Clubhouse Concert Reviews
~ page 3 ~
Django Walker
with Matt Powell, Brady Black & Keith Davis
Chris Miller opened
Feb. 8th, 2004

Wow! Grab a cold drink and get comfortable. This show was simply too awesome to put into a couple of short paragraphs!
As everybody ate dinner and got comfortable, singer-songwriter Chris Miller opened with a very entertaining set of
original music performed with the accompaniment of his bass player, David Palmer,  on acoustic bass. Very good stuff!
His songwriting, vocals and guitar playing were all quite captivating. I hope to see him again soon.
Django & Matt Powell took the stage for a two hour and fifteen minute song swap that was just great. Guitar artist
Keith Davis (formerly of Kevin Fowler Band) accompanied Django and treated us with a rare but exciting look at his
acoustic picking skills. It's a whole new dimension that those that only know him through his work with Fowler have
never seen. Also accompanying both guys was fiddle player Brady Black ( formerly of Dub Miller's band, currently with
Randy Rogers). Brady impressed us with his extemporaneous versatility, adding fiddle accents that greatly
complimented the artist's music, most of which he had never even heard before! Experiencing artists of this caliber
musically interacting with each other so "off the cuff" is truly one of the most enjoyable things about these acoustic
song swap shows.
Unfortunately, this was my first experience with Matt Powell, so I am not familiar enough with his music to list what he
played. He did give a couple of nods to Guy Clark, playing great versions of Clark hits. And in a really surprising move,
Matt played Patty Griffin's "Let Him Fly". It was amazing how natural it sounded coming from a male performer. Matt
has a real talent for taking another artist's song and making it his own. I just can't overemphasize how talented Matt
Powell is.
Django performed 13 songs in all:
Another Day
                                                Lighter Shades of Blue (about a year old, and heard at most shows, but not on a CD...yet)
               Texas Blacktop Highway
                                              Texas On My Mind (Brady totally nailed the fiddle on this song!)
                                               Life's Great Mystery (Newer song, co-written with Scott Pollard {Jose and Jack})
                                            Lost Songwriter (very rarely performed live)
                                                Unwind ( another recently written, upbeat song inspired by Scott Pollard)
College Life
                                                She's Gone (performed a lot live recently, written by Waylon Payne)
                                                Desperados Waiting For A Train (Guy Clark/The Highwaymen/Jerry Jeff Walker)
                                                Better Peace of Mind (Oft performed, but not yet recorded. Probably on the next CD)
Modern Day Bojangles
                                        Stoney (old Jerry Jeff Walker classic, very rarely played live)

Great food. Great music. Great atmosphere. And great company, too! Joni, Emily & Cori are not only attentive and
gracious hosts, but they are just great people to share an evening with. Making a rare appearance since becoming new
parents, Everett and Whitney Harper came out to see and support Django and Clubhouse Concerts for the first time
since the summer. It was great to see them again!
Again, I really can't tell ya'll just how awesome these intimate shows are. It's not about the scene or the beer. It is ALL
ABOUT THE MUSIC. It is what every concert should be! It doesn't even matter who is playing. Anytime you have an
open Sunday night and ten dollars, I strongly encourage you to attend these shows.

~ Rob Davis ~
guest reviewer
Cast Iron Filter
Stephen Pointer

Tonight's music was a little different than anything we've ever had at the Clubhouse before. Let me tell you...different is
good!! We started off the evening with a Clubhouse favorite, Stephen Pointer. Stephen was added to the lineup earlier in
the week, not allowing for much time to get the word out that he was playing. He had a great set, as always. Cast Iron Filter
is a bluegrass band from North Carolina. They had driven 17 hours to get to the Clubhouse gig. Everyone in attendance
agreed, we were all glad they came! They were awesome! Unfortunately for them, we had a rather small crowd. As
everyone knows, originally we had an acoustic show by Jason Boland & The Stragglers booked on this date. Cast Iron
Filter would have been opening for them. After the Stragglers had to cancel, we decided to leave CIF on as the headliners.
Had JB&S been playing, we would have probably had a larger crowd, which would have been great exposure for the guys
from North Carolina. We are hoping to get them back sometime when we can count on a larger crowd. They deserve to
have a bigger audience and all of the "Clubhouse regulars" need to make it a point to see these guys. I can't stress enough
how good they were. They sold lots of cd's, even to the small group in attendance, and I guarantee, everyone that was there
enjoyed the show.
Max Stalling & Matt Martindale
with Jared "Pete" Gile

by guest reviewer, Rob Davis

This week's Clubhouse Concert began with a great opening set from Jared "Pete" Gile. Pete opened for Jason Boland and
the Stragglers  the previous night in his hometown of Manhattan, Kansas. Then he drove all the way to Ft. Worth just for
this show, and the priviledge of opening for one of his idols, Max Stalling. Although Pete claimed to have been battling
illness and sleep deprivation, you would never have known it. His voice was smooth and captivating and his interaction with
the audience was enthralling. Pete gave us an 8 song, half hour set of song and story which showcased his versatility as a
singer, a songwriter, and a musician on the guitar and the harmonica. The first three songs were all twists on the classic
"love lost" theme, leaving us to believe that was Pete's forte. We were wrong. Although he is indeed masterful in the art of
the love ballad, he slips just as comfortably into autobiographical tunes, and good time drinking songs. Standouts from his
set included
1) Running Low On Angels - a fictional ballad of a family man who loses his wife to a drunk driver. Although he says there
was no particular inspiration for this song, you will truly believe he wrote it from personal experience. It brought me to
tears. 2) Modern Day Mountain Man - His title track and defining autobiographical song, which characterizes him as a
loner, having traded in his horse for a Harley and his rifle for a guitar. Great comparison and contrast. 3) Back 40 Lover -
Another self-descriptive ballad which chronicles his realization that he was meant for the country, and not the city.
Reminiscent of John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", but with the flavour of a ballad. 4) Just How Drunk - Asks
the age old question "Just how drunk would you have to be to go home with a guy who looks like me?", but with a new
You may have to drive to Kansas or Oklahoma to catch this young singer-songwriter, but it will be well worth it. Check
him out at
It was a minor miracle that the evening's main event even happened. Headliner Max Stalling was battling the same
seasonal crud that many of us are suffering through right now, and his voice was but a shell of it's normal self. He credits
his ability to finish the show to a "snake oil" concoction of "melted butter and diesel fuel" that Matt Martindale made
him drink before the show, as well as a steady input of Miller Lite during the show. Max perservered like a trooper to put
on a great two hour song swap with Matt (of Cooder Graw). Each songwriter brought a lead guitarist with him to fill in with
some great licks. With Max came Dale Clark, picking an awesome sounding nylon stringed Gibson classic. Accompanying
Matt was Cooder Graw's lead guitar artist, Kelly Turner, in a very rare acoustic role. Both men set the bar high and
displayed some of the best acoustic picking I have seen at a Clubhouse Concert.
Max excited us with many of his original favourites, including "Runnin' Buddy", "Dimebox"and "Blue Eyes". We all
know those songs from their airplay on The Ranch and The Range. Early into "Blue Eyes", Max realized that his voice
simply was not going to be able to hit the high notes this evening. He simply lowered his pitch a few octaves to an almost
baritone narration style, which he dubbed "The Charlie Robison version of the song." It worked well! As always, the best
part of the show was hearing the artists tell us the real stories and inspirations behind those songs. We also were treated to
a couple of new songs from Max. Most notable is a good-time tune called "Six by Nine", a reference to the car stereo
speakers of his first car. Through this song, almost anyone can smile, relate, and relive those innocent yet defining years
when the world revolved around life and love inside that first car while listening to Boston, Van Halen, Cheap Trick,
AC/DC on cassette tapes. This is one song that I really look forward to hearing on the radio. I predict it will quickly
become his most popular song.
Like Max, Matt also performed many of his popular favourites from his Cooder Graw shows. These hits included, "Shiftin'
Gears", "Better Days", "Motel Lights" and ""Loves Too Much", which featured some particularly impressive Spanish
fingerpicking from Kelly on the acoustic guitar. By request, Matt gave us a great rendition of Ryan Adams' classic
sing-a-long "Come Pick Me Up", which continues to be a favourite from their live shows. Matt gave us the news that
Cooder Graw is currently in the studio working on a new CD for release in the summer.
The grand finale of the evening was a group sing-a-long of The Band's classic, "The Weight" (aka "Take a load off
Fanny") which featured a five minute bridge of dueling guitar solos from Dale and Kelly that defined the excellence of the
entire evening.
All five of the evening's artists stayed around long after the show ended to visit with the over sixty music lovers who came
to hear them. Each artist, including Pete Gile, brought CD's and merchandise and all sold very well. This was a great
turnout for a great show. Anybody who was unfamiliar with these artists before tonight certainly walked away with a new
favourite artist or two. Or three!

~ Rob ~
Guy Forsyth with Brandon Jenkins

Too bad there was hardly no one at the show last night, to hear two really talented singer songwriter's. This was probably
our worst attendance at a Clubhouse show ever. Don't know why... but I'm thinking it might be because we had two
relatively "unknown" musicians (at least unknown in the Ft Worth area). Unfortunately for those that chose to stay
home, this was a really good show. Brandon Jenkins, originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma - now residing in Austin, was
great!! We can't wait to have him back on May 2nd, when he will be doing a song writer swap with Stoney. I told Brandon
last night that I am certain that we will have a bigger crowd that night...I sure hope so.
Guy Forsyth had a very "eclectic" sound. He even played a few songs and accompanied himself on the SAW!!! It had a
very eerie sound, sort of like haunted house music. It was really an interesting night. Wish there had been more of our
"regulars" to experience it. Hopefully, next Sunday will have better attendance.
The Burtschi Brothers
Rodney Branigan

We tend to use the word "artist" rather loosely in the musical community. Not to take away anything from the talent of
any of them, but many of those whom we call "artist" are really just very accomplished musicians. They are technicians
who have mastered a specific musical craft as done by many others before them. A true artist does more than simply
recreate that which has been similarly created by others. A true artist creates something unique and beautiful that we have
not seen before. Every now and then, somebody comes along who not only earns the title of "artist,"  but also contributes to
the definition of the word. Such a person was Sunday's first artist, Rodney Branigan.
Like the first man who transformed his Italian violin into an Irish fiddle, Rodney Branigan has redefined the role and
limits of his instrument; the guitar. The evening began with Rodney walking onto the stage, rolling up his pant legs and
sitting on a chair, center stage. He then picked up two Martin acoustic guitars.  He clenched a carbon fiber bodied
six-string upright between his calves, and held a spruce twelve-string (specially strung and tuned with only 7 strings)
traditionally in front of him. Then the extravaganza began. Unfortunately, there is simply no way to adequately describe
this performance with mere words. Only seeing it for yourself will do the trick. Strumming the body of the twelve-string,
while picking the neck of the six-string, Rodney creates music by himself that sounds like it is coming from a trio. Not
surprisingly, the title of that song is "One Man, Two Guitars," and it appears on his third CD, "Broken Guitars".
Later Rodney performs with two guitars while standing. One lays horizontally, Dobro style, across the top of a traditionally
strapped guitar. And, again, the results are amazing from both a technical and artistic viewpoint. Mid-performance, in a
move that takes only a split second, he goes from the standing position, back to a seated position, continuing to play both
guitars masterfully during the transition.
During those songs that Rodney performs with only one guitar, he still does so in a way that is unique to him. Even then,
his right and left hand frequently seem to be disassociated from each other, performing rythym and lead parts,
independently. And in many occasions, one or both hands become percussionists, utilizing different parts of the guitar as
drums. Although the short time allotted him this evening did not allow for it, Rodney is also known to perform with two
guitars and a mandolin simultaneously. He acknowledges that we may not want to know which part of his body he uses to
play the mando!
These almost acrobatic guitar performances are quite obviously the reason that Rodney calls his style "Full Contact Folk
Music". It is indeed a very physical performance. And the duct tape patches covering the bodies of his guitars - as well as a
couple of scars on his face - are silent testament to the "full contact" nature of his performances. But dont think for a
second that Rodney Branigan is a mere sideshow freak. When he steps up to the microphone, he displays a mastery of the
"folk music" nature of his art. Although I hate to compare artists to artists, for fear of slighting the originality of either
artist, Rodney's musical style reminds me quite a bit of a male Tracy Chapman. His vocal cadence is quite similar, as is the
way he takes lyrical inspiration from the seemingly mundane occurrences of everyday life.
Rodney's original songs included "Middle Class America," a non-political observation of the almost narcotizing,
predictable mediocrity of suburban American life that many can identify with. "She Bled" is a heart wrenching musical
tale of abuse that touches the audience, and then grips them with a twist of the final verse. Also thrown in is a humorous
musical reflection on a night in jail, which qualifies his performance as "country music". Rodney played two well chosen
cover songs, Radiohead's "Creep," and The Beatles, "Come Together".
If even one line of this review has caused you to grin, widen your eyes, drop your jaw, or back up to re-read it, then I
encourage you to check out the tour schedule at to find a Rodney Branigan show coming to a town
near you. At the very least, you MUST check out his DVD, "Full Contact Folk Music," available at
A little over two years ago, while on the road with Pat Green, I returned from the hotel to our venue for the night, the Red
Dirt Cafe, in Norman, Oklahoma just in time to catch the tail end of the opening act. Although I had no idea who they
were at the time, I was floored by this magnificent musical artistry coming from the stage. I hoped that someday I would be
able to relax and see an entire performance by those guys. Last night, that hope came true as I saw The Burtschi Brothers
perform at the Clubhouse Concert series. It was well worth the wait! The Burtschi Brothers are very hard to classify. They
are a smooth combination of folk lyrics, jazz soul and rock music, performed with bluegrass instruments. Performing
without percussionist Chris Foreman, the abbreviated Burtschi Brothers gave us two and a half hours of mostly original
music with a variety of styles and instruments. Lead vocalist-songwriter Travis Linville does it all. He writes songs of
depth, as well as light hearted sing-alongs. He sings with a unique, yet soothing, "folky" voice of great range, that is
totally absent of pretense. His guitar playing is a continuum of intricate fingerpicking that reminds you of a banjo player's
style. When later in the set he picks up a banjo and starts playing, it begins to make sense. Although he did not last night,
Linville is known to also dazzle with both the mandolin and the lap steel guitar in Burtschi Brothers shows.
Featuring Kevin Webb on Dobro and lead Stratocaster guitar, and Rick Fogarty on electric bass and harmony vocals, The
Burtschi Brothers performed many of their original songs. Requests flowed from the audience as a testament to their
growing popularity. Originals included "Ain't Being Treated Right," "Wishing Well," "Ridin' The Road," "Low Down
Livin,'" "Go Easy On Me," and Uncertain Texas." Much of their original music has a turn-of-the-century flavour,
reminiscent of a simpler, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" time.
Particularly impressive, as well as illustrative of their musical roots, was the repertoire of cover songs they chose to
include. Paying reverent homage to the greats, we heard performances of John Prine's "Paradise," Hank Williams "Lost
Highway," Roger Miller's "King of the Road," and closing the evening with a sing-along of The Band's "The Weight."
With two CD's currently out, the greats of Texas and Red Dirt music like Jason Boland, Stoney LaRue and Pat Green are
all singing the praises of The Burtschi Brothers. Catch one of their shws and pick up their CD's and you'll know why!
-Rob Davis-
Larry Joe Taylor, Mike McClure, Matt Martindale & Keith Sykes
with TJ McFarland

Tonight's show got started off a little later than usual. Drew (our sound guy on Sunday evenings) was late getting in from
a weekend trip to Austin. As soon as he got there, he got the show rolling. It was a great show! TJ McFarland (another red
dirt musician) started things off with a great set. He has a new EP (shorter than a full CD), and we got to hear most -if not
all -of the songs on it. He was very good and we look forward to having him back at the Clubhouse. The 4 guys that
followed were an interesting bunch! Larry Joe and Keith, being a little bit of the "older generation" and Mike & Matt,
bringing some of the "new generation" to the mix. It was a great mix, for sure! The crowd was very attentive, as always.
We got to hear some older stuff (Great Divide songs) from Mike, as well as a very funny song that Keith Sykes did (I think
he called it "I'm Sorry", and he said it will be on his upcoming CD). Everytime Matt got a turn, the crowd started yelling
out requests. Then, Matt had to decide which one to sing. It was funny to see him think it over.. a new one? an old one? a
cover? and then make his decision. Larry Joe was great, as always. It was the first time for LJT and Keith Sykes to play at
the Clubhouse, but after last night's performance, I hope they will both return.
Keeping with the Larry Joe Taylor Festival "camping" theme, dinner tonight was chili-cheese dogs, hot off the grill.
Although it wasn't "Johnny Carino's" (as Mike has gotten used to getting fed at these shows), I think everyone enjoyed
their hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw and cupcakes. As of now, we're not sure about next Sunday's show. The boxing match
that had been scheduled has been cancelled, but due to a BIG benefit in Luling on Sunday, many musicians are unable to
perform at The Clubhouse and as of this writing, we are still trying to book a guest or two. Keep watching the calendar. I'll
update it as soon as I know what we're going to do.
Bleu Edmondson,Matt Powell, Brian Rung, Chris Miller & The Lost Trailers
This Sunday's show was really great! We started out the night expecting to have Bleu, Matt & Chris and ended up having
special guests, Brian Rung and members of The Lost Trailers. We had a great "listening" crowd and after the show,
talking to both Bleu & Matt, they mentioned how much they love playing at The Clubhouse because everyone listens!!
Thanks to everyone that comes to the shows and makes our "venue" one of the best acoustic, listening venues in the
state... all of the musicians are talking about it and many have told me that it is their favorite place to play. I think that is
one of the reasons that we tend to have "special guests" show up for our shows... even though they are usually "off" on
Sunday evenings, it is such a laid back, fun place to hang out and pick some tunes with their peers.Tonight's show was no
different. It was a great evening of entertainment.
We've gotten behind on our reviews, which brings up the question...does
anybody read them anyway
? And should we continue reviewing the shows or
discontinue our review section??
Please let us know how you feel...
email us with your comments!!