The Hancock Rec Center was already buzzing with activity when I arrived for the dance. A group of people milled about on the wooden floor, waiting for the lesson to start. Rich MacMath started the lesson by getting everyone to laugh, and it only got better from there.What. A. Dance!
The dancers were experienced, responsive, and joyful. The music was energetic and fun. The house band changed throughout the evening as players came and went, skillfully led by Max (fiddle) and Earl (mandolin). And when it was my turn to call, this crowd gave me the warmest welcome I could have asked for on my first night of my tour.
What can I say? I love Austin. This is a welcoming, funky, sultry city. My host, Elise, graciously welcomed me into her home where we chatted over coffee about music, politics, travel, family, and change. The first night I arrived we went to an old-time jam (scroll down for a recording!) and took a nighttime drive around the city. She gave great recommendations of things to do, and we even got to work together when she played in the contra dance band.
Oh, and did I mention: HONKYTONK. I two-stepped. Is that even a verb?
Austin, I love your strange antiques-shop aesthetic, your warm residents (and residences), and your commitment to having a good time. Thanks for the wild ride. I hope to see you soon.
Clip from Tuesday’s old-time jam: