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I’m going to try and remember this business the best way that I can, but I’m sure I’ll boot some of the dates and faces. Sometime back in 2009, two groups of fellas got together to play some music in Nate’s bedroom on a Saturday night. One group was me (guitar), Sam Burkett (mandolin), and John Adam (guitar). The other was Nathan Brown (bass), Larry Gerard (drums), and Teddy Keoughan (keys). We jammed through a bunch of traditional stuff and Grateful Dead songs that we had in common and were so bad that the goldfish jumped straight out of the bowl.
The fun was there, however, and promises were made to make more noise soon. We’d move over to my house, the carriage house right off the bricks, so we could be loud and obnoxious. Packed into a 200 square foot room, mic cables, amplifiers, and instruments stacked so densely, that I swear I could smell the ozone. Pretty quickly, the night moved to Thursday so weekends weren’t lost. And that’s how it’s stayed ever since.
The word got around to other players and folks that just needed to blow off some steam and they’d stop in to visit. Dr. Terry Leslie (guitar) and Rudy Cox (guitar) were fixtures. One night I counted seven guitarists and why the police never came, I have no idea. On trash day you hear the crash of the beer bottle recycler all the way down Camp Bowie. Then, Nate and I built a deck on the front of the house and that’s where we’d take our breaks and receive guests.
April 1, 2011, we played our first gig at a restaurant that Nate owned on Lake Texoma. I came up with the name “Bomber Spur” a week before so that we’d have something to put on the marquee. It was a rail spur that cut West FW and supplied Carswell with the bomb. All six of us spent the night in Nate’s little trailer house and we had a great time, but we didn’t really know how to engineer the sound. Still, it wasn’t a bad crowd and those folks loved it.
We played a gig every other month or so in a lot of the pubs on this side of town. Nate and I started to write some originals and we hit on the idea of turning that deck into a stage and throwing a big yard party with BBQ and kegs. Sam’s folks always had a party on the third of July and when they retired from it, I stole the date. 2012 was the first one and it’s become a tradition, too.
Jessica Schemmel (vocals), who lived behind Nate, started coming around. She’s a classically trained vocalist and music teacher and added some talented girl power to the thing. Some of the fellas would joke that it was nice to have a pretty woman on stage so that the audience could look at something besides middle age ugliness. But, she can sing.
We started recording some of our originals with Johnny Reno (Sax) in his personal studio. It was a long effort, taking 3 years to complete, but such a great education and he’s just a terrific dude. In that time, Sam Burkett got married and John Adam started a demanding job. Teddy just had too far a weekly commute from College Station. Those guys still get together with Dr. Terry out in Birdville every now and then and Larry, Nate, Jessica, and I, kept our Thursday date.
William Williams (guitar) played with us for while. He’s a brilliant player and his dedication taught me to take all this a lot more seriously. Scott Lennox (mandolin, harp, fiddle, and banjo) came around and stayed. He gives us depth. Jessica moved to California for her husbands work and we miss her cheer and her pipes. She still comes around when she’s home.
Some nights, it’s just Nate, Larry, and I. And through all the revolving doors, the big crowds and empty rooms, our glowing successes and the nights where we could drive goldfish to suicide, we still love being in Bomber Spur as much as we ever did. We hope you are entertained.