Art Walk and Music in McKinney, Texas

dont walk

I know better than to walk…it could be healthy or something. Lord knows I don’t want to do anything healthy! But we did take a stroll last month. We went to the McKinney Art Walk, in downtown McKinney, Texas.
McKinney at night

It was a beautiful evening, with the moon hanging in the sky like a silver earring. The town is not a booming metropolis, and there weren’t tons of shops open, as we had expected. I’m told that the monthly event is just getting started, so that might have been why more places didn’t choose to stay open late. We were a little disappointed that there wasn’t more art to ponder.

I was hoping to get some pictures, but about the only thing that caught our eye was this mannequin in an antique store. Something about the jewel glittering in the bellybutton got our attention. I was jealous.
jewel navel

We had reservations at Café Málaga for 8:00 to hear some friends of ours play music. It’s a “tapas” restaurant. I told my husband we were going to a tapas restaurant, and his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. Until he realized that I said “tapas” not “topless.” I guess you hear what you want to hear, eh?

Our stomachs were growling, and we didn’t think we could wait so late to eat. We decided to stop at a delightful restaurant on the Square called “Spoons for a light meal, so we could still enjoy the tapas later. I nearly stayed there.

There was a teenage boy standing at the door with his guitar when we walked inside. He was playing music for a crowd that was only intent on the food mounded on their plates. All I could think was, “How painful is this?” As a storyteller, I’ve worked gigs where people are eating while you perform. It’s excruciating, and I didn’t envy him.

The boy was not anyone you would look at twice; he was gangly and thin. He hid behind enormous black glasses and his long, dark hair was draped over his features. I could hear my mother’s voice in my head as I looked at him, “Get that hair out of your face!”

The child was obviously mortified by the experience in front of the crowd, and was just singing to the floor, bless his heart. He was just a typical teenager. Until he started singing! Oh. My. Gosh!

I thought, “There must be some mistake! I must have died and gone to Heaven, because I hear an angel singing!” He had a magnificent high, clear voice. To please the older crowd in front of him, he was playing songs like “Yesterday” and other things we old fogeys might recognize. But you could tell his heart wasn’t in it. I don’t think it would have been his first choice of music.

I decided to throw him for a loop. I waltzed up to him, popped $5 in his tip jar, told him he had one of the most “beeyoutiful” voices I’d ever heard in my life, and I requested a song. What I asked him to sing suited his voice: 100 Years by Five For Fighting. I can’t embed it, but take a moment and go listen. I’ll wait.

Hmm. Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmm…you back?

OK, so that boy’s face lit up (behind the glasses and the hair, he was actually quite handsome!). He began to sing. He sang with feeling! Even without piano to accompany him, he did a nice job. He got a good response from that, with people actually stopping eating long enough to clap. So, he tried some Depeche Mode and some more contemporary songs that obviously pleased him more. That gave him confidence, and he started making eye contact with people in the restaurant. He got himself an audience, and this gal was loathe to leave. Stupid me! I didn’t even get his name!!

We had to move on, though, because my friends, Rudy Littrell and Duane Brown, were going to be playing and I love their music, too. They are called The E-Flat Porch Band (the porch where they practice resonates to the key of E-flat). We met years ago when we performed at the same festival, and our paths have crossed many times over the years. I listen to their cds as I drive across Texas. It makes the miles go by quickly and painlessly.

I’ll play their music for you if they ever get a YouTube video. I’m after them to do that every time I see them. Their music is a mix of blues, folk, jazz and country swing. Rudy is the best soda pop box player I have ever heard. I’m from Texas, y’all, and I’ve heard myself some soda pop box players, so take it from me. They were being joined at Café Málaga by their friend Steve, from Austin, who plays a pretty mean harmonica. I’m a sucker, so to speak, for “harp music.”
E Flat Porch Band

I must say it was a pretty darned good evening! We had a grand time hearing their songs, and I even got the most magnificent tapas at that restaurant! Grilled dates wrapped in bacon! Some of you knew there was going to be bacon in this story.

If you live in North Texas, or are passing through, you might be interested in visiting McKinney. It’s a fun little town any day of the week, and if you like antiques, there is plenty of shopping for you. I don’t know how much “art” there is, because we didn’t see much. You have to walk a little in order to see all the shops, but you can negate the effects of that easily by stopping at every restaurant you see for a bite.

If you notice that little boy playing his guitar, don’t discount him on his looks. Stop long enough to listen. And, get his name for me, would you?

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  11 comments for “Art Walk and Music in McKinney, Texas

  1. February 27, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Sounds like a great evening! I just love it when I stumble across a new musician or group that “speaks to me”! That happened to me once at a grand opening of a Target store years ago. I packed up all the kidlets and we went to check out the store and to check out some of my favorite General Hospital actors who were there for promotion.

    Never even walked thru the store or saw the actors that day because there was a four person a cappella group singing rock and roll hits right near the entrance. They were wonderful and we sat on the floor for an hour to listen to them. I’ve gone to many of their gigs since then and they never cease to amaze me!

    It sounds like the young boy you saw had the talent, just lacked a little confidence. Maybe you helped him get some and we’ll be seeing him everywhere someday! Who knows, right???

    Did you buy that mannequin? Love her! And tell your friends to get a YouTube video! The Rock Chick is anxious to hear soda pop box playing!

    Sounds like you stumble on some fun stuff, too! I used to watch GH a long time ago, but I wouldn’t even recognize the actors on it now. Oh, our night was great fun. E-flat doesn’t do rock and roll, but they do just about everything else. I wish I could get them on YouTube, for sure. And, that young boy really could be a star if he wants to do so. I’m tellin’ ya…he was G.O.O.D.

  2. February 27, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Sounds like a fantastic night – great music and great food! How come you didn’t invite me?

    I DID invite you…but, the invitation is in the mail, and it takes awhile for the US mail to cross the ocean. You would have particularly enjoyed this, because I know how much you like folk music! I don’t know all the cool artists that you know, but I have met a few. Next time you are in town, I’ll take you…OK?

  3. February 27, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Oooh I am jealous. A walk in the moonlight. A serenade from a handsome man-child. Street musicians, and hubby who buys you bacon. Now that is an evening well spent.

    Oh be sure to stop by tomorrow and Tell Me A Story.

    You should be jealous. It was tons of fun. I love your story…and I linked to it on the sidebar! Thanks for your kind words.

  4. February 27, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Now that is my kinda night out! The pictures of the band are fabulous.

    I figured it was your kinda night out! You’d have been in hog heaven. Have you seen my “radio station?” I thought about you when I was making it. Bet you’d like the blues I have on it. There’s a link on the sidebar and on the new TT post I just put up.

  5. Cindee
    February 28, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Sounds like you had a great time. The manniquin is really great. I loved her belly jewelry too. I have an old vanity almost just like that one that I plan to repaint for the DD’s room soon. Someday I will get to go to Texas and I will have to make a stop in Mckinney on my way to Westphalia(-:

    If you come to Texas, give a shout…I’ll show you the best shops around!

  6. Barbara
    March 8, 2008 at 8:03 am

    I loved your account. Wonderful to read a story from a woman who obviously loves life. Can you recommend a place to stay overnight? My sister and I are planning a trip there for my 60th birthday!

    Since I live nearby, Barbara, I haven’t stayed overnight in McKinney. I’d hate to recommend something that turned out to not be what you wanted. I hope you enjoy the town! Happy 60th!

  7. Marcia
    March 8, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    I love discoveries like that – and you are so sweet for being so empathetic.. his 54 year old angel…
    You could call Spoons and see if they know who he is. 😉

    Marcia’s last blog post..Stopping on interstate!

  8. Brenda L. Stringer
    March 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I would like information on McKinney art walk 2010 – who do I contact

    • March 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      Brenda, I am only supposing that it is still going on (who knows with this economy). It was produced by the City of McKinney’s Main Street Association, so I would Google them and give them a call.

  9. Sunne
    June 27, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Can you round the town gals tell me where I might find a shop that was featured on a local news channel a few years ago? I believe the shop was called Rock Art. Crosses made out of crystal rock. Gorgeous! I’m a rock freak all the way around, and would sincerley like to find this place. It was at that time owned by a husband and wife team, and the shop located in McKinney. Enjoyed reading the posts!!!

    • June 27, 2010 at 5:42 am

      I’m not from McKinney, Sunne, but I bet if you went to The Heard Natural Science Museum in McKinney they could tell you. It’s got a huge collection of rock that would delight you!

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