(SAN MARCOS, TEXAS) Due largely to Gary not showing up for his own gig, the Holiday High at Cheatham Street Warehouse was a success. Gary Floater, celebrity, fighter, and singer-songwriter man, was unable to perform or ruin everybody's time, so his buddies covered for him singing mangled fragments of holiday chestnuts and, of course, the songs of Gary Floater.
It was rumored that Gary was unable to attend as he was held by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in an investigation related to the molestation of an endangered migratory bird.
Hardcore fans in festive sweaters and boots mingled, then filled the tables of the venue when NoPayDave's moustache announced that it was time to start the gig already. Dave used a lapdance computer to broadcast the show live on RadioFreeTexas.com.
The river of song began to flow.
The first guest up was Carlos Perkins- an sometime collaborator of Gary's and the writer of "Blue Suede Zapatos." Carlos nailed a version of Gary's drug-addled confession "It's High Time This Old Cowboy Quit Getting So Goldanged High" and then sang Gary's holiday paternity test classic "Whose Child Is This?"
There wasn't a dry seat in the house after Skeet Duggan performed "A Hero Never Learns" and recited the poem and rhymed account of a Christmas miracle, "Twas the Night Before Floater," for the assembled flock of sweaters.
Cornhill Jackson Johnsongrass laid into Gary's ode to ex-wives and barroom hecklers, "You're Not Even Cute, Get Off the Stage," and followed up with that old time, Old Testament crowd-pleaser "The Hand of the Almighty."
Gary's third wife and ex-singing partner Lacy Lakeview appeared for a rendition of "Everyday People (Two Boring Losers in Love)" that brought people back to the days of the Saline County Opry House when Gary and Lacy were on lovemaking terms. Then her version of "Walking in a White White Christmas" knocked everyone back on their holiday asses with yuletide satisfaction.
Floater's roadie and junior high English teacher Waller Tomball performed an emotional recitation of a poem that Gary penned in as a young man titled "Hard Candy Christmas."
B.W. Akins hogged the stage as emcee of the Christmas Ball, and even his ceaseless chatter and complaining could not bring down the assembled from their respective holiday highs. His versions of "The Dirty South" and "That's When the Eagle Screams" lacked the rage of the composer, yet brought out a sappy side that pleased. Covers of "Coach's Song," "Sunburn Lake," and "Pull Over I Want to Eat That" seemed crass and unnecessary.
Throughout the night, producer Flip Dickerson's subtle backing on guitar bore no resemblance to the obtrusive soloing of his pre-lobotomy days.
But the final nail in the coffin of the X-mas Blues came from a terrible person and top notch songwriter in her own right, Anita Feelgood with her recitation of "Grandpa's Promise."
As the show closed, I was deeply moved. To see so much wasted talent in one room was truly stunning.
The gig was a benefit for Hays County Food Bank, and Holiday High attendees donated more than 90 pounds of canned and packaged food as admission to the show.
The donation to the food bank means that some good came out of Gary's music for the first time ever- and that is a Christmas miracle.
Photos by Brad Burns, Texas Outlaw Video