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Walking In Wimberley


So I had just gotten us to the lovely little town of Wimberley. I’d also hinted about the town’s secret weapon for keeping solvent in a world that, increasingly, doesn’t much care for small towns. It was my second such hint, so I figure I better explain pretty quick or I’m in deep doo-doo.


But, first...


So we walked from where we’d parked, went down a few steps, headed in the direction of the Creekhouse restaurant. We arrived, and were shortly after that seated. It was a rather pleasant moment, all in all. We were down on the seating area level and the big windows were open to the world. But it wasn’t yet so hot that we were uncomfortable. It was shady, and there was a bit of a breeze. A pleasant waitress took our orders -- Martha had a burger, I had a chicken thing -- and we both splurged on a glass of wine. Then, we waited for our food and took a moment to look out at the world.





About the photos: First, Martha looking smashing and a bit bemused as she considers the menu at one of the restaurants we’ve visited in Wimberley. I think this is Creekhouse again, but during our 2022 visit.


The view was excellent. We could see down toward the creek for which “Creekhouse” is named. There were also people seated outside--people of various ages and descriptions, several young couples, young families with children, retirees like ourselves. Everyone was dressed in that sort of well-apportioned causual that people have in warm resort towns in summer -- polo shirts, cargo shorts, athletic shoes or sandals.


And then I wondered...were any of these people famous? Because, you see, they could very well be.


I’m very bad at celebrity sightings. I was extremely near-sighted when I was young. For most of my life, the world was a great cloudy blur with the exception of the space right in front of me, where my glasses (thick as the bottom of an old fashioned soda bottle) brought things into focus. So I never really got into the habit of examining the faces of people around me in crowds and public gatherings.


And even today, now that my cataract surgery has made so many things so very different, I just don’t expect to see celebrities, so I don’t bother looking for them. And, well, here’s the bigger factor. I don’t know who a celebrity is, anymore. In the old days, I’d have picked out a Paul Newman or a Woody Allen or whoever, but, now, with all the new shows and programs and influencers, I have no idea who is supposed to be famous and who isn’t. Or why. Or if they should be. I’m just really lousy at being a fan.(1)


But, if I were to see a celebrity...there’s a really good chance that I’d see ‘em in Wimberlely.


Here’s the thing...and Wimberley’s secret weapon...for some reason, somehow, the town has become a kind of scaled down version of Santa Fe. That is, it has become a redoubt for celebrities, particularly famous musicians.


I have no idea why that should be the case, but it is undoubtedly true. Look at Wimberley’s page on Wikipedia, or take a glance at the music page on the Visit Wimberley site(2), and you’ll find an astonishing number of musicians, song writers, and music producers in residence here. Among the many who either do or have called this place home are Ray Wylie Hubbard, Buck Meek, Kevin Welch, Jimmy Neely, Bill Small, Carl Weathersby, Robin Ludwick and Susan Gibson. Sarah Jarosz (who you may have seen on “Transatlantic Sessions”) was raised here, although she no longer lives here.





Second, here’s a snap of a street and associated shops on the Square. This is how Wimberley looks when you’ve visiting, shopping, and strolling.


And, coming under the heading of past masters, Rupert Neve retired to and spent his final years here. Don’t know who Neve he is? You’re not alone. Few people outside the music industry do. But for people *inside* the industry, he’s a legend. Briefly, he was a British (later American) electronics engineer who developed some of the most advanced recording and audio editing equipment of the day. His customers included (wait for it) Aerosmith, Nirvana and...The Beatles. Basically anything that has do with recorded music, from country and western to EDM to World, he had a hand in. (3)


Finally, and perhaps the most famous of Wimberley’s music residents is a newcomer. In October of 2022, Paul Simon bought a house in Wimberley. Simon is, of course, a New Yorker, born and bred. But he is married to Edie Brickell, who is the first part of the group Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. The New Bohos are Dallas in origin, but the word in the press is that Brickell and the group are looking at renewed projects, and Wimberley provided a convenient location. She is quoted in The Dallas Morning News as saying, “So we got a place down in Wimberley that has a big jam barn. It’s a dream that we’ve had since we were kids, and it’s finally come to pass. We’re having so much fun playing there.”(4)


All of which is to say that the strange reality is that Austin is rightfully considered as a musician’s city. Everyone from Willie Nelson to the late Janis Joplin has found a venue here. But, at the same time, many of those same musicians have had their homes in Wimberley.


There is something profound in that. It says something about the future of cities and towns in America...in this curious age when all our assumptions about where we live, and how, seem suddenly subject to rejection, mutation, and change.


But, just then, the food came, and I forgot all about philosophy and futurism. There was, after all, a chicken sandwich to be ravaged. And I set about it with a will.


Next time, though, I’ll get to shopping in Wimberley, and a radio station with glass walls...and just a touch more of Paul Simon.


More to come.





Third, and finally, here’s an experiment. I took a photo of one of the rather mysterious mansions that are hidden in the woods around Wimberley. Then I tried to make it look like a watercolor illustration. See what you think.




Footnotes.


1. One exception. I know who Anthony Carrigan is. He’s the chap who plays the Chechen mobster NoHo Hank in the HBO series “Barry.” And the reason I know who is he is that he went to school with my son, David. They were even in a couple of plays together in middle school and high school. So, there you have it. A link to fame.


2. Wimberley’s Wikpedia page listing its notable residents is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wimberley,_Texas#Notable_people. Also see the Visit Wimberley page here: http://www.visitwimberley.com/music/listing.shtml


3. For more information on Rupert Neve, see his obituary in the New York Times, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/technology/rupert-neve-dead.html, and Wikipedia entry, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Neve


4. For more on Simon’s and Brickell’s move to Wimberley, see the following: “Paul Simon’s new house in Wimberley, Texas, has made him the talk of the town,” by Michael Granberry, Dallas Morning News, 10:46 AM on Oct 13, 2022; and “Edie Brickell & New Bohemians' surprise resurgence is happening in Austin's backyard,” Peter Blackstock, Austin American-Statesman, Feburary 21, 2021, https://www.statesman.com/story/entertainment/music/2021/02/21/edie-brickell-new-bohemians-rise-again-everyone-austin-area/6702306002/





Copyright©2023 Michael Jay Tucker



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