I recently spent the weekend in my new second home, Houston, Texas. I know a lot of people who don’t care for Houston, and it’s warts are sort of obvious. Flat, sprawling, industrial with huge traffic problems, it’s not physically beautiful. But it’s got a lot of great attributes, too. Like the Rev. Horton Heat!
It’s one of the few places where people routinely are kind to strangers and it’s not fake. Everyone is just kind and respectful, and it’s pretty darn nice to experience. And then there is the “can do” nature of the people there. It’s just not a place where everyone bitches about their circumstance; nope, if they don’t like it, they go out and fix it. And let's face it: the food is fantastic: beef brisket BBQ! Tex-Mex par excellence!
Two of my favorite things about Texas in general are the music scene and the quirkiness of the environment. Sometimes, they line up together. I took some pictures to prove my point. First, here’s the giant armadillo that sits outside of Goode’s Co. Armadillo Palace, a nice Texas roadhouse which features fantastic BBQ across the street and a live music stage out back.
And take a look at this piano from Goode’s. Here’s a short list of who has banged on that keyboard: Joan Armatrading; Marcia Ball; Count Basie; Dave Brubeck; Ray Charles; Commander Cody; Fats Domino; Donald Fagen; Dr. John; Jerry Lee Lewis; Taj Mahal; Barry Manilow; Art Neville; Leon Russell; and Randy Newman.
While I’m sure that there are some new-ager types that have Buddhas in their gardens, you’re a lot more likely to see the Virgin done in garish Mexican style. Here’s a bunch for sale down in the Mexican market - take that you new agers!
There is a whole thing going on in Houston regarding art cars. There’s an entire museum devoted to them, but you can see them around town, too. Here’s one that sits in the funky, gentrifying neighborhood of the Heights. It’s painted like crazy on the outside, but check out the interior – wholly crap, what is that all about? I don’t know but it’s crazy fun:
And here’s another one in training:
Art deco music palace? Check! Joe Ely just played the joint. Hey, the Heights in Houston is happening - new housing, restaurants and bars popping up literally everywhere. Gentrification for sure, and the cool part is that, because there are no zoning laws, stuff happens fast and is eclectic. It may not be for everybody, but what is? I like it. Oh, and the new HEB is badass!
Finally, it wouldn’t be Texas if there wasn’t a cowboy boot somewhere. Here’s a planter in the shape of a cowboy boot complete with a state of Texas flag motif:
And who the heck is this guy?
Man, writing this makes me want some chips and salsa bad. Or maybe some brisket, slaw and mac ‘n cheese? I’ve got to run and get some chow – yes, right now! Y’all have a good evening, and come on back soon, y’ hear?
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.