They say it comes in threes...

Gotta take a moment aside from the Louisiana merriment to pay some respects. The past few days have been pretty rough on the Austin music community.

On Wednesday, we very suddenly lost Poodie Locke, Willie Nelson's stage manager for over 30 years and owner of the beloved Poodie's Hilltop Bar & Grill out by the lake in Spicewood. More about him here and here. The last time Charlie & I saw Poodie was just several weeks ago, when we stopped in for a green chile Poodie Burger on the way to a nearby party. As always, we were all talking music nerd stuff, and the unassuming-but-highly-knowledgeable guy at Poodie's elbow turned out to be none other than legendary producer Bob Johnston. (He did a little record you might've heard of: Blonde on Blonde. Among many, many others.) That was the cool thing about Poodie and his bar. You just never knew who you'd meet, and Poodie treated us all the same. He was from Waco and was so amused that I'm from Bellmead. Which is, to put it politely, not one of Waco's finer areas. He even brought his sister Cindy over to me later at that same party, just to laugh about that. Even funnier, it turned out she knew some of my more, um, notorious family members back home. As he was leaving that evening, he brushed past me, patted my shoulder, and said, "Bomp-ba-bomp, Bellmead!"

Then yesterday, writer Bud Shrake succumbed to cancer. He was a very talented and prolific novelist, sportswriter, screenwriter, longtime companion of the late Gov. Ann Richards, and also friend to Willie Nelson and many others in Texas music. A true treasure to Texas arts and letters, as well as its people and culture in general. He's being buried next to Ann in the State Cemetery, which seems fitting not only because of his relationship with her, but also his invaluable body of work, which includes Blood Reckoning, Strange Peaches (about the JFK assassination), Willie: An Autobiography, Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, and the movies Songwriter, A Pair of Aces, and Another Pair of Aces.

And then a couple hours ago, we found out the incredibly talented musician and songwriter (and sometime actor) Stephen Bruton passed away this morning after battling cancer. He played with and/or wrote songs for Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Marcia Ball, and Willie Nelson, and so many others. He also sat in at the Saxon Pub every so often with The Resentments.

What a sad week, especially for Willie or what. Our hearts go out to him, the respective families and friends, and to Bonnie Raitt, who was also very close to Stephen and Poodie. (Actually, she once married Poodie briefly, years ago at a party, "until we all sobered up.") Oddly enough, she was scheduled to play a big concert here tomorrow night.

This quote from Stephen in the article above probably goes for all three of them.
“I’ve got no complaints. I get to do what I love. How many people can say that? And that’s worth more than anything. I’d be doing it anyway. And I’ve been very fortunate to do what I do for a long time.”

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