Last week, we ran a story about a proposal to rename Dripping Springs "Pound Town", and the header read "Dripping Springs Gets It Right", when it clearly should have said "Dripping Springs Nails It". That couldn't have been more obvious and we regret missing the opportunity for snicker-worthy double-entendre.
Guest Texan in the House
While I'm working on my analysis of Texas Senate Bill 17, of which I've got plenty to say, we're handing the reigns of this issue over to our music writer. Randall "Tex" Ferguson has graciously agreed to sit in for a review of Joel Hofmann's new release, "Joel Hofmann & Friends", which you can, and should, download from all over the Internet as soon as you're finished reading. Then stop by Riley's Tavern, ask for Joel, and shake the man's hand.
Joel Hofmann & Friends
By Tex Ferguson
Honky-tonk is a uniquely American creation. The term references not only a place but the style of music that is played there.
For many years, Riley's Tavern, just outside of New Braunfels and right off Hunter Road, has been one of the premier honky-tonks in the region. The tavern's owner, Joel Hofmann, is a pure reflection of the honky-tonk - he doesn't just own one, but he is also a singer/songwriter in his own right.
His latest creation, Joel Hofmann & Friends, is a fun journey
through the genre: love and loneliness; grief and joy; elation and bitterness; trains, mama and prison. With the help of
other talented musicians, the album is also a crafted attempt to weave other styles of music into honky-tonk, creating a "tonk-fusion", of sorts.
Most importantly, it doesn't take itself too seriously.
Hofmann takes a satirical look at himself in "Me on the Jukebox," where the honky-tonk owner sings of buying a bar and dominating the jukebox with his music and where "Me and my band will always have a place to play" because "It's my honky-tonk." Hofmann stretches the satire even further by getting help from Texas country music staple Tommy Alverson, who himself had a song by the same name.
Hofmann continues this theme with the "Ballad of Riley's Tavern." The song utilizes a Spanish guitar flair that is both subtle and unmistakable. The song acts as an aside to "Me on the Jukebox."
Hofmann's tongue-and-cheek approach also takes on the traditional theme of passion in "Leaving Our Love All Over the Place," which he performs with young singer/songwriter Tessy Lou Williams. The song is about two lovers who destroy a hotel room with their passion (the hotel owner bemoans the "shame and disgrace"), thus "Leaving Love All Over the Place." In the end, the couple accidentally kills one another: "How two lovers could break each other's necks?" And an undertaker who "couldn't figure out how to get the smiles of their face."
"She's Not Cheating Today" is also a turnaround of the traditional country love/pain song. Instead of the woman cheating on the narrator, this time the narrator is an older man warning a younger man that he will lose his lover if he doesn't become a better person.
Hofmann and his friends continue to work on the theme of age and wisdom in "Borrowed and Blue" and "Don't Be Ashamed of Your Age." In the first one, Hofmann and Mike Ethan Messick sing in shifting narratives of a woman who's hard life may show on her face, but not in her dignity. The besotted narrator tells her that he'll work to make her happy and that, "We'll make the best of the best that I can do."