The Sunday Sessions kicked off on July 12, 2015 and the band outnumbered the audience. Kevin Pakulis called up and said that Borderlands Brewing Company in downtown Tucson was offering us a slot on Sunday afternoons, two sets, $60. How could we pass it up?
The original cast included Kevin on guitar, vocals, and his original material, Kevin Heiderman on bass (who alternated with Karl Hoffmann before moving on), Joel Dvoskin on vocals, and me on the cans. Pretty much right away, though, we had guests sitting in–Ric Volante, Frank Manhardt, Slim Edelman, Dick Arnold, Jim Klingenfus, Tim Barrett, Mitzi Cowell, Carlisle Ellis, Chris Giambelluca, Tom Hodgson, Ned Sutton (RIP), Alvin Blaine, Rob Francis, Marc Rennard, Duncan Stitt, Don Armstrong, Texas Terry, Freddy Parrish, Sabra Faulk, Les Merrihew, Ed Friedland, Mike Tanzillo, Mamma Coal, Joe Scibilia, Alex Flores, Neil Harry–and it wasn’t long before Clay Koweek became a regular. And when he’s in town, Connor “Catfish” Gallaher shows up with his pedal steel.
The beauty of the gig from the get-go was, and is, the fun we were having; it was only two sets so low burn-out rate, the amazing players sitting in, and it was an opportunity to try out all kinds of things. And the band got damn tight. After a year or so, however, we were questioning whether to keep going as the crowds were still pretty slim, although loyal.
But then on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2017, a day we thought would be deader than roadkill, the house packed up. The joint was jumpin’! And folks were being quite generous tossing cash into the tip jar. Word of mouth is key.
For any band, it’s a rare thing that these kind of ‘scenes’ organically develop. There’s no one thing that explains it. When it does happen you ride that pony for all it’s worth. And, except for the fifteen month pandemic respite, we’re still going strong. It’s become a ‘family’ with the regulars and many new friends have been made with the band and audience alike.
Here’s one from our first Sunday back after fifteen months, June 20, 2021. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (written by Kevin Pakulis):
50/50 Deal with Alex Flores (written by Kevin Pakulis):
Texas Terry Trash on vocals with the Mavericks’ Ed Friedland sitting in on bass:
Roundup of Fun with Alvin Blaine (written by Kevin Pakulis):
Everybody Turns a Bad Trick Now and Then with Clay Koweek(written by Ray Wylie Hubbard):
Another version of Yeah, Yeah, Yeah with Alex Flores (written by Kevin Pakulis):
End of the Session jam, meet the band, with both Clay and Connor:
And just for the hell of it, here is our 2nd gig back after fifteen months of pandemic leave, a Club Congress Rhythm and Roots Show:
A special shout-out to Frank Sanzo for shooting the amazing amount of video footage over the years.
And here is one of my favorite shots (by Phil Kelly) with our regular dancer Rocklyn Acereto kicking it up, Tucson style.
I know there are many of you Tucson folks who have yet to stumble in on a Sunday so hopefully you might decide to join the family and see what all the fuss is about. 2:30-5pm, Borderlands Brewing Company, 119 E Toole Ave in Tucson.
And now, the smoking gun…