Gin, Smoke and Lies
Historic Temple, Texas reads the sign as you move down Main Street into town. Historic is one word for it. Vintage, maybe. Worn, comes to mind, but my respect for the town after Thursday night cautions me to be kind. I drove North an hour and fifteen minutes to this fine town from Austin on Thursday night. Tomorrow is the kickoff of the 2013 Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL), which brings me running every year.
Why the detour to this historic place?
The Turnpike Troubadours.
"Who?" my good friends, themselves gearing up for ACL, asked. In fact, most folks I mention this red dirt band to utter some version of, "Who?" I don't know how that's possible, given the talent and energy of these guys, but I'm spreading the word. The Troubadours hail from Oklahoma and are made up of Evan Felker, R.C. Edwards, Kyle Nix, Ryan Engelman and Gabe Pearson. Start to finish, the Diamonds & Gasoline album is a foot-stomping affair. And, they were playing at O'Brien's Irish Pub Thursday night.
I met the owner of O'Brien's ahead of the event - truly nice guy - though I'm not sure his name is actually O'Brien. In addition to being a Connolly, I'm an O'Brien, so it felt like homecoming. The ghost of my Uncle Jim could have been behind the bar of this place. Nobody here orders a Cosmopolitan or a Lemon Drop Martini. Beer. Whiskey. Possibly Bourbon - a drink that reminds me more of Mississippi or Kentucky, but what do I know?
One thing I do know is that any trip to Austin, or the general vicinity, calls for a check on the schedule at O'Brien's in Temple. Live music multiple nights a week. Not the smoky, crammed into a crowded bar sort, either (though, that fits the bill sometimes, too). They set up a full sized stage at one end of Main Street, block off the other end, sell beer from the entry of the adjoining alley and light it up. It was perfection of sorts.