This is a big day. Three interviews. I have arranged to meet Steve from Deadman at The Magnolia café just up the hill on Congress. Only trouble is that I do not know what he looks like. I spot two guys who look like musicians, approach them and say hello and it turns out to be Steve and other band member Lonnie. When I tell them they looked like the only musicians there, Steve says, ‘Half the people in here are probably musicians.’ They eat. I have coffee.
How to describe the music of Deadman? Kind of like Neil Young meets the band. Before I left Melbourne I found one of Steven’s early albums when he was in a duo with his girlfriend (they have since broken up). Some of the songs are even the same but now sound completely different in this 6-man group. I tell them that I will see them at the Austin Wine & Food Show on Saturday.
Then I walk back down the hill to Guero’s where I meet Jimmy LaFave for lunch. I just have a couple of small breakfast tacos, then we adjourn to outside to talk. This is our first face-to-face interview and he is very forthcoming and informative. We talk a lot about Bob Dylan, probably too much. Jimmy has recorded many of Bob’s songs and I tell people that if they want to hear the best live versions of some of Bob’s songs they should just go and see Jimmy.
In the late afternoon I catch a taxi to the Once Over coffee lounge on South First Street. I set off to walk it, thinking it will only take 20 minutes but as soon as I step outside I realise that this is complete folly. What was I thinking? It is so hot that I retreat to the lobby of the motel and ask them to ring a cab.
Sam Baker has had a traumatic life, having been caught up in a terrorist bomb blast in Peru when he was younger, but he has turned into a distinctive and compelling singer songwriter. We at a table in the shade outside the café and talk for ages. He reminds me of how good life is for us compared with many others in the world. I agree.
Sam drops me back at the motel in his pick up truck and I tell him that I rented a car for the weekend but it was a Hyundai. ‘Brian, this is Texas,’ he said. ‘That is not a man’s car!’
Tonight I eat Japanese (believe it or not) at Zen, just across Congress. It is light and tasty; something refreshing after so much Tex-Mex.
There is a severe thunderstorm warning for nearby towns and on the Weather Channel radar it is clearly the case. I saw the clouds this afternoon over the city and they were massive. There is a tornados and storm warning across Mississippi, including Oxford. Thank goodness we are not there this week.
It seems ludicrous to pay as little as $8 for James McMurtry and his band but that is what it costs to end the night at the Continental. He again plays until 2.00am, which is just about enough for everyone but the die-hard fans who mill around at the end and clap for an encore. No chance.