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Why The Square?

Last time, I was talking about how we’re fans of James McMurtry, the alternative-country or Western Rock musician. And, I mentioned that when we lived in Boston and New Mexico, we would always try to catch him when he was on tour. And, finally, I said that when we moved to Texas we thought we were going to be seeing him regularly because he has a regular gig at The Continental Club on Wednesday nights.(1)


So, we figured, it would be a snap to get into the city and see him on a regular basis...


Yeah. Right.


Okay, a bunch of things happened to make that rosy picture a bit more mud-colored. First, we moved to Georgetown, Texas, just in time for Covid to hit with a smash, a bash, and a crash. No one was going on any musical performances in confined spaces for quite a while.


Second, even when the pandemic let up, there were a couple of other issues to be faced. Like, for instance, McMurtry appears at the Continental. But, when we first found out about the club and his appearances there, we were told that he showed up after midnight. That is, after 12 a.m. As in, YIKES! (Special note: see footnote #2 below.)


That’s a little difficult for us senior citizens to manage these days. By twelve I’ve usually been in my ye olde jammies for a couple of hours. And snoring for most of those.


But, we could manage it...at least to see McMurtry... if we had a nap during the day. Okay, cool...


Except...



About the photos: First, a shot of the Arnold and Doris Roland Sculpture Garden, just outside the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture on Museum Hill in Santa Fe. Very much worth a visit.



Getting in and out of Austin from Georgetown is not as easy as you might think. In theory, it should be a breeze. In theory, you just go down I-35, pop over onto the North Mopac Expressway, take the Cesar Chavez Street exit, and then head to South Congress. Easy Peasy. Just a 46-minute drive. What could be simpler?


Answer: almost anything. Going down I-35, or Mopac, at night...isn’t easy. Traffic is heavy, even at night. Plus, some of your fellow drivers include wanna-be cowboys in big-a*ssed trucks going 100 mph in 55 mph zones. After maybe a few beers. And several tequila shots. In short, let’s just say that driving can be exciting.


And we haven’t even touched the issue of driving back to Georgetown after the performance. Assuming that we were there for two hours, we would be heading home some time around two a.m. (Yikes.)


And while we’re talking about things that we haven’t talked about yet...there is the whole issue of parking.


Okay, but there’s a way around this. You stay over in the city--with the kids or at a B&B, or at a hotel -- and take a Lyft or Uber to and the from concert. See? Problem solved.


Except...the kids have a smallish house and two small children. They don’t really have the room for us. And as for a B&B, or a hotel, first you’ve got to find one. Which is harder in Austin than you might think. This city is a busy place. And then you’ve got to get your ride-share. And on and on and on...


Long story short, for four... almost five...years now we’ve managed to live a few miles away from McMurtry, and still not managed to see him.


Oh, we will get it done eventually. Eventually, we will figure out the system, and find a place to stay, and make sure we can get an Uber or Lyft or taxi even at two (or three) in the morning...and we’ll finally get to see McMurtry at the Continental. But it may not be real soon.


All of which is to explain why it was that we decided to make the New Mexico trip when we did. The big reason, of course, was we were just looking for a time to visit old haunts and see old friends. And we were trying to get out of the Texas summer heat.



Second, and as per norm, nothing to do with the story (but I like the photo), here’s Martha having a bit of lunch yesterday (June 19, 2024) in the Roaring Fork, a restaurant in downtown Austin.


But, when Martha had been scoping out our trip, Martha had seen that James McMurtry was giving a free concert in the Santa Fe Plaza! It was part of a city-wide music series. Whoa! she said. A New Mexico trip...topped off with a McMurtry concert!


What more could you ask?


And so it was that our travel plans just happened to include a particular day in Santa Fe...when the weather would be fine...and the music would be McMurtry.


Which I will get to...next time.


More to come.



Footnotes:



1. Austin’s Continental Club has its website here: https://continentalclub.com/


2. This no longer seems to be the case, or maybe it was never the case and I was just misinformed. Anyway, I just checked the Continental Club’s webpage (the Austin, not Houston page) and it says that James McMurtry now appears somewhat earlier, particularly in what’s called “The Gallery.” The Austin Continental Club has its regular performance space, but it seems to have another area, The Gallery, which is a smaller and more intimate venue. McMurtry is listed there as appearing as early as 8:30 pm. See: https://continentalclub.com/thegallery





Copyright©2024 Michael Jay Tucker


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