Derick won on this one. It was about 8:00 pm on Friday night,, and we had debated going to see Willy Porter live at the Saxon Pub in Austin or revel in one of those concert events at Amway Center. We try to take advantage of the Austin live music scene, but by virtue of our (my?) lifestyle, we sometimes fall short (combined with the fact that it is not cheap to see good live music). Tonight we went to see decided to venture out. Saxon Pub is a small little bar, with a bit of a cozy, cabin kind of feel. I knew a few Willy Porter songs that I had heard from the CD Derick bought last summer. We had caught the song “How to Rob a Bank” when we were back in the mountains of North Carolina on a local public radio station.
Needless to say, he completely blew us away. While we do not see live music often in Austin, we have picked some damn good ones… Brandi Carlile a few times, Robert Earl Keen, Indigo Girls, James McMurtry, & Mason Jennings, to name a few. I was resistant to going out, seeing that it was 8:00, and I was crouched down on the couch with dinner, comfy clothes and a tasty beer. I have this weird thing that if I am not out by dinnertime, I usually don’t want to go anywhere…anytime past about 7:00 and am then in for the night. But I rallied, figuring I had no real ‘good’ excuse to get to bed early tonight, knowing that it was better to spend a few hours expanding our minds than falling asleep on the couch to a mediocre movie. We headed to Saxon Pub around 8:30 and were in for a treat.
Succinctly, he was incredible. Absolutely raw talent. A hell of a good sense of humor. He plays a guitar like a mad man. It was just Willy, his guitar, his voice and occasionally, a harmonica. Willy was scheduled to play at 9, and, god forbid, he was out at 9:00! No ‘opening band’. Don’t get me wrong, an opening band is not a bad thing, but to me, ‘no opening band’ says that the artist does not think so highly of himself that he has to have someone ‘open for him’, thus making his fans wait even longer to hear him. Come on people, who does not like sleep? Big point #1 for Willy. He can improvise (he devised a song on a whim by topics presented from the crowd that included yoga, neopolitan, hula hoop, crack, & jack rabbit). My face hurt from laughing so much. When it came time for Willy to wrap it up (which he prompted after 75 minutes of straight entertainment), the eager crowd which had grown since the start cheered him onto more. Willy did not walk off stage, making us cheer him back, which again to me implies being highly fond of oneself and letting the crowd know it. After 30 seconds or so of loud cheering, he motioned ‘one more?’ to us and continued to stay on stage. He then did an amazing song about the midwest (he had me at ‘Wisconsin’) and how he was driving through Kentucky one night and encountered Jesus via a large truck; and he proceeded to have a deep conversation with Jesus, and his father. You had to be there…
I had to smile and appreciate my husband after this show; as Derick was correct in thinking that this was going to be a good one. From what Willy told us, he is originally from Wisconsin (hence his nice humble roots!) but seems to tour quite a bit (www.willyporter.com). If you enjoy a good singer-songwriter, and truly entertaining music, and a good time, check him out. You’ll leave simply ‘feeling good’ about the world and you’ll think twice about what ‘fame’ and talent really have to do with eachother. Because from my view, he is one of the most unrecognized talents out there.