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Black Dog 

I'm running from something. But when I get to where I'm going, it's still there, panting, leering, and laughing. Like it or not, you can't outrun yourself or, as Johnny Cash refers to one's darker side, "the black dog." It's fun trying, though, and you get to see the sights. So this time, I decided to walk the dog in Texas.

            Visited with rockabilly legend and personal hero Ronnie Dawson, who is battling The Big C in The Big D. Ronnie is fighting the good fight, and as he has always been to countless musicians, he continues to inspire with his unwavering candor, guts, and true passion for life.

            Saw Austin, Texas-bluesman (and occasional Asylum Street Spanker) Guy Forsythe belt the lonesome blues at Antones from the middle of the room, without a mic or a love to call his own. Hung out at Egos (a genuine honky tonk in a parking garage) a few nights later to see the lovely Lacynica, who re-learned me how to two-step without two-steppin' on her feet. Also saw Dale Watson, one of the best real country crooners you will ever hear, shot a little 9-ball, and ingested tons of root beer with a second-hand smoke chaser.

            Strolled down Sixth Street to see Chad Thomas and the Crazy Kings prowlin' and howlin' at the Chuggin' Monkey. Scarfed some amazing Sam's BBQ topped with jalapenos and raw onions, which helped me make close, personal friends on the flight back home to the tundra.

            Got to sling Chardonnay and coffee to one of the grumpiest crowds I've ever seen at The Auditorium for The Music Man. It was family values in full effect (or in full-blown decay): dads downing as much Jack and Coke as they could during intermission, moms bitching at me, and their ungrateful broods of teenagers --- that starts with "T," which rhymes with "P," and that stands for pool.

            Stopped By Tapas 177 to see the sensuously exquisite Gypsy jazz of Alla Turca. This trio's music is tailor-made for female hips and, consequently, my appreciative, albeit bloodshot, eyeballs.

            Ex-Testament-guitarist-turned-jazzer Alex Skolnick played the hell out of his sunburst guitar at Montage Grille, cutting such a sweet groove that the drummer fell off his stool mid-song.

            All kinds of great things are comin' 'round the bend. I'll have to elaborate later. The dog wants to go out again....

--- Frank De Blase


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