Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Perfect Day

You heard it. Yesterday was the perfect day. Susan and I made plans to check out Music on Market Street in the very small, very remote Winnsboro, TX. The town has made great strides in the past few years towards an active downtown area with lots of fun shops, arts, and culture. When we arrived we were afraid Music on Market Street was going to be a bust because there weren't many people around and hte bookstore was closed--gasp!--but as the afternoon progressed things got significantly better.

We started the day with lunch (catfish for me, steak for Susan), and we checked out some of the shops: Ladles to Linens, the Copper Leaf Spa, and a great bakery downtown. We took up a seat at the Lou Viney Winery and Bistro right across from the stage. Pretty soon the VooDudes took the stage, and my afternoon got significantly better. They looked like a bunch of scary burnouts, but they were pretty amazing. They did covers but they did 'em with style, so I couldn't complain. Some of my favorites: "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," "Sweet Home Alabama," and even some Billy Idol! I almost dropped my vodka tonic when they whipped out "White Wedding."

We ran into Lynn Adler, one of the owners of the Crossroads Coffeehouse and Music Co., one of Winnsboro's main attractions. It's part of an ever-growing rural music culture in east Texas, and it was the highlight of the day. Lynn is a sweetheart--a talented singer/songwriter herself, along with her partner, Lindy Hearne. Crossroads hosts music every Saturday night, and sometimes Friday. Last night we got reserve seats for Rhett Butler (yep, that's his real name), a musician I feel sure will become a Texas guitar legend. I didn't know what to expect from Butler, and I sure as heck didn't expect the religious experience that it ended up to be. He's all instrumental with lots of joking in between, and well timed screams and funny faces if he screws up a note. He played a great mix of original compositions and covers. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was one of my faves, as was his stunning acoustic version of "The Cliffs of Dover."

I've always been a huge fan of great guitar players--Joe Satriani, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Vince Gill, and I could go on and on. Butler has a great signature style, playing the fretboard almost exclusively. And, even though it sounds gimmicky, he plays two guitars at once. While it was originally a gimmick, he's really taken the technique to a whole new level, and it fills out the sound of his music in a wonderful, breathtaking way.

When I was 9 years old my music teacher, Mrs. Rutland, took my elementary school class to hear the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the then newly constructed Meyerson Symphony Center. I remember that day perfectly, looking down from the balcony onto the orchestra, closing my eyes, and feeling engulfed by Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and the other selections they played. I don't think I've ever felt so overtaken and involved in music, and it gave me an appreciation not only for classical music, but for instrumentals in general. I'm always pretty excited and impressed when mainstream musicians put instrumental selections on their albums. Some recent favorites are the Dixie Chicks' "Lil Jack Slade," Foo Fighters' "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners," and most recently, Coldplay's "Life in Technicolor" from the Viva La Vida album.

Last night's Rhett Butler show was the closest thing I've experienced to that first symphony. Not because the music was at all similar, but in the way that it sort of snuck into my head and took over for a couple of hours. It's inspiring to watch a really incredible musician play their heart out. And at Crossroads you always get an intimate performance. The venue only holds 150 people, and we had a front row table. It was just stunning, and it's not a performance I'll soon forget. Butler will be at the Granada Theatre in Dallas soon, and you can bet I'll be there. Crossroads has some great performers coming up, and I expect I'll be back there to see Lynn and Lindy and whomever graces their stage.

And just in case you're wondering what all the Rhett Butler hooplah is about, check out his performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" below from the Dallas Guitar Show. While I prefer some of his original stuff (especially the two-guitar songs and "The Physics of Acoustics" and "We Can't Go Back"), this is still a great performance.

Visit him at

You can also visit Crossroads Coffeehouse and Music Co. at


  1. I'm glad you had such a great day!!

    That guitar music was definitely first boyfriend was an incredible guitar and piano player. *sigh* He wrote a couple songs for me (all instrumental) and whenever I asked he'd just play gorgeous music for as long as I wanted: it was pretty great!

  2. Tonally, he reminds me a lot of Stanley Jordan, who also did a nice line in the 'two guitars at once' trick. Can I recommend the incredibly musical (while still impossible to keep up with) Guthrie Govan at this point?

  3. You know—it’s been such a crappy couple of weeks watching the stock markets and listening to Sarah Palin say how she and McCain are such Mavericks, I thought the world might’ve landed squarely in Dante’s Inferno. (I think I’m going on a Palin diet. I wanna puke every time she winks or says “up there in Alaska.” The woman is a non-sequitur personified.) But I regained perspective when Andi I went to Winnsboro. I've been to Winnsboro before and have been to Crossroads, but I gotta tell you, when the VooDudes started their first set with “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone,” I swear, I wanted to throw my underwear to them. I refrained. And then, during Rhett Butler’s concert, there were times I wanted to weep (and maybe a tear or two did escape). And Lynn Adler, who shared our table and conversastion, is goodness in person. The town, the good company, the unbelievable music all made the last couple of weeks fade away. After the day, I will no longer scoff at perfection. Thanks for going with me Andi.

  4. I love guitar music - I will definitely check out this boy :)

  5. Eva, thanks! I've never dated a musician, but I have several friends who play, and they've written songs for me. What a treat that is! I would love to take guitar lessons one day. It's on my "to do before I die" list. :)

    Stu, thanks for the recommendations! I'll have to hunt them down. I always welcome recommendations for new music. I can never get enough. I probably spend 80% of my day with something playing.

    LOL, Susan! Non-sequitur personified. That should be a bumper sticker, although, sadly, no one would get it. Thanks so much for inviting me! I think you've created a monster.

    You'll love him, Becca! Enjoy!

  6. Awww, sounds like the two of you had fun!

    And don't even get me started on Palin...

    I miss you gals!


  7. I LOVE it when the perfect day occurs, and yours certainly does sound perfect! I am living vicariously through you since this weekend I've been basically homebound with a chest shopping at whole foods caused me to collapse into a two hour nap!
    I wanna come down to TX to hear some of that music...

  8. It sounds like you had a wonderful day, despite the bookstore being closed! A friend of mine (an ex boyfriend, but still a friend) is a fantastic guitar player. He also likes Vaughn and Satriani.

  9. Kind of funny to hear other people talk about towns of your past. Hubby was born in Winnoboro, his parents were born and raised there, and his grandparents lived there until they died. His paternal grandmother and step grandfather ran Camp Deer Run for umteen years and were widely known-just mention mama and papa and people will know who you are talking about, and his maternal grandparents were Jareds; in fact, if you go to the cemetery you will see Jared gravestones dated back to the 1800s. For years both sides of hubby's family celebrated the holidays at Camp Deer Run, and we still have family there. But you know, I cannot remember the last time I went to Winnsboro. I did not realize they had done so much down town. What is kind of funny/weird is that hubby and I were in town several years back and this old man saw hubby and said "I can tell who you are right off, you're a Jared." Glad to hear you had a good time. BTW, have you and your loyal fellow bloggers been keeping up with SNL's take on Palin with Tina Fey and all?

  10. Thanks so much for such a great post! I love hearing about your musical experiences.

    And I love Rhett Butler. He has 2 performances in Houston this month, so I have to find more out. (The links on his website didn't have much info yet.)

  11. What a great day! I saw one of your Texas guitarists, Rhett Miller, on Saturday. . . I love music stuff.

  12. Awww, Elise!! Wish you could've been with us!

    Courtney, I hope you're feeling better soon. I think I may be headed for your situation. My allergies are driving me nuts and making me sick, so I'll probably be collapsed soon.

    Kristina, I couldn't believe the bookstore was closed. On a Saturday! During an event!!!

    Fem, Winnsboro sounds just like Caddo Mills. I had a similar experience (well, experiences) with people spotting me and knowing my "kin" by sight. And, yes, I've seen the bit. HILARIOUS! Tina Fey is a goddess. I've been saying so for years, but now she's the ultra grand goddess.

    Yayyy, Purl! Another Rhett Butler fan. I bought his Live at Houston Northwest CD the other night. Impeccable!

    Andi, yay for Texas guitarists! Named Rhett, no less! lol

    It was sooo much fun, Kristen!

  13. I forgot to give you kudos for mentioning Stevie Ray Vaughn--he's the man. As far as I am concerned he saved the 80s.

  14. Amen, Fem! My mother even got to see him in concert a few months before he died.


Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

Images by Freepik