Online readers comment on "Died and Gone to Houston," by Chris Gray and William Michael Smith, August 5:
That was a great article: It was most informative and covered a lot of ground. I think we are very fortunate to have one of the best songwriters around, Mike Stinson. Thanks for mentioning him, and hopefully Houston will be a place where he feels like he belongs. My goal is to get George Strait to cover "Square with the World." Everybody would benefit from that.
Good people, good times, good music: I'm north of 50, and I hardly get a stare. It is very nice to see people enjoy this music, and Robert Ellis & the Boys do it very, very well.
No alt-country: Right here in this article is why I don't listen to alt-country. No need. When I want to hear country, old country is what I want. And it is still made and played in Texas. People, keep supportin' real country. Alt-country is an abomination!
Stretch: In the story, you stated, "Willie Nelson and Mike Stinson dominate the jukebox at the Volcano." I'd say that is a bit of a stretch! (Stinson does burn the place down when he's there, though.)
Much love: It's funny, really, how this whole genre of music is coming back in a big way. You remember the saying, "I was country, when country wasn't cool"? I came up in South Texas, in the country. Honky-tonk was our weekend drinking music, out in the middle of nowhere with a shitty case of Natural Light or The Beast with the radio cranked up full blast. I had a buddy named Lance Bridges who made a "mix-tape" I still have somewhere. It was guaranteed to get you drunk, laid and depressed all at the same time. Much love for the write-up, Chris Gray and William Michael Smith. You brought back some memories today.
Include the ladies: I find it interesting that Amber Digby, a Houston-based, female honky-tonker, is not in this article. I'm pretty sure she has been in Houston for more than two years now. She plays Blanco's regularly and has played the Continental Club and the West Alabama Ice House. In fact, she's there tonight. She plays all over the state, some out-of-state gigs and overseas, and she has another appearance at the Grand Ole Opry next week. She currently has a duet out with Mark Chesnutt, and has a co-write with Vince Gill that will be included on Vince's upcoming CD.
And Miss Leslie gets only a mention? She has been in Houston for several years as well. She's had several Houston Press nominations and over the years has been a regular at the Continental Club, Blanco's and the West Alabama Ice House. Miss Leslie has several overseas trips under her belt, too.
These gals are bringing a lot to the table, as far as the honky-tonk music scene. They are great performers (I see them both regularly in Austin) and great songwriters. Looking at their Web sites, these gals have a lot going on. They live in Houston and have gigs in Houston. But what do I know? I live in Austin.
Less Stinson: Is this an article about music in Houston or a campaign for Mike Stinson for the Houston Press Music Awards? This article makes it seem that the only person playing country music in town is Mike Stinson. There were a few other names haphazardly sprinkled in, and sure, you mentioned Robert Ellis, but you also had to throw in a quote about him from Mike Stinson. You even titled the article after a Mike Stinson song! I like Mike, but he is not the be-all and end-all. So what if he wrote "Late Great Golden State"? How long is he going to ride that train? He is no Townes Van Zandt. I wish you would truly go out there to see what great talent the rest of the city has to offer.
More Stinson: I met Mike Stinson when he did a couple of numbers with Jesse Dayton at a Discovery Green show last year. He's a hell of a songwriter and Houston's lucky to have him.
Reviewing the Reviewer
Online readers respond to "Baffled by Brennan's," by Katharine Shilcutt, August 5:
Very nice review: I'm so happy that Katharine Shilcutt was selected to fill this position. I'm back to enjoying reading the reviews each week.
Very descriptive: Sure would like some of those shrimp and grits. And bread pudding! Looking forward to your next review.
She'll be back: My family took me to Brennan's for my birthday in June, and I ordered many of the things you did, including the turtle soup (of course), the soft-shell crab and the Bananas Foster (of course). The crab was beautifully presented and wonderful; I just was not enamored of the multilayered under-ingredients. I thought it was too much and too mushy. I will be back to try and snag one of those tables for four that line the edges of the main dining room. With the high backs, they give the experience of a private room. Genius.
Ask 'em: Why don't you ask the restaurant what was going on on your first visit? I suspect it was chef's day off, and it would be nice to know that so we can all avoid it.
Best brunch: I have just recently visited Brennan's for brunch, and I must say it has to be the best in town. Try a Creole Bloody Mary or barbecue shrimp.
Go back: Wouldn't it make more sense to try a place more than just twice before calling it inconsistent? If your first visit was off, and the next four or five were great, would you still call it inconsistent?
Good, not great: I had a very similar experience, taking my mom there. It was good but not great, particularly for the price. The turtle soup was edible, but I found myself thinking, this is the dish Robb Walsh named one of his top 100 Houston dishes? Very, very boring. I did really enjoy the Chef's Playground and the beautiful setting.
Forgot one: I would have included Chris Shepherd in the list of "the city's most important and talented chefs" that worked at Brennan's.
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''Midtown Moussaka" [by Katharine Shilcutt, August 12] contained two errors. Johnny Platsas, the current owner of Harry's, is in fact from Larissa, Thessaly. The previous owner, Harry Mickelis, was from Patmos.
The Houston Press regrets the errors.