Just to be clear, no diamonds were sold in the making of this birthday bash — I mean let’s not get carried away. But I can tell you that yesterday in Luckenbach TX, there weren’t nobody feelin’ no pain, least of all us. And we barely even dipped into the Shiners, we were simply high on hill country livin’.
After two weeks in Montana we raced back to Texas to scoop up Little Chick from camp and then we drove straight out to Luckenbach for the final phase of The Professor’s 50th birthday week. We checked into the Full Moon B&B and quickly made it over to the Fest Out West music festival in Luckenbach just in time to hear Reckless Kelly and Robert Earl Keen…plus a little bit of the after show with BlackTop Gypsy. As days go, I have to say yesterday was dipped in honey start to finish.
If you know Luckenbach you get it. If you don’t, I’m sure someone more eloquent and less exhausted than I can certainly explain it better. But it’s really got a magic to it. As the saying goes, “Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenbach” and you really feel it when you’re there. It’s a pocket in time, a rocking Hill Country scene, a super friendly crowd.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. I have a friend in Alabama who swears the Waylon/Willie ‘Luckenbach’ song inspired her and her husband to move their family out of their home, change jobs and simplify their lives. She longs to make a pilgrimage to Luckenbach one day (and I secretly hope to be a part of her trip!)
People love to get married in Luckenbach – there was a wedding there yesterday in fact. Bikers, bankers, bums and babies. Hippies and rednecks. It’s a very democratic scene. People come from down the road and across the pond but year after year, the scene is consistently the same. Whether a small crowd around a few pickers or a larger audience for a bigger name band, the feel is always…Luckenbach. The trees, the creek, the cold Shiner. The general store, the old saloon. The best part about it? Everyone always seems to be in a good mood out there.
Perfect place to celebrate the Professor’s 50th as a family.
We arrived in time to see Reckless Kelly, an Austin based band with two brothers originally from Stanley Idaho (so of course we love the Texas-Out West connection.) If you have the opportunity to see this band live, run don’t walk. Vocals are strong, mandolin sexy, lights out fiddle playing. As the guy next to us put it, “I can’t decide if they are classic country or classic rock.”
But the evening soared when headliner Robert Earl Keen took the stage. He opened with The Professor’s and my favorite “Feelin’ Good Again” which we lovingly call ‘The Madison Song’. One sunset evening a few years ago we wrapped a great day of fall fishing on the Madison, drove along the river with the windows down, singing “Feelin’ Good Again” over and over on our way to dinner up in Virginia City. It was a good moment.
And a good way to start this REK show.
Second song was The Professor’s fav “Gringo Honeymoon” and they rocked it. I don’t know what special sauce they added but it was mmm mmmm gooooood. Maybe it was the guitar guy from Reckless Kelly who sat in? I don’t know, but even REK smiled at the end and said, “Well that song has never sounded better, I’m never playing it again.”
Little Chick got a kick, as everyone does, with the party-pleasing classic “Merry Christmas From the Family.” And while the final song was to be predicted, “The Road Goes On Forever”, the rocking jammin’ playout version we got live yesterday was anything but rote. I think we were all a little out of breath and coming back down to earth when it ended.
I had to point out to Little Chick how happy everyone was. How one song could bring so many hundreds of people so much flipping joy on any given night.
After REK the crowds thinned and we grabbed dinner. Little Chick and the Professor agree, some of the best pulled pork sandwiches in the state of Texas. We wandered a bit in the welcome sprinkling rain that started up and caught a few tunes from the BlackTop Gypsy after show before cruising across the way to the B&B and falling into a deep deep sleep.
But the party never ends. I love live music. I love the Texas Hill Country. I love my family. And I loved my husband’s 50th birthday! The basics of love, just as the song says…