I drove out to the Hideaway on Dunvale (3122 Dunvale, 713-977-3515) with a couple friends for Tuesday steak night and to see a blues guitarist named Rick Lee. When we opened the side door of the barn-style building, he and his band, the Night Owls, were getting started on the Meters' "Cissy Strut." I ordered a boilermaker, staked out a seat by one of the bar's window units and watched them play solid versions of canonical stuff from musicians like Bobby "Blue" Bland and Big Bill Broonzy, plus a couple that seemed like originals.
Lee, a Chinese Houstonian raised in the North Heights and Kashmere Gardens, is an attorney who didn't start playing guitar until after college, but apparently loved it enough to get good fast. He expresses that love physically by occasionally playing solos with his tongue. The bass player and sometimes singer, sitting on an amp in some track pants and a tie-dyed shirt, was good despite (because of?) an advanced state of relaxation.
And though it's socially risky to say a black guy looks like another black guy when you aren't black yourself, I thought the lanky drummer bore a resemblance to New Orleans R&B pioneer Professor Longhair. After the set and another boilermaker and a few $2 Lone Stars, I talked with Lee a bit, and he said he wanted to pass off a business card. He ran to his car to grab one, and I went for another drink. When I came back to the stage to ask him for it, he looked confused. "Shit," he said, pointing to fellow brown-haired white boy John. "I think I gave it to your friend over there." He smiled and got on the mike to offer an explanation: "All you white guys look alike." Could have been racial karma, if that drummer didn't actually look a lot like Professor Longhair.
The Hideaway's Boilermaker
- 1 glass Budweiser
- 1½ ounce Maker's Mark bourbon
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Drink a little of the beer and pour the shot in the glass. Or just shoot the bourbon and sip the beer.