I went out with friends tonight to Momo’s in Austin and had what was one of the best nights I’ve had in a while. Good friends, good music, and a “find” — a musician we never heard before and we’re still talking about.

First up was The Vermeers, a friend’s band. I love the Vermeers. They remind me of coming to Austin in 1987, when the music scene was exploding around me. They played some of their older stuff from the Sleepwalkers days as well as newer compositions. (V says they remind her of the Beatles and Elvis Costello. I just get flashbacks to those crazy slacker days when I could survive in Austin on sunshine, beer, and temp jobs.) They have a new member, Pamela Ryder (Rider?), whose voice is gorgeous and dreamy and like molasses. At one point I thought it was Allan singing! But it was Pam and it was fantastic.

Then came the real surprise — a guy named Jarrod Dickenson.

Remember this guy. He will be famous some day. We couldn’t believe what we heard. So listen up, Austinites — he’ll be playing at Momo’s every Monday night in March. You owe it to yourselves to hear him. His band included a violist who was quite simply phenomenal, a standup bass, and drummer, who one of my friends said, hey Middle Eastern drummer playing Middle Eastern beats to Americana-folk! It was that great.

I bought his CD and I’m listening to it now and it’s great, but seriously, catch him live. He was also sweet — came up to us after his set and introduced himself and thanked us for coming.

Next was Dustin Welch. Momo’s never got crowded, so we got a great show in an intimate setting. Outside the cold front was blowing in and inside the room was warm and cozy. Dustin asked us if he could wait for his mom to arrive before he started, as he hadn’t seen her in a while, since she lives in Nashville. She came about five minutes later, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and we settled in to another fine set. His fiddle player was unbelievable — wow, that girl could play. It was just Dustin, the fiddle and bass, and they were relaxed and laid back and beautiful. Probably my favorite song was Sparrows (?) which he said was on a compilation CD, Voices of a Grateful Nation, to support soldiers with closed head injuries and PTSD.

A word about Momo’s — I’m not a musician and even I could tell their sound system was amazing. We could hear every word, nothing was muddied or blaring. My friends who are musicians said Momo’s and the Parish have two of the best sound systems in Austin.

We left before the final two bands, only because we didn’t want to press our luck. We ended the evening on a perfect note, gathered out coats and went out into the growing storm.

Man, I need to get out more.


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