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Nov. 20, 1997

Waco's own Sons of the Desert: coming home

Emily Wininger

Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

The Big 12 Task Force is presenting its fall finale party, featuring Waco's own Sons of the Desert, from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday at the Waco Convention Center.

The concert is an effort to entertain fans before Baylor's last game of the season against Oklahoma State, said Steve Smith, director of the Big 12 Task Force. It is the final event in the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce's Big 12 Big Time series.

'We felt like we needed something not only keep people here in Waco, but to attract visitors and opposing fans to Waco as well,' Smith said.

Texas Knights, a band from West, will kick off the evening at 7 p.m. Wayward Sons will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m. The concert will conclude with Sons of the Desert.

With 1,200 tickets already sold, Smith feels like the fall finale party will be a success. 'Since this is the last event in this series we are hoping for a great turnout,' Smith said. 'We feel like we have a pretty good event.'

Smith hopes the event will draw a variety of people because 'Sons of the Desert are not the typical honky-tonk country and western band.'

Big 12 Special Events Committee co-chair Michael Oppenheimer agrees. 'Since Sons got their beginning in Waco, having them back home is truly a privilege,' he said. 'They are one hot country/rock band.'

Since the release of their debut album in June, Sons of the Desert has already had success on the country charts with the title tune from the album Whatever Comes First as well as the song 'End of Faith.' The group is currently on tour with country singer Tim McGraw and has received excellent reviews, said Sherie Ellington, director of communications with the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.

According to a press release by Ellington, before earning a recording contract, 'Sons of the Desert' lead singer and acoustic guitarist Drew Womack's life included a stint working for Hastings Books Music and Video in Waco. He joined the band in 1990 when the lead singer of the group left to sell cars. Two other band members joined from Dallas. Womack's brother, Tim, was the last to join the group in 1995.

After only three days in Nashville, Epic Records offered the group a deal.

Paige Manley, a Baytown junior and representative to the Big 12 Task Force Special Events Committee, said attending the concert will give Baylor students the opportunity to hear the new wave of country/rock music.

'Sons of the Desert provides the new country sound that everyone is talking about,' Man;ey said. 'It is the music that is popular not only on the country charts, but on the pop music charts as well.'

Tickets for the finale party are $5 at the door. Advance discount tickets are $3 per person for 50 tickets and $2.50 per person for 100 tickets. If 50 tickets are purchased, the buyer receives one reserved table with group name; if 100 tickets are purchased, the buyer receives two reserved tables with group name. For tickets, call (254) 752-6611 ext. 213.

Fondue Monks to play first Waco show, first return trip as performer for graduate

By jolie Sellers

Reporter for The Baylor Lariat

Baylor graduate Denver Courtney and the Fondue Monks are returning to the Waco music scene for the first time in four years.

Courtney left Waco in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in art and no clue of what was next on the agenda. By 1993, he was part of an original band.

Since the group formed, they have been playing in different places around Texas and Louisiana.

'This is our first show in Waco,' Courtney said. 'I'm excited to go back; I haven't been there in years.'

Members include bassist Rozz Zamorano, drummer Ronnie Zamorano, guitarist Steve Olson and lead singer and songwriter Courtney.

The Fondue Monks currently have an independently released CD titled 'Fondue Monks,' and are working on a second CD to be released in late January or early February titled 'Breathe It In,' Courtney said.

In May, the group opened for Jimmy Buffet for a sold-out crowd of 15,000 in the Woodlands Pavilion in Houston.

Most of the group's shows are in Houston.

'So far it's gone really well,' Courtney said. 'Houston is a tough town to please and the people there have been really receptive.'

All of the songs the band plays are originally written in a rock-blues-funk style.

'I wrote poetry in school and when I joined the band I just switched them over to songs,' Courtney said.

The music has a wholesome and spiritual theme that portrays a positive message to the listeners, he said.

The group's ultimate goal is to be able to play the music and to be able to survive off of it.

'We want to let people hear our music and feel the energy and excitement that we have for it and we hope that it catches on,' Courtney said.

The band's music can be heard on the Baylor radio, KWBU 107.1 FM, and the CD is available in stores.

The Fondue Monks will perform at 9:30 tonight at Burgers & Blues.

'I had a lot of fun at Baylor and we would like to create some excitement and maybe be able to come back again,' Courtney said. 'We'd love for everyone to come out and listen.'

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