Saturday: Tim Easton at Cactus Music

I first encountered Tim Easton about five years ago at a New West Records South By Southwest party. It was a hot day at an outdoor stage. I felt the presence of someone moving up beside me and saw from his name tag that it was Michael Corcoran, longtime music critic for the Austin American-Statesman.

Sweating profusely, Corcoran was scribbling like a man possessed. After several songs, during which Corcoran had consumed several pages of his notebook, he looked at me and asked, "Do you know who's playing?"

Playing solo that day, Easton had to hold his own with Chuck Prophet and band, John Hiatt and the Flatlanders. Mission accomplished. For me, Easton was the find of the festival.

With the economy in the tank, it looks like in-stores are becoming one of the better paydays for lots of artists. Easton, who just wound up his tour in support of his April 28 release Porcupine - "Burgundy Red," the song in the video, is one of the highlights - will drop into Cactus Music Saturday on his way home. Too bad he couldn't find a gig in the area because he's a highly respected songwriter and guitar plunker.

These Saturday shows are becoming the norm at Cactus. Good music, free beer, record shopping and up close and personal opportunity with touring national artists sounds like one good way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon/evening.

6:30 p.m., Saturday May 23, Cactus Music and the Record Ranch, 2110 Portsmouth, Houston 713-526-9272 or

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William Michael Smith