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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

South Austin Jug Band Hangs 'Em Up

South Austin Jug Band
dateTue, Dec 9, 2008 at 2:55 PM
subjectEnd of an Era

End of an Era

It’s been almost a decade of my life. I remember how it formed. I had a weekly gig at Momo’s on Sunday nights with James Hyland and the Half Ass Band (that really was our name, we rocked 50% of the time). The drummer and bass player quit and I had to scurry to put a band together to play my weekly gig. I loved playing Sunday nights at Momo’s and I was determined to keep the gig and make it work. Sunday nights? Are you serious? Who goes out on Sunday night? I really believed in the ole “if you build it, they will come.”
The first call I made was to Will Dupuy. We had never hung out at this point, but he gave me his phone number at one of my weekly gigs. It was written on the back of somebody else’s business card and it was hardly legible. I’m glad I held on to that card. I called him up and asked if he could play Sundays and if we could get together and go over the songs. I had been using punk rock bass players who were “learning” country music, now, Will was steeped in country music. It was the first time I played with a real country bass player and it was very refreshing. We had a lot in common and got along very easily. My previous bass player would often mix up the order of his 1-5 progression and it was pretty awful at times. Will was a great find.
An early review of my first band described me as “gangly and self-assured” and looking back I couldn’t agree more. We were starving and awful, but damn we were determined, and we were having fun trying to learn and get better. We had Champ Hood at our fingertips, Toni Price, Derek O’Brien, Scrappy Jud, Rich Brotherton, Casper Rawls, and the Walter Hyatt catalogue. We had a deep well of talent to listen to and learn from, all in Austin, TX. I took full advantage.
Will took the gig. He sat in at Momo’s on a Sunday Night and played city bass. (That’s what I call the electric bass) He was great, he told me he had an upright bass and thought it would work great. He also mentioned that he was staying on the sofa of a musician named Matt Slusher. Matt was just learning the mandolin and Will thought he should sit in with us. Do it.
So that was the first formation of the South Austin Jug Band. Willie Pipkin, Warren Hood, (both from the half ass band, they were the good half…), Will Dupuy, Matt Slusher, and myself. Looking back and counting, there have been 7 different configurations of the jug band. 7. Here they are in order.

1. Matt Slusher, Willie Pipkin, Warren Hood, Will Dupuy, James Hyland

2. Matt Slusher, Willie Pipkin, Dennis Ludiker, Will Dupuy, James Hyland

3. Brian Beken, Willie Pipkin, Dennis Ludiker, Will Dupuy, James Hyland

4. Brian Beken, Willie Pipkin, Dennis Ludiker, Matt Mefford, James Hyland

5. Brian Beken, Dennis Ludiker, Matt Mefford, James Hyland

6. Brian Beken, James Gwynn, Dennis Ludiker, Matt Mefford, James Hyland

7. Brian Beken, Robb Kidd, Dennis Ludiker, Mat Mefford, James Hyland

The point of all of this is to announce that we are turning the page and putting to rest the South Austin Jug Band. Our last Austin show will be New Year’s Eve, and then after a short tour through Colorado we will be taking a well-deserved rest. So in the spirit of Obama and change and anything else, we all enter into an exciting new part of our lives. What will we all do?

Nothin’. For a little while…

I can only speak for myself but I have to let ya know I have no other skills than writing songs and performing them, so I imagine that’s what I’ll get back to doing…

Thank all of you for your openhanded support. And Thanks to all of the musicians listed above, they are all gallant knights. I have witnessed some of the most amazing things in my life because of music. I got to play on stage with two of my biggest heroes, Lyle Lovett and Todd Snider, I watched Lance Armstrong’s children dance around him at our feet, I saw a man die as I sang “Live Forever”, I got to climb mountain tops, I saw Willie Nelson play at Red Rocks, I saw Richard Thompson sing 1952 Vincent Black Lightning at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, I shared a dressing room with Dale Watson in Amsterdam, had the Mayor of Austin designate April 12th as South Austin Jug Band day, played the Kennedy Center, Golden Gate Park, sent songs into outer space through XM radio, played 5 Austin City Limits Music Fests, played Golden Gate Park, wrote an album in the Chelsea Hotel in NYC, played that album in NYC with my Dad in the audience, and got to record vocal tracks with Willie Nelson’s microphone.
Nobody ever told me music wouldn’t take me anywhere, and I want to thank my family and everyone around me for that. They were never discouraging, ever. But nothing came easy, there was so much sacrifice. We always kept our integrity. Integrity doesn’t pay, but damn, the sleep is great and the respect of my peers is priceless.

Here’s our final shows

Dec 10 Momo’s Austin, TX 10pm
Dec 11 Continental Club Houston, TX 10pm
Dec 12 Cheatham Street Warehouse San Marcos, TX call for start time

Dec 17 Momo’s Austin, TX 10pm
Dec 18 Dan’s Silverleaf Denton, TX 10pm
Dec 26 Poor David’s Pub Dallas, TX call for start time


DECEMBER 31st New Year’s Eve Momo’s Austin, TX w/ Dustin Welch

Paul Oveisi, I would like to publicly warn you that I will be purposely trying to get this crowd DRUNK and to please have the bar staff stocked and the cabs ready to take people home. ☺ You the man.

And Thank you to Momo’s, I got this gig because my brother was the bartender. I want to thank him, and John Korioth who hired both of us and Paul for not firing me once he bought the bar, he let us grind it out and build something and to him I am eternally grateful. And thanks to my Mom and Dad for life! Alright, I’m done.

Thank you.

James Hyland

I Love Everybody.

And Colorado, we’ll see you in January. Get your tickets to SkiJam 2009

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