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Music, memories, and Mexican food

 
Music, memories, and Mexican food
Tyler Rakowitz jams May 29 at Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant in downtown La Vernia. The Tuesday evening jam sessions have become a regular event.

Tuesday jam sessions have it all

On Tuesday nights, you can enjoy the sounds of country, bluegrass, folk, Irish, and gospel music at Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant in downtown La Vernia.

Last week, 12 musicians and a number of singers gathered in a back room of the restaurant to share their music. Performers from age 14 to 85 sang, strummed, fiddled, and picked out tunes, ranging from such favorites as “Cryin’ Time,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Just a Girl I Used to Know,” to “Crash On The Highway,” “Lovers’ Waltz,” and “Ashokan Farewell.”

Many people in the back room sang along with the players and clapped when each song was done. The microphone was passed around the circle and each performer got to be featured with their voice, song, or instrument.

These “jam sessions” started a couple of years ago by local Irish fiddler Gary Pursley and guitarist Jodee Doyle. They were joined by regulars Doug Walpole, Carrol Sammons, Sandy Torins, Otis Mills, Pat and Wayne Dubose, and Tyler Rakowitz, a 16-year-old fiddler and saxophone player in the La Vernia High School band. Last Tuesday’s guest performers included Bubba Buckley, Josť Ramirez, Frank Kosub, and Joshua Wootan, a 14-year-old guitar player and singer.

Walpole was born in 1927 and took two instruments to the session, a guitar and a mandolin.

Sammons was a noted recording artist who performed with the “Circle C Band” for 50 years; he also performed with Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Ray Price. Born in 1932 right here in La Vernia, Sammons on lead guitar could be seen on TV on his weekly show, “Ranch House Party” and heard on the radio; he has several old 45s of his recordings.

Wootan is the great-great-great-nephew of the renowned Bill Monroe, known as “the father of bluegrass” and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- as an “early influence” -- in 1997.

Ramirez, who majored in music at the University of Southern California, has done many orchestral arrangements professionally.

If you enjoy listening to or playing folk music, gospel, bluegrass, country, or Irish tunes, spending a couple of hours at Los Compadres in downtown La Vernia may be the perfect evening for you. Sessions run from 7-9 p.m. every Tuesday evening. Be sure to grab a plate of the restaurant’s tasty Mexican fare while you’re there.

 
 
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