JOE ELY SLATED FOR THIRD FIESTAjam ON LAKE MARBLE FALLS;
LOCAL MUSIC, WINE AND BEER CELEBRATION
TAKES PLACE SEPT. 23-24
Event Benefits Marble Falls ISD, Harmony School Music Programs
Ask any Texan how to have a good time, and they’ll tell you it’s hard to beat a combination of great music, fine wines, handcrafted beers and September in the Hill Country. All those elements come together during FiestaJAM on Lake Marble Falls, the music and wine festival slated for Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24, in Marble Falls. Showcasing the Texas Hill Country community’s musical, wine- and beer-making talents, the festival raises funds for two local music education programs. This year’s event features 2016 Texas State Musician Joe Ely performing at the FiestaJAM Marquee Concert at 6 p.m. Sept. 24, capping an afternoon of music and tastings at Lakeside Park/Pavilion, 307 Buena Vista Drive, Marble Falls.
Advance tickets, on sale now, are $15 for Saturday (music only) and $35 with tastings. Children 12 and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult; gates open at noon for the 1 p.m. festival. VIP packages, which include Friday’s Patrons of the Arts reception and Saturday music and tastings, are $75. Tickets may be purchased at fiestajam.org or by calling 800.514.3849.
The VIP reception, hosted by FiestaJAM co-founder and renowned conductor/producer Robert Linder, is 6 to 9 p.m. at Uptown Sound Studio, 218 Main St. Patrons are also invited to a special 5 p.m. tasting hosted by sponsor Rebecca Creek Distillery at Bill’s Burgers, 307 Main St.
john Arthur martinez, FiestaJAM’s other co-founder, will provide the evening’s entertainment, joined by internationally acclaimed songwriters Alex Harvey, Mike Blakely and John David Kent. Harvey is the author of “Delta Dawn” and “Hell and High Water” and co-writer of “Reuben James,” among many others; recorded by artists from Tanya Tucker and Kenny Rogers to Jimmy Buffett and Wanda Jackson, his songs have sold more than 50 million copies. Blakely’s songs have been recorded by Johnny Bush, Flaco Jimenez, Raul Malo and Gary P. Nunn; three appear on the list of the top 100 western songs of all time compiled by Western Writers of America, which also gave one of his 18 novels its Spur Award for Best Western Novel. Kent, who started his career in Radish with Ben Kweller, operates Blackland Records and the Vault recording studio in Spicewood. He recorded his solo debut album in 2011 after the video for “My Girl,” a song from his 2009 EP, wound up in heavy rotation on CMT.
The music continues Saturday afternoon with the first FiestaJAM Battle of the Bands contest, followed by a song swap featuring martinez and singer-songwriter Drew Womack, backed by martinez’s band, Tejas, and Ely’s headlining performance.
Longtime Austinite Ely, the Amarillo-born, Lubbock-raised, worldwide road dog, has been referred to as Texas’ answer to Bruce Springsteen. He’s shared stages with the Boss — and the Clash, too, as well as fellow Lubbock expats Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, with whom he performs as the Flatlanders. In 2015, he released Panhandle Rambler, the latest of several albums issued on his own Rack ’Em Records label. In 1998, Ely won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Music Performance for his work on the Los Super Seven album. In 2007, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performing from the Americana Music Association. Also a visual artist and author, his published titles include Bonfire of Roadmaps and Reverb.
martinez, who has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and performed internationally, first gained widespread fame as a contestant on the TV talent show Nashville Star. (He came in second, ahead of Miranda Lambert.) His lowercased letters pay homage to poet e.e. cummings; the uppercase “A” acknowledges the middle name he’s used since attending a John-filled kindergarten class. Womack was a member of ’90s band Sons of the Desert, who were heard on Lee Ann Womack’s hit, “I Hope You Dance”(there’s no relation). He also co-penned Kenny Chesney’s No. 1 hit, “She’s Got It All,” and eight other top-10 hits, including Keith Urban’s “Raining on Sunday,” Tim McGraw’s “Red Ragtop” and Rascal Flatts’ “God Bless the Broken Road.” He’s also collaborated with Pat Green, Paul Thorn, Cory Morrow, Aaron Watson and other Texas-connected artists.
But first, four Battle of the Bands finalists will perform Saturday afternoon, competing for a grand prize of $1,000 in cash plus eight hours of recording time at Uptown Sound Studios in Marble Falls. Three runners-up will each receive $300 in cash. Ten semifinalists already have been selected; online voting at the 101highlandlakes site will determine one finalist; a panel of industry professionals will choose three others. Voting is open through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 31; one vote per day is permitted.
“Marble Falls offers a wide variety of live music that appeals to both community members and visitors alike. It is a great place for young musicians to get a start, from playing local gigs to bigger events,” says Erin Burks of the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce & CVB.
The event also recognizes the Hill Country wine region’s growing popularity; Wine Enthusiast magazine ranked it No. 3 on its 2014 list of the world’s top 10 wine travel destinations, ahead of Sonoma, Calif. and renowned spots in Italy, France, Argentina and Australia.
Funds raised go toward music programs at Marble Falls Independent School District and the nonprofit Harmony School.