Friendly Advice on Just About Anything by the Hill Country’s Happiest Songwriter

By Al Barlow

(May/June 2012/vol. 5 – Issue 3)

Dear Al,
I heard that your guitar was stolen a few weeks ago. Did you ever get it back? What’s up with all that?
— Susan, San Marcos

Hi Susan,
Yes, my beautiful Seagull was stolen from the trunk of my car back in April. I’d had this guitar for close to 15 years, and over the years, it helped me give birth to many Al Barlow songs. I’m surely going to miss it. I already do.

I’m not sure exactly where it was stolen. I put the guitar into my car trunk after playing my Sunday gig at the Phoenix Saloon, and then drove to San Marcos to attend the Lone Star Music Awards show at the Texas Music Theater. Well, some culprit took my guitar out of the trunk at one of these venues, I suppose, and made off with my guitar.

Well … when Kent Finlay at Cheatham Street heard about my loss, and word passed to Terri Hendrix, more and more friends got together at Cheaham Street Warehouse on Monday, April 16, to help raise some money to replace my Seagull. That just goes to show you how fortunate I am, getting to live in this region of the beautiful Lone Star State and have so many compassionate, true friends like I have here. Put those two things together, and I’m the luckiest man alive.

There were literally dozens of fantastic entertainers at Cheatham Street Warehouse that Monday night, and they all showed up to support me. I’ve never been more flattered and honored in my whole life. To be honest, I’m a little hesitant to try and name every artist who performed, because I’m sure I’ll accidentally leave someone out. But, wow! Here’s just a partial list of the wonderful friends and artists I got to hear that night: Lloyd Maines, Terri Hendrix, Owen Temple, Aaron Allan, Kent Finlay, Ashley Monical, Hallyanna Finlay, Jordon Minor, the Hems, Pake Rossi, Marshall Anderson, Bill Whitbeck, Kem Watts, and David Beck — just to name a few!

Again, I’m a very fortunate man, indeed. Enough money was raised to replace my old Seagull guitar with one very similar. Thanks to everyone who stood up for me during this crisis. I sure was sad when my old guitar disappeared, but when all was said and done, here I am feeling like the happiest man in all of Texas.

Thanks for writing, Susan!

Dear Al,
Are you planning another festival in Terlingua again this fall? My wife and I always look forward to spending some time out there with you guys. What’s the scoop?
— Bill, Bandera

Hi Bill,
Well I’m glad you asked, and the answer is, you bet! I’m so excited about our upcoming 18th Annual Terlingua Music Bash in October! This year our theme is going to be “The Year of the Mayan.” (Those Mayans sure are popular this year, aren’t they?)

Bill, I know you and your wife have come out to our Terlingua Music Bash before, so you already know what a good time we all have out there. So thanks for helping me share the word because we love seeing all our old friends and making brand new ones year after year.

As always, there’ll be free camping at Gareth Park, located across the road from the historic Terlingua ghost town. We’re expecting a fantastic crowd. Folks come not just from all across Texas but from as far away as Germany and Australia to bring their guitars and sing around the campfires with us. Every day and every night is filled with good ol’ Texas music, and you just never know who you’ll hear! Over the years, several notable singer-songwriters and musicians have played during the event, including Steven Fromholz, Susan Gibson, Michael O’Connor, Bret Graham, Mo Humble, and Pablo Menudo. We also throw a great big parade every year that winds up the road to the ghost town from Gareth Park. The parade is one of my personal favorite parts of the whole Music Bash. We even had the Sul Ross University Band march with us one year!

So mark your calendars now. The fun gets underway Oct. 16 and continues on until Oct. 21. The night of the big bash is actually on that Saturday (Oct. 20), but you should try to come out early so you also have plenty of time to check out some of the many fine establishments in the Terlingua-Lajitas area that showcase local artists. Whenever you get there, just be sure to look me up! If you don’t recognize me, look for a big ol’ goofy Mayan-looking dude with suspenders on.