Texas pit boss Brian Mays

Brian Mays has weathered a hundred storms. The old Texas pit boss has been standing over hardwood pit fires in East Austin for decades, and he’s not retreating any time soon. On our rare visits back home we always make sure to run into Sam’s Barbecue for a half chicken plate and some good conversation.

It doesn’t hurt that Johnnie Taylor is on the hi fi and if you squint at the walls just right you can pretend like it’s 1988 all over again.

If someone offered you $3 million for your tiny barbecue restaurant would you take it? Brian Mays said no.

Anchor Grill in Covington Kentucky

The ashtrays are all gone. The puritans that run Kenton County had their moment in the sun back in 2011, and late nights at the Anchor Grill were changed forever.

We loved the old truck drivers and stevedores who used to sit at the counter at the Anchor chain-smoking Pall Malls, and Winstons and drinking black coffee with a little saccharine tossed in it.more

Billy Joe Shaver performing live at Players in Pflugerville Texas

He’s not in a graveyard, sitting in jail or a mental institution. Billy Joe Shaver has defied everybody who came up against him since he started down the outlaw path back in the 60s.

Pictured: Mr Shaver holding it down at a dive bar in Pflugerville, Texas back in 2011. The Corsicana, Texas native blew the doors off Players that night. Then he got in his old, beat-up van and drove off to the next gig, and the next town.

Same as he’s always done.

Happy Birthday Billy Joe.