Cactus Cafe • July 31st

I’ve played the Cactus Cafe a handful of times over the years and it’s always been memorable. One night I went to see Jorma Kaukonen, who was touring his country record and had Cindy Cashdollar on dobro and Barry Mitterhof on mandolin. It was a fabulous show, and packed to the rafters, but at the intermission I heard someone calling my name over the P.A. It was Grif Luneberg, the Cactus’ m.c., booker, manager and all-around overseer for nearly thirty years. “Hey,” he said, when I finally figured out what was going on, where he was standing, and had carefully elbowed my way to his side of the room, “you wanna open for Jorma tomorrow night?” Um – yeah. Another night my bluegrass band, the Grassy Knoll Boys, shared a bill with Laurence Juber, who of course seemed to do more with six strings than we had managed to do with twenty-three of them and a few voices thrown in for good measure. When I met Chris Smither there to interview him for Acoustic Guitar, he had just arrived from the airport, where one of his bags had been delayed. He had his guitar, but his favorite gigging shoes were in the missing suitcase, the ones he liked best for tapping his feet during shows. A good journalist goes the distance for a story, so while Smither soundchecked, I drove the airport in search of the missing footwear. He was a charming interviewee, and gave a great show that night.

On Friday, July 31st, I’ll be back at the Cactus to play an opening set for Lost And Nameless. I met Chris Peterson during my bluegrass days in Austin, and we’ve been admirers of each others’ music ever since. His band is crowded with great singers, pickers and performers and is well-worth catching anywhere around town, but particularly in a room as welcoming to both artist and audience as the Cactus.

Doors at 8pm Friday, July 31st. I’ll be playing a half-hour solo set at 8:30pm, followed by Lost and Nameless. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.


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