Gruene Hall was was rockin’ and rollin’ Saturday night as a mix of the young and the older had people jumping for more than three hours.

There was also some good old C&W, Americana and Christian gospel music, such as “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” and “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.”
The older part of the show came from veteran rocker Leon Russell, born in Lawton, Ok., in 1941. But don’t call Leon old. He’s got the energy of a 25 year-old, and he is known as the Master of Space and Time, after his classic tune “A Song For You.”

Russell, who has played with such legends as The Beach Boys (he played keyboard on “California Girls”), Ringo Starr (Ringo played drums on Leon’s classic “Delta Lady”) Eric Clapton (he laid down the guitar licks on Delta Lady), Bob Dylan and Steve Winwood, uses a souped-up keyboard to make his classics sound like they are orchestra-backed.

Saturday, he was also backed by bass player Jackie Wessel, lead guitarist J. “Curly” Speegle, drummer Cody Chesterfield and vocalist Jamie Babbitt. Leon, of course, provided vocals and keyboard.

Babbitt set the tone for the night, as she ran on stage at the beginning of the set like a college football player rushing onto the gridiron. She began by belting out the background vocals on the set’s first number, “Delta Lady,” not unlike Janis Joplin.

I’ve read a review of Janis’ stellar Monterey Pop performance that stated the reviewer was near the stage and heard Janis’ music straight from the mouth, as well as from amplication.

As I was standing close to the Gruene Hall stage to get the best location I could for shooting photos, I was only a few feet from Babbitt, and this lady was belting it out so loud, I heard as much from her as I did from the amp.

The Austin-based Band of Heathens, also known as the Heathens (according to their website, they formed the band earlier this year as The Good Time Supper Club, but a misprint in a newspaper gave them the name they still use) is a group to keep your eyes, and ears, on.

Band members are Colin Brooks, Ed Jurdi, Brian Keane, Gordy Quist and Seth Whitney. They are all veterans in the music business, and their coming together in this group may just be a great example of serendipity at its best.

The band will have a CD release party for their new CD “Live From Momo’s” from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Sunday at Gruene Hall.

The afternoon of the concert I heard concert co-sponsor KNBT, 92.1 FM in New Braunfels, a voice of Americana music in Central Texas, play two Heathens tunes: the band’s “Bumblebee” and “Ain’t No More Cane On The Brazos,” by legendary Texas bluesman Leadbelly – real name Huddie Ledbetter.

The Heathens played both songs Saturday night, and they were two of the strongest tunes in the set.

My last concert before Saturday night was Van Morrison in Granada, Spain, doing everything from “Brown-Eyed Girl,” to “Jackie Wilson Said” to “Your Cheating Heart.” Morrison had more than a dozen musicians playing with him, and the show was excellent.

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