Friday the 13th seems to get a bad vibe from a lot of folks. My personal connection to the date is quite the complete opposite. My first birthday was on a Friday the 13th and my mother took a picture of me holding a black cat underneath a ladder. My son was born on February 13th, on the day Waylon Jennings passed. I begged my ex-wife to name him Waylon and well, I guess you see why she is an “ex.”
This July’s Friday the 13th was starting off weird as we headed out for the evening event. The heat wave of 2012 brought us in rain that was steady monsoon-like drops that lasted for a good thirty minutes. The windshield wiper’s motor really struggled to keep the rain off and the vision of the road was near impossible. But, we made it to our destination despite the unexpected weather. I had turned down an offer to go see a Grammy award winning band at a sold out venue to go and see the proud Texan’s show (Jud Block), which turned out to be everything and more that I thought it would be. I have been a fan of Jud’s ever since I heard his second album, Barroom Gravity, then going backwards to the days of his cow-punk band Cattletruck.
The destination was Charlotte, North Carolina at Tommy’s Pub, which is an institution that has been around since Burger King was only a prince. It was run by a fella by the name of Tommy Karras for years until 1977, when Jim Mack took over the place. He’s created a cozy environment that encourages folks to come plug in to the PA (which is always on) to display talents of live original music. Jim told me that a lot of NASCAR folks come to the bar, being it is close to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The pictures along the wall backed up his story, along with photos of other musicians who have graced the venue. The beers were ice cold and there was a ball game on one TV and Napoleon Dynamite on the other. Tommy’s Pub is a place sort of like Cheers, where everyone knows your name and debit cards are a foreign language. Cash only, please.
This evening was billed as A Special Evening With Jud Block. Jud Block is a Carolina wordsmith who grew up in the great state of Texas. His music is outspoken, honest, fresh and full of dark humor. Jud was solo this very evening and he was armed with a guitar and the truth in lyrics. Jud started belting out his music around 9:00 p.m. to a select few and proud. “Barroom Philosopher,” “The New Underground” and even an old school throwback tune from his old band Cattletruck filled the air, as the room started to fill with folks who came to listen to some damn fine live music. Outlaw Magazine’s own Dave Pilot sums up Jud the best way I have ever heard… “The devil mighta gone down to Georgia back in the day; but of late he’s content making the rounds in Carolina – sans fiddle – doing his best to channel Blaze Foley and Townes Van Zandt. Empty Chamber Grace, indeed.”
After speaking with Jud, Jim Mack and many other artists who were in attendance that evening, I realized that this is “The New Underground,” indeed. Jud is the visionary of a scene where everyone helps everyone else to create a haven for art. After seeing one of Jud’s shows live now, I must say, if there is something very special brewing. So, as long as folks like Jim Mack offer artists like Jud a place to display their talents, and with many friends spreading the gospel, this is what the underground should be.
Once again, Friday the 13th was a great blessing to me.
Jud Block performing his song “Barroom Philosopher” :
Listen and buy Jud Block: Barroom Gravity HERE.
~ Jason Robinson
Jason Wallace Robinson hails from Spartanburg, South Carolina. He’s a writer, storyteller, philosopher, single father raising two children, music lover, dreamer, joker. He writes to speak for the Common Man. He enjoys football and driving around in his ’96 Chevy Lumina adorned with an American Flag and decorative bird offerings.
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