Many things were going on Thursday, Jan. 20. It was my grandmother’s birthday. It was my boyfriend and mine’s monthaversary (yes, I went there). It was the beginning of the first weekend of my junior spring semester. But most importantly, it was very, very cold. At least for me and Texas. In spite of the cold, I fought my way to Lamberts, knowing that if anything was going to give a good start to such an awfully cold weekend, it was a night of comforting music and yummy food.
Well, the food part didn’t happen. The second floor of Lamberts, which held the stage for David Garza and Amy Cook that night, had every table full and bar seat taken. Reluctantly, I took a spot on the floor in front of the stage, in between 40-somethings drinking margaritas and waitresses pushing to get by. I was very prickly and tense. And still cold, and annoyed. I was being a woman. But then Davíd started playing, and everything settled down and what filled the room now was his music, laughter and applause.
Davíd went on for a short set, joined by 16-year-old Texan violinist Ruby Jane. They did wonderfully together, Ruby Jane giving Garza’s raw sounds a dreamier, bluesy turn. Garza claimed the theme of the night was Halloween, because it was always scary to perform new songs live. He gave us a few, the most memorable being “Blondie Cakes.” Like a third grader’s musical poetry, “Blondie Cakes” made Ruby Jane laugh as she played and a disgruntled audience member compared it to the dolphin song Brendan Fraser performs in Bedazzled. It seemed as if half of the audience found it amusing and the other half kind of ridiculous. Of course it was ridiculous, but Garza always adds humor to his music, humor to his set, and that’s the way he wins the crowd.
Ruby Jane sang as well, and it shocked me to learn she was so young. The definition of an old soul, Ruby Jane sang and played with guts and style, her deep voice and energy so beautiful. It was as if Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday had a baby and played her nothing but Cash when in the womb. Freaky. But lovely.
I was done complaining because I did get the warmth from comforting music and fine, I didn’t get food, but I did get me some drinks. In between David’s and Amy’s sets, unfortunately, a lot of people walked out. But as soon as Amy Cook took the stage and she started playing and jumping around, her dusty blonde hair waving, the people who stayed made some noise. Cook’s set was very enjoyable, most of all because her music is crowd-pleasing and fun. Poppy country rock, with a great voice and sexy attitude, Cook gave us songs of foolish hearts and rainy days. She joked around with the crowd, asking for suggestions for her band’s name and yelling out to David to stop flirting at the bar and join her on the piano.
They played great together. Both singer-songwriters were at ease and having fun. Their music is simple music, stories that have been told with riffs that have been used. But it still works because it has such an energy. And the freezing night outside seemed warmer, if only just for a couple of hours.
(Live photo by Hanlly Sam)