a week on the scene


Before a packed Saturday night crowd at Casbeers, local rockabilly pomade brigade Cave Catt Sammy christened its fourth album, Whiskey and the Devil, on August 23 with a spirited show that included covers of Duke Ellington's "Duke's Place" and Elvis Presley's "Hard Headed Woman."

Among the new highlights was the album-opening "I Hate You Gin," a song penned by upright-bassist/singer Beau Sample, which bemoans the way demon alcohol took his girl away from him. The flipside of that sentiment comes from "Down at the Quarthouse," in which Sample willingly drowns himself in a bottle.

Whiskey also features a cover of Jerry Reed's scoundrel anthem, "Your Money Makes You Purty," which includes such sweet nothings as: "What you lack in looks/You make up in bank books." This band of traditionalists also gets a chance to stretch out and show its affinity for jazz with guitarist Stephen Scott's western-swing instrumental "The C-Jack Jump."


The day that San Antonio Symphony musicians had been dreading finally arrived last week. After hanging on by a fiscal thread for years, the symphony was advised last week by a mayoral task-force to suspend its plans for a 2003-04 performance season, in an effort to regain its financial bearings.

Task-force chairman Mike De La Garza accurately described the orchestra's situation as bleak and made a valid point when he said that trying to stay afloat from year to year is no way to maintain an organization. De La Garza can hardly be accused of sugar-coating the prognosis, but when he used San Diego as a recent example of a symphony that went dark and later re-emerged stronger than ever, it provided little solace.

San Diego's symphony returned to a still- vigorous late-'90s economy, while SA's symphony will try to mend fences with contributors at a time when money's tight and consumer confidence is shaky.

The greatest cause for concern, though, and one that De La Garza soft-pedaled at the August 19 press conference, is the fate of the orchestra's players. Even before the symphony's budgetary concerns reached a crisis stage, its members were not among the better-paid musicians in their field. They sacrificed their own interests early this year and kept working when the organization couldn't meet its payroll. Under the circumstances, can they help but feel betrayed? If not a mass exodus, we can expect some serious defections in the next several months. •

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