Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Traditional music, barbecue, beer features in PTSD fundraiser

Marisa Vasquez

Preston Rhone, Mike Harmeier and Catlin Rutherford are members of Mike and the Moonpies, one of the several bands playing at the Lonestar Roots Review this weekend. (Not pictu

Just in time for the fall semester, the Hole in the Wall — arguably the greatest college bar in the history of Western civilization — is set to unleash the Lonestar Roots Review, a two-day barbecue and beerfest that will showcase 13 up-and-coming talented acts in traditional music. All proceeds from the event Friday and Saturday will go to Deserts + Mountains, a brand-new nonprofit organization that aims to help former soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress disorder by fostering artistic expression.

“This is the first event we are holding, so I’m really excited,” founder Samuel Ellison, a UT Middle Eastern studies alumni who served as an infantryman in Iraq in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2009, said. “Roots music is the music of the American story, of which veterans play a crucial part.

These bands come from a proud heritage of people, like Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, who told the American story, and I think that makes it a natural genre for a veteran’s benefit.”

Friday’s bands include East Cameron Folkcore, Guns of Navarone, Mockingbird Loyals and Mrs. Glass. Saturday picks up with Sons of Fathers, Mike and the Moonpies, Shakey Graves and Christy Hayes. About half a dozen beat-up vanloads of other artists round out both nights. The full schedule can be found online.

“I think Friday night’s going to be the rowdier night of the two, and Saturday’s gonna be the night that everybody comes out to dance,” Samantha Phelps, whose production company, Boring Enormous (as in the Paul Westerberg song), organized the event, said. “Sons of Fathers is good two-stepping music. Mike and the Moonpies obviously know how to get a crowd moving. So it’s gonna be good.”

“I’m really excited about it, because we’ve never done any shows for [Deserts + Mountains] before,” Mike Harmeier, frontman for Mike and the Moonpies, said. “In fact, this will be our first time back at the Hole in the Wall since the end of our residency, which ended in January, so I’m excited. I mean, I love that bar, man.”

The night came together through the collaborative efforts of Ellison and Phelps, who met while volunteering at the Sustainable Food Center and soon started making plans for a benefit show that eventually became the Lonestar Roots Review.

“I had been bartending at the Hole in the Wall for over a year, and being one of the most established and coolest venues in town, I get to meet a lot of musicians,” Phelps said. “So I wanted to showcase that. And what I thought of doing for, like, a one-day event and barbecue has turned into this really big endeavor, but it’s going so well and getting a lot of attention for the nonprofit. And all of the artists are really excited to be on this bill.”

“Quite frankly, it’s an honor,” alt-country stompers Guns of Navarone frontman Cory Reinisch said. “It hits home for me, especially because I’ve had so many family members and close friends who have given of themselves and answered the call of service for our country. Those contributions are why Deserts + Mountains is so important. It’s an opportunity to give back.”

The Hole in the Wall is no stranger to underground music festivals: for years, it was host to South By Southwest’s legendary unofficial pre-party known as the Swollen Circus. Given the vacillating nature of Austin’s musical landscape, however, the Roots Review presents a welcome opportunity to reemphasize the Hole in the Wall’s standing as one of Austin’s best-loved live music venues.

“The scope of Austin and live music is changing so drastically, especially with the East Side boom,” Phelps said. “And we all love that, but we really wanted to remind everybody, especially UT, that Hole in the Wall is still this awesome place to see live music.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Hole in the Wall and for early birds, there will be five-dollar plates of home-cooked barbecue and a chance to hear Ellison discuss the project.

“I’ve had an outpouring of support from friends, family and community,” Ellison said. “People seem to really support the cause. My hope is that I meet a lot of new veterans who want to participate, as well as artists and teachers who would like to help.”

Printed on September 5, 2012 as: "Root for veterans"

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Traditional music, barbecue, beer features in PTSD fundraiser