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Defining Galleywinter

I'm often asked "What is Galleywinter?" Let me take a step back. I often encounter people I know from other walks of my life that are curious what this musical enterprise and scene is that I've dedicated my life to. I have to start at the basics and build some common ground with Pat Green, Randy Rogers Band, Turnpike. They've usually heard of all three of those. Then I expand and talk about all the wonderful songwriters and bands who don't get played enough on radios or highlighted on the big streaming playlists.

From there I talk about how Galleywinter was a Pat Green song, but it was also a web community started in the pre-social media dark ages by Jon Paul "Hogleg" Long as a communal online living room and dysfunctional family reunion that gave lovers of shared independent music a place to hang, vent, share and meet-up. It evolved from message boards to articles to videos to concerts and festivals. It still has pieces of all that and more.

But at its essence, I always explain that Galleywinter is about people. It's a network of online friends that become in real life family. A shared purpose of preserving and supporting music. Our mantra has always been support music you love and for the fans, by the fans. Twenty years into this, I'm still as big of a fan of music as I've ever been. But it's not about me and never has been. It's about the nucleus of folks that read every word written on this page. Watch every Instagram story. Save and share each of our curated playlists. Buy tickets to River Jam or a Galleywinter Listening Room show. The people that hound their friends and family to check out a new song or band.

It just means more to people that are part of the Galleywinter universe. We feel the music deeper. We feel called to share it more often and more passionately. It is our main hobby. Sure, we have families and hunting and fishing and golf...but music is always near the surface.

Over the history of this website, there have been a few people that stand out above the rest. Last week, I lost one that embodied everything Galleywinter was about more than just about anyone else I've ever known.

Shelby Webre.

She was my friend. As is her husband Scott.

I first met Shelby online. She used to comment on every Brad's Corner. She kept me honest. She sent me new music. She would slide in the comments and DMs on the regular to tell me about a show, song, artist etc. Soon enough we realized we had some mutual friends and lived close to each other. Before long, she and Scott became fixtures at our events.

Shelby loved music hard. She was the first to tip a songwriter and pepper that empty jar. She was the first to tell a loud listening room crowd to be quiet or leave. She would drive hours to hear one song. She supported musicians of all types. Her favorites were songwriters that came from the heart. The sadder the better sometimes. Which was at odds with her outgoing and warm personality. I think she loved Courtney Patton, Drew Kennedy and Walt Wilkins the most. But, truly, she loved it all.

Shelby and Scott had a dream to take their love and support of music further. They had a dream to build a venue of their own. Weddings and private events would pay the bills. Music would feed the soul.

Every piece of wood, every stitch of paint and every element of The County Line in Abbott/West, TX had Shelby and Scott's handprints on it. They built it themselves. Literally. After they broke it in with a few weddings, they had Kaitlin Butts christen it with a show. Lucas Jagneaux dropped in. Things were in motion. A few months went by and we collectively kicked around the idea of hosting some songwriter shows there under the Galleywinter banner.

Before long, shows were booked featuring Kevin Galloway, Walt Wilkins, Mike McClure, Josh Weathers, Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy. Each of them were successful. Each led to me having to explain to people who had just come to hear some songs, exactly what Galleywinter is. Shelby would always be in the back of the room, taking care of business. Because that's what she did. The smile on her face was omnipresent and effervescent. She had one of those personalities that immediately put you at ease. Whether you were someone she'd known forever, a stranger who randomly bought a ticket online or Walt Wilkins strolling into her venue for the first time with a bag of tortilla chips and some salsa; she made you feel at home.

Our first show was a sell out with Kevin Galloway in February 2023. West is a beer drinking, beer joint town. Live music is the lifeblood of the scene around town. Country or polka. It's going down somewhere. Czech surnames knock them back and slide around dancefloors of all size and repair. Listening rooms were not the norm. As Galloway told the stories behind the songs, part of the crowd roared in the back of the room by the bar as if at a cover band bar show. Shelby wasn't having it. She politely, yet assertively told them to take their conversations outside if they needed to keep making so much noise. After the show, she apologized to Kevin Galloway and told him, "I'm going to help educate them. It won't be that type of crowd when you come back." She meant it.

Each successive show got better in that regard. By the time Walt Wilkins came to town in June 2023, we felt like we had it down. We knew where to put the chairs. Scott knew how to dial the sound in. Shelby knew how to keep it all organized. And welcoming. And listening. Walt, Shelby, Scott, my wife and I sat around a big round table by the load-in door and talked for a couple hours before the rest of the crowd showed up. I remember Walt just looking at them in that way that anyone who's had a conversation with Walt knows where it makes you feel like the most important person on Earth at the moment and going "So, Scott and Shelby, tell me about your family and this place." The conversation flowed easier than the pivo pours out of the spout at WestFest. We almost hated to halt it to start the show.

River Jam 23 was going to be the following week. We made plans to see each other down at the show. Somewhere between Walt's last note and the opening strains of Graycie York at Cheatham Street that following week, Shelby was diagnosed with cancer.

When she broke the news to me, I asked if she wanted to postpone the shows we had booked at her venue. She said absolutely not, if anything she wanted them to be bigger and better than before. She was determined to fight cancer and win. And she fought like hell.

As summer faded to fall, Shelby's treatments got more aggressive. She kept showing up. For her family, her kids, her friends...and her music. We ran the rest of the shows through December. Josh Grider and Drew Kennedy were our final one for 2023 and it was the week before Christmas. Shelby was weakened, but the smile and spirit was still there. Some big name A-list artists had reached out to me about playing the listening room. We talked about it and her exact quote was "I still have some more ass to kick on this cancer thing, and then we will book those!" She meant it.

2024 dawned and things changed. She was such a positive fighter that you never knew things were as bad as they truly were. She knew, but she didn't let on to the rest of us.

Shelby Webre passed away on March 22, 2024 at just 32 years of age. She leaves behind two young sons and a loving husband in Scott. And a legacy of music fandom that is unmatched.

The news hit me like a gut punch. I had to find an open road and a loop of sad songs from my favorite artists. You know, Courtney Patton, Walt Wilkins and Drew Kennedy. Just like someone else I know. "Electrostatic", "Someone, Somewhere Tonight" and "When I'll Miss You the Most" rolled out in succession. The tears streamed down. The broken white line stretched out in front of me for miles and miles.

I'm often referred to as Galleywinter, but Shelby Webre was as much or more the manifestation of what Galleywinter is than anyone I've ever known. Her memory and legacy will forever be a part of Galleywinter, the larger music scene and more. Scott wrote an eloquent tribute on Facebook today after her funeral. A funeral that found Courtney Patton singing "Electrostatic" and "Welcome Table" to the assembled and grieving masses in St. Mary's. As Scott said, "Smiling and ugly crying was a new emotion for me." A powerful musical moment for the ultimate music fan and friend. Shelby was honest, passionate and supportive. Supporting music you loved was something she lived each day. And something that will carry on in the coming days, weeks, months and years. The shows at County Line will continue in due time. The songs she loved will always be a push of the button away. The smile will stay burned in our memories and souls. Her legacy is permanent because Galleywinter is Shelby Webre.

Scott Webre - 3/26/24

We lowered her into the ground today under a young shade tree.

Yesterday, the boys were confused about how she was gone if her body was still here. I reminded them of the butterfly enclosure that Shelby bought them last year. And of watching the caterpillars make cocoons. Then, we saw the butterflies outgrow those cocoons and flutter away. The hollow shells remained, even after the butterflies disappeared into the blue sky. She provided so many learning opportunities for the boys and myself, that we’ll take advantage of forever.

She was the most amazing person I’ve ever met. And she was never satisfied with who she was. We strived to grow together into better parents, friends, community members, and Christians. We would have deep conversations about life and faith. We would use every opportunity, good or bad, to learn more about ourselves, our relationship, and out kids. I’m so damn proud of our relationship.

We made a conscious effort a few years ago to make a change. Raising two young kids, in a world that seemed to be collapsing, was having a negative effect on our mental health. We decided that we needed to reevaluate our lives. We started going out less and spending more time with our kids. We cut things out of our lives that unnecessarily frustrated us. We started reading more and learning about topics that always interested us. We explored our spirituality and what we believed. We gave more and bought less. We spent more time with people that were different than us, to gain understanding. We didn’t know at the time that God was readying us for this journey. As hard as it was, we were prepared. Her, more than me.

On her last day, she was drifting in and out of sleep as the pain medicine was taking hold. We had multiple short conversations between the moments of rest. At one point, I kissed her forehead and told her to just rest. That she could stop fighting and that I would take it from here. She raised her head and looked me in the eyes, saying, “I got this. We got this. I’m happy and I’m ready. I love you.” She looked like her old self. Smiling and healthy. No sign of disease. She was absolutely beautiful. I looked down at her hand squeezing mine and when I looked back up she was laying asleep. I’m still not sure if that actually happened or if I just imagined it. It was real, but impossible.

Shelby was a wife and mother above all else. She was an amazing daughter, sister, and friend.

Shelby was a Cowboy, Ranger, Mav, Star, and Aggie. Not just a casual fan, but an expert.

Shelby was a Proud Texan. She embodied that spirit.

Shelby loved music. It wasn’t just in her soul, it defined it. Outside of our kids, music was the leading topic in our household. We constantly shared new artists and songs with each other. I’m really going to miss that.

Please help me let her spirit live on. She believed that even though we likely couldn’t change the world, we could change ourselves. We could change our households, our schools, our communities, and our congregations. Small acts can make life so much better for us and those around us. Pick up that piece of trash in the parking lot. Hold the door for someone. Give a compliment. Give to the man with the cardboard sign. Be charitable. Throw extra cash in that open guitar case at the foot of that struggling musician. Have a beer with your enemy and pick up the tab. Plant a tree and hang a bird feeder. Fight for others. Do these things in Shelby’s memory and she lives on.

Be a better person for her. Not because she died, but because she lived.

1 commento

Damn. What a lady. I didn't know her, but I now know her. I feel her soul, and always will. As are the butterflies, is she. Free. Our God has her now. She is home.

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