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2nd Sunday Pickers Circle, (shhh the best kept secret in Texas)

By Bev Barr BCC Editor

BCC Staff Photo by Bev Barr
Elana — with the white guitar — plays a “Texas Love Song” accompanied by bass player Ted Flanagan at the Pickers Circle, Oct. 8.

Last Sunday was a great day to be at the library. Even though the library was closed, it was still a place of great discovery. Eight and sometimes nine musicians sat in a circle beneath the sprawling live oak tree on the back patio and played a terrific mix of original songs, ballads, classical country, hilarious honky-tonk, and rousing numbers that defy being categorized. A pleasant and steady breeze cooled the shady air, perhaps drawn by the extraordinarily good vibrations pouring off the 2nd Sunday Pickers’ Circle.
There was no line of demarcation between the performers and audience, and every now and then acorns released their grip and rained down on the crowd, as if the old oak was compelled to join in the applause. Extremely competent and talented musicians set the tone, establishing a welcoming and relaxing jam session for professionals, amateurs and spectators. And because all musicians are welcome to join-in the unplugged acoustic music program (established last year by the Bandera Music Hall of Fame and the Frontier Times museum) the Pickers circle is always changing.
A few of the highlights from the October session/performance included the outstanding harmony of David Wayne and Doc Williams in “Take A Letter, Maria,” “Stuck in the Middle with You,” “Rock Me Momma,” and the hilarious “Wasn’t That a Party.” Wayne played guitar and mandolin; Williams entertained with the harmonica a bit. Both are great singers and demonstrated masterful technique on the guitar.
Lee Harmon “starred” and literally “shone” in several songs, including “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “Danny’s Song” (by Kenny Loggins) which had everybody singing along …“even though we ain’t got money…”
Paul Hilliard performed what is quite possible the best arrangement of “Take it Easy” ever not recorded. Livelier and edgier than Jackson Browne or The Eagles, he completely owned it -- as he did “Seven Spanish Angels.” (BTW, Hilliard will be playing Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Medina High Point Resort on Hwy 16 between Medina and Kerrville.)
Other musicians included Ted Flanagan on bass, Lew Pewterbaugh — who performed terrific ballads, including the “Three Legged Man,” which Pewterbaugh declared was his favorite love song of all time; and Bob DeGeorge, a percussionist who played the box he sat on with Cajon brushes (rather than sticks). The Meinl Jam Cajon (DeGeorge’s chair and instrument) is made in Germany of hardwood and has fixed snares inside the box, which produce different sounds depending upon where on the box the brushes touch the surface.
Elana (last name not known) stepped into the circle late in the day and performed a “Texas Love Song,” written by a guy from Maine who moved to Austin and, she said, is doing pretty well writing sad songs. Hilliard joked about the lyrics, saying that anyone who rhymes “solar plexus” with “Texas” is pretty good. The friendly banter among the musicians between numbers was happy — funny, and always encouraging. Great representatives for any Hall of Fame.
Karen Lucia, president of the Bandera Music Hall of Fame, also played in the Pickers Circle. Lucia said she was pleased to announce the inductees of the Bandera Music Hall of Fame for 2018, and wanted to recognize them publically and officially in the paper. So congratulations to Kathy Bauer and Mike Broussard, Lee Haile, Chris and Cyndi Gonzales, Chris Valdez, and James McGroatry. The induction ceremony for the new Hall of Famers will take place from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 8, at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar.
The next Pickers Circle will be at the Frontier Times Museum and plans are to meet there for the next several months. The musicians met at the American Legion Post 157 Hall this summer, and sometimes as many as 30 musicians showed up. One never knows exactly what to expect — there is an impromptu feel to it. But the Bandera Music Hall of Fame is populated with outstanding musicians who provide this musical feast for free — for the rest of us. Feel free to participate or attend this casual and excellent opportunity to hear musicians play for themselves and anybody else who is smart enough or fortunate enough to drop in.