Willy Braun's other gig: Reckless Kelly. (Katie Garcia Photography)

Last Night: Songwriter's Showcase at House of Blues

9th Annual Songwriter's Showcase
December 19, 2007
House of Blues

Better than: Being at a BAR Association mixer.

Last night, country hunk Roger Creager hosted the 9th Annual Songwriter’s Showcase at the House of Blues. Despite the Mavs/Suns game going on concurrently, the crowd was large, lubricated and loud. Greg Williams, former sports talk show host on KTCK, the Ticket, once referred to the fans at the Mavericks’ games as the “cocaine and boob job crowd.” Well, if that’s the case, then the folks at House of Blues last night should be called the barbecue and boob job crowd. Cleavage was more than ample as fans hooted, hollered and yeehawed at every chance. Sitting in front of me were some quite attractive lawyers (why do they always tell you what they do?) who were fairly representative of this urban hillbilly phenomenon: Dallasites educated at SMU, who love to dress up all countrified, drink too many Bud Lites and scream whenever Texas gets mentioned.

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And last night, Texas was mentioned A LOT. Opening the show was a trio of great songwriters: John Evans, Gary P. Nunn and Max Stalling. Each got as intimate with the crowd as the cavernous main hall would allow. It was obvious the fans knew their country as Nunn’s “London Homesick Blues” was treated with the reverence and ruckus it well deserves. The next trio of singer/songwriters was Roger Creager, Bruce Robinson and Willy Braun from Reckless Kelly. The cute Creager was an audience favorite, but he’s almost too pretty to make music of consequence. Braun, on the other hand, really quieted the chatty crowd with the soulful and yearning “Wicked Twisted Road,” the title track of his band’s quality 2005 effort. Each performer alternated, but it was always Braun who turned the show away from redneck party central to a meaningful event. Roots music doesn’t need to be relegated to cornpone and Braun reminded the surgically enhanced crowd of this with every word he sang. -- Darryl Smyers

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