You get these four Texas musicians on the same stage, at the same time, and the total of their musical experience and the number of musicians with whom they have worked and the results can be staggering — more than 100 years combined. True Texas Troubadours, Shake Russell, his trio members Doug Floyd on mandolin and Mike Roberts on bass, have been joined lately by Michael Hearne and what was a trio of acoustic arrangements and three-part harmonies take on another dimension. Yet, all the while, it remains true to — if a genre you must — Texas/New Mexico Southwest Cowboy Americana Original Folk Country… you get the drift…
The foursome played Saturday night (Aug. 11) at Poor David’s Pub on Lamar Street in downtown Dallas, possibly the best listening room in the area with the best of the best sound systems and the best sound man working it all. It also has Mike on the front door, himself a former touring musician who greets every patron with a demeanor that sets an upbeat tone for the night as they walk in.
Shake emerged on the Texas music scene in the 1970s on the third coast of Texas, about the same time that Michael Hearne was beginning his career in the Dallas area. Both men are songwriters, in addition to their lead vocals and, in Michael’s case, extreme acoustic guitar pickin’. Mike Roberts began touring with bands plus or minus a few years of that, and Doug Floyd has been plucking his mandolin since practically they were invented.
And, in spite of all that past experience, it was one band on stage, not four musicians up there doing their thing. The Shake Russell Trio has been touring together about 9 years, and, Floyd said, they have never even had so much as one argument. Each knows his job both on stage and off. And Hearne, who has been songwriting with Russell for a while now, joined that band Saturday night, having as much fun listening to Floyd on his mandolin as he did harmonizing on Russell’s songs. And when Roberts took a break on his bass, all three men watched and listened in awe, as if they had never heard such pickin’ before.
Poor David’s Pub is bringing another Texas giant in next week, Aug. 17, and that being Kinky Friedman. You can watch the live music calendar here for future gigs there, and also for future Michael Hearne and Shake Russell Trio gigs, including Hearne’s upcoming Barndance/Festival in Taos, N.M. in early September.