My baby watches CMT.

It was revealed to me that technically a Yankee is someone from one of the original Union states on the East Coast. I'd been desperately clinging to the fact that I was a Yankee simply because I wasn't from the South.

Being from the West makes me a Cowboy.

It does, really. Colorado is a western state, like it or not. It's not a Midwestern plains state, but it's not a West Coast state, it's cowboy country. The problem with that is I think of Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming as Cowboy states. So why not Colorado? Well growing up a 'burb outside of Denver, you don't really notice that you're in a Western state. Sure there's the occasional turquoise necklace or boot cut jeans or ten gallon hat, but it was an oddity to see them. I lived in one of the larger metropolitan areas in the country, surely cowboys lived on ranches or under the stars. Don't they?

Anyway, it's hard to embrace something you didn't know you were. Not being a native Texan I can either say I'm Not-A-Native-Texan which gets the same reaction as telling people you're a nudist (not terribly offensive, but just not right either) or I can tell them I'm from up north. I don't like saying I'm from Colorado because frankly, Coloradoans hate Texans. They just do. Don't ask, it has something to do with them buying up all our land or being assholes on the slopes. I haven't the slightest idea, but it was sort of ingrained into our heads as children as jokes and anecdotes and some horror stories. I even remember a trip up the side of Pikes Peak on the Cog Railroad and the tour guide said, as we passed a field of boulders, "And for you folks from Texas, this is what we call 'gravel.'" The rabble was roused after that and I remember thinking, "Yeah, stupid Texans."

But now I have to pause and consider that 3/4 of the people in my house are Texans by birth. My children are Natives. They are Texans. For the rest of their life they will be able to impress people worldwide with their place of birth. Meanwhile I'll be sitting in a small eatery in Greece trying to chat up the waitress with stories from Colorado and she'll be looking at me like I'm a nudist.

It's either that or come to terms with your surroundings. I like Austin. It's not so much Texas as other places like Dallas or El Paso or Luckenback, but it's a very cool place and has the bizarre distinction of being very un-Texas-like AND the state's capitol. I also like my family, those damn Texans that they are. And I like going to see concerts, even if it's Willie Nelson.

Mrs. Austin was doing a favor for a friend by buying tickets for them for a Willie Nelson concert. I don't know why this person couldn't buy their own damn tickets, but c'est la guere. Mrs. A did a solid for them, but for whatever reason the ticket place couldn't mail them in time and wasn't open in time for her to get them and then deliver them. (Seriously, make friends with my wife. You get concert tickets, mix CDs, drinks, furniture, babysitting and quite possibly some salsa.) Plans fell through and she decided to go instead, and then invited me. If you remember, this isn't the first Willie Nelson concert I'd been to, and I'm sure it won't be the last. The guy is 137 years old and plays guitar like a fiend.

But I'm jumping the gun.

First off, we leave under a giant and complete rainbow. Very Kermit. Next we are able to park right up front thanks to the handicap tag Mrs. A has for her leg. (And before you start in, she can't walk very far, so it's not like we're abusing it. You fascists.) We grab some drinks and food and then proceed to mill around during the first few opening acts. We take our seats, it sprinkles a bit, I'm wearing shorts and a tee-shirt and it's about 50 degrees (cuz I'm not a Yankee, remember? Guh! Read above) so I have to buy a couple long sleeve shirts. So now I'm a transplant with a cowboy hat and a Willie shirt and two Native children and I own a home. I'm like 98% Texan. The other two percent hates the Dallas Stars.

So the concert is a blast. Mrs. A got a little drunk and I tried to. The 2nd opening act was a guy named Shooter Jennings. My dad might get the reference. I won't push it now and if you like surprises, don't hit that link just yet. They were good, not really folksy, not really bluegrass, not really honky-tonk (like I'd friggin know, please) but they were really sort of aggressive, scratchy, dirty country music. Good beat, I could dance to it.

Didn't think twice about it. Then some other depressing-ass lady came on singing about mines and sugarcanes and some spinning wheel. She was the Zoloft love child of Jonny Cash and Melissa Ethridge. First song was awesome. "Fish swim, bird fly. Something something, by and by. Old men, sit and think. I drink." Really kinda silvery, tinny, edgy Patsy Kline song, but it went downhill from there. One song about people deserving mercy now, Mrs. A says, "Man, this song deserves some mercy now. My EARS deserve some mercy now." She’d had a few Tiki Passion Papayas.

Well, then the roadies start getting the stage ready for Willie and before you know it, he's on stage...before they were done. He just grabs a guitar (pronounced GEE-tar or GIH-tar) and starts playin'. The roadies scramble and the rest of the band, or maybe some of the roadies start playing the closest instrument available. It was almost as if Willie was back stage going "Want to see these guys freak out?" So Willie plays a concert like I've not heard before, he just goes from one song to another. There's no pauses in between to talk about rain forests or tsunamis or how the President did something stupid (that'd be a long interlude) or mentioning about what the next song was or why he wrote it or what pen he used to write it, just played all the songs.

Then, while playing By and By or The Wheel or whatever that spiritual song is, a few people join him on stage. First being John Popper of Blues Traveler fame. Next is Jessica Simpson. Then some other chick I recognized but don't know. Then Shooter Jennings. Nelson and Jennings. Get it now? He's the dead guy's son! Singing with Willie Nelson. We didn't get it until we got home. We were so focused on the fact that the guy's name was Shooter that the last name didn't really sink it. I was more impressed with John Popper, I think Mrs. A was impressed with Jessica Simpson's voice (which was pretty good.) I think they were all on stage because they were filming Dukes of Hazard and SXSW is in town.

Bang up evening. Really. Whiskey River indeed.

I forgot to mention that the title comes from a line Mrs. A thought she heard. When shooter was onstage he said something like, "This next song is called (something) and you can see the video on CMT." Cheryl thought he said the song title was "My Baby Watches CMT." Holy smokes, you need booze!

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