If you missed the first annual Lone Star Luau weekend in Marble Falls, Texas recently, you missed a great weekend of terrific music. Hosted by Thom Shepherd and Coley McCabe, this was an event limited to about 250 registrants. Large numbers of attendees from San Antonio and Austin were there, since Marble Falls is close to both cities, but there were folks from across the country in attendance.
The music lineup was superb with Friday night featuring top Texas Trop Rock artists. Kicking off with the Austin area duo, The Detentions, followed by Thom and Coley in an acoustic set, and ending the evening with Donny Brewer. The nearby Hampton Inn was the host hotel and since it is situated right on Lake LBJ, it was a great home base. The actual venue for the weekend’s music was a bar called Brass Hall and they couldn’t have been more accommodating.
Saturday morning was foggy on the lake, but when the music got going at 1:00 pm with John Patti and Ben Hammond, the air in Brass Hall was electric with excitement. John played his steel drum, of course, but also sang more than I had heard him before and his buddy Ben Hammond was a breath of fun jazz fusion among the Trop Rock artists. Ben and John were there all weekend and I think Ben enjoyed meeting his new Trop Rock fans.
Matt Hoggatt took the stage after John and Ben and delivered a great show with humor along with several heartfelt songs. Matt was followed by Jesse Rice, who was new to many attendees, but quite a few of the audience members remembered him from the 2015 Meeting of the Minds. Jesse is promoting his new album called “Pirate Sessions III” and he wowed everyone with his great songs and sound.
The Lone Star Luau schedule allowed attendees a nice long dinner break on Saturday. There are several great non-chain restaurants in Marble Falls. Close by is the Bluebonnet Cafe, known for their home cooking and amazing homemade pie menu.
The music started back up at 7:00 and we were treated to Thom and Coley backed with their band. The husband-wife duo have so many great songs… we didn’t hear nearly all their best tunes in the time they played Friday and Saturday nights!
The next act was so very special – Peter Mayer and Brendan Mayer. How they were persuaded to travel to Marble Falls is a mystery to me, but they wowed the audience with their fabulous music. You could hear a pin drop in the bar as they played their last selection, with instruments and voices totally unplugged.
Then closing out Saturday night’s show we were treated to a great performance by the Southern Drawl Band.
Both Friday and Saturday nights were supposed to end at 11:30, but the owner of Brass Hall let the party go much later. Late Saturday night (really, the wee hours of Sunday morning) a few of the artists joined forces for an impromptu jam in the conference room back at The Hampton Inn.
About 30-40 of us listened to Thom, Coley and Donny Brewer get together and play more favorites. Percussion accompaniment was provided by John Patti “playing” a couple of Whataburger paper wrappers. Whataburger is the State Hamburger of Texas, you know! Kelly Brown was at the event as an attendee, but he helped the jam percussion by “playing” a beer bottle. This spontaneous performance time was my favorite part of the weekend, although it made for not much sleep!
Sunday morning we were graced by a performance by Brittany Kingery, who came all the way from Mexico to play. She was joined by Rob Hill who performed selections from his new CD titled Beach Town (look for it to be released this summer). Many fans had already left for home, but those of us who were still there enjoyed their show. Thom, always the consummate host, arranged a breakfast taco bar. Before everyone hit the road to head home we were treated to a screening of The Parrot Head Movie, a recently released documentary about Parrot Head Clubs. So much fun!
Thom and Coley are already looking for a bigger venue next year to accommodate more registrants, so make sure you put Lone Star Luau II on your 2018 calendar. You won’t find better Trop Rock music and Texas hospitality anywhere!
All photos copyright by photographer Jeff Cohen, Moonshine Images.