Relationships are the bedrock foundation of anything. And that is most definitely the key with regard to Galleywinter. So, let me tell you a little story or two.
Way back in the day, in the very early internet era, some friends and I were crowded around my bulky PC connected to the net via dial-up. We were seeking information on this new guy we were hearing about from our friends in Dallas named Bleu Edmondson. He was blowing their minds. Well, while we were online we decided to see what Pat Green was up to and plan our next roadtrip adventure to see him play. If I recall correctly, we were using Lycos or Yahoo and the Pat Green search led us to this rudimentary website (they all were back then) titled Tore Up From the Floor Up. Very quickly I realized that the person running this website was some sort of Pat Green pied piper. He called himself Hogleg. Essentially, he was posting a Jack Kerouac-esque road diary of his trips around Texas supporting Pat Green. There were a cast of characters with nicknames like Woodrow and Tank. There were photos of Hogleg onstage with Pat. Who is this guy we thought? The comments section of the Tore Up site was filled with people checking in from across the state of Texas and beyond. Making plans to meet up. I commented too.
Before too long, and inspired by the burgeoning online community building around him, Pat Green and Greg Henry added a forum section to the official PG website. That’s when things exploded. Chad Raney launched LoneStarMusic, some competitors launched Texas Music Express and now not only could you talk about the music you love, you could order the cd’s and merch and have it delivered to your door. Heady stuff for the year 2000. In every corner of the online Texas Music community you would find this Hogleg character. I’d come to learn his name was Jon Paul Long and that folks also called him JP. He was building websites for various acts. Designing logos. And all the while organizing the dopest parties and gatherings at shows from Amarillo to Corpus. Dozens of people were meeting up based on some message board comments. Again, heady stuff for the year 2000.
And that’s how things continued until August 2002. People chatted in the Pat Green forums about anything. Music mainly. But also, sports, politics, jokes, movies, life. Earlier that summer, Pat obtained some new management and they saw dollar signs in the forum community. They wanted to charge money for people to have access to chat. In what would be an ongoing theme of bad business but good karma, JP called bullshit and refused to participate. He teamed up with the aforementioned Ryan “Tank” Hargrave and a new partner Brian “Doc” Monnone and they decided to open a competing, free community. Pat’s new official one would be called The Dancehall. JP christened his new community Galleywinter. Thus, a movement and lifestyle that has lasted over 20 years was born.
The Dancehall died. Galleywinter is still here. There’s a reason for that.
It was about the relationships. JP couldn’t betray those who followed him. He felt like charging people for conversations was wrong. The Galleywinter community boomed. From 2003-2006, the site was logging thousands of visits per day. Marriages, children, divorces, band formations, band break-ups, venue openings, venue closings. It was all chronicled in the forums of the website. Throughout this time, I was a steady contributor. I had a desk job and would often complete my workload in just over an hour and have seven more to kill. I’d surf off to Galleywinter and chat the day away. Sharing opinions on music from Texas and beyond, I was quickly (rightfully or wrongfully) recognized as some sort of expert with an ear to the ground for new talent like Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen and Stoney LaRue while maintaining an appreciation for the old guard like Rusty Wier, Jerry Jeff and Ray Wylie.
The online neighborhood was begging to have a meet up. So, one was scheduled at George’s. The year was 2002. Django Walker played on the patio. Pat Green bought the bar a round. The host was Hogleg. They called it Greenfest and decided to make it an annual gathering point for likeminded music fans that chatted online all the time to interact in person. A forebearer to the modern TweetUps, Facebook group meet-ups and reunions of all kinds.
The web community continued to evolve. JP’s personal relationships shifted and he became less and less engaged and motivated to participate in his creation. I tried to fill the void. And while I could generate and crank tons of content, I could never create and generate the vibe quite like Hogleg. Nobody could. This man built relationships built off passion for music. He helped launch careers, families, venues, festivals. He’d demure and say he didn’t do any of that. But, he did. I was there and saw it. Many of you reading this were too.
Soon enough the rise of social media crushed the vitality of the message board forums around here as conversations moved to MySpace and then Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where they remain. We recently launched a Galleywinter TikTok. The mediums change, the vision doesn’t.
The years have traveled down the road as they do and the relationships have changed. An early rallying cry adopted from a Pat Green lyric was “I’m still here!” And the fact remains that Galleywinter is still here. Greenfest to River Jam. Pat Green to Parker McCollum. We’ve seen it all. We’ve had front row seats to the past 20+ years of greater Texas Music. It’s been fun. And we’re not done.
The other thing that is still here is Jon Paul “Hogleg” Long.
Relationships helped us build the Galleywinter brand. For the fans by the fans. That was JP’s creed. And it has never left. Community among fans. Harmony with the bands. Partnerships with festivals and venues. It’s all built on the fan to fan ethos. We could have and should have sold out a long time ago, but never did. At some point, the grind of it all ate JP up. And the Frankenstein he created swallowed him. He had to step away from music for several years. And with good reason. The music biz is a terrible place most of the time. And Hogleg’s been involved at every angle of it.
Relationships eventually brought him back though. Some friends of his started a band and needed some help with it. They knew who to call. Sun Valley Station is a band on the rise as Hogleg uses the knowledge and relationships of the past 20 years to guide them in the direction. He knows what fans want. Still. And when we began to plan River Jam 2022 and I found out that Hogleg was back in the game, there was no question on who one of our bands would be. Relationships. Hogleg took a dedicated music snob fan and handed him the keys to this magnificent community 18 years ago. I’m still here. You are too. So is the music. And luckily, so is Jon Paul “Hogleg” Long.
Come see us this weekend at one, two or all three of the River Jam shows. This all spawned from an idea that JP had over twenty years ago. An event tucked on the patio of a Waco bar. It’s all about relationships after all.
Sun Valley Station/Shaker Hymns at Billy’s Ice – Sat July 9