Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
One of the things that I'd like to do next week, that I know I'll never do, probably ever in my lifetime, on any trip to Austin, Texas, is to drive the 30 minutes out of town to Lockhart, Texas, the BBQ capital of the world, as it's pronounced. The promise of this city and its plethora of smoked pork is too much of a lure, but it's still 30 minutes away and time is precious. There's Sam's BBQ just up the road, out of the downtown, that's good enough for me. It's the place you go in town, if you want the real stuff, not the marketable full racks. The idea that such a city, renowned for its meat, is so close - potentially a pretty and relatively quick drive away - is enough to make you want to stab yourself with wanting. It's cruel and altogether unfair. It probably will never happen and that promise of this city will be my albatross, to carry forever, always back here to Iowa, where our options are limited, but not at all broke. We have one place that kills, not an entire city of them, nor a heritage that gloats about its offerings. We've derailed here and it seems as if we've started drooling. The stomach is grumbling, pissed off that it's all just become talk, but you've gotta break a few eggs…
The Denton, Texas band, Bosque Brown, is the band that I would listen to on my drive to Lockhart. If I were to find myself ready to make that trip, I would turn my phone off and I would make myself take only county roads or alternative routes from Austin to Lockhart. I would want to move up and down hills, through the real scenery of that incredible part of the state. Sitting here, up north, at the edge of winter and the cusp of spring, I have no idea if the drive in-between would be a beaut or not, but I so want to think that, even if it weren't, that Bosque Brown could fix all that. Lead singer and songwriter, Mara Lee Miller, is an exceptional writer who frames a feeling like nobody's business. She can make the wind toss your hair and an aroma strike like a long-lost memory, striking like a tractor-trailer out of control. She can make you think desperate things and she can make you want to only whisper. She deserves the whispers. She's the one who should be listened to. She can make the air coming in through the open windows on that drive feel warmer.
The arguable reason most of us travel to Austin, this time of year, is for the onslaught of music, but the real reason is for the tease of the kind of weather that abandoned us months earlier. We've come to see who it's been cheating on us with. It always turns out that it's Texas and we hardly blame it. Bosque Brown music reminds us of snakes and sinners and the fine line that they share with us. Sometimes there's no line and that's always remarkable to acknowledge to and what better way is there for self-enlightenment then on a solitary drive, with the windows down, in a place that you've never been, seeking a good, smoky plate of meat?