Houston – McGonigel’s Mucky Duck…

Houston was the first major city in Texas that I stopped in at the beginning of this trip…and it was the last city I was stopping in, before sadly beginning to make my way home to CT.  I spent three nights in Houston on this leg of my trip…and I had a few plans.

First stop…the Open Mic at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck Restaurant and Bar…a very cool, intimate live music venue that features up-and-coming and established musicians six nights a week.  The Mucky Duck also opens the stage and professional sound system to anyone who would like to perform a few songs on Monday nights.  I’ve performed here twice before and had a blast each time.

Tonight, I was meeting my friend, Joni’s, husband’s cousin, Cheryl, and Cheryl’s husband, Dave, at the Mucky Duck.  As it turned out, Cheryl and Dave also invited their friend, Chris (Christine), as well.  So, the musical performance pressure was on (not).

Joni had suggested that I try to get together with Cheryl and Dave, thinking that we’d probably hit it off, and Joni was right.  Cheryl and Dave and Chris and I were instantly chatting and cracking each other up, like old friends from the start.  Cheryl and Dave have twin sons who both just started college this fall…in New York City, and in England.  I believe Dave was born in England, but grew up in Australia.  So, we had plenty to talk about.

I happened to arrive at the Mucky Duck only a few  minutes before Cheryl, Dave and Chris, and had met Letitia, one of the performers who had signed up to play (we noticed each other’s guitar cases).  I briefly explained my road-trip to Letitia and asked if she’d mind if I took a few photos of her while she was performing.  She was happy to let me.  Letitia was on her way to Austin to begin a music career.

So, here are a few photos I took of Letitia during her set.  I sent these and others to her, just last night, actually, and she loved them:

At some point before my set, I asked Cheryl and Dave, which of them was the better photographer, and Dave elected Cheryl.  I already had my camera’s exposure and single auto-focus point set up from photographing Letitia, so I gave Cheryl a crash course in shooting with this set-up, so she could take a few photos of me during my set.  Shameless…I know.

Here are a few of our practice-photos, taken at our table.  Mind you…these are close close-ups…haha!  Unfortunately, in the process, we did not get a photo of Cheryl.  But, we did get Dave, Chris and yours truly:

During my musical set, I noticed Cheryl moving around the room…trying out different angles and perspectives as she shot photos of me.  It looked like she was having a great time.  I keep telling y’all that the lens is very addictive.  Cheryl got some great images.  Who thinks I look ready to go on tour?  Anybody???

Typically, Wayne, the open mic host, who is also the sound-tech, allows each performer to sing three songs.  But, as it turned out, it was a light night (maybe, again, something to do with the Astros being in the World Series?), with not enough performers to fill the evening, and I was the last performer on the list.  So, after my last song, Wayne invited me to sing a fourth…which I was more than happy to oblige.

By the way, I had met Wayne on both of my prior visits to the Mucky Duck.  Wayne is a really good guitarist, and helps accompany some of the performers, if they ask him.  On this night, Wayne also did a really great solo guitar instrumental version of “Over The Rainbow”.  That was a treat.

So, despite the episode with my car that took up much of the day, I was thrilled that it didn’t interfere with such a great night with live music and new Houston friends.