Rodney Parker and 50 Peso Reward – They Do It Exactly Like I Like It
As I mentioned in my Aaron Einhouse post, on a warm Saturday night I ventured out to The River City Grille in Marble Falls for good eats, good music and cold beer. That is just what I found – and then some.
I had seen Rodney Parker and 50 Peso Reward at Sam’s Burger Joint in February, opening for Sean McConnell… it was instant love. When I saw that they were back in the area, I knew it was time to visit Marble Falls. The River City Grille is a venue I will definitely visit again. Located on banks of Lake Marble Falls, you can sit on the lower patio by the lake. The river breeze felt great. The food was superb. The beer was cold. Add the tunes coming from the lakeside corner of the patio and you had the makings of a perfect Texas night.
Their music is somewhere in that nebulous land between country and rock, forged in the red dirt and dust of North Texas. The band features Rodney Parker, a serious songwriting talent whose voice has a Jakob Dylan vibe, but with better diction. The lead guitar player rocks a Peavey T-60 through a Vox amp, which gives the band’s sound a rich and solid guitar foundation when mixed with Rodney’s beautiful Taylor acoustic and a pedal steel. The bass and drums were spot-on, creating a very well executed, tight mix.
They opened with Firefight, a song with sounds like a rollicking horseback ride across the old west, but whose lyrics include, “We’re all so soft and clean, like a hundred dollar bill in a washing machine.” They covered Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City and Kinky Friedman’s Wild Man From Borneo, both of which were wonderful takes on classics. I’m Never Gonna Get Married is destined to remain a single guy’s anthem (good luck with that fellas…), cleverly followed by a cover of Linda Ronstadt’s Willin’.
Megaphone is a dirty little ditty about meeting someone at a wedding, and goes on to describe an elevator encounter in a most evocative manner. Good thing there was a cool breeze blowing off the lake…. (…I ordered another and one more for another, and left the reception but this time I am not alone…. we’re inside the Ash hotel, in an elevator inside a perfect stranger…. I make my decision, I crumble to the ground, I rise to the ceiling, I whisper in a megaphone….) Evocative, no?
If I had to pick one favorite, however, it would be Guitars. This song is the In Search of Betty title track. It describes perfectly how I feel each time I think I might find that other plane, the one that can only be reached on the sound waves of good music. It’s the song that plays in my head every time I’m on my way to see a Tab Benoit, or a Seth Walker, or a Carolyn Wonderland, or a Rodney Parker.
Standing in the dark just a little too long,
I can’t see it but I know it’s true.
It might be the sun or it might be a song,
but something is coming alive in you.
So bring me a jar full of lightning bugs.
Take my hands and move your feet.
Shine a light on a ditch that I have dug.
Put your fingers on your wrist and count to me.Cause I’ve been waiting, staring up at the stars.
Yeah I’ve been waiting, for the beam of the morning light,
anticipating the part when the music starts.
Well the guitars are coming alive tonight.
The guitars are coming alive tonight.
The guys were toasting the departure of their drummer Saturday night. I couldn’t resist drinking a shot of tequila with them. And then, all the way home, I couldn’t help thinking it might be time for a tattoo…. What? Oh yeah, THAT’S why I don’t drink tequila anymore. Next time, I’ll try to stick to the Grey Goose.
Here’s hoping they find a new Peso soon, and that the road brings them back on my radar in the very near future. In the mean time, there’s always Guitars (and Megaphone, but only on special occasions.)