Well, this certainly answers some burning questions I’ve had since Lone Star Music moved their operations to San Marcos — namely why they left Gruene, and how they’ve been doing since. I had no idea of any of it — the fact that the Gruene building’s owners had jacked up the rent to untenable levels, LSM’s travails in relation to moving into the old Sundance Records building in San Marcos, or the issues they faced after the move, with the construction, landlords, and predatory towing company. (As for the last thing, putting the search term “San Marcos predatory towing” in Google, along with the towing company Zach Jennings mentioned, brings up some interesting results.)
In the interests of full disclosure, though, I must admit we never made the trek to Sundance. The trip to New Braunfels/Gruene is worth it for several things, as I have put it before, but the only reason to ever go to San Marcos would have been Lone Star Music. Since they moved up there I’ve done all my Texas music shopping through Amazon. I honestly don’t know why I never thought about the website, but as far as the physical store goes, the towing situation as detailed by Jennings makes me think we were better off not making the drive to San Marcos even if we’d ever really wanted to. The construction would have been worth dealing with, but having the vehicle towed by some asshole who was just out to make money by any means necessary would have been a lot more hassle than it was worth. It’d be interesting to see how many people in and around San Marcos had the same thoughts.
Regardless, though, I do hope it works out for them. LSM’s impact on Texas and Red Dirt music has been quite valuable and their music selection is second to none. If you look at the comments on the LSM Magazine post you’ll see San Antonio’s Pearl Brewery suggested as a possible location for them. As the commenter pointed out, the rent would probably be prohibitively high, but one can certainly dream!
So with some Christmas Amazon gift card credit, I bought yet another multi-artist tribute album, Undone: A Musicfest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen, recorded at Musicfest, the big annual Texas and Red Dirt festival in Steamboat Springs. Colorado, in 2008.
So let’s get the meh out of the way: While not bad, REK has done much better versions of “Dreadful Selfish Crime” and “The Road Goes On Forever” elsewhere. (See: No. 2 Live Dinner.) And Cory Morrow did a better version of “I’ll Go On Downtown” on his first live album. Seriously, the version here was the second time he’s recorded a live version of that song, and then again on the Live Dinner Reunion album! Dude, it’s a good song, but really?!
Now, let’s get to the good stuff.
I love Robert Earl Keen’s own versions of songs dearly, but there’s a lot to be said for a good cover. And this set is jam-packed with them, from some of Texas and Red Dirt music’s finest artists. My favorite of the bunch is Cody Canada’s beautifully stark version of “Shades of Grey…”
followed closely by Max Stalling’s buttery-smooth “No Kinda Dancer”…
and Jason Boland’s subdued “Mariano.”
Also not to be missed are Wade Bowen’s “Lynnville Train,” Brandon Jenkins’ “Wish You Were Here,” Randy Rogers’ “I’ll Be Here For You,” Josh Grider’s “I Wonder Where My Baby is Tonight,” and, and, and…
…you know what?
Just go buy the whole thing. If you’re a fan of this music, you absolutely will NOT be disappointed.