A birthday cake with double-8 candles. Special serenades from Lazy Lester, Benny Turner and others. And most importantly, another Sunday night at Antone’s with Miss Lavelle White.
Austin’s longtime soulful singer of blues, funk, country and more celebrated with hometown friends and visiting luminaries on Sunday as Antone’s headed into the heart of its three-week 42nd-anniversary blowout. We captured a few of the highlights in the video above.
White, our Austin360 Artist of the Month for July 2017, performed her customary two sets, mixing up classic numbers from the likes of Merle Haggard and Janie Bradford/Berry Gordy with favorites from her own songbook. Typically she also has a guest performer at these Sunday shows, but with so many blues luminaries in town for the Antone’s anniversary, the talent level was kicked up several notches on this night.
Bassist Benny Turner, who’d played a great set the night before as part of a James Cotton/Muddy Waters tribute, kicked things off, with White joining him for a gospel tune at one point. White, backed by her L Men band, then blazed through a short set that ended when the evening’s emcee, Bobby Patterson, and Antone’s booker Zach Ernst presented her with a birthday cake onstage. “I’m not gonna be happy until the audience sings happy birthday,” she exhorted the crowd, who responded in kind.
There was a lot more to come. Chicago guitarist Jimmy D. Lane, son of the great Jimmy Rogers, tore it up in a tight trio format after Patterson performed a couple of songs. Then came 84-year-old Louisiana legend Lazy Lester, who took a cue from White’s earlier performance of Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again” by offering up a spirited Hag double-shot of “Lonesome Fugitive” and “Sing Me Back Home.” Everyone in the audience appreciated it, but probably none more than Amy Nelson, daughter of Merle’s best bud Willie.
White, whose actual birthday was July 3, closed things out with one more set that wrapped up around 9 p.m., though the night was still just getting started at the home of the blues as B3 organ master Ike Stubblefield got ready to take the stage. (Yes, he’s a relative of barbecue icon C.B. Stubblefield; but, no, rumors appear to be untrue that he’s changing his name to Ike Liberty Lunch.)
In the meantime, you can still catch White at Antone’s most Sunday nights, as well as first Saturdays at the Skylark Lounge and third Saturday’s at C-Boy’s Heart & Soul. She’s not slowing down any time soon.