IT’S HAPPY HOUR at Austin’s Continental Club. Over the decades, this early evening time slot has boasted some of Austin’s best musicians, often playing for little or no cover. Toni Price led an acoustic session featuring a rotating cast of great guitar pickers, including Rich Brotherton of Robert Earl Keen’s band and Austin studio ace Casper Rawls. More recently, ex-Merle Haggard guitarist Redd Volkaert fronted the country band Haybale, which in various incarnations has included Asleep at the Wheel steel guitarist Cindy Cashdollar, Hot Club of Cowtown fiddler Elana Fremerman, Johnny Cash pianist Earl Poole Ball and Junior Brown drummer Tom Lewis.
On this particular mid-summer Monday, honky-tonk hero Dale Watson will be arriving at 10 p.m. for his regular evening set in front of the familiar red curtain. But at the moment, the Peterson Brothers Band, consisting of brothers Glenn Jr. and Alex Peterson on guitar and bass, respectively, is hard at work keeping the blues alive, with help from legendary drummer Barry “Frosty” Smith.
The band is knee-deep in an extended jam on the Meters’ early ‘70s New Orleans funk classic “Cissy Strut.” Glenn Jr. has his back to the crowd, facing off with Frosty, working the groove, switching effortlessly between tightly coiled rhythm and scratchy lead while Alex holds down the bottom with a funky old-school snap.
A Junior Wells Chicago blues standard, “Messin’ with the Kid,” follows, updated to include more contemporary R