Amarillo Highway: How Well Does Houston Music Travel?

Photos by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Christine at Motel 6
My daughter recently moved to Colorado. Like a lot of young people striking out on their own, she decided she wanted to celebrate her first holiday away by coming back to visit. Her boyfriend drove her to Amarillo, and Mrs. Sendejas and I made a weekend trek to retrieve her.

My kids are musicians and I'm a dad, so any time I've traveled outside the city, I've burned a few of their CDs to hand off to puzzled but understanding strangers. Not once has anyone ever told me, "No thanks, I don't want your free music." We should all take heart in that.

Since I've been running with team Rocks Off, I've also felt responsible for alerting people of more of Houston's musicians, not just the ones I raised. With that in mind, I grabbed some CDs by local acts to pass along to anyone I met in need of an introduction to Houston music.

We boomeranged from one corner of the state and back. Day 1 -- the first of winter -- was marred by rainy, snowy weather. So I didn't get to share any Houston music until Day 2.

Christine runs the front desk at a Motel 6 in Amarillo. The morning I met her, she was hard at work ensuring rooms would be ready for travelers who hadn't expected icy roadways and freeway closures. She seemed cool, with her tattoos and cartilage piercings.

When I went to check out, she was on the phone apologizing to a rude asshole for not having a room available. I admired her patience; the jerk wouldn't take no for an answer.

After that, I hoisted more weirdness upon her by asking if she knew anything about Houston music. She must have wondered why she wasn't having a simple Sunday morning of people quietly thanking her for leaving the light on.

She was game, though, and admitted she couldn't name any musicians or bands from Houston. So I gave her the room keys and plopped a few CDs on the counter.

"You choose," I told her. "Alt-country, blues or singer-songwriter."

She picked As Yet Untitled, the 2013 release by Kristine Mills. By virtue of her selection, Christine was getting introduced to a Houston Press Music Awards winner in songwriting and vocal categories. She didn't know it yet, but Mills' jazzy and graceful work is sure to help the busy desk clerk to keep calm and carry on. A personal favorite from the album, the bluesy "Bump in the Road," is a great track for those days when nothing's going right.

Story continues on the next page.

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I love this, Jesse. Makes me want to learn more and more about local acts. Thank you!


@Selena.Dieringer Thanks, Selena Dee :)  I had fun writing that one. Next up, how well does Houston music travel to...Minnesota??

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