Tonight: Lucero & Robert Ellis Roar Through Stafford (No, Seriously)

13658964_1166967879990720_3160801926520432626_nI don’t get out much these days; it’s a sad, sad truth of my near-suburban Soccer-/Theater-/Cub Scout-Dad existence. When I see a show coming up, even one that sounds truly, truly awesome, my immediate, instinctual response is, “ah, fuck, I’m too damn tired, it’s gonna be too far away, too late a night; I should just stay home and watch TV or read.” So, in a lot of cases, that’s exactly what I do.

And yeah, I’ve got some regrets because of it. I’ve missed some truly phenomenal shows, sometimes even when I could have gone, and that kinda sucks.

Part of the problem, at least for me, is that I haven’t lived in the Montrose for more than a decade now (although when I did live just down the street from Rudz, I only went to a handful of shows there, even then). Nowadays, it’s a trek from my southwest-Houston home up to someplace like Fitzgerald’s, or Super Happy Fun Land, or the new White Oak Music Hall. So that plays into it pretty heavily, really. There’s just not a lot in my neck of the woods in terms of live music.

Okay, let me amend that — I didn’t think there was much down in my relative ‘hood where I could go see some damn good bands. Lately, though, I’ve had to revise that conclusion, and tonight (Thursday, September 8th) is a damn good example of the reason why.

See, there’s this place just down the road in Stafford (which you might know as that little town full of churches that’s wedged in-between H-town proper and Sugar Land) called the Redneck Country Club.

Now, I know, I know — yeah, I get it. When I was first contacted by the RCC folks, I’ll admit I rolled my eyes somewhat, and there wasn’t a whole lot going through there that I liked. It’s a country joint, after all, and that’s not truly my thing.

Lately, though, they’ve been bringing some significantly bigger names through, and that’s a seriously cool thing to see. In the last year they’ve had Merle Haggard, John Evans, Billy Joe Shaver, and Uncle Lucius come through, and in the not-too-distant future they’ve got Robert Earl Keen (playing this coming Friday, September 9th), Ray Wylie Hubbard (October 8th), Kris Kristofferson(!) (October 9th), Billy Joe Shaver again (November 18th), and Charley Pride (November 26th), among others. Even for a non-country-fan like me, that’s looking pretty cool.

Best of all, tonight the Redneck Country Club is playing host to none other than Memphis-bred band Lucero, of whom I’ve been a big fan since 2005’s Nobody’s Darlings, and Houston expat Robert Ellis, whom I freaking love to death.

If you’ve never heard Lucero, they’re less “country” than they are Springsteenian roots-rock/Americana, with Ben Nichols spinning these complex-yet-brutally-honest story-songs of loss and booze and failure, all in that inimitable rasp of his. Check out “The Man I Was,” off last year’s excellent All a Man Should Do:

As for Robert Ellis, I don’t know if I can even explain how much I like the guy’s music. He’s like all of the best things about old-old-old-school country music that I love, minus all the crap I don’t, combining Willie, Waylon, Johnny, and Hank with a modern sensibility in a way that makes him sound classic but somehow not dated.

I forced my wife and two kids to listen to his album The Lights from the Chemical Plant a year or so ago, and to my elated surprise, they loved it as much as I did; the kids now ask to hear his music when we’re in the car together.

I’ve probably mentioned this before on the site, but we were down in Surfside Beach one afternoon, hanging out on the sand near my father-in-law’s then-beach house (he’s since sold it, unfortunately), and we decided to drive away from the beach and towards the sunset, which happens to go down over the chemical plants across the water in Freeport and Brazosport.

We sat in the car (too many damn mosquitoes) and listened to the title track off Chemical Plant as the sun went down behind the smoke-belching vent stacks and bulbous containers and the lights slowly came on. It may sound strange, given the setting, but it was pretty incredible, not to mention heartbreaking, given the song itself.

Anyway, that’s enough blathering from me; now watch Ellis play (with the also-awesome Kelly Doyle) on NPR‘s Tiny Desk Concerts:

Now that you’ve done that, make your plans to leave the Heights or the Montrose or Midtown or East End or wherever else behind and head down to my neighborhood(-ish) for once, alright? It’ll definitely be worth the drive.

Post by . This entry was posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2016. Filed under Posts.

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