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Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music
by Christopher Oglesby
Published by the University of Texas Press:
"As a whole, the interviews create a portrait not only of Lubbock's musicians and artists, but also of the musical community that has sustained them, including venues such as the legendary Cotton Club and the original Stubb's Barbecue. This kaleidoscopic portrait of the West Texas music scene gets to the heart of what it takes to create art in an isolated, often inhospitable environment. As Oglesby says, "Necessity is the mother of creation. Lubbock needed beauty, poetry, humor, and it needed to get up and shake its communal ass a bit or go mad from loneliness and boredom; so Lubbock created the amazing likes of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, and Joe Ely."

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Texas Belairs begin Lubbock’s 100th Birthday Celebration
by Chelsea Roe, contributing writer - March 2, 2008
Chelsea Roe is a contributing writer for virtualubbock.com. She lives and writes about her life in Lubbock. This article originally appeared in the Texas Tech University Daily Toreador.

Ask anyone who has been in Lubbock over the past few decades who is the epitome of what West Texas music heritage is all about and they will all give you the same answer- the Texas Belairs. Without a doubt, the Texas Belairs and special guest Ponty Bone were the only ones we could have chosen to begin the celebration of Lubbock's 100th birthday with at Texas Café on Saturday night.

"We gonna have some fun tonight?" Kent Mings- vocals and acoustic guitar- exclaimed. It was wide mixture of characters, but the packed house all replied much the same way… "Hell Yeah!" Professors, artists, writers, musicians and people who really had no affiliation all alike were there in celebration of the great Hub City.

They kicked it off with the vocals and the guitar turned up high and the energy flowing, but only a few songs into the set Art professor Brian Wheeler was seen on stage messing with the soundboard. Though Kent Mings has this sort of regular guy voice found to be unpolished yet charming and he knows how to entertain a crowd, patrons were ready to welcome the special guests home from Austin.

"He's trying to turn up Ponty Bone you know? Everyone wants to hear him!" claimed Kristen "Two Bears" Hill. With the accordion turned up everyone looked to Ponty-a long time Lubbock resident who moved to Austin- to get the two-stepping started and that he did.

The dance floor was hopping with family and friends being taken back to the good ol' days when they were young- the crowd being mostly of another generation. "This is our parents generation. It's funny watching them. My mom would be jamming with them too," said graduate student Tashina Mitchek.

The accordion was not the only addition to the band to give the night its unique flavor. Vic Jones played bass guitar while the frottoir- played by "Louisiana Lips" and Billy Witson- kept the beat going just as well as Kevin Mings did on drums. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the frottoir is a metal plate worn over the chest, much like a washboard and played with metal spoons.

It was this not often seen instrument that brought the originality back to Lubbock music. "We all love Texas Country music, but the Belairs are traditional Texas music," Mitchek stated.

Shad Daughtery though, lead guitarist for Lubbock native band Dr. Skoob, put the blues into the country tonight. He was simply killing it. "We've got my dad here on my left," compared Kent as he pointed to

Ponty "and my son here on my right," he directed towards Shad. "There's three generations in our family here tonight," Kent spoke of the fellowship onstage as a family.

Shad was not the only family member on fire though. Younger brother Kevin Mings is a stellar drummer- period. "Any notes for me to think about?" I asked my good friend Andy Eppler, also a talented Lubbock musician on the bill for the Lubbock Centennial show. "Well… I think… yeah Kevin Mings is probably fantastic," he replied with the sarcasm we've all come to know him for.

The song to put an end to all sitting still was the always-popular "Deep in Heart of Texas". "Everybody knows the cops are assholes…deep in the heart of Texas!" Kent sang and claps accompanied by howls and cheers were all that sounded in response. "Happy birthday Lubbock!" he exclaimed when the song came to its end. They then played 2006 Marijuana Music award song of the year "We smoke marijuana just because we wanna!" wrapping up the evening shortly before 2:00 am.

"It's one thing to jam to music but it's another to live it," pointed out Mitchek. In all facets the Texas Belairs and friends are just one of those groups of talent here in Lubbock that are living, breathing examples of the truth in this statement. Since the 1970's these men have embodied what West Texas has to offer us culturally and will surely continue to do so for years to come.

Saturday night was one hundred years of heritage celebrated with the long time Lubbock favorites- the Texas Belairs. This night was a memory to hold onto as long as possible and a place where everyone found themselves truly appreciative for where they stood at that moment in time. Saturday night we were proud to be here to say -Happy 100th Birthday Lubbock!

More Articles by Chelsea Roe - Chelsea Roe is the music critic for the Daily Toreador at Texas Tech University

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