Redbird Listening Room’s One Year Anniversary
I’m crunching stones on a gravel road in the river beds of Blanco, Texas praying my crumbling tires won’t explode. I’ve got an hour to cut around Canyon Lake and cruise through Wimberley for the Redbird Listening Room’s one year anniversary.
“This old house was built in the 30’s,” co-owner Dallas Burrow said, “and honestly it was really my mom’s idea. I didn’t think in a million years it would ever work. I didn’t see the vision that she saw, but low and behold its turned out to be an incredible thing. We’ve had some amazing shows here, and the Reed Brothers were our second show, so it’s very fitting that they would be here for our year anniversary show.”
When owner Carolyn Lehmann found the property on the edges of New Braunfels, it needed a serious renovation to turn the nearly century old home into a viable music venue. Family and friends came together to install woodwork, condition the floors, and renovate the yard and outdoor area. The seating is a combination of lobby style chairs you would find in a vintage shop window and donated church pews. The sound is the highest quality and the cooperation of the audience creates a connection that you often wouldn’t find in the entertainment districts around the Hill Country.
“We opened up with Dale Watson, and the Reed Brothers were here the next week,” Burrow said. “We just wanted to create a place inspired very much by places like Cheatham Street Warehouse and Kent Finlay, the Old Quarter in Galveston, the Bluebird in Nashville and places like that. I just didn’t feel like there was anything like that around here. So with a little elbow grease, and having a vision, we pulled it off.”
Missoula Slim, a long time staple in the songwriting scene and President of the Cheatham Street Music Foundation, gave a commendable opening performance. Slim spent the past two decades in the railyards of San Marcos, watching rising stars grace the stage weekly at Kent Finlay’s songwriter night. He now gives young writers an opportunity to perform through the non-profit.
“Ever since I first started going to the Cheatham Street songwriters night, Slim has been a fixture over there,” Burrow said. “Slim is just an incredible guy, incredible songwriter, performer, and I’m excited to have him on the bill this afternoon.”
Missoula Slim performs at the Redbird Listening Room. Photo by Andrew Blanton.
Slim’s performances can always surprise you, as he builds off of a set list of over two hundred original songs.
“I’m a songwriter and singer from Missoula, Montana, and Kent Finlay gave me this name around 2005… forty thousand hamburgers ago,” Slim said as the audience laughed and he launched into a song about Texas Barbecue. “Every songwriter’s got to have a song about food.”
After attending almost a thousand songwriter nights at the Cheatham Street Warehouse, he has honed his craft and his proficiency on the guitar really sets him apart from the average songwriter. He can easily transition from open night at the comedy club to Oscar worthy heartfelt stories.
“When I was coming up in Montana, all my friends were in bands, and they all played in cover bands,” Slim said. “I wrote songs and I felt like I was some kind of freak, you know.”
Slim spent some time sitting in with his friends’ bands and performing, but his move to Texas changed everything.
“When I came down to Texas and went to the Cheatham Street Warehouse for the first time, I walked in there and looked around and everyone in that joint had a bone through their nose,” Slim said. “I found my tribe finally. So it’s so nice to have you all here be a part of that tribe.”
Keegan and Kyle Reed gave an incredible two hour performance that showcased two decades of writing and performing throughout the Southwest. The amount of time the brothers have spent learning how to anticipate each other’s moves really shows. The subtlety of their accompaniment created a rich atmosphere, and their harmonies really sent their performance to the next level.
“This is my favorite room in New Braunfels,” Kyle Reed said. “Happy Birthday to the Redbird.”
The Reed Brothers perform at the Redbird Listening Room. Photo by Andrew Blanton.
The Reed Brothers have an ability to take popular forms of music that may have become commercialized over time, and bring it back to the essence of songwriting that grips you to the core. They especially do a great job of taking the coastal beach sounds found in popular country in the song “Letting Yourself Down, “ and use the familiarity to their advantage to reach the listener.
“Thank you all for having us out this evening,” Keegan Reed said. “It’s a treat to play in a room full of people that are here to listen and participate in what we’re doing, and we thank you for being here for that.”
The Reed Brothers use many forms of popular Americana structures, incorporate beautiful “Midnight in Harlem” esc slide guitar and subtle guitar solos on their matching Gibson J-45s, use harmony most bands would dream of having, and tell a great story. They really have an incredible show.
The owners have done an amazing job throughout the past year, bringing in legends of the Texas songwriter’s scene, encouraging working musicians, and handing the stage to aspiring writers at their weekly songwriter night.
More information on the Redbird Listening Room can be found here:
Information on the Reed Brothers can be found here:
Information on the Cheatham Street Music Foundation can be found here: