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Publisher: Karyn Lyn Editor: Greg Forest Design & Layout: Lonesome Dove Design Studio Columnists& Contributing Writers: Karyn Lyn, Greg Forest, Kathleen Hudson, Joe Herring, Phil Houseal, Guich Koock, Jil Utterback, Tony Griffith, Steve Stainkamp, Richard Berry, Gary Lockte, Mary Schenk, Charles Torello, Genie Strickland, Jerry Phillips, Betty Sharp & Jack Armstrong. Proof Reader: Claire Deboise Web: The Music Office Sales: Tony Griffith, Karyn Lyn, Brandi Allen

Farewell to the “Rodfather”

Forty-three years ago, Rod Kennedy had a dream to create an environment showcasing emerging songwriters. From its humble beginnings, The Kerrville Folk Festival has become one of the largest music events in the country. With Rod’s passing a page has turned but many chapters remain to be written.

Page 6 Heart Beat Welcomes Betty Sharp

Heart Beat is proud and happy to bring Betty Sharp to our pages. Betty, although a long-time fan of the Hill Country, lives outside the region now and reminisces about her time in the Hill Country and the special “vibe” it is famous for.

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Phil Houseal - Full House

In Texas some cowboys ride horses and some ride steeds of steel. Musician’s tour buses keep on pluggin down the highway long after you had to shoot your horse but the crème de la crème were those old Caddies. On the road, comfort counts.

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The Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country is published quarterly by Heart Beat Publishing PO Box 1204, Bandera, Texas 78003. Opinions expressed in articles may not be those of the publisher and editor of the The Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country, its advertisers, writers or contributors. All content is copyrighted by The Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country and may not be reprinted without the express written consent of the publisher. The Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country is not liable for editorial content, typographical errors and any statements or claims by advertisers or columnists. Subscriptions are $20 per year payable to The Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country at the above address. Editorial and advertising submissions must be received by the 10th of the month before publication. All ad dimensions, prices and specifications may be found at our website,

Joe Herring’s Mystery Man

The story starts with a portrait of a pretty severe-looking fellow but that was the portrait rage of the 19th Century. Although the mystery man’s name is heard every day, very little is known by most of us regarding his origins. Joe pulls back the veil on this Texas historical figure.

Page 14 Reviews, Reviews and yes, more Reviews

Although this is only our third issue, we have a backlog of CD, concert and book reviews to share. Greg Forest and Jack Armstrong are doing their best to catch up and lend their ears and eyes to the latest CDs, books and concerts. Check it out!

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A Tip of the Legal Hat with Jerry Lynn Phillips

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a necessary evil these days and have they have been given an enormous amount of power over Texas families. Sadly for some parents, there is no easy remedy.

Page 45 Women in Texas Music - I’m Not a Piñata

There are many words to describe Stephanie Urbina Jones. Talented, angel-voiced and lovely come to mind. Kathleen Hudson found one word that doesn’t.

Page 18 Our Contributing Writers Over half of the Heart Beat is great content from a wide variety of Hill Country and Texas writers. Whether its the latest in Texas music news, outdoor tips and tricks or authentic Texas recipes, we try to run the gamut of everything Texas! Y’all take a gander!

it is just about New Folk, but it gives you an idea of how important a place New Folk and the support and encouragement for songwriters that exists at the festival has in that history. Rod references many of the names that have become familiar to so many that began their songwriting story at Kerrville.

This is a series about the competition at the Festival and its rich history of songwriters that have become a part of the festival during the past four decades. The list includes names like Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, Lucinda Williams, Lynn Langham whose song ‘Old Yellow Moon’ just won a Grammy for Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Hal Ketchum, Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry and Shawn Colvin. Many of you are familiar with and attend the concerts for the finalists and some have not even heard of this part of the Festival. So I am beginning with the birth of it written by the Founder Rod Kennedy to give everyone a way to understand how and why this event came to have so much importance to songwriters and fans from all over the world. We have entries every year from almost every state and usually several other countries. As we also celebrate the life of Rod Kennedy, our Founder and Producer for 31 years who passed from the earth on April 14 of this year, it is with great pride and some amount of sadness that I share his words about this part of the festival. He did not complete the third review and look back, so that too is now mine to complete. Here is Part Two which is as much a look at the Festival as a whole as 6

NEW FOLK COMPETITIONS AT KERRVILLE II (1977-1981) By 1977, financial losses from numerous Kerrville and Austin area rain damaged performances we produced began to catch up with us. But, thankfully, our fund-raising campaign to sign up 100 sponsors at $100 gave us the seed money we needed to launch our 6th festival. In addition, our Van Cliburn concert and our Western Swing Festival, both in Austin, did well and gave us additional cash to work with. Main stage artists over the May 26-29 four-day weekend included Bobby Bridger, Townes Van Zandt and Steve Young, all of whom served as 1977 New Folk judges, and the number of New Folk entries grew to 85. Finalists included San Antonio’s Naomi Shihab, Lindsay Haisley, Doak Sneed and Tim Henderson, all of whom would become main stage performers in coming years. New Folk competitions were still held at the Arts & Crafts Fair on the Schreiner College campus. In addition, the six award winners received their $50 awards at the Award Winners Concert on Sunday. While Peter Yarrow could not make the festival, his spirit was ever-present as Allen Damron and I co-hosted. Main stage high-

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

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Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


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Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


s we sat around a picnic table one beautiful, starry night, eating homemade chili, singing Gospel songs, blending harmonies with a gifted group of musicians, half a dozen cowboys rode up on horseback to join us and one of my Bandera buddies said, ‘This truly is ‘Fantasy Island,’ isn’t it?” I wrote that twelve years ago for Texas Rising Star, a now defunct magazine, but it might have been yesterday. Music jam sessions, singing gospel as an impromptu congregation, cowboys (and cowgirls) on horseback are still integral to the Bandera experience, contributing to the time-out-ofplace atmosphere that draws tourists, journalists, TV and film production companies from all over the world. Bandera is very real, but it’s the “fantasy” that brings people here and encourages them to return again and again. How many times have we heard the question, “Are you a real cowboy?” If I’m feeling sassy, I respond, “What’s your definition?” I once compared Bandera to Peter Pan’s Neverland and wrote, “Our Pan wears a western hat and boots and dances a mean two-step.” Little boys (and girls) who don’t want to grow up are another reason for Bandera’s popularity, and thank heaven for all those Winter Texans and tourists, not to mention locals, who ascribe to Toby Keith’s lyrics advising them “Should’ve Been A Cowboy.” Fancy yourself the next Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, or one of the Georges – Jones or Strait? C’mon to any one of the jam sessions in town. Be prepared, however, to keep up with some accomplished musicians. Bandera music is world renown, and so are its honky tonks. Last week, I met folks from England, Germany and Italy. All of

them tried out the dance floor. One German visitor taught himself to play steel guitar and formed his own band in Germany. He plays in on jams when he and his wife are in town. Traveling from one venue to another one night, my son observed, “This is like being back in college.” Then he added his own comparative. “It’s like Disney’s Pleasure Island.” Mr. Roarke’s Fantasy Island often had a be-careful-what-you-wish-for turn, Peter Pan’s Neverland had the dastardly Captain Hook, bar hopping college towns can trip up the best of us and Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island turned the naughty kids into asses. Bandera, too. It’s far from perfect and critics love to Bandera-bash about everything from government to barroom shenanigans to bikers replacing cowboys. Irrelevant when you see that look come into a Winter Texan’s eye or a little boy or girl wearing their first pair of cowboy boots and the inevitable question follows in near reverential tones. “Are you a real cowboy?” Twelve years after I wrote the opening paragraph, we spent Easter Sunday morning at John and Lanette Pennell’s, singing gospel, sharing the Easter message and a sumptuous potluck brunch with friends. Eileen Thoemke, a winter Texan from Minnesota, summed it up. “How very special this little town in Texas is,” she wrote, and then added, “Keep dancing.” Yes, ma’am.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


Since 1925 the Crider family has welcomed thousands of people each summer to the weekly rodeo & dance. It started as a simple 4th of July fund-raiser for the Hunt PTA in 1925 when Walter and Audrey Crider created a venue that is pure Texan and a famous boot-scootin’ destination. They have almost 90 years of cowboy hospitality under their belts and it shines every weekend under the Texas Stars. Every Saturday night from late May through Labor Day, Crider’s hosts a rodeo and dance that has brought thousands of people to the headwaters of the beautiful Guadalupe to sit under a giant live oak tree for an evening of bucking broncs and two-step dancing. The rodeo kicks off every Saturday night at 8pm followed by some of the biggest names and best talent in Texas music at 9pm. It is a very long and proud list of musical performers that have appeared at Crider’s and the 2014 concert/ dance season is no exception.

Crider’s also has a great café serving the favorite honky tonk basics and every Friday night features a catfish fry that has become a regular family outing for locals and tourists alike. Grab your boots and join in every Saturday night between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Cowboy Up!

SUMMER 2014 2310 Hwy 39 Hunt TX. Seven miles out the South Fork from Hunt.


ou wake up humming, even if you’ve never been there. Luckenbach. Waylon and Willie and the…Well, you know. Bandera. Stocky horses, green country, open spaces. Marfa and Big Bend and Canyon— they’re too harsh. Beautiful, but vaguely threatening. Better to dream about Pecan Springs. Wait, that’s where China Bayles lives. It’s Dripping Springs. Or Gruene. The dance hall, white-hatted cowboys, the two-step, the music. Driving to see wildflowers, stay in a bed and breakfast, old café road food. Can’t go in the summer though—drought and heat and all that. Still, soon. The Hill Country. It’s going to happen. Even for an old cowgirl on Medicare the dream is still fresh. Can you call yourself a cowgirl if you’ve been behind a desk for decades? Two 1,000-pound pasture ornaments grazing your five acres haven’t been saddled in years. Sometimes older bodies don’t cooperate with dreams. Still, lose enough weight and regain some flexibility. Try a Bandera dude ranch horse just for an hour—who knows. Walmart’s going up less than two miles from your place. Dallas North Tollway is speeding further north. Development pandemonium. Cowboys are building everywhere—the football people, not the real ones. You’ll be in the city limits soon. New neighbors are bound to complain about the dogs, the horse manure, roosters crowing. They won’t understand the coyotes. Time to move to the Hill Country? Yeah, I know, Austin and San Antonio sprawl and all that. Still… Not a whole lot of years left for old cowgirls in North Texas. Move here, they’re told. Water shortage isn’t mentioned. Michael Martin Murphy comes through and puts on a show at the McKinney Performing Arts Center—it’ll always be the courthouse to some of us. He jokes: “My audience consists of old 12

people and their parents.” We laugh, because it’s true. “Wildfire” is still as great, though. Maybe the high notes aren’t as lush, but the feeling is still strong. That’s the point, I guess. The feeling is still there. Read Texas history, and you either become a romanticist or die of pessimism. There’s little other choice. Readers and dreamers know what was before and we think we can pretty well predict what’s coming. More and more people who have never heard of Prescott Webb or J. Frank Dobie. They haven’t been tested on Fehrenbach’s “Lone Star” and “Goodbye to a River” isn’t their narrative. There’s still the Hill Country, though. Escape into the dream, even as the gravel roads are strangled under asphalt. “Cowboy Take Me Away.” Pretend you’re a Dixie Chick, rock to “Long Time Gone” while driving. Maybe this spring. Maybe this fall. Down through Marble Falls on 281. Is it a toll road yet? Bet you can get a good piece of pie at your kind of happy hour. On the way to the Texas Hill Country. Still for romanticists.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


My Blue Heaven I had lunch the other day at

Brick’s River Cafe, a favorite Bandera eating establishment. As is my custom, I chose their always-delicious catfish lunch offering (the catfish platter has more food than I can eat) and thought to myself, “I need a catfishing “fix.” I should call my pal, catfish guide, David Hanson of Lake Tawakoni’s Little D’s Guide Service.” After lunch, I sat and daydreamed of the following fishing trip. It was an overcast summer’s day, and the sun snuck a peek from behind a raft of clouds. On the heels of days of welcomed rain, the air was crisp and fresh, not stifling—unusual for a summer’s day in Texas. I dropped the red, No. 4 treble hook into the ripe mash, shoved it to the bottom of the bait bucket and retrieved the gooey mess by tugging on the 20-pound mono. Careful not to smack my buddy in the chops, facing the stern, I released the bail on the Shakespeare bait cast reel and slung the odorous offering beyond the boat’s Mercury outboard. Ande monofilament zipped through the float loops and the bait sank to the desired 4-fathom-depth off the lake bottom over a forest of gnarly snags and tackle-robbing stickups. In seconds, the bobber floundered, listed and disappeared. I took up the slack and retrieved line, setting the hook. With a swat of its powerful tail, the blue catfish sent a diamond spray into a darkened sky and sounded. In seconds, the sleek five-pounder was safely on ice. David Hanson of Little D’s Guide Service Trophy Catfishing (Phone 903662-5668) plies his trade east of Dallas on Lake Tawakoni, the 37,000-acre impoundment 15 miles southeast of Greenville, Texas. Caddo Creek, South Fork Creek and the Cowleech Fork of the Sabine River were 14

impounded there in 1960 to form Lake Tawakoni, a moderately stained, catfish reservoir. Beneath the lake’s inky swells lurk enormous striped bass and hybrid striped bass, white bass, largemouth bass and two species of catfish—tons of ‘em— channels and blues. But David Hanson is a one-fish kind of catfish guy. He lives and breathes blue catfish, first introduced to the lake in 1989. And when he told friends and the owner of the marina out of which he fishes there would be tournaments for the humble catfish one day, he was roundly laughed at. No one is laughing at him today—catfish tournaments have popped up everywhere. David left the plumbing business years ago to guide, and in a handful of years has had remarkable success on the under-fished Tawakoni. Since their introduction to the lake 20 years ago, blue catfish have done remarkably well. Their numbers—and size—have taken off! Today, the lake has untold trophy-class blue catfish, and David’s hauls are proof of it.

In the past 6 years, he has boated and released dozens of blue cats over 60 pounds. He’s done the same with numbers, “easily in the hundreds,” of blue catfish in the 50-pound, bragging-rights-class. “One March day not long ago,” he reported, “I caught 23 fish that weighed over 800 pounds.” I later did the math. That is an average of 34.78 pounds per fish!

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

David believes Tawakoni is destined for bigger and better blue catfishing days. And the numbers bear this out. “Several 80 pounders have been hauled in, and we’re due more fish in the 70-pound range. My all-time best is 65 pounds, but before now, 60-pound fish had been tops.” The amazing thing for me, a deep sea fisherman, is David’s fish have all been caught on light tackle. When he invited me to fish, I offered to pack my Penn 4.0 with 90-pound mono—the outfit I use for hook-straightening sharks and tuna in the Gulf. You’d have thought I’d poked David in the eye with a stick! “That wouldn’t be sporting,” he said, “We only use light tackle.” I fished twice with David—and what a challenge those trips were! Our first took place in August; the second was in November. Now, it takes a ton of persuading for me to fish on the whitetail deer opener—especially on my birthday. But my first trip with him was so much fun and successful—I came home with 2 limits (mine and David’s) of blues in

the 2- to 5-pound range—I returned in the fall for trophy blues, monsters caught from October through March. And I wasn’t disappointed! On the first trip we used a special stink bait David makes to catch limits with corks over stickups. On the second trip, we drift-fished in deep water with fresh cut shad, and by midday we boated over 300 pounds of blue catfish. We did the responsible thing and released the brood fish—30-pounders and heavier—to ensure the future of blues on Tawakoni. And despite my catching and photographing, and being slimed by (i.e., releasing) a 50 pounder and 2 dozen fish that tipped the scales at 40 pounds, I came home with 50 pounds of delicious catfish fillets. It doesn’t get any better than that! Or does it? Perhaps you have a blue cat honey hole—and story—you’d like to share. If so, give me a holler at: stains1767@gmail. com.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


We in Kerrville use his name every day, and I often think that when we say his name we forget that those letters, those sounds, once represented a person, a living person. The same is true with the subject of this column: although we use his name daily, we rarely remember that it once was the handle of a living, breathing person. He was born in September 1790, in Danville Kentucky. He moved with his Baptist-preacher father to St. Charles County, Missouri, in 1808. He served with honor in the War of 1812, being made lieutenant under Captain Nathan Boone. After the war, he returned to Missouri. Missouri was good for the young man, and his neighbors elected him sheriff, then state representative, then state senator. As he was serving in the Missouri State Senate, our mystery man met Green DeWitt, an associate of Stephen F. Austin. DeWitt was a carrier of the “Texas-Bug,” and the bug bit this fellow hard. He came to Texas with his wife, three small children, and (although I regret to report it) 10 slaves, arriving at the mouth of the Brazos River in 1825, and continuing to the present site of Gonzales in July of that year. His wife and two of his children died on the journey; only he and a daughter survived. Six single men, along with his slaves, were with him when he surveyed the town of Gonzales on the Guadalupe River. There they built cabins, and became the first American settlers on the Guadalupe. Our mystery man remained active in politics in his new home of Texas, being elected to the convention of 1832 and also to the second convention which met in 1833 beside the Navidad River, which came out for independence, where he presided. He was also elected to the third convention at 18

San Felipe in 1835, and finally to the convention held at Washington-on-the-Brazos that declared for independence. During the War for Texas Independence, he was appointed a major in the Republic of Texas Army. In 1838 he was elected to the Third Texas Congress. His later years were spent at his plantation in Jackson County, down in the fertile coastal plains, an area known today for rice, cotton, corn and milo near Lake Texana State Park. He died in 1850, and was buried on the south bank of the Lavaca River, in Jackson County, a few miles south of the city of Edna. It is doubtful that this man ever came to Kerr County, although he settled downstream on our river. He had a good friend that did settle here however, Joshua Brown. They had known each other probably from their mutual time in Gonzales. Brown insisted that the town and county he founded be named for his good friend, Major James Kerr. And so it was. See – I thought you’d know the fellow’s name: Major James Kerr, who pronounced his name “Karr,” rhyming with “car.”

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


Farewell to a Cowboy

By Linda Joiner Bandera County Convention & Visitors Bureau  Farewell to a Cowboy   Bandera lost one of its finest ambassadors just before Easter. Barry Toepp was a tall, lean man with a distinctive white mustache who never met a stranger and never tired of singing the praises of his adopted hometown. In one of those happy coincidences of life, Barry stumbled into the offices of the Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau at the very moment we were developing an interactive educational marketing program called Bandera on the Road. Our mission was to share the spirit of Bandera and a little taste of the cowboy way one-on-one with the travelling public using western activities geared directly to children but fun for adults, as well. Though somewhat reluctantly at first, Barry signed on to the program and enlisted his wife Marcia to participate as well, thus beginning a long association with Bandera on the Road. Over the years Barry and Marcia interacted with thousands of individuals from all over the world with their own down-home style. The two developed their own signature look—they always dressed alike, same crisp shirts, hat and belt, which was in itself a conversation starter. It was not uncommon for them to be approached by the curious, whether in Starbucks or H-E-B, in a hotel lobby or a restaurant and they were always eager to share Bandera with all comers. They were even in the habit of keeping a stash of brochures and calendars in their vehicle for just such occurrences. They were infinitely patient with children (and their parents), never begrudging the time it might take to fasten on ill-fitting chaps, boots, hat and bandana, so a child might pretend to be a cowboy for just a moment in time. Barry was a master when it came to teaching kids to 20

use a trick rope and was rewarded time and again with the broad smiles of accomplishment on young faces. The two of them coaxed many a rider onto our life-sized western rocking horses, outfitted them with hats and bandanas, then photographed the moment for posterity. And along with the play was the dialogue with visitors about Bandera, where we are, what to do, where to stay, where to eat, where to play, never a hard sell, but a clear invitation to join us. They were also bold. At one point during the grand opening of the South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum, there was tall lanky Barry with his arm draped casually around the shoulders of the much shorter Mayor Julian Castro, both smiling for the cameras. Barry and Marcia were an integral part of the troupe who took Bandera to the Houston Children’s Museum, the Witte Museum and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. They were boots on the ground at festivals in Austin and San Antonio and at both the San Antonio and Houston rodeos. Here at home they participated in the Cowboys on Main program, frequently with puppet Gino R. Tree and volunteered at many community events. Barry was the real deal. He embodied the traditional idea of the American cowboy, a gentleman, a man of compassion and respect, freely dispensing hugs and handshakes, and a man totally devoted to his wife Marcia. Happy trails, Barry. We’ll catch up to you a little further down the road.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


sk about Bandera, and you will be hard pressed to find someone that has not heard of or been to the town dubbed “The Cowboy Capital of the World.” That’s amazing when you consider this small Texas town has a population of fewer than 900 people. Bandera/cowboy. It has been that way for many years starting with the well-known “Bandera Stompede.” The Stompede got started when a letter was sent to then President Harry S. Truman, pointing out that there was a national Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and yet there was no official Cowboy Day. The letter threatened that, unless the President sanctioned a special “Cowboy Day,” Bandera would “stompede” out of the Union and become the Free State of Bandera. Well, the president didn’t issue the decree, but that’s just fine, because it gave birth to the famous Stompede, an annual — and very popular — event held the first weekend in May. Events in Bandera are a great part of what makes our town special. We still have a small community, but we like to share it with the thousands of tourists that want to visit a small town, especially one known as “The Cowboy Capital of the World.” If you want a list of all the happenings in Bandera, you just need to visit and click on events. Here are a few things you can count on between now and the next issue of Heart Beat. First, be sure to come on a Saturday where you can enjoy the Cowboys on Main. Gunfights are at noon and at 2 p.m. You may also see chuck wagons, horses and a strolling cowboy singer or two. During this quarter of June, July and August, you can catch three really big events that all cele-

brate the best that Bandera has to offer. On June 28, get your water shoes and head out to the 17th Annual Bandera Riverfest, the ultimate riverside picnic. The event features a car show, Lonestar Barbecue Society cook-off, a Bandera Idol Competition, a river rodeo, arts and crafts and the famous Anything That Floats Regatta. It also features a watermelon eating and hot dog eating contest. Check it out at On July 4, the Bandera Community Foundation will present a red-white-and blue concert featuring the Almost Patsy Cline Band. The event is at the Western Heritage Cowboy Church, 7146 FM 1283, in Pipe Creek. Doors open at 3 p.m., and advanced tickets can be purchased at Shoe Biz, 301 Main St., in Bandera. On July 25-26, Bandera’s Frontier Times Museum celebrates the National Day of the American Cowboy. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. July 25 with the inductions to the Texas Hero’s Hall of Honor, complete with a barbecue dinner and entertainment. On July 26, it’s off to the races with the Fastest Horse in Texas Match Races at 2 p.m. at Mansfield Park, which is located three miles from Bandera on Highway 16. The event also features arts and crafts and concludes with a Texas ranch rodeo. For details, visit www. On August 29, Mansfield Park is the site of the weekend-long Celebrate Bandera. Bandera’s premier event features all things western, including the Ridin’ the River Cowboy Church Horseless Ranch Rodeo and Circle of Life Intertribal Powwow, which continues the entire weekend. On August 30, the Cowboy Mounted Shooters start competition at the arena, which continues throughout the day. In town, there are arts and crafts

Continued Next Page . . .

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


Continued From Previous Page on the Court House lawn, a cowboy breakfast and a dedication of a historic marker honoring Bandera as the start of the famed Western Trail. At 11 a.m. that place on the trail will be honored with a Longhorn Cattle Drive down Main Street, followed by the Celebrate Bandera parade. Later that evening, you can regroup at Mansfield Park for the National Professional Bull Rider’s Challenge, and then sit under the stars and take in the Kings of Western Swing Concert at the Longhorn Saloon, which features a lineup of masters of the western swing genre. On August 31, Celebrate Bandera gives thanks at the Medina River where the Western Heritage Cowboy Church offers a free cowboy breakfast, awesome gospel music and a sermon by Pastor Cliff. Sunday is packed with more arts and crafts, the conclusion of Native American dance competitions at the Circle of Life Powwow and the finals of the National Professional Bull Rider’s Challenge and special South Texas Bull Fighting Competition. You’ll need to eat your Wheaties to make through the entire weekend. For a complete schedule go to Yep, Bandera can certainly entertain. Yee Haw, y’all!


Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


Summer Time Salads

It’s summer garden time, and I enjoy working in my garden tremendously. However, I am originally from the Midwest, where there is good black dirt naturally and plenty of rain, and I can’t say my gardens have been hugely successful here in Bandera. Here, it’s hit or miss. It seems everything looks wonderful until the day after day of 100-degree weather hits, and then— despite watering—the poor vegetables go into shock. Since I retired from working full time in San Antonio, I am hoping for more time to devote to having a good garden this year. Here is a recipe good for using with summer harvest vegetables. This one originated from my daughter-in-law. She brought the ingredients to our house to make this one family get together and my son was helping her out in the kitchen. They cooked the carrots, and then put them in the blender to process until smooth. Only one problem: My son did not let the carrots cool, so when he put the lid on the blender and turned it on, the carrots exploded out all over the kitchen and up onto the ceiling. Despite that, this remains a family favorite. Carrot Soufflé’ Ingredients: 3 pounds carrots 1 cup melted butter 4 eggs 2 cups sugar ½ cup powdered sugar ½ cup flour ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon nutmeg Directions Cook the carrots until tender, drain and let cool. Once cooled, process in a blender until smooth. Add butter, eggs, sugars, flour, salt and nutmeg. Mix well, and then pour into a 1½-quart baking dish, lightly greased or sprayed. Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes. Here is a simple recipe my mom makes, but I will warn you: It does not have exact ingredients. It calls for “use your judgment” measurements. It’s great to take to a summer picnic; so refreshing and always a hit. And those cucumbers, if they do grow in your garden, you usually have way too many and they go to waste. Cucumber and Onions Ingredients: Three or four cucumbers One large onion ½ cup vinegar ½ cup sugar Milk Directions


Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

Slice cucumbers and place in a bowl. Slice one large onion, and pull apart the rings and place in bowl. Combine vinegar and sugar to make one cup and pour over the cucumbers and sliced onions. Add milk to cover. Refrigerate several hours before serving. Finally, here is a recipe that was marked “Favorite” in my mother-in-law’s recipes. My husband loves this recipe, and I don’t know why I don’t make it more often. You can make it days in advance; it lasts a long time in the refrigerator. 3 Bean Salad Ingredients for salad 1 15-ounce can of green beans 1 15-ounce can of wax beans 1 15-ounce can of red kidney beans 1 medium onion chopped 1 green pepper chopped Ingredients for sauce ¾ cup sugar 2/3 cup vinegar 1/3 cup salad oil 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper Directions Drain beans—wash kidney beans under cold water until clear and set aside in a bowl. Add all ingredients together. Then prepare the sauce. To prepare the sauce, bring sugar and vinegar to boil. Remove from stove and add oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the beans. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. You can add a can of lima beans if desired. Until the fall issue, enjoy those summer time fresh vegetables and fruits.

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Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country



Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

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Southwestern Elegance

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country



he hills and streams of Bandera are a long way from the glass canyons of Houston, which suits artist/author Roger Evans just fine. After several decades as an award winning film maker, he established a thriving internet company ( that makes scanners to digitize old home movies. Fed up with city life, Evans moved to Utopia in 2004 and has never looked back. He now calls Pipe Creek home, living with his girlfriend, Jaimie, on the banks of the Medina River. “Being in a rural area has not hurt sales one bit,” comments Evans. “In fact, our biggest client is the Academy of Motion Picture Film Archives, in Hollywood. They’ve been using our equipment for over a decade, now.” When not inventing for the film industry, Evans stays busy writing (see a review of his novel “The Razz” in this edition of Heart Beat) as well as painting landscapes and portraits of the locals. “There’s a lot of character in the hill country,” Evans confirms, “and you simply cannot duplicate that feeling working in the city. Out here there’s interesting texture everywhere you look. Even the air feels different. You can close your eyes and know where you are, just by breathing.” Though the slower country life agrees with him, Evans finds it hard to sit still for very long. “I’m probably the poster child for ADHD. I’ve got several novels in various degrees of progress, a variety of paintings waiting my attention, and a film short that I’m desperate to do this summer, if I can find the time. And, of course, Jaimie’s got a honey-do list that I’ve ignored for way too long. Oops. No doubt she’s reading this, so now I’m busted. Guess the film will have to wait.” To see more of Roger’s work, check out his website at

“The Razz” by Roger Evans

Set in a believable near future, the Review by Greg Forest book has the elements of not only a great book but it is also a no-brainer blockbuster When I found I was going to movie theme. When I asked Roger about review a book titled, “The Razz,” I envi- the cinematic structure, he revealed that the sioned bug-eyed monsters with lobster book is based on a previous screenplay that claws pouring out of spaceships and eat- he had expanded on. And expand he did. T he character development is exing people and that I was destined for a pertly crafted and before long I found myself boring read on a cliché subject. Yawn. I’ve never been more wrong. caring about the fate of the characters. In fact Roger Evans has used what could be the plot structure and edge-of-your-seat pactermed a stock-in-trade teleportation ing makes this a great book even for those theme and twisted it into something re- who might not be fans of sci-fi. Weaving different story lines into a markably new and compelling. Both the plot and tech trajectory had me up late tight tapestry, the book brings such diverse and I finished “The Razz” in one reading. characters as the “mad” scientist, the evil-do I read a lot of science fiction ing corporate goons, the police and a few and this is easily the best book I have laid normal people into the mix for a page-turning ride to an explosive finale. Just read it! my eyes on this year.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


“Ghosts of the American Road”

Ghosts of the American Road Produced by Mark Addison & Kevin Higgins Little Train Records Review by Greg Forest


ou hear the term “Americana” bandied about to cover a wide range of musical forms - mostly country songs about lovin’ and drinkin’. What is rare as hen’s teeth in the genre are actual songs about America and our shared experience. Kevin Higgins and Barbera Malteze deliver the heart and soul of America, it’s heartland and people. Fourteen songs, all penned by Higgins, grace this latest CD since changing their names from The Dust Devils to the Ghosts and hitting the road to “look for America.” Traveling the highways, byways and dirt roads of this great country, Kevin and Barbara have created a true American portrait—painted with the brushes of both their experience and those of the many people they have met on their journey. The tight vocal harmonies displayed on this CD stand in tribute to this duo who has been sharing songs and their lives for decades. Higgins’

soulful voice and lyrics, combined with the incredible power of Malteze’s, make this a feast for the ears. Personal favorites on this CD: “Honor,” a tribute to those who have fallen in defense of our country. “Ghosts of the American Road,” the title track, also is a mission statement. Five star rating. Check out the Ghosts of the American Road at their web site, or friend up on Facebook.

“Travlin’ Man”

Will Owen Gage Produced by Will Owen Gage Wailin’ Wolf Creations Review by Greg Forest It wasn’t many years ago a young teenager approached the stage at the Waring General Store and asked if he could sit in for a song or two. “Sure, sonny, come on up.” He asked us if we could play a blues, and about five minutes later, the whole band had their jaws in their laps. It is amazing that someone so young has such a firm grasp on the blues/rock art form. That was over ten years ago, and the little obsequious kid who had his hat in hand begging to play has grown up, honed his craft and now has hundreds of gigs under his belt all over the U.S. and Europe. Having spent a great deal of time as a sideman, Will has started his solo career and this CD offering, “Travlin’ Man” is the first wild stallion out of the chute. The CD contains 12 songs—all penned and produced by Will—and runs the gamut of 34

standard blues boogies, through some Hellesaster-like mayhem to some great blues ballads. The release was mastered by Jerry Tubb at Terra Nova and the overall sound is big and fat (even on my jam box). Personal favorites on this release are the title track, “Travelin’ Man,” and “On The Run.” Will rocks! Visit Will on the web at or friend up on Facebook.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

“Fred Eaglsmith in Concert” Schreiner University Bear’s Den Texas Heritage Music Foundation Review by Jack Armstrong

When Kathleen Hudson called and asked me to a recent Fred Eaglesmith concert at Schreiner University, I decided to go to see an artist that I had heard about for years but had never experienced directly. I regret it took me this long to become a fan. Dubbed The Travellng Steam Show, it is hard to describe Fred’s combination of music, comedic anecdotes and a carnival roadshow atmosphere. Hailing from Canada, Fred hits the road with the Steam Show and plays literally hundreds of ven-

ues on each pass. I hope that Kerrville will be on his 2015 list. The show opens with members of Fred’s crackerjack band warming up the crowd before Fred joins them. An hour later, I was glowing having heard a great songwriter, raconteur and gifted performer. The band, with some of the members with Fred for decades, was more an extension of Fred’s vision than just a crackerjack sideman lineup and the whole enterprise is a well-oiled family band. Check out Fred’s web site at

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country



couldn’t you just run away?” he wanted to exas has long been famous for know. All of the players looked at him init’s lawmen. The Texas Rangers are known credulously and one said, “Oh, no. Hugo throughout the world as first class crime wouldn’t like that”. Hugo had the respect fighters but I think the local sheriff had a of the  folks on both sides of the law. much more intimate influence on the out- Sheriff Klaerner told me when come of how people felt about breaking the he was a kid he attended the Catholic law in their own communities. school in Fredericksburg. “We had some Two Texas sheriffs who became pretty tough nuns for teachers and I didn’t well known for their style of doing business like school, anyway.  Every time I had a were Fayette County’s Sheriff T.J. Flournoy chance to miss going to school, I took it.” and Gillespie county’s Sheriff Hugo Klaerner. One day it was time for us They were both tough as hand cut nails. They to have our Jersey cow bred, so I took said what they meant and meant what they off from school to walk her  over to the said. Sheriff Flournoy gained notoriety during neighbor who had a good Jersey bull. The the “Chicken Ranch” craze, which made into next day when I went back to school, sure a play and movie called, “The Best Little enough, that nun was fussing at me for Whore House in Texas”. A pretty cute show missing class. When I told her why I had but Burt Reynolds is no T.J. Flournoy. I heard been absent she said, ‘Couldn’t your faonce that Sheriff Flournoy  sent word by the ther have done that?’ I said, “I suppose he cousin of a man suspected of murder that he could have but we always had better luck wanted that man to come in to the sheriff ’s with the neighbor’s bull”.  Thanks for office. When the man didn’t show up, Flour- checking in and keep your trigger happy. noy found him and shot him. I suspect there is more to that story, if its true. The county sheriff was not the man to trifle with. My late friend, Bill Walding from Hunt, was a great story teller. He said on one of his first trips to Fredericksburg, he was looking for me and for some reason decided that Sheriff Klaerner would know my whereabouts. He stopped by the old two-story rock jail across the street from the courthouse.  When he entered the jail he saw no one on the ground floor but heard some talking upstairs where the cells were. He went up stairs and saw all the cells open and four men playing dominoes at a small table. Bill said, “I’m looking for Sheriff Klaerner. Is he here?” “ No, sir” came a response form one of the players, “He’s taking a prisoner over to Del Rio”. Bill said, “Oh, do you work here at the jail?” “No, sir, we’re prisoners” came the answer. Bill was a little shocked by the response. “But if the sheriff ’s gone and all the cells are open 38

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country



im Stanley, past president of the Hill Country Master Naturalist chapter, gave the conclusive address to the 2013 Master Naturalist program. The address was titled “Land Stewardship.” The author of “Hill Country Landowner’s Guide,” published by Texas A&M Press, Stanley received the Native Plant Society of Texas Carroll Abbott Memorial Award, and for more than three years, he has written a weekly column, “Hill Country Naturalist,” for The Kerrville Daily Times. Stanley’s passion for land stewardship and conservation is exceptionally sincere, and it is my hope that I can to some extent convey the same message. Following is an excerpt from his presentation. “The land ethic:” We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may use it with love and respect. There is no other way for land to survive the impact of mechanized man. That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.” — Aldo Leopold, “A Sand County Almanac.” In the first edition of “A Conservation Notebook,” an attempt was made to point out how the forces of nature are interrelated and may manifest themselves in unsuspected ways. It has been my good fortune to have stewardship over the piece of property on which The Farm Country Club, Farm Country RV Park, The Farm Cupboard Restaurant, and their extensions exist. Obviously, I am sharing this property closely with a relatively large number of folks from 40

regions some of which are vastly different from the Texas Hill Country. In many ways, I am proud of the way the folks living here on The Farm cooperate and help in caring for the property. In fact, it is their acceptance of my monthly newsletters that has inspired modification and extension of these letters to include a larger audience. All residents of our Hill Country share the same problems and limitations. Many times, it has been stated that we live on the edge of a desert. However, it is very important to note that the area is not a desert. When you look out over the hills and valleys you see green. In good times, you may walk through knee high grass. There are no large expanses of bare land where a variety of cactus species constitute most of the vegetation. In fact, there is only one species of cactus that grows here naturally to any degree of abundance, and that is the one called prickly pear. Even prickly pear, as it grows larger, is subject to a white fungus. We get an average of 32 inches of rainfall each year, when calculated over a long period of time, which is enough to grow many beautiful plant species. The problem being that there are more years below average than above, and sometimes even in the years that go down in history as being exceptionally wet, the rains come in large quantities over a short period of time. Our ideal scenario might be to get our 32 inches in 32/52 or .62-inch doses in a two- to three hour period every Sunday evening at 6 p.m. This isn’t going to happen, so we must continually prepare for the worst of times. These preparations will be discussed in later editions. One of the better, most in vogue

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

techniques for establishing water and energy conservative landscapes is xeriscaping—the use of native plants. I would like to point out some of the more attractive plants that I have had success with over a period of years. These plants are native to the area and have evolved by surviving our weather and soil extremes. To preserve integrity it is necessary to point out that all of the plants mentioned, even though native, do not flourish under all of the Hill Country’s varied conditions. The plants mentioned here are all perennial, small shrubs. They were chosen to provide color with some hope that they would get tall enough that deer would not be a problem and the cages could eventually be taken down. However, the threat of scraping by Axis bulls seems to never end. The shrubs in the planter beds on the way up to Farm Country RV Park that have survived well for over five years are cenizo, (purple sage), evergreen sumac, rusty black haw, viburnum, American smoke tree, possum haw holly, Anacacho orchid, red coral honeysuckle and mountain laurel. Included in these plantings are several varieties of crape myrtle and pyracanthia, which are well-adapted introduced species. Serving as a border that has almost become a retaining wall is native sacahuista, nolina Texana, bunch grass or bear grass. Although six years is not really long enough to declare these plantings a resounding success, I am pleased thus far. The natural area where these plants are located is probably the worst that could be imagined. The bed soil is pure caliche clay. It would serve best as a sealer for leaky stock tanks. Therefore, the drainage is poor and the pH is high, and the available nutrient value is low. The planting area was prepared by scooping out as much of the clay as possible with the front loader of a farm tractor, building up with native rock both behind and in front of the area, and filling the area with a mixture of native

dark soil, Bandera Electric Coop Mulch and masonry finish sand. This probably amounted to an 8- to l0-inch fill. About six inches below the surface, commercial underground drip irrigation tubing was set in place. While this tubing was a big help in getting the plants started, it has not been turned on in two years and the plants are still surviving. Keep in mind that mulch not only serves as a weed retardant, but it also helps hold moisture in the soil, and the process of decomposition results in a mild acidifying effect that is sorely needed in our hill country’s many times extremely calcareous soils. You can observe the plantings that I am referring to by driving down Pue Road and turning in to Farm Country RV Park. We welcome visitors, and if you look me up I can explain some of the things that are going on in those plantings.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country



New Folk Mike Blakely

Sunday June 1 Welch Family Throwdown | James Hill Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay Mike Blakely Children’s Concert: Trout Fishing in America Mr. Pancake (Frank Meyer)

Thursday June 5 New Folk In The Round

Harpeth Rising

Friday June 6 Jeff Black | Harpeth Rising | Steve Forbert Zoe Lewis The Ya Yas

Monday June 2 No Fuss & Feathers Roadshow: The YaYas Carolann Solebello | Karyn Oliver Jimmy LaFave

Sarah Hickman

Tuesday June 3 Real Women Real Songs: Cary Cooper BettySoo | Connie Mims | Sara Hickman

Ken Gainse

Wednesday June 4 SW Regional Folk Alliance Showcase: George Ensle | Ken Gaines | Libby Koch Jaime Michaels

Saturday June 7 Eliza Gilkyson | Billy Jonas Albert & Gage | Jimmy LaFave Children’s Concert: Billy Jonas | Gayle Ross

David Amram

Sunday June 8 Chuck Pyle | Larry Joe Taylor | Bobby Bridger David Amram & The Amigos Children’s Concert: Billy Jonas | Gayle Ross

Live music on friday nights! 13439 S. Ranch Rd. 783, Kerrville, TX 路


Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

“Hi, Y’all. I’m Stephanie Urbina Jones,” and the concert begins. This beautiful charismatic songwriter—who was born on the Westside of San Antonio, lives in Nashville, and tours Europe—is a chapter in my book on the women of Texas music. Her story includes a spiritual awakening in San Miguel de Allende and a long road of persistence. Talent is a given, but it is the kind of work a performer is willing to do that often creates success. Stephanie Urbina Jones is willing. I watched Stephanie at the Texas Heritage Music Foundation community coffeehouse with Patterson Barrett and Florin Sanchez on May 1, as she drew her audience in with her stories and her songs. Her beautiful spirit shines through in all she does. I saw it shining, again, at the Walnut Spring Preserve, playing for the 290texas Series designed by Paul Sumrall and the Texas Heritage Music Foundation. This time, a select group of supporters sat out under a huge Texas sky, the wide expanse of land dotted with horses surrounding us, and reveled in her magic. Of course, the guitar leads by Patterson and Florin enhanced the experience. A Texas experience where we heard songs in Spanish, stories of her grandfather in “Manuel’s Destiny,” and advice for women and daughters. Yes, Stephanie engages her audience at many different levels. She is not singing “at” us, she is inviting us to see the world through her eyes. We all said a resounding “yes” that night.

Ahead for Stephanie is a European tour and a trip to Japan for a country music festival and a trip to Switzerland with Augie Meyers and the Texas Tornadoes. October 4, she will host the Viva Texicana Luckenbach Fiesta. Her audience will be awaiting her vibrant energy with open arms. Her performance history and reputation as an entertainer precede her visit. I remember looking up at the stage at a Willie Nelson picnic to see Stephanie standing eye-to-eye with Willie Nelson and singing both to him and with him. A natural place for this woman con un Corazon abierto. I remember the evenings with Paula Reynolds, Ken and Sherry Wardlow and Hill Top House Concerts, where 75 people gathered for an intimate night of sharing food and music. Stephanie commands the attention of any audience, from house concert to festival. She has played many in Europe, with Montreux as one flower in her vase of many colors. Her CD, “The Texicana Sessions,” includes my favorite, “Revolucion.” For years, I have been carrying castanets given to me by another spicy performer who likes to dance, Patricia Vonne. I pull these out to play along with Stephanie on this song, “Vamonos,” and “La Reina,” a song about her fiery grandmother who told her what to do with her hair. After hearing Stephanie, you will know her family, her history, her struggles and her joys. give you complete information on her touring schedule. The Texas Heritage Music Foundation was proud to collaborate with her on a Tex/Mex festival in Fredericksburg last September after she was featured on our stage at the Texas Heritage Music Day. I am looking forward to more collaboration! I have many more stories of many more women so stay tuned. Ils sont partis.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country



Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


oad musicians and their vehicles–is there any relationship more dear? Lord knows most musicians can’t maintain a relationship with any member of the opposite sex. But let no man put asunder the bonds we forge with our road machines. This is because while a musician is only involved with his girlfriend, he is committed to his car. That is how he gets back and forth to gigs, his livelihood.

Bill Smallwood’s 1954 Scenic Cruiser saw better days as the ultimate musician’s wheels. It now sits as a prop at Bikinis, Texas. Photo by Phil Houseal

The classic musician’s vehicle is the 1950s era Cadillac. It was the perfect car for the early road warrior. They were big. They were flashy. They were cheap. (Actually that describes many musicians’ girlfriends then, too) Best of all, those Cadillacs had huge trunks. You could fit your guitar, amp, PA system, and still have room for a change of clothes and the TV from the motel room. Not that road musicians ever stayed in motels. The back seat was wide enough to make a comfortable bed. After a late gig, you could crawl in and sleep until the sun made you face your hangover. (You wouldn’t want to try that in the vehicle one drummer used - a cherry red Cadillac hearse. But the rollers in back were ideal for loading in the band’s heavy

speaker columns.) My personal relationship with cars came after the Cadillac era. My first road machine was a pink 1962 Nash Rambler. Not quite a Caddy, it still had a big back seat and a roomy trunk. It was not the most reliable auto though. When I drove it back to the farm from my first road gig in Colorado, it broke down. I was ignominiously towed the final 40 miles chained behind my dad’s pickup truck. But it carried two drum sets and 10 cases of Coors beer! I struck out on my next adventure in a 1968 Ford station wagon. This handled all my gear, with room for sleeping in KOA brand campgrounds along the way. Later I downsized to a Mazda hatchback. I got better gas mileage (it was during the 70s oil crisis), and I became rather creative in fitting my drum set into the back. I could also carry a bass amp, with enough room left for a girlfriend (if I’d had one). I knew I’d arrived in the music world when I joined up with Bill Smallwood. Smallwood was a full-time road musician who practically lived in his 1967 blue Chevy van–with all his band equipment and a wife and a kid. When we eventually moved up to a stripped-out 1954 Scenic Cruiser we knew we were real musicians–and de facto diesel mechanics, often arriving at gigs with oily fingers from repriming the engine. We musicians felt toward our cars the way those movie cowboys felt about their horses. Without wheels, we were just guys who played instruments. But rolling across the United States hauling our Fenders and Ludwigs, we were musicians on a mission! But it’s all gone. Today’s musicians drive to gigs in air conditioned vans and SUVs, pulling trailors with their names stenciled on the sides. They sleep in chain hotels and never stay at the KOA. They probably don’t even know how to siphon gas.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


12 Ways To Build Your Web Site

by Lance Trebesch


here once was a day when the only way to promote your music was by going downtown, printing off 500 postcards, licking 500 stamps and peeling 500 labels. Now, in less than five minutes, artists can compose an email list of the 500 people and send it off with one click. Websites give people all over the world a central place to find band information. This was not possible a short while ago. With all the technology advances, artists must make the most of their resources and create a webpage that makes fans want to return to their site.

Show personality. A band’s or group’s website is their resource to show the world what they are all about. This is often the first place a potential fan will experience your band. Ask yourself, “What do I want them to know?” Insert an “about me” (or an “about us”) section where you tell the band’s story – how and why you formed, where you have been and your future plans. Also, add videos and photos of everything. Wherever the band goes, take pictures. Capture the scenery, the venue and the people. Digital video and still cameras are inexpensive and anything you share with fans allows them to feel more connected with you. Keep it simple. Site visitors should generally only have to click one or 48

two times to find what they want from your home page. The fewer clicks they need to perform, the longer they will stay at your webpage. Site maps help visitors find what they are looking for by showing all your pages and how they connect, as well as help search engine spiders effectively understand and index your site. Also, do not overdo the flash animation. Flash can add to your site nicely, but you can easily go overboard with flash, so be aware. Search Engine Spider – computer programs that crawl websites to check for updates, complexity and format (Search Engine News). Make it easy. If you have blogs or articles on your site (which you should – hey, if you have someone who writes lyrics, permit them to write content for the site as well) allow the viewer to sign-up for an RSS feed that automatically informs them of updates to the content. Or, let them submit their email address to you to receive the updated content directly to their email. The simpler the email update or RSS feed is to sign-up for, the more likely the viewer will follow through with the process. Also, think about adding a search feature on your site so the viewer can simply type in what they are looking for within your site. The easier you make it for the user, the happier they will be. • Allow for discussion. Have a chat room or forum on your site so fans will return to the site to discuss various topics. Your fans return to your site to interact with you, so promptly answer all questions they might post, and periodically join in on chat room discussions. Chat rooms are also a great way to get feedback about your music and site, so log all discussions and put a link on your homepage to a feedback form that fans can fill out. Display contact information. Not only should your fans have an email address they can easy contact you at, but also

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country

people seeking to book you should have the ability to contact you with ease. Nothing would turn off a booking agent more than difficulties trying to book you for a performance. Make sure these email addresses are for band-related topics only; displaying a personal email would be a BIG mistake. Also, write the address in context that fans/bookers can read but spam programs cannot, like band(at)bandsite(dot) com. Placing the contact information on your homepage in a key position will draw their eye to the information and make their life easier. (People tend to first notice content in the middle of the webpage, then the top and left sides of the page.) Present your page at every occasion. When performing live, promptly display your webpage and blog website. Make sure fans know where to reach you online. In addition, allow them to sign-up for fan newsletters—collect as many email address as possible at these shows. Just one more fan is worth the effort. Word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing, so if you treat the one additional fan well, they will in turn promote your band to their friends. Make band merchandise. Selling merchandise is one of the best and only ways to generate a profit within a band. One good online tactic is to create band shirts at Café Press and link to them to allow fans to buy the shirt you created from their site. Fans also love limited edition merchandise, so have a t-shirt available for a month only and sell them strictly at your live performances for that month. Create a review page. When others say nice things about you, display it. If an online newspaper wrote a good review about the band, put a link to the article prompting others visiting your site to read the review. These reviews and testimonials create good PR for you. Because others are commenting about you, it shows first time visitors to your site that you are a known artist or band and they should listen to you. Remember to save a copy of the review as well, in case the online newspaper only runs the article for a limited time so you can directly post the review onto your site. Put music on the site. Encourage file sharing of select songs and add music to the

band’s site. Follow these steps. 1. Find a computer with audio input capability and an easy to use audio encoding application. This is easy if your music is on CD, just rip it with iTunes or a similar application. If it is in some other analog or digital (mini-disc) format, it gets a little harder, but applications are freely available. 2. Then with MP3 file in hand, you can upload the file to your web site and link like you would link a web page or other media/ image file. 3. From there, there are more complicated ways of doing it so it is more “presentable” with a nice embedded player, etc. Post an event calendar. The webpage should display a neat calendar of upcoming show’s location (city and state), time and venue. Fans use your site for a resource and need to be able to find this information quickly. Yahoo Groups allow fans to subscribe to your calendar and receive updates when you post a new event, which makes it extremely easy for your fans. Sign-up for on-the-road content updates. There are many software programs, which allow you to update blogs via cell phone. This is a great technique because fans can get updates even when you do not have time to update your whole website. You can also take quick photos or video from your phone and send it to your account online. By utilizing all these techniques on your site, the reach of your band online will greatly expand. Fans will return to your site for the latest updates on your band, booking agents will easily be able to contact you and labels will be able to see that you are serious about your music and the business. Online marketing is not just one easy-to-accomplish task. Rather, it is a series of equally important tasks that you must carry out on your road to success.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country



Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


irst off, let me say that CPS (Child Protective Services) is a necessary evil in our society. Our children are our future and they should be kept safe. Because of that, CPS has an important job to do, but like any governmental agency created to address a social issue, they tend to become overly invasive and oppressive. Their employees are underpaid, and as a natural consequence of that, usually under-qualified. In any CPS action, there is supposed to be judicial oversight, but the reality is that CPS court is little more than a formality and CPS judges “rubber-stamp” whatever CPS workers want to make a parent do. With that as a basic background, there are a few things about CPS that parents should know. 1. If CPS gets a report, even just a phone call, that someone is abusing or neglecting their child or children, they are required to investigate. The reporting person will remain anonymous. (In criminal matters, a person has a constitutional right to face his accusers. Not so in CPS cases. Anyone with a grudge against you can trigger a CPS investigation into your parental abilities and family situation, and you aren’t even allowed to know who it was.) 2. A CPS investigator can visit and question children at school without any notice to the parents. Parents cannot obstruct a CPS investigation, but they can refuse to talk to the investigator. They cannot refuse CPS access to the children. 3. CPS will tell people that if they do not

cooperate and do anything CPS asks them to do, that CPS will take their children away from them. That is an empty threat. The truth is that CPS can only take children without a court hearing, when there is a clear and immediate danger to the children. 4. If CPS seeks a court order to remove someone’s children from them, the parents are entitled to attorneys to represent them. Because the parent-child relationship is a constitutional right, if they cannot afford an attorney, the court must appoint them one. 5. CPS will ask parents to sign a Family Safety Plan, “to avoid going to court,” and to “avoid having your children taken from you.” NEVER sign anything with CPS without first consulting an attorney. Once you sign that family plan, failure to comply with CPS instructions is sufficient basis for the court to remove your children, regardless of the accuracy of the initial report. 6. The CPS judge that I refer to as a “rubber-stamp” judge, does not have the final say. After the initial hearing, if the CPS judge makes a ruling in favor of CPS (as always), the parents are entitled to a new hearing before the elected district judge, IF NOTICE OF APPEAL is given within 3 days. CPS is a very difficult agency to deal with, even if you have an attorney. It should never be given the power that it has, and as with any governmental agency should be treated with great distrust. “We are from the government and we are here to help.” Yeah, right.

Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


Want to know my secrets for

growing the biggest, best-tasting tomatoes ever? In early spring, I planted several heritage variety plants in fortified soil, and I’m now watching them grow in anticipation of harvesting loads of great homegrown tomatoes. If you look at my tomato plants you may ask, “What happened to all the leaves and branches?” My answer, “I removed them.” Most gardeners grow lots of leaves and stems but very few tomatoes. Why? Have you considered that leaves and stems consume the bulk of moisture, nutrients and oxygen, which are required to produce great tomatoes? Tomatoes love water and oxygen and sunshine. Did you ever consider that leaves and stems also prevent airflow, filter the sunshine and use most of the plant’s water? This came to me one day, as I was watching those pesky giant-green caterpillars stripping the tomato leaves off all my plants. After I removed the caterpillars, I felt hopeless as I observed the remaining, ravaged stems. But, about three weeks later I noticed my plants were full of blossoms. Blossoms produce fruit, and, shortly, I had an abundance of the best tomatoes ever. I began wondering if God sent the caterpillars to remove the leaves so I could enjoy a good crop. Do you think “Mr. Caterpillar” was trying to teach me something? When I planted my fall tomatoes, I decided to remove the leaves to see if the plants would respond the same way. And sure enough, they did. This fall crop was fantastic also, and I never noticed any caterpillars. I surmise that when the caterpillar moths were looking for a tomato garden to lay their eggs in, they took one look at mine and decided to move on. I’ve since refined my pruning techniques, and I would like to share my secrets with you.


When your plants are about 12-inches tall, remove all but the top six leaves. Yes, leave only six leaves right at the top. Your plants will look bald and unhappy, but that’s OK. The next step is to count the branches on the plant. Beginning with the smallest branches, use scissors to cut off half the total number of branches as close to the trunk as possible. Yes, half. I know what you’re thinking. Just trust me. Your tomato plants are going to be just fine.

Next, place a covering of leaves, small wood-chips, mulch, etc., on the soil. Your goal is to build a 1-inch to 2-inch covering of natural material on the floor of your garden. This insulates the soil and provides a natural, nutrient supply as the material breaks down. Tomato plants do best with periodic feeding-sprays, rather than solid fertilizer. I use a mixture of liquid seaweed, organic vinegar and Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). I also recommend Medina Hasta-Grow liquid plant food, according to their instructions. Remember to water only in the morning on warm, sunny days. If you would like to receive other natural gardening tips, please send me an email at or check out my website,

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Bar-B-Q & Grill located inside the store

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. . . Continued From Page 6 lights at the ranch included appearances by Alex Harvey, Delbert McClinton, Tom Paxton, Marcia Ball, Ed Miller, Robert Shaw, Josh Graves with Roanoke and Guy Clark. 1978 saw 1977 New Folk Award Winners Eric Taylor, Rick Beresford, and Doak Sneed appearing on the folk festival’s main stage along with established performers like Jimmy Driftwood, Joe Ely, Gary P Nunn, Townes Van Zandt, Buck White, Delbert McClinton, eclectic classical composer-conductor David Amram, Peter Yarrow and John Vandiver with the Shake Russell Band. The 1978 New Folk entry list had increased to 105, and among the finalists were Colorado’s Jon Ims, Austin’s Nanci Griffith, and a young man named Stephen Earle from Wimberley. Others whose names would be familiar soon included Jon Reed, Joseph Brunelle, and Vince Bell. The competition continued to play at the Arts & Crafts Fair and judging were Gary P Nunn, Steven Fromholz, and Don Sanders. Our New Folk judges in 1979 were Milton Carroll, Peter Rowen and B.W. Stevenson and the entries totaled 104. Peter Yarrow was absent but Allen and I co-hosted. Among the finalists were Tish Hanley (Hinojosa) from San Antonio and repeat competitors Joseph Brunelle, Jon Ims, and Bill Oliver who became winners this year. From the beginning, New Folk rules read that writers could enter 2 years in a row so long as they skipped the next year then they could enter again. We recall that Bill Oliver entered more than a half dozen times over the years. John Ims became a great favorite nationally as did, of course, Tish Hinojosa. On the five day May 24-28 festival main stage we saw Nanci Griffith debuting along with the appearances of B.W. Stevenson, Guy Clark, Gary P. Nunn, Ray Wylie 56

Hubbard, Willis Alan Ramsey, Billy Joe Shaver, Gibson and Camp, Marcia Ball, Butch Hancock, Alvin Crow, and Towns Van Zandt. We also featured a reunion of Uncle Walt’s Band (Walter Hyatt, Champ Hood, and David Ball) along with staging the first of three “Great Harmonica BlowOffs”. The year1979 also included in October, our first big on-the-road trip...6 performances in 4 days. We hired a Greyhound Bus and took Bobby Bridger, Milton Carroll, Allen Damron, Steve Fromholz, Bill & Bonnie Hearne, Don Sanders, Carolyn Hester, Robert Shaw, Kenneth Threadgill and John Vandiver. We played at Texas State University, four shows at Houston’s Rockefeller’s, and the Temple Cultural Activity Center. We closed every concert with Bridger’s “Heal in the Wisdom” first sung at the folk festival on May 25. 1980, our ninth Kerrville Folk Festival, May 22-26, was our largest festival to date with the audience growing to 13,000 for the five days. We had daily opening sets by Austin’s Eagle Bone Whistle and “Singing Circus” for the kids. Our New Folk entry list had grown to 132 entries and our judges were Bob Gibson (who wrote “Abilene”), New York ragtime pianist-composer Terry Waldo and Guy Clark. The competition was still at the Arts & Crafts Fair and while Peter Yarrow couldn’t make the show his impact was evident everywhere as everyone was greeted by a hug. 1980 had some remarkable writers as finalists including Sid Hausmanof New Mexico, Lyle Lovett, James Durst, and Jamie DeFratis from Florida. Among the award winners were David Halley of Lubbock, Jan Marra from Minneapolis, San Antonio’s Dow Patterson, and Allen Ross from Carthage, MO. among others playing the Memorial Day Winners Concert at the

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Arts & Crafts Fair. A strong line-up of main stage artists at Quiet Valley Ranch included former New Folk Tish Hinojosa, Tim Henderson, Lucinda Williams, Butch Hancock, and Jon Ims joining headliners like Spider John Koerner, Gary P. Nunn, Townes Van Zandt, the Shake Russell-Dana Cooper Band, B. W. Stevenson, Guy Clark, Jimmy Driftwood, Bob Gibson, Joe Ely, Uncle Walt’s Band, Kenneth Threadgill, Carolyn Hester, Peter Rowen and 22 others including the Masters Four southern gospel quartet and Tom Uhr’s Shady Grove Ramblers with their beautifully harmonized original songs, blue grass, and Sons of the Pioneers favorites. The 1981 New Folk competition was moved from the Arts & Crafts fairgrounds to the ranch in order to eliminate the distraction of hundreds of fair-goers walking through and past and around our audience going from exhibit area to exhibit area, and to finally, bring all our songwriter events to our own site. Instead of attracting at the fair, 300 or 400 casual in-out listeners, we instantly had a focused audience of more than 1000 for our 1981 New Folk event and eliminated all the running back and forth on a 20 mile round trip to the fair and back. Judging the 1981 New Folk were Tom Uhr, Butch Hancock, and Bill Hearne. The number of New Folk entries continued to grow steadily year by year and by 1981, our 10th Anniversary, we had 177 entries from Texas, 12 other states and from as distant as England and Australia. The assembled group of 40 finalists included a number of accomplished writers – the colorful Englishman Rory McCloud, Jerry Stevens (Root One), James Durst, Chuck Pyle, Larry Williams, Melissa Javors, and Kent Finlay, all of whom would find a place on our main stage in years to

come. Our audition process annually revealed more promising writers unknown to us who did not make the finalists list. So we added 5 or 6 more prospects, most of whom were Texas writers, who would now appear to sing one song at the Ballad Tree on Chapel Hill. Among the 6 to appear there by invitation in 1981 was a youngster from Austin named Robert Keen. The tradition of celebrating each five-year anniversary with an especially outstanding main stage line-up was reinforced on our expanded 1981 8-day -2-weekend festival. We added the long-desired second weekend: to the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday May 21-25 and added May 29-31. The line-up of annual favorites was brightened by a group of first-time standouts like “Gatemouth” Brown, Jimmie Gilmore, Odetta, Red River Dave, Riders in the Sky, Beto y los Fairlanes, Lisa (Eliza) Gilkyson, Turk Pipkin, Cypress Swamp Stompers, The Gypsies, Dan McCrimmon, Mariachi Infantil Guadalupe and Robin and Linda Williams to increase our roster to 60 performers. The 2-weekend anniversary increased the number and variety of performers we could showcase while decreasing the crowded conditions of a single weekend event. We wanted to preserve the ambience of our intimate festival while increasing our performer roster to reduce our ever-growing waiting list. Our first attempt at expansion while experiencing growth at the gate, accommodated families with children still in school during our first weekend. The New Folk Chronicles will continue in the next issue with interviews from some of the past Finalists about what it meant to them, how it affected their careers and where they are today.

photography by Jim Dirden visit a - cornicopia of music images. Heart Beat of the Texas Hill Country


OPEN riverfest bandera

17th Annual

june 28th, 2014 Bandera City Park

Sponsored by Bandera Business Association

Bring your swimsuits & river shoes & join in the fun

H River Rodeo H Kayak Races H H Paddle Boats H Water Games H


anything that fLoats regatta Bandera Idol Competition H Food H Music H Arts & Crafts H

Open Car Show H LSBBQ Cookoff

(Lone Star BBQ Society Sanctioned Event)


Sam & Lou Miller Proprietors

Heart Beat Summer 2014  
Heart Beat Summer 2014  

Heart Beat Summer 2014