Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saturday, 8:30pm - 11:30pm Cornell Hurd Band

"We're gonna play, and some of you are gonna dance. Holy mackerel, it's the Cornell Hurd Band!"

Amid a brassy crush of guitars, piano, steel, fiddle, drums, bass, and sax, Cornell Hurd and his ninepiece band swing into "I Don't Care What It Is That You Did When You Lived in Fort Worth." In this atmosphere, heavy on the Mexican decor, icons, and portraits of south-of-the-border folk heroes, a wheezy blast of conjunto or norteño might be de rigueur, but the sound accompanying this Western swing number is the scraping of chairs on Jovita's wooden deck. Longhairs, gray hairs, and the occasional couple under 40 rise from their tables and step onto the dance floor for the first of two solid hours of music.

"Entertainment" might be a better word for what Hurd and company serve up every Thursday at the South Austin Mexican food mainstay, their sets encompassing a wide margin of music, dancing, probably dinner, and definitely laughs. Yuks go with CHB's sweeping swing like Western shirts and cowboy hats, though Hurd and his troupe balk at the notion of being called a comedy band. It's about the music, he insists, and he's right: Those packing the dance floor at Jovita's for the last 10
years or the band's monthly Broken Spoke gigs aren't looking for snake-oil schtick between the shuffles. They want to dance like the dickens. Cornell Hurd and his band of merry musicians are only too happy to oblige.

The guitars twang, the steel zings, the fiddle weeps, and the dance floor is shoulder-to-shoulder. Standing about 6 feet 4 inches in hat and boots, Hurd surveys the room and leans to the microphone.

"Welcome to Texas, where we still love our women."

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