'A PEACEFUL EASY FEELING'
I’m back from the mountains, Taos, NM, and “Michael Hearne’s 14th Annual Big
Barn Dance.” It was held again this year
in Kit Carson Park, located smack dab in the middle of Taos. It’s just a short
walk from the old historical plaza. I was there from the first day on Thursday and already
a lot of you were there and ready to listen to another year of music and to
experience the vibe of the big barn dance.
It was great to see and say hello to all our friends from Texas. The
Texas contingency was strong and well accounted for. At
one point during the concerts, when the announcer asked if there was any one
from Texas in the audience? a loud roar erupted that filled the air. I
talked with quite a few, some of you who told me this was your first trip, and
you had heard us talk about the Barn Dance at one of our shows. That had
made you want to check it out and you were so glad you had, and how much
you were loving it!!! I’m happy
you love and enjoy the event as much as we do.
(Hey! Maybe Michael needs to think about doing one of these down
All his usual musical cohorts were there: Jimmy Stadler, Tom Faulkner, Jed
Zimmerman, Kelly Mickwee, Jimmy Davis,
Lari White, Chuck Cannon, Walt Wilkins, Trout Fishing, Gary P. Nunn , Buzz
Cason, Claude Butch Morgan, HonEyhouse, Terri Hendricks and Lloyd Maines, Susan Gibson, The Rifters, Bob Livingston and myself. Michael also brought in several new performers
to the barn dance this year: Chris Arellano ,Jay Boy Adams, The Malena
Brothers, George Ensle. One of the new
performers were the TEJAS BROTHERS from San Antonio. They are led by
front man and accordionist, songwriter, and story teller, David Perez, I particularly loved their song “Rich Man”. They
gave a big time, first time performance to close out the first night of the
barn dance. WARREN HOOD and MARSHALL HOOD
performed the next day and immediately won everyone over with their well written
songs and vocal harmony blend. Warren’s
violin and Marshall’s guitar playing reminded me of a young Stephane Grappelli
and Django Reinhardt. It was very
impressive musicianship and song writing from these young men. I hope they’ll be back next year. Another new
addition this year were BRUCE ROBISON and KELLY WILLIS from Austin. They turned
in a beautiful set of music that felt right at home at the big barn dance, I
was happy and surprised when they chose to close their set with “You’ve Got A Lover”. Thank you
Kelly and Bruce for the wonderful version and heartfelt performance. It doesn’t get much better than this. It
was an honor to have two such fine songwriters pick one of my songs to
sing. Thank you both.
Then….add to that…. yet another new, first time to appear, The legendary songwriter/performer
JACK TEMPCHENYou know, he wrote ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling ” and ‘I’m Already Gone” which were big hits by the Eagles, plus dozens
of other hit songs you know and you’ve heard on the radio at one time or
another in your life. I mean this guy has some serious mailbox money coming in.
Friday night’s concert was closed out with Trout Fishing in America. Keith and Ezra were tearing it up and taking
no prisoners and leaving the folks wanting more. On
Saturday they got more. The action started early with dance lessons being
offered at 10am and a song writing workshop hosted by Terri Hendrix and
The music kicked off at noon with Tommy Alverson and Friends. Then HonEyhouse brought some gospel to The Church
of Michael Hearne . Everyone was moved by the spirit, Then, Bob Livingston delivered his brand and blend
of cosmic energy into the mix. Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds were up
next. Dana Louise is an exciting up and
coming new artist. Michael introduced
her to the barn dance audience a couple of years ago. She’s the daughter of Ezra
Idlit from ‘Trout Fishing.' (Ezra plays
drums and Keith plays bass in the combo, they are two of the Glorious Birds).
Dana Louise is a natural. She writes great songs in her own catchy, original,
and refreshing style. You’ll have to check her out live or on line to
see and hear what I mean. We will
hear much more from her.
Please allow me to digress…..Speaking of Dana Louise being Ezra’s daughter, I
must say it was also cool to see Kevin Welch and his son Dustin performing
together, Warren Hood following in the footsteps of his father Champ
Hood, and Rod Taylor’s son Ry, and Tommy Alverson’s son Justin, who plays
guitar with TheTejas Brothers. Just like
their parents they are all following their passion and love for music. It is good to see here at the barn
dance the future of music and songwriting in very good and young capable
hands. The torch will be passed and carried on.
Now, back to the show…..
Bill Hearne followed with some hot picking (He taught Michael everything he
knows) Michael joined him for some fun.
He introduced and brought Ms.Bonnie
Hearne up for a couple of songs. Bill
finished his set with the entire Hearne family all on stage to sing Michaels
classic “New Mexico Rain”, with young Braeden Hearne playing guitar with them!
Then it was our turn…
We kicked it off with “This Is What Happy Is” and yes being at the barn dance
is what happy is! I even changed a few
lyrics to fit this auspicious occasion.
Michael and I and Mike Roberts were joined by Ezra on drums, Don
Richmond, fiddle, mandolin and banjo, Jimmy Stadler on piano, Carmen Acciaolli
pedal steel, Clyde Butch Morgan jumped in on a couple and Bob Livingston played
a little harp on “Deep in the West” and more cowbell on Loser’s Gumbo. It
was the big band at the big barn dance.
During our show we took a moment to remember the late Lorraine
Wyant. Lorraine had known and worked and
helped Michael for many years. She was an integral volunteer of the Barn
dance. We lost her last year right after the barn dance . We felt she was there watching and listening
as we played one of her favorite songs, which she always requested, “Irish
‘’your voice and your laughter are missing…
’it’s an absence felt throughout the house….”
We miss and love you Lorraine.
The Rifters performed after us, playing songs from their new CD, “The
Architecture of a Fire”. Walt Wilkins
and the Mystiqueros finished the concert portion. Then they cleared the dance
floor of all chairs and spread the saw dust….
Then Texas own, Mr. DALE WATSON brought his style of honky tonk to the
party!! I could see by all the boot
scooting going on that the dance floor was now officially declared open. With bonfires glowing and people gathered around
them, the barn dance carried on with Michael and his band SXSW playing the
favorites and calling all of us up on stage for a couple of songs. He called me up for “My Acadian Angel” and
“The Dare of an Angel”. As I stood up on
stage singing I looked out and saw hundreds of people standing up to the front
of the stage, your faces looking up smiling, some singing along, bodies
swaying to the music, having fun, and just above and over their heads… just
behind them was a swirling circle of dancers moving as one. I thought to myself…. what a scene, what a
picture, what a lot of fun to be a part of and a witness to. This is what happy
I drove back home to Texas thinking maybe this had been the best one yet……I
mean……so far. I was thinking…Thanks and congratulations Michael, Sarah Hearne
and Jacy Meador and all of the great volunteers on number
14. Here’s to the 15th annual Big Barn
Dance. I’ll see you all there!