For my first “wizard-post” I wanted to write about something very specific. I imagine as the weeks and months brush by I will write often about local music, records I think you should hear, funny things people said, etc. etc. But in writing, as in most things in life, no matter what purpose or brilliant idea you intend on making the focus of your piece, the events that you have experienced more recently tend to force their way onto the page. So in thinking about my inaugural wizard-post I kept coming back to the thing that has probably impacted me the most in my twelve years of Fort Worth residency: people.
I moved to Fort Worth in the fall of 2000 for University, which I withdrew from after only one year. What kept me here in Fort Worth was a community of musicians whose friendships have not only grown over the years, but have made this place home. I have come close to moving out of DFW twice since I have been here: once after a tough breakup when California sounded and looked like heaven (at least in the sense of escapism) and then once after marrying my wife who has never lived outside of the Fort. But each time the people are the thing that kept me from viewing this town as the past rather than the present and future.
Without turning this into a peek into my closet of skeletons, I, like all of you, have seen my share of pain, problems, and even some real suffering. But it seems my friends, both close and casual, have always been the ones to pull me out of the deep end. It so happens that most of those friends are either musicians or in some way connected to the music community of Fort West, it’s not weird really, that’s just my peer group. But the thing is that whether it was through specific acts of kindness, or just pleasant conversation and libation, these merry men (and women) have always been the cure to what ails me, it seems.
Of late, the band that I choose to give my free time to whole-heartedly has gone from a hobby to a beacon and a real joy for me. The three friends I chose to play with me in The Apache 5 have gone from talented friends who I get along with, to one large family made up of four smaller ones. Recently one of our family members, bass player and vocalist Kyle Barnhill, suffered an unfortunate accident which rendered him incapable of playing with the band for a few months. Not wishing to hinder the band’s momentum or summer plans, Kyle insisted we find a temporary replacement and keep working until his hand could completely heal. In stepped Chuck Brown, the bassist from Telegraph Canyon and longtime Chat Room barman. Chuck not only brought his awesome talent, but his absolute best effort and real friendship to the band and our music. Our first show with Chuck was one of real rock and roll frivolity at Lola’s for the Good Show Live Concert Series and as I write this we prepare for the biggest show of the band’s short career, Friday On the Green in the Magnolia district. If Chuck hadn’t arrived when he did we would’ve missed out on some great shows and experiences.
So as we await Kyle’s return once again it’s the amazing people of Fort Worth that continue to amaze and inspire me, people like Chuck Brown. So whatever great new places, food, drinks, and bands you read about and decide to try here on Fort Wizard, remember it’s the people who are making them exceptional, and more importantly, making them home.