Cocoa Beach Library Concert

Cocoa Beach Public Library

Cocoa Beach FL
February 9, 2020

Oh the rain it did come down
And the wind began to howl
And the water come over the levee
Oh where are we gonna go now?

That’s the question that opens this stirring concert’s final number. Austin and his band — guitarist Fred “Sir Twang” Ermentout and drummer Frank Hetzler — along with featured vocalist Christine Reilly and saxophonist Dennis Bram, give the answer, and it’s unequivocal:

Carry on, carry on, oh we gotta carry on!

Austin prides himself on always presenting fresh material in his shows, and there’s plenty of that along the way, from a jumping version of Gene Vincent’s 1956 hit “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, to Austin’s nostalgic, mint-julep-flavored ode to the South “Sweet Side of Dixie”, to his bluesy honky-tonk ballad “Temporarily Tempted”. Those familiar with Austin’s discography will love the treatments of “Back In My Wildhood” from Walkin’ In Outa Leavin’, “Speakin’ In Drums” from Kill Devil Sessions (check out Frank’s amazing drum licks on that one!), and “Bay Minette Baby Blues” and “Dance Party” from Retrophonic Folk-A-Delic.

Fred’s guitar wizardry is evident throughout, and he takes a vocal turn with a beautiful cover of the Wright/Whitters/Turner number “The Older I Get”. Christine teams up with Austin on a song he wrote back in his Nashville days, but may be new to listeners: “Whole Heap of Loving”. Dennis’s sax gives the show a special charge, and Austin and Fred spotlight their guitar work on the dreamy instrumental “Prelude To You”.

Austin has performed many tributes to his heroes — musical and otherwise — over the years (Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Chet Baker, Rosa Parks), but none may be more poignant than the homage to John Lennon that he offers here: “Still Can’t Imagine… (He Had So Much More To Give)”. It’s a sad song and yet, if one listens between the lyrics, there’s an exhortation to keep giving peace and love a chance, in other words:

Carry On!

“Be-Bop-A-Lula” was written by Gene Vincent, Donald Graves, and Sheriff Tex Davis

“The Older I Get” was written by Adam Wright, Hailey Whitters, and Sarah Allison Turner

All other songs, words and music by
Austin Church
Churchman Music (BMI)
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