So, I spent the first several years of my adult life more than content with overpriced drinks and hefty cover charges in the name of good music.
But, now, older and wiser, I can’t write about East Dallas music without mentioning my favorite White Rock spot tucked away between Gaston Avenue and East Grand called (of all things) The Goat.
The first time I went was shortly after moving into the Lakewood neighborhood with my husband, Paul, several years ago.
I was, to say the least, hesitant. That first visit was pretty uneventful: old tables and straight-backed chairs, a small raised stage in one corner, tons of pool tables, neon signs decorating the walls, a mirrored full-service bar and the cheapest Shiner Bock to be found within the city limits.
Maybe the inexpensive Shiner and blissful lack of door cover is what brought me back a few months later with my husband and our friends, Milo and Drew. We rolled up fairly late on a weekend night and were greeted by what my husband jokingly refers to as an “old man band” belting out a ZZ Top song on the tiny stage.
At the time Milo was the head engineer at a swanky recording studio where Drew was recording a blues album and Paul had been recruited as the drummer for the project as a hired gun.
All three guys are tremendously talented and highly entertaining company. Drew, a tall man of about 30, has always been serious about drinking and wasted no time getting down to business. When the band said they’d be taking a short break, Milo, fueled by Tuaca Lemon Drops and Shiner Bock, leaned over to Paul and said, “You wanna play?”
My husband, an extremely unassuming kind of man, knew that Milo was proposing something entirely unprofessional – if not obnoxiously rude – and laughed the suggestion off.
But, when Milo gets in a mood to play, it turns into an itch you watch him need to scratch until he gets a guitar into his hands. Once he does, astounding things always happen.
Milo turned it into a bet, saying that if he could get the three of them onstage they’d owe him a shot of Maker’s Mark, respectively. After a few hearty handshakes and laughs, Milo, in his snakeskin boots and sunglasses, swaggered on over to the musicians having their break at the bar.
A few moments later he walked back over and said, “Paul, Drew, hand this lady your money,” gesturing to me. “I believe I have some shots coming my way. We have 10 minutes.”
As I watched Paul pull off his cowboy boots and take his place behind the kit, Milo strapped on a bass guitar and Drew picked up the Sratocaster that had been in the front man’s hands.
After dropping the shots at Milo’s feet, I partook in soulful blues no one believed were impromptu creations from the young’uns in front of them. A few tunes in they all rotated instruments.
And a few tunes later they did it again. It had started as a skeptical 10 minutes but lasted more than an hour.
After this, The Goat became more than just the prescribed place for cheap booze. In addition to fun cover bands playing a variety of favorites, there is also considerable talent that occasionally walks through those doors.
My favorite local blues act, Jason Elmore and Hoodoo Witch, pack the place to the gills every few months when they grace the joint with their brand of unapologetically electric blues and special guest appearances by legitimately famous friends such as Texas Slim and Jim Shuler.
You can also catch the young and quirky blues of up and comer Robby Saunders of Tweed EQ from time to time.
Aside from the live music on the weekends, Wednesday and Sunday evenings are dedicated to karaoke, which attracts a mixed bag of local hipsters, “American Idol” wannabes and guys like my husband who insist on singing a Tom Jones song. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are Open Blues Jams with Pete Barbeck – any curious musicians should definitely check that out.
No matter what walk of life you come from, The Goat is a place you visit and leave with a zany story and a few new friends. Anyone over 21 is welcome to come, hang out and see where the night will lead. The Goat is at 7248 Gaston Ave., Dallas 75214.