South Austin Moonlighters

Key to the Highway: South Austin Moonlighters

Interviews Key to the Highway Series

South Austin Moonlighters photo by Mark Del Castillo

Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series

Fans always clamor to learn more about their favorite, most beloved musicians and those who travel with them. There’s such an allure to the road, with its serendipity, inevitable surprises, and sometimes unexpected discomforts. This interview series is a set of questions we are asking some of our favorite roots rock Americana artists to get to know more about them and what they’ve learned and experienced on the road for music. We are sure they have key insights to share and stories to tell. Here’s one from Chris Beall and Lonnie Trevino of The South Austin Moonlighters.

Americana Highways:  How do you like your coffee or other morning wake-up beverage?

Lonnie Trevino: I like my coffee with a little vanilla and Half & Half or in a pinch the International Delight French Vanilla works just fine. I’ve recently discovered an African Mid Roast that is translucent like tea but tastes amazing and is packed with caffeine. And it needs very little cream and sugar. Delicious.

Chris Beall: Definitely coffee, and usually black. I’m off of the “added” stuff, most of the time.

AH: What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed (while on the road for music)?

Lonnie: The Crescent Hotel Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Haunted. For real. Really unique experience with a ghost tour. Some of the members of the band had to go down to the front desk and ask for another room, because they experienced paranormal activity. True Story.

Chris: Here’s a few: the mostly empty one in Houston that is essentially in the parking lot of the Astrodome! That was a nice hotel–that nobody stays at anymore because there aren’t any events at the Astrodome. Another crazy hotel experience was the run-down $200 hotel in Alpine where the door to the room wouldn’t close and I’m in there with thousands-of-dollars-worth of guitars all night. Contrast that to the beautiful $150 room in Tulsa that was so comfortable you’d never want to leave! The hotel experiences are crazy and many times just don’t seem to make any sense.

AH: If one CD is stuck in the player in the van for the entire tour, what do you hope it is? And why?

Lonnie: Little Feat; Waiting For Columbus (Deluxe Edition). It’s been my favorite album since I was 10 or 11 years old. It is a greatest hits of sorts and the performances are stellar. Although later in life I discovered a lot of the instruments and singing were redone in the studio after the fact, but who cares! I always listen front to back whenever possible.

Chris: Little Feat Waiting for Columbus. Or The Who Quadrophenia. Or Ry Cooder Paradise and Lunch. Or Boston’s first record. Or Poco…Or Amazing Rhythm Aces…It’s classic stuff that we all can dig. Harmonies, guitars, good songs, great grooves. We do like a lot of different stuff, and we love to check out new music that is “on-point.” We even love to check out stuff just to hear what the deal is–even if we don’t really like it too much. It’s good to do that–sometimes it opens up a new experience.

AH: What’s one personal item you must have with you on your road trip?

Lonnie: At the moment it’s my phone. It has all information, itinerary, calendar, GPS, and entertainment galore. It’s amazing how far we’ve come with this technology. I started touring before iPhones and the internet, so I’ve seen the transformation evolve in front of my eyes. In some ways it’s better and in other ways it makes traveling worse. But it’s a mainstay.

Chris: Toothbrush!!

AH: What is your relationship with food? How do you handle this on the road, and what’s your favorite dish on the road, (or restaurant, and what do you order there)?

Lonnie: On the road you eat when you can and where you can. It’s not always good for you, and you end up eating as fast as you can so you don’t waste time. Fast food, gas station food, mom and pop Restaurants, corporate chains, whatever you can do in as quick of a time you do it. And if you have a band that can eat together at one place, then you are winning the race. My favorites are the fried burritos at gas stations. So bad for you but so darn delicious. Also the cheese eggs at Waffle House.

Chris: I’m pretty easy–I like most things other than sushi. We’re all pretty easy when it comes to food, I think. That makes traveling a little easier, for sure!

AH: If you could pause your life for a few weeks and spend some time living in a place you only have passed through, which would you choose, and why?

Lonnie: Lisbon, Portugal. It’s beautiful! The wine! The food! The people! The countryside views! It’s magical.

Chris: Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains–Longmont, Montrose, Silverton, Fort Collins–maybe even the upper part of New Mexico. I just love the landscape and the different weather. It’s quite a departure from Mesquite trees and tumbleweeds.

AH: What quote or piece of advice have you gotten from someone on the road that has really stuck with you?

Lonnie: Stressing doesn’t change the outcome. This too shall pass.

Chris: Man, there’s a lot of advice! “Start your solos with something you can sing,”  “don’t take anything too personal on the road,” “bring your guitars IN when you go to the hotel.” I think the rest you learn by experience.

Find more information and tour dates for the South Austin Moonlighters here:

See other Key to the Highway interviews here: (click here for: Vince Herman Jimmy Smith  Ben Nichols Bruce Cockburn Charlie Musselwhite Nicki Bluhm Jim White Danny Barnes  Patterson Hood Jerry Joseph BJ Barham Rodney Crowell Todd Snider Elizabeth Cook Tommy Womack Eric Ambel, Dan Baird, Robbie Fulks, Malcolm Holcombe Jon Langford Steve Poltz, Lilly Hiatt  Sarah Shook & the Disarmers Sadler Vaden )

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