Bill Pekar has still got it
If you go
WHO: Bill Pekar & The Rainey Brothers
• WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday
• WHERE: Yoakum Gin and Feed, 117 West St., Yoakum
• COST: $8
• FOR MORE INFO: Go to YoakumGinAndFeed.com
Bill Pekar's subtle lyrics feature real stories about real people.
Hailing from Shiner, the 57-year-old singer/songwriter, who has been playing and writing music for 46 years, is gravitating away from the party songs of his early career to more introspective ballads.
Pekar talks about the greatest time in his life, the evolving music landscape in Lavaca County and not trying to make it.
BEFORE YOU RECORDED THE FIRST SINGLE IN NASHVILLE, YOU FANCIED YOURSELF MORE OF A SONGWRITER. ARE YOU STILL TRYING TO SELL SONGS?
Skip Brown and I wrote almost every song on the first album together. At that time, we were trying to pitch songs. It would have been great to fish every day of my life and live off a Tim McGraw song. Now, it's kind of more about getting my thoughts together.
Pat Green wanted one of my songs, and I wouldn't give it to him. I haven't tried to pursue selling songs. I do real well. My music is really doing well in Europe, all the Scandinavian countries.
I have a professional job and everybody in my band has a professional job. We're not trying to make it. We're not living in hotels. It's just something - it's my therapy.
HOW HAS THE SUCCESS OF 'COLORS ARE ALL THE SAME' CHANGED YOUR MUSIC?
Everybody knows me for that Aggie song, so sometimes they don't listen to the other stuff. Once they buy it, they understand that I'm more than that song. That song was nothing but bull. It was a joke.
My songwriting partner didn't want to write it. Basically, I talked him into it. He wrote the chorus, and I wrote the verses. I enjoy performing it, but when it comes on the radio, I turn it off.
When I wrote that song, I was so jazzed. Every time you turned on the radio it was there. The popularity that I got from writing it and the shows I went and did. ... I was in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Lubbock. I shared stages with Brad Paisley in Amarillo. I've opened for Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green and Charlie Robison. All the shows that song got me - that was one of the greatest times of my life
WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?
I have reservations on cashing in. It's not something right now I aspire to do. I'm writing a lot of ballads now.
I'm really kind of tired of "I'm heading down to Gruene Hall on 35 drinking a cold Bock beer" songs. To me, there's more to be said and more to be written about.
I'm really trying to work on my craft that I become a substance writer like some of these people I'm running with. It's part of a maturity.
I'm doing more songwriter venues. People are listening, and it's more of letting your emotions and your feelings out. You're kind of naked and it's just a cool vibe. People are listening to the words and the stories. The more meaningful the song, the better listeners you have.
IS THERE NOW AN EXPECTATION OF NEEDING A SOUL-BEARING MESSAGE?
When you're pouring out your soul, you need to be politically correct on how its being done or what it is.
"The Koozie Song" was a lot of fun; it's a party song. But if you listen to the song "The Way it Used to Be" or "Be my Blanket," those are life experience stories.
The sax player from "The Way it Used to Be" was murdered nine hours after playing. I don't feel a responsibility that I have to shape anybody's thinking, but I have responsibility that when I am relaying messages of my life, my experiences or people I know that it's enjoyable and understandable - that people are getting the clear picture.
Music is like a painting. You garnered this picture in these people's minds. Everybody interprets it differently. ... There are creative images that you try to put in your songs. You have these people build their own images of what you're trying to say.WHAT ARE YOU WRITING THESE DAYS?
I'm working on a couple of songs. ... I've got four or five that are almost completed. I write about four or five songs a year. I've got a song about New Orleans and a song about a young lady with a very serious cancer, another about my neighborhood.
We're just playing a lot and having a good time. I'm very very proud of the musicians I have with me who play in the bands: Clinto Robison, Damon Williams, Howard Gloor, Bobby Kallus, Dustin Shimek and Marty Shimek.
I'm out there having fun. It's really cool to make people happy, and the crowds appear to be getting larger at every show.
WHAT'S IN STORE FOR YOUR SHINER SUMMER SONGWRITERS SERIES AT HOWARD'S?
We're on our third year, and I'm really excited about who's coming: Dana Cooper, Mike Blakely, Tommy Elsekes, Doug Moreland, Adam Carroll, Walt Wilkins.
Everybody knows these guys in Austin. Now, they play Shiner, it opens up the Victoria and Corpus markets.
HOW'S THE MUSIC SCENE IN LAVACA COUNTY GROWING?
I moved to Shiner in 1992 but basically have been here all my life. I was raised in Gonzales. Right now Lavaca and DeWitt counties have some happening places. We have Howard's, Troubadour's Gin and Feed, the Ole Moulton Bank.
Howard's speaks for itself. Everybody likes the Shiner beer atmosphere, and the Gin and Feed is just a cool place.
All these places are opening up. I don't know if the Eagle Ford Shale has something to do with it, so many people are down here. People are very appreciative of good music.