Friday, September 16, 2016


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 in Texas?)

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 Lloyd Maines.

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 Prayer”.
                  ‘’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 is!

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!



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