Talk Music: Shiner Summer Songwriters Series opens June 1

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 21, 2014 at 12:21 a.m.

This summer, load up and head to Shiner for the fourth annual Shiner Summer Songwriters Series.

The first show of the season opens June 1 at Howard's, a beer garden/gas station hybrid on the west side of town, with Bill Pekar and the Rainey Brothers playing at 4 p.m. and Doug Moreland at 6 p.m.

Pekar, the engine behind the summer of music, caught up with Get Out to talk about his vision for the series, this year's lineup and why it's hosted in Shiner.

Why Shiner?

From wherever you come, it's a beautiful ride to Shiner. You can feel the vibe.

Howard's is the hopping place, and the word's getting out - people want to play there.

There was a time when I had to call people, and now I'm having people call me.

It's a family atmosphere and a great listening venue.

The oak tree has grown tall enough to shade the whole beer garden.

We're sponsored by Shiner Light Blonde, and people want to check out the area and hear the music.

Howard (Gloor) and I are great friends, and he's letting me do this thing on my own.

It's my baby. He's letting me be the ship captain, and we're very appreciative of it.

All the shows are free.

Howard lets me run the show by myself, but he provides a venue for it. When it started, Howard was not really a songwriter connoisseur, but he's really turned into it. Even Howard plays acoustic music on Sundays, so it's a real cool thing. I'm looking forward to him playing a little steel with us.

How has the series grown over the years?

It's grown tremendously with fans, and also - I don't want to degrade the caliber of musicians we've had - we're bringing some top-notch writers and more, and more people are looking forward to it.

People are asking me all the time when we play our live gigs who's coming and when it's going to start.

It's generated a lot of excitement not only for Shiner but for the entire area.

What do you want listeners to take away from the shows?

I've had promoters call me wanting to make it a lot bigger. My goal is to keep it as intimate as I can and provide a fun place for these musicians to get to play.

My goal is bringing the best that music has to offer to Shiner and the surrounding areas.

Shiner is a little mecca. I don't want to make it a real big concert venue or to be gigantic where you have to worry about security.

Lloyd Maines told me not so long ago it's one of the coolest gigs he's ever played. Terri (Hendrix) and Lloyd are coming back this year.

And folks will have a few chances to hear your band?

We're going to open up about three of the shows.

We always open up for Walt Wilkins (June 15), and we will probably open up for Terri and Lloyd (June 22), and we are opening up the first one with Doug Moreland.

My band - Clinto Robinson, Damon Williams and Bobby Kallus - has had the busiest year since my project got started in 2001. It's hard to argue that anybody is better than those three guys. I have to believe some of it has to do with what's happening on Sundays.

We're getting a lot of exposure, and we're having a good time. I've even said we need to slow down because we're playing a lot.

What is it about Doug that you set him up for the opening night?

He's just unbelievable.

He's also a famous woodcarver. He's done stuff for the state capital and all over the place. He carves cedar trees and all kind of stuff.

He's from West Texas and now lives in Austin.

He plays Texas swing, and he's bringing two fellows with him.

In Texas music, everyone's respect for him is his ability to play, and he's as funny as can be. Doug's been with me every year because I can't get rid of him.

Who are you excited about bringing to town?

Susan Gibson (June 8) has a brand new album out. Her fame is she wrote "Wide Open Spaces" for The Dixie Chicks.

Walt, since he played last year he wrote a song for Kellie Pickler "Someone Somewhere Tonight," so he's been on the national scene big time.

We have Lloyd and Terri.

Van Wilks (June 29) has been seen in the papers all year long with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.

Shake Russell (July 13) was a grab. He's been my hero since college days and is one of the best performers. He wrote "Deep in the West," which was recorded by Ricky Skaggs and Waylon Jennings.

Kevin Welch (Aug. 3) is an amazing grab.

And I have two dates that I'm working out contracts with and they're big surprises.



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