A couple of days before I left for Austin, I’m checking out who to see who will be playing in town while I am there. I find something wonderful: Rosie Flores playing for FREE at C-Boy’s Heart and Soul. Oh baby, I’ve already been lucky enough to see one of my Texas heroes perform live in Austin before, (Joe Ely at UT’s Cactus Café), but to catch Rosie in Austin was going to be a treat. And FREE? Shoot, how lucky is this life I lead?
Rosie came into my orbit a few years back. I was at the Queen in Wilmington to see the Rev. Horton Heat, and opening for the Rev. was Dale Watson and Rosie Flores. Rosie is a diminutive figure, and she came on the stage backed by Dale’s band. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. She played a couple of rockabilly tracks, yum, and then made me a fan when she played the Sex Pistols “Pretty Vacant.” That track is not a cover I would have expected out of a female rockabilly/country music singer. The best thing about Rosie’s version was that she played the first verse in a country fashion, which was really interesting, but then switched to a punk version for the rest of the song. I was converted right then and there.
I subsequently bought a couple of Rosie’s albums, Rockabilly Filly (did someone say Philly?) and Working Girls Guitar. Both are terrific. I’ve occasionally checked her website to see if she was headed up to the northeast, but alas, have been shutout. When I learned The Man was sending me to Austin, I checked to see if she would be playing and got lucky.
So I’ve already given away that Rosie plays rockabilly and country, but you can throw in honky-tonk and western swing in the mix, too. Oh yeah, and she plays some straight up rock ‘n roll as well. Her career started with Rosie playing punk, too. And she’s getting ready to release a blues album. Whew! She is the self-described “chick with the pick,” and that’s as good a moniker as any for a petite woman with a big guitar and a huge range. Here’s a link to her website:
We caught Rosie at her standing Friday afternoon happy hour gig at C-Boy’s. C-Boy’s is a decent club on South Congress, up the street from the Continental and Torchy’s Tacos. The stage is kind of small and the lighting is limited to red (ugh, terrible pictures!), but the crowd is enthusiastic and there is plenty of room to dance. We took full advantage, with BRP busting Broadway-worthy moves. And not only that, but Rosie was out in the crowd before the show, and we introduced ourselves, talked for a bit, and I gave her a BRP card. Cool points, huh?
Rosie’s band is good – she has a sax player, a dude on keys, bass and drums, and she was accompanied on vocals by Sheree “SugaRee” Smith. I love the fact that Austin is chock full of top-notch musical talent, and that many bands are so well-rehearsed and tight. Rosie handles all the guitar work, and she can flat-out play! And her voice remains strong. She is a huge talent that continues to fly under the radar. I don’t get it – once you hear her, you would think that she would be a big star – but alas, she is playing small clubs during happy hour for FREE. That’s cool for me and you, of course, but where’s the justice? And if you don't believe how good this woman is, take a look at this video and enjoy:
Rosie played songs by Dave Alvin, Wanda Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Dwight Yoakam, and her own tunes. She ended with her great rave-up Little But I’m Loud, and the three people I dragged up to see Rosie all came away highly impressed. Would I ever steer you wrong, BRP team? Hell no, and I’m tellin’ ya, if you get the chance, go see Rosie. You will not be disappointed.
Onward but not upward. I have one final installment from Austin, and then need to get geared up for two Philly shows this week. It’s a full plate here, so dig in. I’ll be back oh so soon. Keep pluggin’ and chuggin’, the weekend will be here soon.
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My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.