Riders In The Sky: The heroes we need

  Dec 5, 2018–When I mentioned I was going to interview Ranger Doug of Riders In The Sky, everyone claimed to be a personal friend. So that’s the first question I asked him. Ranger Doug chuckled. “When we meet fans, someone will say, ‘We saw you in 1982,’” he said. “That connection happens a lotContinue Reading

Just the way you are

  Nov 28, 2018–It was only a classroom off the Fellowship Hall at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church. But for the students at Living Well Learning Center, a nonprofit program for adults with developmental disabilities, it felt like they were inside a Nashville recording studio, psyching themselves up to lay down the vocal track on theirContinue Reading

Michael Martin Murphey: Christmas-ology

“America is the most Christmas-loving country in the history of the world.” An audacious statement by Michael Martin Murphey, but one he can back up. After all, he’s been performing his Cowboy Christmas Show for 25 years, and the singer/songwriter is bringing it to the Rockbox Theater in Fredericksburg on December 1. It is notContinue Reading

Play That Guitar

“No baby ever learns to talk from taking a class.” Mike Reiss, writer for The Simpsons   11/14/2018–We try too hard to “teach” rather than let people “learn.” While interviewing a renowned guitarist about how he was going to lead a string workshop, I was surprised and gratified that he reinforced my education theory youContinue Reading

Illustrated Letters of Charlie Russell

Nov 7, 2018–My first exposure to “fine art” growing up was the work of Charlie Russell. My dad, who raised horses, loved the way Russell rendered them in his paintings, as well as the unadorned representation of the life of the cowboy that ironically emphasized the romance of the west. We never owned any ofContinue Reading

Just a dance

Nov 1, 2018–Confession: When I first played in a Texas dance hall, I didn’t get it. Everyone ignored the band. I was used to being on stage in clubs and bars where the band was the show; the dancing was incidental. This was the opposite. Ray Benson, founder of the legendary dance hall band AsleepContinue Reading

The Mask

Oct 24, 2018–Note: As a treat for the season, here is a story that won a newspaper Halloween writing contest. While written in 1982, it now feels uncomfortably true. It was uncomfortable inside the mask. Though the cool autumn air swirled through George’s thin clothes, sweat rolled down his brow and stung his eyes. NotContinue Reading


  Oct 17, 2018–When we first moved from town out to the country, one of the joys was taking walks with the kids. My daughter was appalled seeing the trash strewn along the side of the road. “Why do people do that?” she indignantly asked as only a 10-year-old girl can do. My answer wasContinue Reading

Ghosts on Main

  Oct 10, 2018–G-g-g-g-g-ghosts? In Fredericksburg? Afraid so. “Every building on Main Street has a ghost story,” said Derek Spence, head wraith wrangler for his new endeavor, Fredericksburg Ghost Tours. “The hardest part has been narrowing the scope to keep the tour under an hour and a half!” The idea for a Fredericksburg-style ghost tourContinue Reading

Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Hero

Oct 3, 2018–One night while playing drums in a smoky bar somewhere in Texas, I kicked off the band on a Hank Williams song we’d played 99 times before. But on this night for some reason, I listened to the words for the first time. It was, I realized, a good song. Obvious, right? ButContinue Reading