Ray Wylie Hubbard

Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Co-Starring Too" album features Hubbard performing with many of his idols and peers. It was listed among Dale Martin's top releases of 2022.

This year’s New Year’s Eve celebration will be an extra special one that only happens every seven years.

Dec. 31 falls on a Saturday night, which means it is one of the rare times that our city can celebrate the New Year at midnight, rather than 11:30 p.m. like we usually have to do.

If Dec. 31 falls on any night other than a Saturday, all local bars must close at midnight. This means that everyone must do their New Year toast at 11:30 p.m. rather than midnight.

On Saturday nights, bars are allowed to stay open until 1 a.m., so you can toast the New Year at midnight.

There are a lot of New Year’s Eve parties scheduled around town, so to help you pick which one to attend, I have listed them alphabetically.

Billy’s Ice will host Stewart Mann & Statesboro Revue. The website lists 9:30 p.m. as the start time and tickets are available at BillysIce.com.

You can enjoy live DJs Jesse & Jerry to provide the fun at Downtown Social’s New Year’s Eve party.

Freiheit Country Store has two bands on tap for their year end show. You can enjoy the country sounds of Gabe Garcia and Mario Flores, and both will bring their full bands.

Over at Gruene Hall, the Mavericks will conclude a three-night stand with a special New Year’s Eve show.

Gruene’s Last Call will have Emmanuel Tomes at 9:30 p.m., performing until midnight.

Happy Cow Bar & Grill welcomes the Ben Costa Band beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Way out in Luckenbach you can enjoy two great bands, Small Town and Kin Faux, on Saturday night.

New Braunfels Elks Lodge has Burgundy playing their New Year’s Eve Bash starting at 8 p.m.

Local classic rock band 3 Man Front will ring in the new year at the Phoenix Saloon. According to their website, this is a free show.

Down the street at the Pour Haus, Mark Monaco & the Strayhearts will take the stage at about 9 p.m.

Riley’s Tavern welcomes local Americana singer-songwriter Dallas Burrow and his band for what will be a great New Year’s Eve Bash.

If you find yourself in San Antonio on Saturday night, Sam’s Burger Joint has Damn The Torpedoes scheduled. They are a popular Tom Petty tribute band and will start their show at 9 p.m.

Downtown at the Side Car, they will feature the Dirty River Jazz Band for their year end party.

Last but not least, the Watering Hole Saloon has the County Line Band entertaining their crowd on New Year’s Eve.

If you are planning on attending any of these events, check with the venue to see about ticket prices and reservations. Some may be sold out already; that is why it is best to check first before going. Remember to always party responsibly, and never drink and drive.

Best albums of 2022

This year saw the release of many fantastic albums. Artists were very creative during nearly two years of pandemic shutdowns.

Traditional Texas country acts like Cody Johnson and Aaron Watson both released the best music of their careers, plus recorded several more albums that are awaiting release.

Texas southern rockers Whiskey Myers released “Tornillo” and launched a massive headlining tour across America with Shane Smith & the Saints opening most shows.

Joshua Hedley, a Nashville artist that still plays a regular residency at Robert’s Western Wear, released “Neon Blue.” After hearing his music on KNBT, I became an instant fan.

Lyle Lovett released “12th of June,” his first collection of new songs in over a decade. The title song is about the day his twins were born and talks about his life and mortality as a first time father.

Pat Green just recently issued “Miles and Miles of You,” his 14th album and first new release in seven years. He’s still singing great, and the title track is one of my favorite songs of the year. I will write a proper review of this album soon.

Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Co-Starring Too” continues the theme of the previously released “Co-Starring.” It pairs Hubbard with many of his idols and peers. My favorite track is “Naturally Wild,” with the incredible Lizzy Hale from Halestorm. Wade Bowen released “Somewhere Between the Secret and the Truth.” Bowen always puts out quality records, and this is no exception. He has Lori McKenna and Vince Gill as special guests.

Randy Rogers brought his career full circle with his “Homecoming” album. Once again he used Radney Foster as his producer, and they recorded the songs at two of the studios Randy used at the start of his career.

Zack Walther and Matt Briggs latest album, “Flowers,” is one of my favorites, and I love their new collection of Christmas songs too. Anything this dynamic duo does is good.

I have been a ZZ Top fan since the early 70s and really loved their new album titled “Raw.” It is the soundtrack to the documentary they filmed at Gruene Hall a few years ago, and captures the band jamming together without the studio overdubs that often dilute their sound. It was also their final release before longtime member Dusty Hill passed away.

Willie Nelson’s “A Beautiful Time” album proves he is still releasing relevant music well into his 80s. Ironically, he and ZZ Top will do a co-headlining show together in April at Whitewater Amphitheater.

There were so many more albums from 2022 that I thoroughly enjoyed, but there isn’t enough space here to list them all.

Looking forward, I have heard the new albums by Blue Water Highway and Dallas Burrow, both will be released early next year. They will certainly be on my favorites list in 2023.

Every time I hear people, especially people my age, complain that there is no good music anymore, I just tell them you aren’t looking in the right place. It’s there — it is just harder to find these days.

Best concerts of 2022

Live concerts have always been my favorite pastime.

Beginning with my first concert in 1975, seeing Foghat in San Antonio, I was hooked. As I got older and checked off the bands from my bucket list, I slowed down a bit.

Sure, I still saw my favorites when they toured.

But as ticket prices soared, I became much more selective. These days I’m more inclined to catch an intimate show at the Redbird Listening Room or a Bret Graham show on Monday night at Gruene Hall.

The shows I saw at Whitewater Amphitheater this year were Eric Church and Turnpike Troubadours.

I enjoyed both of them mainly because it was my first time to see each act.

Robert Earl Keen’s final show at Gruene Hall was legendary. So was the show I saw at Floores Country Store as he ended his touring career there this past Labor Day.

William Beckmann’s first headlining show at Gruene Hall was excellent. Though I wasn’t there, I hear his show at Redbird Listening Room was a life-changing event. Watch this guy — he is on the way to the top. He was just booked to play the huge stage at the San Antonio Rodeo.

The Sammy Hagar show at the Woodlands proved that Hagar is still one of the best rock singers of all time. He is 75 years old and still sings as good as he ever has.

Bruce Springsteen is touring in 2023, and it will be interesting to see how he does after being off the road for more than five years.

The Brett Cline and Mike Atkins Face to Face tribute show at the Brauntex Theatre was epic, as was Will Hearn’s Grand Ol’ Christmas show that featured Blue Water Highway.

Sean McConnell is coming to the Brauntex in a few months. He is one of the most talented singer songwriters in America. Anyone that misses this show will hate themselves the next day. Same goes for the Roger Clyne & Peacemakers show; it will be legendary.

Random Notes From the Music Scene

Gruene Hall will have Guy Forsyth and Seth James hosting their Hair of the Dog shows on Jan. 1.

Villa at Gruene will feature a full day of live music starting at 11 a.m. on New Year’s Day. They have named their event Hair of the Dog Throwdown, and it will include breakfast and holiday drinks. Check out their Facebook page for more details.

Reckless Kelly, the hardest working Americana band in Texas, just announced they are retiring from the road in 2025. They will use the next three years to tour hard, play all their favorite venues and then concentrate on other things.

On February 3, 1959, a small plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper crashed in a field outside Clear Lake, Iowa. It was instantly referred to as “the day the music died”. They were en route to Moorhead, MN. for a concert that night. One lone poster from that concert that never happened was recently discovered and sold at a Dallas auction house for $447,000. Don McLean used this tragedy as the basis for his hit song, “American Pie.”

Happy New Year to everyone, and thank you for reading this column every week. I look forward to a lot of new music news next year.

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