December 20, 2023 626 PM
MARFA — The Marfa Municipal Alliance for Dead Country and Folk Singers is hosting a New Year’s Eve dance at the USO Building from 7 p.m. to midnight on December 31.
The event is free and open to the public. Primo Y Beebe will open the night with a set of Norteño and Tejano music. The Alliance band, in keeping with their tradition of honoring a deceased musician on the anniversary of their death, will perform a tribute to Hank Williams — who died on January 1, 1953.
The Alliance’s two-part tribute will be broken up by a set from another local act, Grupo Ambición, who will play a combination of Cumbia and Ranchera music.
Pat Keesey, a member of the Alliance, said the band will play Hank Williams tunes as well as several outlaw country tributes to Wiilliams by artists including David Allen Coe, Hank Williams Jr. and Waylon Jennings. The group is learning a host of new songs just for the show, said Keesey.
“It’s really difficult because you have to learn all these new songs, but that’s the fun of it, you learn or you have an in-depth discovery of the ins and outs of the music of these artists,” said Keesey. “And we’re really having fun with Hank Williams.”
Keesey said the Alliance band currently consists of around 18 locals, six of which are new to the group, and two Austin musicians — Blake Whitmire, a fiddle player, as well as Jesse Ebaugh, head of country rock band The Tender Things — will add to the mix on New Year’s Eve.
Keesey said the group of musicians has raised a total of $40,000 for charity since they were originally founded about seven years ago, and each benefit show acts as an excuse to get the band together and explore each member’s unique musical talents.
“We like to do this. We like to raise money for nonprofits and charities in need. We like to get the local musicians together and see what they can do,” said Keesey. “Every show we learn about the talents of somebody we didn’t realize.”
David Marwitz will act as emcee for the evening. Tips for musicians will be donated to the Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend. The event is BYOB and will include a champagne toast at midnight. The event is made possible by a HOT grant from the City of Marfa.
A raffle featuring art objects, a one-night stay at El Cosmico, ceramics by Jo Ann Williams, an incense smoker by Marc Declercq, and risograph of the event poster designed by Claire Lindsay-McGinn and signed by the musicians will also take place, with all proceeds going to the Family Crisis Center. Alliance T-shirts and hats will also be for sale.
Keesey encouraged the community to come out for the show and emphasized the tagline for the evening, which comes straight from William’s hit tune Jambalaya: “Dress in style. Go hog wild. Me oh, my oh.”