Mystery Monday — El Mercado — Austin; Nov 26, 2012
Yep, South Austin remains a special place. Even Monday nights can be magical. Even if the word
“bummer” is associated with them. This past Monday night found us at one of our regular spots, “our local bar” if you will — El Mercado on South First. It’s been our fallback spot for years. It’s where we go driving straight from the airport after a trip out of town. It’s where we go for a great “Mexican martini” and some of the best salsa in town. It’s not, however, where we have ever gone to hear music.
Things change. Thanks largely to the owner Tony working with Nate Kinney, the Director of Marketing and manager-with-many-hats, El Mercado has begun a new tradition of music on Monday nights. Or, more clearly stated, it is carrying on a continued tradition of ‘bummer” Monday night music that historically has occurred at Artz Rib House, which recently went out of business. JAX Neighborhood Café near the UT campus took over for a while, but it looks like the mantle will now fall on El Merc back in South Austin.
When we walked in we knew it was special. So many of the faces from Artz and the local clubs were there, patrons and musicians alike, along with KGSR and Waterloo Record employees, and generally loyal fans like the group we had.
Sarah Elizabeth Campbell and Christine Albert are the musicians at the core for the new “Mystery Monday”. They started the night, joined by David Carroll on bass and Jeff Tveraas on guitar. It sounded good, and the margaritas, enchiladas, and fajitas added to the mix, with Lex waiting on us with excellent care and service. At our table we even had a fine reunion of old friends and first time meeting of new friends, thanks to buddies Mike and Maribel who were in visiting from their home base in Costa Rica.
Next thing we know Tim O’Brien is on the stage. Yes, Tim O’Brien of Hot Rize fame. Jack and I have seen Tim many, many times – from Rice Fest to RockyGrass – but we surely didn’t expect to see him at El Mercado! Earlier, I noticed a guy “that sure looked like him” walking around, but decided my mind was imagining things. But there he was.
Another true favorite of ours, Marcia Ball, soon joined in as well! Needless to say, we felt blessed to be there – another outstanding historical night. We went home and played CDs of Tim, Marcia, Christine, and Sarah for the next couple hours.
On his recent album, Chicken and Egg, Tim has a song related to his father, Letter In The Mail, where he sings, “The farther I go down the track, the more time I spend looking back; I wander through my memories, more precious now than gold to me”. The song was already special to me since I too experienced the passing of my father earlier this year. Now it will have even more meaning as we recall this wonderful night.