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Musical Chairs

When band members trade places, there isn't always a loser

And that proverbial next level is just where Snit sees Vega going. "It's similar to what we did with the Hollisters," he says. "We worked Houston real hard, got a little buzz going, and then people came calling from other areas and we got signed by Hightone and all that. But the thing that sealed it for me was Tony played me a recording of something that he had just done, and it just knocked me out."

Snit sees Vega's new stuff as an artistic breakthrough, a departure from his blues purist past. "It's so cool," says Snit. "I mean, I love blues, but I'd like to get to the next level with something that's original and compelling."

Blues hounds can judge for themselves when the revamped TVB appears January 24 at the Big Easy. And in March or April, Vega will release the CD Yeah You Right!, almost all of which was recorded at the Rice Village blues bar.

At that same locale, 23-year-old Orq is now holding court Tuesdays with his own brand of Dobro-heavy solo acoustic blues, and Buchheit and Pierce -- a.k.a. the Mighty Orquestra -- will back him up on February 1. Now that he has left the TVB, Orq says he'll be modifying his sound. "We're gonna be incorporating more of that kind of Delta stuff in our set," he says. "Try to change it up a little bit, sort of do an Eric Sardinas thing. Play my Dobro solo and with the band. It's a nice change of pace."

Orq, born Joshua Erik Davidson, was dubbed such long before the current Lord of the Rings craze; it was a high school friend who said he looked like one of Tolkien's foul beasts. The name stuck, Vega added the "mighty" intensifier, and Davidson doesn't care if you think he's cashing in on Middle Earth mania. Besides, as he puts it, "Orc awareness is at an all-time high." For now, Orq and band will be sticking close to home until they complete their first CD. Like Vega, Orq is pretty surprised at the way everything has worked out. "It's been an eventful couple-three months, but everyone's still friends," he says. "Wow! How'd that happen? This is the music business, right?"

It is, but 17-year music vet Snit sees it in sports terms. (Hell, confession time: Snit furnished Racket with the baseball analogy.) "I've been telling people around town this was a multiplayer trade involving about five teams," he says, adding that all the players are happy with their new gigs. Even Buchheit, who would seem to have gotten shafted the most in the deal, says the end result is hunky-dory. "Everything just kind of worked out perfectly," she says. So there's no hard feelings about losing her job to Hubbard? "What Tony did was understandable," she says. "He wasn't a jerk about it or anything. He was totally up."

Yes, they're all happy now, but you can bet the Astros organization was saying the same thing the day after the Ken Caminiti deal (Racket can just hear Bob Watson telling the press, "Derek Bell will take this team to the next level"). Hopefully everybody will go on to World Series careers, but as the sports world has shown us, somebody usually winds up with the short end of the stick.

Errata and Addendum

Time to rectify two mistakes -- one of my own, and one of somebody else's. As for the former, in the Grady Gaines CD review that appeared in these pages on January 9, yours truly misidentified the singer on "Beans and Cornbread." It was not Patrick Harris, it was Paul D. Roberts. As for the latter, Variety magazine recently trashed a Kelly Osbourne show, singling out the backing band -- whom they identified as Pure Rubbish -- for special scorn. In fact, as their manager Todd Siegelman wrote, the Houston quartet has not backed Osbourne since the spring of 2002. Pure Rubbish also announced its first local live show in quite a while: The band will play Galveston Mardi Gras on February 28.

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