This picture of George and I was taken a pre-Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo performance. I believe it was about 1979 or so. This was at the Astrodome Marriott hotel ballroom.

After rodeo parties were common in the late 70's and early 80's. About 1983 the record companies got tight and would not have parties, or they would be very small. Most of the Rodeo's parties I attended were at the Astro Village Hotel as it was called back then. Which now may be Sheraton Hotel. The top floor was a penthouse suite. It was shaped like a baseball diamond and the dance floor was a layout of a baseball field.

Continued right column..>

Go to the link below and registrar on our "So George Strait Forums". There you can post questions or stories and any information you may have.

George Strait Forum

Ace in the Hole Playing Their Cards

by Jeff Franks

One of the enduring fantasies many people seem to share is the desire to be a musician of one kind or another. For example, I have always been convinced I am one of the world's greatest vocal talents waiting to be discovered by some sharpie promoter but thus far, only those four shower walls have been treated to my soulful renditions of any number of popular songs.

One thing holding me back is a steadfast refusal to learn any one complete song. As a result, I end up singing the same musical phrases over and over and I must admit (though it pains me) even I get bored with my thwarted attempts at song making. I shudder to think what would happen if I actually ever stepped up to perform for a room full of people. They provide life insurance for just such occasions. But my own inability to remember songs has always spurred questions in my mind about real musicians, mainly how in God's name do they learn and have at their fingertips so many different numbers? There is no limit to my admiration for the musician who can ask an audience for a request, then actually perform a suggested song. In my opinion, this is the height of competence.

Recently, I realized I had a lot of questions about the life of a musician, so I decided to go Strait to the source., none other than Mr. Show Business himself. Tom Foote one of my old high school friends who plays drums for one of this areas popular bands Ace in the Hole featuring George Strait. My intent was two-fold, to learn about and give Ace in the Hole some publicity and to determine what it's like to be a musician. Strait's name fits the man, for there isn't a straighter looking and shooting young musician in the business. Nor a more dedicated one. And he was letting the hammer down at the anniversary party, playing first on country song and then another as Ace in the Hole believers filled Finlay's dusty and ill-lighted dance floor wall to wall." Everyone is out of school except me and Mike Daily" Strait said. "I'll get out next semester, and I believe Mike will graduate after this semester. And then its music all the way."

For those of you may not know them, Ace in the Hole does indeed feature "George Strait", who many regard as the finest singer to come out of this area in a long long time. Joining him are Ron Cable on lead guitar and vocals, Terry Hale bass and vocals, Mike Daily on steel guitar and of course Foote on drums. I'm no music critic but people like Kent Finlay, Cheatum Street Warehouse owner and fellow songwriter-musician consider them one of the best group of musicians in central Texas. They play country and western music with a heavy emphasis on Bob Wills type songs. Occasionally they slip into something like a Beatles song, but even these come out with a country beat. Frankly, I'm a city boy and have never taken that much interest in C/W sound. But frequently Cheatum Street the past few months has developed my taste to the point where I really enjoy listening to Ace in the Hole. Evidentially. I am not the only one-they've been drawing big crowds at the warehouse all summer long.

Ace in the Hole formed in October 1975. Ron, Terry, Mike and Tom had been in a group previously but it split up and Tom move to Houston to make his fortune selling radiators. The other three remained in San Marcos, going to SWT and searching around for other musicians interested in getting something started.

I had the pleasure of meeting a partying with the likes of Charley Pride, The Judds, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, Moe Bandy, Mac Davis and Eddie Rabbit up there.

Click on the hotel picture to see some pictures from the old Astro Village parties.

Geeksterman Corner

Now just for a little fun, I have posted links to the Geeksterman's youtube video's. Although he is know to be a little creepy and inspire nightmares. I think he is a funny guy!

Geeksterman Spots Tiger Woods

George in the meantime was making his way to San Marcos via Hawaii where he was singing in a Army country-western band. After completion of his tour in the military, he hauled his wife and kid here to enroll in school. With music still on his mind, he tacked up a card at the student union building asking anyone interested in forming a group to contact him. Before long Ron, Mike and Terry spotted the notice, arranged a meeting and Ace in the Hole developed from there. On October 13th 1975 they played their first public performance. A few months later in January, Tom dropped everything in Houston an signed on for the duration. I will resist the impulse here to say "The rest is history" and merely point out that they have been playing together ever since and are apparently stronger musically and as an organization today than at any time in the past. This is what we call progress.

An Ace in the Hole performance is always marked by one overwhelming phenomenon-dancing. People love to dance to their music. According to Foote, in many of the clubs they play, dancing rather than applause is how the audience expresses it's appreciation for the quality of the performance. The key to the bands success in getting people on the dance floor is a combination of the music selected and the energy with which it is played. It also helps "that we truly enjoy what we are doing". Foote said. This feeling radiates from the band to the audience and tends to enhance the enjoyment of both.

Ace in the Hole's repertoire of songs is a vast one. Foote said they no longer keep a song list, but attempt to learn several new ones every two weeks or so. Do they forget songs over a period of time? Yep, Foote, said it happens.

New songs are usually suggested by George or Ron, bases more or less on their own personal taste and what they feel will fit the bands style. The typical progression is this: Say George recommends a song. He in turn will know the words and the chord progression and will pass that on to the band. They get that down, put in whatever flourishes they feel are needed and after a few rehearsals, presto a new song. Sometimes this is done with amazing speed. Recently, Foote said the band learned three new instrumentals in one day. Once in a great while they will try a song for the first time on stage, no practice or rehearsal preceding it. "Redneck Mother" for instance was learned in this manner. it helps that everyone in the band is pretty quick about picking up new songs. Foote said, adding "I am probably the slowest of all". Even Mr. Show Business has his flaws.

Songs that are forgotten are ones that are seldom played. Conversely, there are songs that are played so often that band members will humming them in their graves, ones such as "Night Life" and "Pop a Top". While one does get sick of playing some of the same songs over and over again, each one presents a challenge of trying to play it as well as possible each time, Foote said.

Though Tom said he never gets bored with being a musician, there are moments when things are not all what they are cracked up to be. Traveling and setting up equipment, for instance, gets rather old. Some nights (and this does not happen much anymore) few people show up and at those times when that mutual exchange of energy between audience and musicians is lacking, "You just have to tough it out and play" Tom said.

Helpful Links

Looking for a rent house in the Woodlands, Spring or Houston area? Check out Purchase Rent House

Constantly dealing with people gets tiresome, too. Musicians are in a precarious position. They seek out and must have the attention of people, otherwise their lives as performers are pretty well over. Nonetheless they are human themselves, so there are times they just don't care to converse with the adoring public. It is at such times that a career of a musician closely parallels that of a politician, complete with handshakes, forced smiles and stilted conversation. Clubs with private rooms where band members may retreat during breaks are highly prized.

Part of the problem in dealing with people is that there are large numbers of people out there that want to be musicians. They do not always keep this fact to themselves, preferring instead to confide in the nearest band member in hopes of gaining his attention. Often, they will ask for auditions, other times advice. After the hundredth time this little scenario is played out, musicians begin to observe it all with jaundice eye. They become adept at inoffensive evasive answers. This is probably one of the hardest parts of being a musician.

Why does one become a musician? For the glory, for the girls, for the hell of it, I guess. The money is ok but only gets real good if you become a big star. One thing that constantly Surprised me during my conversations is the attitude of some women toward musicians. They adore them. They make exotic propositions to them. They long to be in their company. For a married man like George, it creates interesting problems. Lets just say his wife is not very appreciative of all the attention some women pay to her husband. If the situation were reversed and his wife were the musician, "I don't think I could put up with that" George admitted.

The fascination of women for male musicians is intriguing though somewhat baffling. Perhaps there is an emotional aspect of singing songs and playing music with feeling that attracts them. Or maybe it is the Hollywoodish promise of an exciting life amid big stars awaiting a lucky woman who hooks up with a musician. Or maybe it's just the beer and booze. I have always suspected that there is a aspect of power involved somewhere, but who knows. Anyway, Ace in the Hole has no plans to break up at this point, primarily because they sense growing momentum in their music. Finlay believes they will go on to do much bigger success and definitely predicts George will be a star on the national horizon. "He's the finest singer I have ever seen" Finlay said in a matter of fact voice. In the future, the band intends to start playing more original music written primarily by George and Ron. A recording contract, the goal of any serious group, may fall their way one of these days and they have already released a single record.

The path of any musical group is a hazardous one, filled with politics and pitfalls. The music business today is a cut-throat one simply because there are so many people that want to get into it and so much is at stake. Its accessibility has been raised to mythical status by movies and Tv intent on making common folks into national heroes. Anyone connected to it, though, will tell you how much it takes to become a star. Most people tell about it from point of failure. If Ace in the Hole plays its cards right, maybe they can give us the other side.....THE END

Designed and Maintained by Woodlands Computer Geeks

Owned and Operated By and DailyEstates LLC