A Very Austin Christmas: The Making Of A Texas Tradition [Part Four]

Continuing The Tradition          

What is in my mind every year as we try to put the show together is a mix of hee haw and some of the old variety shows from my youth. Think Johnny Cash Show, Smothers Brothers, Sonny & Cher Show, etc. where the vibe was low key, the music was great, and it was totally, utterly unpretentious.

Part of what brought that feeling to our show was our duo albums, Cheater’s Game and Our Year. The Christmas show made our duo albums possible for us because it was something special for us to come together and play music together when we weren’t doing it elsewhere. Since we had gotten such great response during the Christmas show we were being asked more and more to perform together outside of the holiday season, so we ran with it and made Cheater’s Game and Our Year. I really felt those two records made our show better. We had music that was our duo as opposed to just singing harmony with each other. And so, the show has been a wonderful intersection of fun seasonal tunes as well as songs from our careers and really our careers themselves.

 

2014 & 2015 Tapings

I knew for a long time that I wanted to film some of our music - if you look at what’s out there from us on YouTube, it’s pretty depressing. It’s all things folks recorded on their phones, or videos from 20 years ago, or radio interviews, or hard to find. I knew the tightest thing that we had was the Paramount show. It had evolved over time, and we had tons of material we can chose from every year with the guys bringing in suggestions for new tunes that will be fun and fitting.

But, I also didn’t want our taping to be just about us. Didn’t feel like it would really be in the spirit of the show that had become such a big part of the community. So the first year I saved up for a professional crew and brought on Texas icons and some of my personal heroes, Joe Ely & Shawn Colvin.

The show was incredible, but when we looked back through the footage I realized that something was missing - the story. We picked our favorite songs from the night along with Joey & Shawn’s tunes and it ended up airing on PBS which was such a fun thing for me, but I knew that I needed to try again and do better. I still want Joe & Shawn to come through the studio and get to tell their amazing stories because they truly are such impactful artists in the culture of Country music, but that will have to wait for another time.

In 2015, I had booked Rodney Crowell as our special guest and knew that we had to get him to sit down and talk with us. I had in my mind a vision of putting together something like “The Last Waltz” directed by Martin Scorsese, and pulled together a huge team for this one with set design, wardrobe, makeup, film crew, live director, production assistants - really the whole nine. And so, the day of the show came and we sat down at our makeshift set in the basement of the State Theater. I still get chills thinking about all of the amazing stories that Rodney told us that day - everywhere from meeting Roger Miller, to recording with Willie Nelson, to writing Christmas songs with his kids - often dropping into song where the music told the story best. I’m so excited to present this show to you this year on December 20th through www.thenextwaltz.com.

 

Our 19th Annual Holiday Shindig

This year, we’re so proud to continue this tradition and play a small part in our community’s holiday celebrations. We could not be more thrilled to have Lee Ann Womack as our special guest this year at The Paramount on December 17th, and we hope to see you all along the way on the tour this year. Happy Holidays everyone!