It seems “the harder you work, the luckier you get,” to Randy Rogers, whose eponymously named six-piece band will open up for George Strait and Willie Nelson at the Moody Center this weekend.
As part of the “Strait from the Moody Center” official opening on April 29 and 30, the Randy Rogers Band will open up for two nights of country music legends in the brand new $338 million venue.
Rogers told Austonia that he grew up listening to both country music icons, and while he has opened up for Nelson before, Rogers said the event is poised to be one of the biggest highlights of his career.
“I want to pinch myself right now talking about it—if you would have told 14-year-old me this would be my life one day, I would have probably keeled over dead,” Rogers said. “Both nights are going to be epic for me and my journey as a musician. I've joked that maybe Monday I just drop the mic and retire after the weekend.”
Hailing from San Marcos, the six members met at the well-known Cheatham Street Warehouse 22 years ago while studying at Texas State University. The members, singer-songwriter Rogers, guitarist Geoffrey Hill, bassist Jon Richardson, fiddle player Brady Black, drummer Les Lawless and multi-instrumentalist Todd Stewart were all in different bands at the time.
From left to right, Richardson, Stewart, Rogers, Black, Hill and Lawless.
Rogers started regularly performing at Wednesday night open mics and soon enough, the owner offered Rogers Tuesday night slots if he could put a band together. Rogers organized the group, wrote some country tunes and played Cheatham Street every Tuesday night for a year.
After that, Rogers said the group packed their things into a 1988 Chevy Suburban and began to tour for the first time. The Randy Rogers Band released its first album, “Like It Used To Be,” in 2002.
“We all had nothing to lose, we were all about the same age and none of us were married,” Rogers said. “We could afford to not have that many things in our life that were nice. We slept on a lot of couches, ate a lot of free food and took a lot of handouts.”
This isn’t the first time the band will get the chance to share a stage with Nelson—Rogers said the band has opened for both legendary Texans many times and even recorded a song, “Trouble Knows My Name,” alongside Nelson.
The frequency doesn’t make it any less special, Rogers said he feels honored to see them both on the same stage. The band still plays “Trouble Knows My Name,” at almost every performance.
“Just the sheer fact that it's Willie and George together is kind of a dream come true,” Rogers said.
The performance will take place on both of Nelson’s birthdays, so expect some light birthday celebrations. As for the Randy Rogers Band, Rogers said they plan to put on a good show before they kick back and enjoy their first time in the Moody Center.
“One of my mottos is ‘be excellent and be gone,’ so I think I'll do my job and get out of the way to let my heroes shine for the night,” Rogers said. “I'm very humbled by being surrounded by giants, so I'm looking forward to putting on my nice shirt, smiling big and having a good time. And I hope that I get to hang out with Willie, if you know what I mean.”
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By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.