Yes in Texas a rocking blues band just might have a fiddle, a nod to our Western Swing roots. When Champ passed on his son Warren Hood was still in his teens. Warren now plays in that same time slot, playing fiddle and mandolin in Planet Casper. Generations of musicians and fans alike have grown up with the Continental Club."Just us kids hangin' out todayWatchin' our long hair turnin' grayNot so skinny maybe not so freeNot so many as we used to be"One of the joys of the past year was listening to James McMurtry, preview the songs from his new album, Just Us Kids. His recordings are lyrical folk songs. Well-produced songs with stories and characters you can't forget. You want energy, screaming guitar and passion behind the lyrics? Catch a live James McMurtry show.Jon Dee Graham slung his gold Strat in three very different bands which played long and hard at weekly residency gigs at the Continental Club, from the 1980s through to today. He often refers to the club as his "home office." My first Jon Dee Graham show was also my first date with Aaron. A year later, he saluted us from the stage, part admonition, part benediction: "Whatever happens, don't blame me."Two weeks ago at the regular Wednesday gig, Jon Dee Graham played my new favorite song, "Lucky Day," for the first time. The song was only four hours old; his band, the Fighting Cocks, had never heard it before and yet backed him up heroically. The weekly gigs give the members of the band the confidence and experience required to listen to a song for the first time and immediately play their part, even when their part hasn't been defined yet.Last week I was packing for a trip to Houston and missed Jon Dee's regular Wednesday night gig. Oh, but what luck! Jon Dee Graham played the Houston Continental Club on Thursday night. After a long day of meetings, I drove over to the Houston club to check it out for the first time. The Houston club will celebrate its eighth anniversary on July 7th. The neon sign is the same; the layout inside is the same. The bar is to the left, with a single TV playing classic black and white movies. The stage is front and center as you walk in the door. Same stools, same little triangular tables, same red velvet drapes on the back wall of the stage. The same blue neon Mercury hangs over the doorway to the back room, where you can find a second bar and a pool table. The Houston Continental Club is a home away from home.
"A sinister cabal of superior writers."