San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 5th, 2008
This week in River City: The Murdocks, Grant Ewing, more

The Murdocks are playing Friday at the Triple CrownBy HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

A few musical happenings this week in San Marcos:

Kent Finlay’s Songwriters Circle
Cheatham Street Warehouse
119 Cheatham Street, San Marcos
512 353-3777

The day we moved to “Podunk,” Illinois, my father drove us past a place in town called The Ranch Supper Club. The marquee boasted that Ernest Tubb would be playing there that weekend. My brother and I, crammed in the back seat of the Vista Cruiser, laughed with relish at the sound of this silly name. 

Leave it to Podunk to have a guy named Tubb. What a joke! We could have seen Tubb that weekend for the price of a steak dinner ($6.95.) Of course, we were just stupid kids at the time, but I’ll always regret that I didn’t get to see Tubb and get a steak in Podunk. 

Kent Finlay has been hosting his Songwriter’s Circle for many years, and if you don’t check it out once in a while, you will be the stupid kid from Podunk. These songwriter nights are blends of old and new, great and phenomenal, and up-coming stars, comets and novas. If you don’t go enjoy the music once in a while, you’ll be missing the sparking of new careers and the fireworks of full-blown talent.

Finlay has a tradition of respecting the music and the music makers, so don’t expect the Warehouse to be a place for getting sloshed and being rude. Their website says it all, “If you’re looking for a hard-core drinking place – please go somewhere else…  but if you are looking for a place to listen to great Texas music – and sometimes to even hear it first, Cheatham Street Warehouse welcomes you. Come out and capture the magic.”

Cheatham Street Warehouse will be host to several of Finlay’s Songwriter’s Circles this month. Check them out on May 7, 14, 21, 28.

Grant Ewing
Long Fall
141 E Hopkins
San Marcos
512 558-7399

Joseph Campbell said that “the universe is a net of gems” and this could also be said of San Marcos, home to a treasure trove of diverse musicians. Grant Ewing is one such gem who is not only a fine singer/songwriter but also listed as a part-time bartender at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (along with a peppering of Finlay sibs.)

Ewing has a compelling voice and he and his band (which also contains the Finlay sib pepper) are certainly the standard bearers for Hill Country musical magic and diversity.  Catch him at Lucy’s at 10 p.m. on May 9.  Your ears will thank you.

Long Fall has more going for them than a grunge-rock-style lead vocalist and a precariously suicidal name. This is one band that is on the move: refining, working and polishing their work. They are a gem in the making. Catch them every Tuesday this month at Lucy’s.

A Mindivided
The Murdocks
Triple Crown
206 North Edward Gary
San Marcos
512 396-2236

The Triple Crown boasts that it has featured live music everyday for 11 years and this alone, is no small feat what with the varied headaches of booking and speaker failures. Their credentials are impeccable. And so is their taste.

A Mindivided feature all the churning, gut-thumping, pulsing beats you can handle with one exceptional twist—the lead singer Adam Contreras has a voice and a delivery that puts one in mind of Shudder To Think’s amazing Craig Wedren.  In other words, he propels the music forward with his vocal rocket fuel. A Mindivided is not your typical Hill Country listen, so, kids, please, bring your earplugs. You don’t want to end up like Jeff Beck. (What? Exactly.)  You can see them at the Triple Crown on Wednesday, May 7 at 10 p.m.

Keep Friday, May 9 open; mark your calendar in red, write it on your hand or get it tattooed on your whatever, just be sure to catch The Murdocks performing at the Triple Crown. The Murdocks are poised, primed and ready to take off to be huge. Sure, appearing with Cake (Cake lead singer John McCrea, one of the savviest guys I’ve ever met, requested the Murdocks to open for them in Georgetown) certainly means they’re no small spuds, but over the past few years they have gotten sharper, brighter and hotter. Try not to miss them live – they can bring it.

The Murdocks latest release, Roar! Roar! Roar! (2008 Surprise Truck,) holds a net of gems or at least a net full of Twinkies and giant SweeTarts. Before you pass on this analogy remember that James Dewar, inventor of the redoubtable Hostess snack cake in question, lived to his late eighties chain smoking and eating at least one Twinkie a day.  A steady diet of The Murdocks could be good for your health. Don’t miss them at the Triple Crown.

Send tips about local music and culture to Hap Mansfield at

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