to take Drew. At any rate, the two found themselves in the PDB van headed up the highway to Oklahoma. The two strangers hit it off on the ride up and were sharing songs and stories at the hotel when the magic started. Peter played Drew pieces of a song he had been working on with Jason Boland. Drew had some ideas to help finish it. Forty minutes later, “Travis County Heartbreak” was complete and was tacked onto Peter’s live album as a studio track. The new friendship bred an east-coast tour that later turned into a couple of Texas dates. Drew’s previous exposure to Texas had solely been Houston. He was a country boy at heart and hated the concrete jungle of overpasses, toll-lanes, and smog. During his new Texas dates with Peter, he discovered parts of Texas that felt more like home. He and his new bride, Holly, began to scout locations to live and settled on New Braunfels. A few months before the Kennedy’s move from Virginia could become final; Peter and his not yet wife, Elisabeth, moved to New Braunfels from Austin. Now, both located in the same town, they started writing and gigging together as often as possible. River Road Icehouse offered them a weekly gig on Tuesday nights.
Together, the two of them crafted a singer/songwriter show that stood out. They had wit, charm, comedic timing, great songs and an even better time. The crowd was full some nights and some nights they played to crickets and waitresses. The two young performers did not let crowd size derail their enthusiasm. Their show became the hip thing for the many musicians who live in New Braunfels to take in on a Tuesday night. It became known as the place to be seen and heard for new songwriters touring through the area. They shared their stage with proven veterans like Matt Powell and Brandon Rhyder; as well as letting newcomers like Ryan Turner and Josh Grider join them. They honed their show to a big blast of great music and entertainment. Mixing their well-received originals with an eclectic mix of covers (including their wildly popular take on Bloodhound Gang’s “Roof Is On Fire”) and well-timed jokes, their show became a must-see event each week. They began to take the show on the road to towns and clubs across the state. Each new venue was an opportunity for them to showcase their act to a new and appreciative audience.
After several months of increased visibility and a growing audience, the pair was at a crossroads. Peter was wrestling with the decision of a return to Nashville and taking another stab at Music City success; and Drew was finally satisfied with a new batch of songs and was looking to hit the studio and record his second effort. In July of 2005, Peter made the trek back to Tennessee, which put a halt to the Peter and Drew collaboration. Around the same time, Drew moved from New Braunfels to Marble Falls and the duo’s weekly relationship with River Road Icehouse and Tuesday nights was put to rest. Fans and fellow musicians had been hoping for a return to the magic of the Peter and Drew songswap since the respective moves. And now in late May 2006, the hopes are becoming a reality with the duo making a reunion run; highlighted by a stop at River Road Icehouse on a Tuesday. The schedule is below, do yourself a favor and make it out to one of these shows.
Thursday, May 11th, 2006
Elm Mott, TX
Peter & Drew with Ryan James
Saturday, May 13th, 2006
Love & War
Peter & Drew
Sunday, May 14th, 2006
Clubhouse Concerts—White Elephant Saloon
Ft. Worth, TX
Peter & Drew with Josh Grider
Tuesday, May 16th, 2006
River Road Icehouse
New Braunfels, TX
Peter & Drew
Wednesday, May 17th, 2006
Peter & Drew