Boerne: Unheard, and Unseen
Music affects us all in different ways. We are drawn to it for different reasons, at different times, in different moods; we enjoy different styles, genres, and singers…and yet music is still a prevalent and profound aspect of every one of our lives. Music can affect how we feel about ourselves and about others, it influences our perspectives when watching movies and television, it animates our spirituality; once a week I sit around a campfire with a handful of friends and play the drums, and on the weekends a smaller handful of friends will alternate choosing a song to share while we all stare at the reflection of the stars in the moon and in the fire behind a friend’s house in town.
Throughout my life my own musical interests have varied greatly—and in order to establish some credibility in the way of taking on the immense pressure of writing a music column here in Boerne, Texas—I believe that it is important for my readers to know that:
My childhood was spent listening to The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, The Doobie Brothers, The Guess Who, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Simon and Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, Kenny Loggins, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jimmy Buffett, and more.
That the nineties were a compilation of The Smashing Pumpkins, Tim McGraw, Blink 182, John Michael Montgomery, Jeff Buckley, Third Eye Blind, Merle Haggard, Nirvana, Alison Krauss, The Eagles, R.E.M., Bush, Dinosaur Jr., Weezer, Willie Nelson, The Beach Boys, Trisha Yearwood, Matchbox 20, Metallica, Reba Mcentire, Elliot Smith, Garth Brooks, and more.
And that the millennium was an exploration of Hardcore Punk (of the late 80’s and early 90’s) and Indie: Indie Rock and Indie Folk. This last decade I have settled firmly and comfortably as a Folk music devotee.
That I have had the great pleasure and unbelievable luck to have stood at stage right while Ray LaMontagne and Brandi Carlile performed together on a field outside of Missoula, Montana; I happened upon Andrew Bird playing at the Guggenheim in New York City, New York; I watched the crowd rush the stage at a Black Flag concert in San Francisco, California; I have sipped on a Happy Camper IPAat the Santa Fe Brewing Co. while Xavier Rudd and Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins played in Santa Fe, New Mexico; I danced while Neko Case, The Roots, Josh Ritter, Crooked Fingers, and Brocken Social Scene performed at the Twilight Concert Series in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah; was moved nearly to tears while Beirut performed on a small stage in a giant warehouse in American Falls, Idaho; knew every word to every song that Garth Brooks sang when he came back to San Antonio, Texas after eighteen years away; I have stood in awe watching Sufjan Stevens at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas; I watched Hawk and a Hacksaw perform on the deck of The Due Return, a massive pirate ship built inside an art studio as a collaboration piece by the art collective Meow Wolf, and discovered a lifelong obsession for Brown Bird while in concert at a recording studio, both of which were also in Santa Fe, New Mexico; I remain stupefied after witnessing Cat Stevens and Ozzy Osbourne on stage together alternating between Peace Train and Crazy Train as if in some harmonic civic debate on the lawn of The Mallin Washington D.C.—music has been one of the most influential factors of my life, I cannot imagine a life without the harmony that is created, and the clarity that is afforded.
I graduated from Boerne High School in 2003 and had the pleasure as a result of knowing the local bands Kya, 2%, and Spaceman Spiff; music venues like Nelson City Dancehall were open to a young audience of musicians and supporters that loved music. High school, as expected, was a collection of cliques and niche’s, of students that were as similar as they were different. My senior year, however, was a dissolution of the typical clique warfare that young adults engage in for little reason other than that they think they are supposed to. We all had silently agreed to set aside what differences we did have because we recognized that regardless of genre we had a passion for music.
Shortly after graduating I left Texas, and am only now returning after more than a decade of traveling these United States. Boerne has obviously changed in a number of ways in the time past both for the good and…well, the not so good. But one of the most surprising differences is that the music scene is noticeably concealed, and considerably more subversive than I remember it being all those years ago. What’s even more surprising to me is that there is music to be heard. Every summer at the Cibolo Nature Center they put on the Moondance at the Cibolo Nature Center Concert Series, and though Moondance recently held the last concert for the year you can keep your folding chairs and ice chests in the trunk for Live at the Library, a Fall music series that occurs at the amphitheater adjacent the Patrick Heath Public Library. The series continues with Vadum Kholodenko—an exceptionally gifted classical pianist—on October 28th at 6:30. Heart’s Home Acoustics is a custom acoustic guitar store off of Main Street behind Texas Meat Co., they offer frequent concerts, jam sessions, and various clubs such as the Ukulele club. Every Thursday night at the Drink Texas Biergarten behind 259 Brantley’s Bistro there is an Open Mic which has garnered a lot of recent attention, especially after the story “Boerne Delivers Rock Stars,” printed in a local newspaper. Very talented singer/songwriters like Chris Cruz, Matt Kersh, and Myles Smith play at the Biergarten weekly, while other exceptionally talented songwriters and bands play throughout the week. Soda Pops has bi-monthly Hot Rod Nights! during which a band is always playing on the porch while you walk up and down the street with a beer and cheesy tots making eyes at old Corvettes and Shelby Mustangs.
The point that I am slowly making is that Boerne has a culturally diverse group of people, this pocket of The Hill Country is unique in ways that cannot be explained simply, and such diversity naturally delivers an array of music that should draw people out of their homes—if only for a short time. Throughout this column I will focus on various local bands and singer/songwriters, as well as venues, and attractions that employ music to inspire and engage us as Boerne residents. I will follow the progress of a year-long concert series that will conclude in the summer of 2017 with the first annual Boerne Music Festival, the name of which is subject to change. And I will express my love for music through my love for writing, all of which I hope motivates you to explore the sounds of Boerne, to be a part of the music scene, and to Inspire, Boerne.