Know what I love most about living in Wimberley? I love that it's a community plum full of incubators. There's all kinds of incubators, you know. There's the kind that saved my niece's life when she was born three months early, and of course, there's the kind all my chicken-raisin' friends use to get their babies off to a good start. But there's plenty of other kinds as well. I guess you could say we created The Bountiful Sprout to be an incubator -- an incubator for our local farmers and producers, to help them figure out how to make a living, doing something they love and believe in. I've been hearing a lot about "kitchen incubators" lately -- places where local food entrepreneurs can rent space in a certified commercial kitchen by the hour, for a modest fee -- and that's something we've added to our wish list at TBS. Montesino Ranch is an incubator -- a marriage between people who just happen to have money and land, and young farmer wannabes who don't. Of course, this whole trailer food phenomena that has taken hold here in the Hill Country is an incubator too. It's one for people who want to get into the restaurant business -- a way for them to get started without a whole lot of money, and build up a loyal following for their cuisine before investing in a brick and mortar facility. We even have several art incubators here -- everything from our Arts From The Heart program that's bringing art to our kiddos, to artist co-op galleries, and a brand new place called Fe29, that sounds like it is trying to do for artists what Montesino Ranch did for young farmers.
As much as I love all of this, the thing I love bestest of all is the way Wimberley acts as both an incubator and a retirement facility for local musicians. We have at least three or four restaurants here that have live music every weekend, and some weekdays too. We have Blue Rock Studio. Then there's our own favorite venue, Susanna's Kitchen. First time we saw Ray Wylie Hubbard play there, he had brought along his teenaged son Lucas to play with him. Last time we saw him there, he groused that Lucas was just too dang busy playing his own gigs these days, to tag along with his poor old dad.
This Thursday we went there to see a group called The Trishas, who played at SXSW this year, and who are about to head out on tour (despite one band member being six months pregnant) for their newly released album, High, Wide and Handsome. I did not know much about them before the concert, so I went online to hear a couple of their songs. Having grown up on groups like the Mamas and the Papas, Abba, and Simon and Garfunkel, and having sung in a traveling female choir all through college, there's not much I love more than some great vocal harmonies. Soon as I heard these girls singing an old gospel song called Trouble, well, I was seriously hooked. As the fellow sitting next to us said, "They're a lot like The Dixie Chicks, with a little less twang." The girl on the far left there is Savannah Welch, daughter of another local musician, Kevin Welch (who will be playing here 12/20). Savannah was very pregnant the whole time they were recording their latest album, and her baby was there in the church nursery being well-cared-for throughout the show. She says she remembers coming here to Susanna's Kitchen to see her dad and brother perform. In fact, there is a song he wrote for her when she was born, called Too Old To Die Young, and that's the song The Trisha's sang as their encore, while one baby was snuggled in the nursery and another was there on the stage, snuggled up to the vibrations of his momma's guitar, and most likely keeping time to her singin'. One helluva incubator, no?