Friday, August 26, 2011

Jim Lauderdale - July 24 - Hill Country DC

Last month we enjoyed a great summer Sunday evening with our friend, Jim X, in downtown DC. This was especially fun because in addition to hearing one of our favorite singer/songwriters perform, we discovered a great new venue for live music. The Hill Country is not far from the Verizon Center and it advertises itself as "honoring the barbecue and live music capital of Texas". There is also a location in NYC.  The food is authentic, delicious, texas style meat that is smoked to perfection. They offer brisket, ribs, sausage, prime rib and other meats, cooked "low and slow" over wood fires. They sell it by weight so you can load up your tray with a sampler platter of your own creation. They also have a big selection of sides, like slaw, mac n cheese, and other tasty items. We had a feast and it was all quite good.

After our dinner of tasty smoked meats we went downstairs to where the live music is served up. It's a small room in the basement with tables and a full bar (seats maybe 75 - 100). We learned that you can reserve a table in the performance room and carry your food downstairs so you can eat and listen to music at the same time. The bartender was very nice and he let me sample some of the Texas beers on draft to help me decide which one I wanted.

When we got downstairs the show had not yet started but Jim Lauderdale was milling around, greeting folks and hanging out. We introduced ourselves and told him that we were going to the Floydfest the next weekend and wishing that he would come back there. He said he loved playing Floydfest and he wished they would invite him back. Maybe next year.

Jim played solo accompanying himself on guitar. He launched into the first couple of songs without intro, but then he warmed up and started talking to the audience. He's quite a funny guy and had great stories to tell between songs. And he played a LOT of songs. Nearly all of them were originals, many from his latest album that he co-wrote with Robert Hunter (lyricist for the Grateful Dead) called "Reason and Rhyme". After 80 minutes of great songs he left the stage to a rousing ovation. As the crowd continued to applaud he acted like the backstage was locked, he twisted and pulled on the doorknob and looked sheepishly back to the audience who continued cheering. He's a funny guy. Then he came back on stage and gave us 6 or 7 more songs.

I heartily recommend Hill Country DC for great food and music and any time you can catch Jim Lauderdale, make the effort.

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