2010: My year in music

Posted by on Dec 30, 2010

I think 2010 will go down as one of the most satisfying music years in my life. It went something like this:

The year started with another solid Runaway Sun show at the Continental Club with Ben Mallott from Austin, TX as the opener. I loved this show. It was a nice release from several long months of work. In January I was still working two jobs, one as a research assistant at UT Med School, the other as a waiter at Block 7 Wine Company, in order to fund the production of Film Noir, my debut solo album, and I was really stressed out. I had been working those two jobs since August, and at this time I had been waking up extra early to fire out booking requests to NYC venues. Tired, stressed, and motivated, waiting for the time to come when I would have enough money to finish the album so I could get out of the med school cubicle. That day finally came in February. Three years in a cubicle with no windows were over. I went to Beaver’s with Chris Longwood to celebrate. Lots of friends came. It was the best feeling. It still feels good.  We were also asked to headline Houston Press Artopia.  Too much fun in January.

Another gift came in the form of a phone call from Jason Price at Warehouse Live. “Would Runaway Sun be available to open for Heartless Bastards Feb 26th?” I freaked out. I called the band mates, and everybody could do it except Brian (it was his wife’s 30th birthday). BUT WAIT! She let him off the hook, and we were on the bill. Brian bolted after our set. He did catch the Heartless sound check though. So did Clory Martin, and I could tell she was in awe. Clory ended up getting invited onstage to sing Be So Happy with Erica Wennerstrom at the Texas Crawfish Festival in April, but that’s a whole other story. You’ll have to ask her about that one.

In March, I was featured in Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, and Runaway Sun was invited to play in Austin for Houston@SXSW, and we had landed three bookings in NYC:

Runaway Sun, Live at Arlene’s Grocery

Live at Best Buy in Union Square
Legion Bar

Daniel, Marshall, and Brian flew to NYC while Monica Danna and I drove her mom’s gas guzzling Armada with all the band equipment, with stops in Nashville, Charlotte, and DC for a solo show at The Red and The Black with a really cool band called YARN. While walking around Brooklyn, I ran into Houston’s own News On The March. What are the odds? When we got back, it was time for my Film Noir Release Party at the Continental Club! My good friend Justus Brake flew down from Cleveland, OH to play upright bass. Dominika Dancewicz on violin, Val Young on cello, Bart Maloney on pedal steel, Marshall West on drums, and Zero filling in on bass for the Runaway Sun. Besides having my recording interface stolen, it was a fantastic night.

A month after the release party, there was this strange feeling. No more hours in the studio, no more two jobs or planning the big release party. Could it be? Did I really have FREE TIME? I had met a major goal of mine. I was almost broke from the NYC trip. What to do? Well, more music! I felt like I was on vacation- waiting tables, writing and performing. I played a Cactus Music In-Store performance with Bart and Daniel. This show was in a lot of ways more fun than the release party because most of the audience was strangers, and they stayed very quiet the entire set. Runaway Sun played House of Blues for an #SLGT event.

I took a break in June to prepare for my July debut at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck. This was the place I had dreamed of playing since moving to Houston, and the show was everything I had dreamed of, still my favorite show ever up to now. 2 ½ hours, featuring the Film Noir album, material from Runaway Sun, unreleased solo material, and a handful of covers, with a guest appearance by Clory Martin. Nick Gaitan on bass, Bart Maloney on pedal steel, Marshall West on drums, and Daniel de Luna on lead guitar. This show is what I want to do every night, and I know I will get to if I keep working harder.

In August, Runaway Sun played the Houston Press Music Awards showcase as Best Blues Group nominee, and we headlined the CitizenGulf Benefit show at the Continental Club along with Clory Martin, and Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man. Aurora Picture Show invited me to open a Willie Nelson film screening at Alamo Drafthouse, and I got to play in this huge movie theater. Daniel accompanied me on lead guitar, and after our set we kicked back and watched Willie do his this on the silver screen with all his buddies, and we dreamed.

In September, Mucky Duck invited me back, this time with Runaway Sun. This was also the first club Daniel ever played in at age 15, where he got scouted to go out on the road for his first professional tour. It was where Marshall and I met when I was looking for a drummer. It’s the birthplace for Runaway Sun.

Right around September, I got the idea of starting a new blues, jazz and swing cover band with Nick Gaitan called BangBangBOOM, and by late October, we had assembled a set list and recruited Bart Maloney on pedal steel and for UNTOUCHABLE THURSDAYS, our bi-weekly residency at Nouveau. This has been going very well, so well that Nouveau has asked us to perform every Thursday beginning in 2011.

The day after the BangBangBOOM launch, I flew to Cleveland for Justus’ wedding! He got married on the main stage at House of Blues Cleveland.

As soon as I returned to Houston, I moved into a new house (exhausting) and Ken Gaines invited me to play at Anderson Fair, the most historic singer/songwriter venue in Houston, and arguably the best room to play. The acoustics are amazing there, and so are the people and the quesadillas.

Runaway Sun at Via Colori 2010 is in my top 5 favorite shows. The stage configuration rocked this year- you could hear the bands from several blocks away.

Thanksgiving with the family! I brought my guitar and tried out the AndyRoo material on my niece Andrea & nephew Aiden. Success!

December – skidding into Dec 31st after a month of web site revisions, AndyRoo album musical arrangements, a show in Gulfport, Mississippi, a Gingerbread Buildoff at Market Square, Primer Grey Tweet Drive, a complimentary teeth cleaning from Musicares, and a New Year’s Eve show at Discovery Green with Runaway Sun for Gloworama! Hot Damn!

Stick around for 2011!  New album from Runaway Sun, and the debut album of my children’s music project,

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