We made the nice short trip from Austin to Houston and were warmly welcomed by Max Nofziger and Ester Matthews. Max, the flower-selling hippie who became a City Council Member, led a few "Austin to Archbold" tours, bringing highly regarded Austin musicians to his home town. This year, he helped create an "Archbold to Austin" tour that meant that we played with a lot of his musician friends in Austin!
The afternoon of the 8th, Max and Ester took us on a walking tour of South Austin, the "funky" part of town. "Funky" in Austin basically means the storefronts have character and aren't the generic high rises that are dominating more and more of the town.
The evening of the 8th we performed at a house concert as openers for the Michael Notarthomas trio. Michael is a singer/songwriter who was accompanied by a bass and snare. It was a small, intimate concert with a captive audience of musicians who listened intently.
Sunday morning, the 9th, we played at another Unity Universalist church, where we made a connection with the sound person/videographer. David was his name, and we took the opportunity to go to his studio (Buda Treehouse Studios) to record a few songs and get some high quality footage. We are excited to release the finished product soon!
Each Sunday evening, Max and Ester's friend group gathers to sing their favorite songs, try new ones, and even get a chance to perform songs that they've written. "The Jam" started as a small gathering, and has since expanded to become a big group. Usually between 20-40 people will show on a night. Max and Ester talk about the Jam with reverence, as it has become a space of healing and hope for many members. The group is passionate and talented, and it was an honor to join them for the evening.
February 10 brought Mystery Monday at El Mercado, where we saw Eliza Gilkyson (a Grammy nominated folk artist) perform with Christine Albert and Jeff Plankenhorn; a host of incredible musicians that were playing together for the first time. It was beautiful to watch them joyfully work together to create a really powerful evening. Later that evening, we crossed the Colorado river to watch Chris Gage perform at Donn's Depot, a funky clubhouse with a very attentive audience. We were shocked when Chris Gage called us onto stage to sing with him at about midnight when we were about to leave. We woke up quickly to jump on the opportunity, and sang a couple numbers with him.
February 11 brought another collaboration with legendary musicians at Sam's Town Point. We played with members of a Western Swing Band, led by Al Dressen who created the Western Swing Hall of Fame! Al is such a kind man, and it was an absolute joy (and learning experience!) to play "Wildfire" and "Muskrat Love" with a seven-piece band unrehearsed.
We would like to thank everyone who took the time to connect with us in Austin, especially Max and Ester. Also, thank you to everyone who is taking the time to keep up with our journeys by reading about and supporting our journey from afar!