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The Kenaston Band 4 webBy Kathy Olivarez

During the last week of January, the Kenastons, long-time favorite entertainers among Winter Texan residents, hosted blind singer Justin Trevino as their special guest.

Trevino was born in the Valley but his parents moved to Austin so he could attend the school for the blind as a child. Once a winter he comes down to visit relatives. For the past five years he has played with the Kenastons during those visits.

Trevino prefers hard core old-fashioned country, which is what the band mostly played on Sunday, January 29, at W&I Resort. Trevino sang and played fiddle and guitar. In addition, the Kenaston Band, consisting of Sharon (vocalist) and Roger Kenaston (lead guitar), Mike Burton (steel guitar) and Epi Martinez, (drummer) while in the Valley, were also joined by Barry (steel guitar) and Linda (bass and vocalist) Burton of High Country, a group that plays in Missouri. While the group plays bluegrass, country, and a variety of other genres, for Sunday’s performance it was mostly country.

The show started with Sharon singing “Crazy Arms Still Reaching for You.” It was followed by different songs such as, “Wine Me Up,” and “Blue Kentucky Girl,” “Sugar Moon,” and “Mansion on a Hill,” each sung by a different band member, or sung in harmony between Sharon and Linda.

Justin sang a powerful rendition of Freddie Fender’s, “I’ll Be There” followed by a Cajun song, “Big Mamon.” He followed with a fiddle tune, “Old Joe Clark.” He sang an original song he wrote, “Jukebox in the Corner.” He told how it was the only song he wrote on paper as he usually used a tape recorder for composing. The words came to him at school where he used a braille writer to do his work. With no recorder available, he wrote the words on his braille writer. Since no one else could read braille in the class, they all thought he was busy on his classroom assignment.

Throughout the evening different members of the band would solo with their favorite songs. Linda chose “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” Mike sang “Heavenly Bodies Come Out at Night.”

Epi sang “Please Release Me,” using both English and Spanish lyrics. Epi’s mother Cruz Martinez, a former singer, was in the audience. She was invited up to join him on a couple of upbeat songs, “Mi Corazon/Open Up Your Heart and Let My Love In,” and “Cryin’ Time Again,” with lyrics in English and Spanish. The two sang in great harmony. The audience loved it.

Later in the show, Sharon invited her friend, Tesa Heldunbrand, who was in the audience to come and sing “Blue Roses” with Linda and her. The three had such great harmony and it was easy to visualize them as a top-selling trio in Nashville.

The show was entertaining with a great deal of variety from all the performers. It was easily the best Kenaston show the author had ever seen in their 15 years of Valley performances.

Justin ended the show with the gospel song, “How Great Thou Art.”

The Kenastons perform Wednesdays at the Tipsy Monkey in Weslaco. On February 5, they will host a special show with Tony Booth and the Justin Trevino Band at the Tipsy Monkey.

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