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May 2004

The trail runs briefly through a small garden to a planked footbridge, and I sit on the scuffed wood and dangle my feet over water trickling through the open culvert. The garden separates the parking lot from the sanctuary of the Unitarian church in Fort Worth, Jefferson Freedom Cafe. My set is finished and I'm happy with the performance, decent CD sales at the break, then the lights flicker for the main act, an Australian trio, "Bluehouse".

I watch the water move beneath my shoes, light a cigarette, enjoy a smoke in the silence of the Texas dusk. Bluehouse finishes their first song and the crowd erupts, the noise loud, even down here, through closed doors, 100 feet away. Played Uncle Calvin's last night, with Michael Troy and Angus Finnan, tried out some new songs as I was just here in March. "Home Depot" goes over well. Saturday morning in downtown Dallas, looking for Dealy Plaza, I stop at a corner and check my map for the cross street, notice the building to my right is the School Book Depository.

I park and walk through the frames of Zapruder's film, the overpass, the grassy knoll, a white X on the roadway. I count seven separate hucksters selling laminated magazines and CDs from makeshift kiosks. The entrance ramp to 30 West takes me past the X and through the north arch of the triple overpass.

I get up and head back to the church and hear the crowd again, louder. My first impression of Bluehouse comes from the level of audience noise that I can hear from outside the building.

Two Virginia gigs before I headed out west this time, Vic's Corner, playing finally with Elizabeth again, in a packed house, opening for Lowen & Navarro, and a gig as emcee and filler for four bluegrass bands at Clyde's Strawberry Festival. I channel Scott Emmons, making up songs as I go, taking the wireless mike to the gathered children, loud covers for their seated parents, just great fun.

Back at the church, I slip through the doors to watch three Australian women give the best performance I've ever seen. It is seamless, natural, perfect, spontaneous, tight, professional, light, deep, true, joyous. They will be at The Main St. Cafe on July 31, and if I were not playing July 30 in NJ I would beg Laurie to let me open for them again.


If you are not enthralled, I'll refund your ticket price. They are better than that good.

Next month: Kerrville.