My parents immigrated from Germany in the 1950s, so I’m a first-generation American. I missed out on the big family experiences most of my friends had. I never got to hang out with my cousins or go to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. No family reunions for me.

"I WANNA ROCK!" I'm sure my parents had The German Hour playing on the radio. An early
appreciation for the accordion probably explains my love of Flaco Jimenez.

But Sunday at Tycoon Flats, I was part of a big, multigenerational, multicultural family -- my musical family. Ever since I rediscovered the world of live music about two years ago, I’ve felt like I’ve been welcomed with open arms.

Gary Loper, T-Bone Bland, W.C. Clark, Ruben V and Onel Jimenez

When I used to go to the big arena shows, I felt no personal connection to the performer, no matter how much I paid for my ticket, how close I sat to the stage or how loudly I screamed their name. And if I took a camera and shot a photo from my usual nosebleed seat, even the images on the giant screens looked small and insignificant.
On Sunday it was like a cross between a family reunion and homecoming. There was Ruben V and Catherine Denise on stage, Robin Bland shooting photos alongside me and her husband T-Bone playing drums.

Catherine Denise

T-Bone Bland

Robin Bland

Sitting at the picnic tables around us there were musicians supporting their own -- storyteller and artist Chris Taylor, guitarist Tony “T.C.” Cuellar of Charlie and the Cool Cats, and the incomparable Sauce Gonzalez, keyboardist and leader of the West Side Sound.
There were new friends like Gary Loper of the Bluebucks, thanks to Facebook. And from when I was lucky enough to co-host a couple of shows on KSYM’s Third Coast Music Network, there was Dave Ludwig.

Ruben V

The Godfather of Austin Blues, W.C. Clark

Gary Loper of The Bluebucks

I also saw a lot of familiar faces...kind of like those distant cousins twice removed that you don’t know well enough to talk to but you always get a pleasant smile and nod of the head from them.
The weather was pleasant and the thermometer finally dropped below 90. The food was tasty and the beverages were cold. I can’t think of a better way to have spent a Sunday afternoon.
Just me and mi familia.


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