A joyous, soulful, tour-de-force mix of gospel, blues, & Texas folk!

Ruthie Foster

2023 Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year (Blues Music Awards)

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It’s been a minute since the last time Ruthie Foster graced the Bugle Boy stage — five years of minutes, actually. Not that we were counting, though, because as much as we’ve missed her, like all Ruthie fans we’ve just been overjoyed watching her meteoric rise from her humble Texas folk scene roots to becoming one of the most widely acclaimed voices in American roots music of her generation. Just within the last year, her latest album, Healing Time, netted Foster her fourth Grammy nomination (for Best Contemporary Blues Album), and she was recently named Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year at the 2023 Blues Music Awards. Her other honors, just to name a handful, include multiple Koko Taylor Awards for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019), a 2018 US Artists Fellowship Award, her 2019 induction into the Texas Music Hall of Fame, and even a star on the sidewalk outside of Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre. With hindsight, the title of her fourth studio album, 2007’s The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster, almost sounds like an understatement; although she was not yet a nationally (and beyond) renowned star at the time of that album’s release, anyone who had been paying attention to Foster during her salad years knew that her voice was a force to be reckoned with — and in the nearly two decades since then the joyous, soulful power of that instrument has only grown exponentially. And we can’t wait to hear that phenomenal voice live in our listening room again, as we welcome Ruthie back to La Grange just in time to help us celebrate the Bugle Boy’s 20th anniversary!

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

A thrilling mix of rock, Americana, and avant-garde experimentalism

The Silos (ft. Buttercup)

Silos founder Walter Salas-Humara backed by San Antonio art-rockers Buttercup!

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Trying to compress the sprawling, genre-crossing history of the Silos into a tidy paragraph is a fool’s errand, but here goes! Formed in New York City in 1985 by Cuban-American songwriter (and visual artist) Walter Salas-Humara, guitarist Bob Rupe, and violinist Mary Rowel, the original incarnation of the Silos recorded three albums — including 1987’s seminal Cuba — of proto-alt-country crossed with Velvet Underground-style art rock that landed them the title of “Best New American Band” in Rolling Stone’s 1987 Critic’s Poll and a 1990 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. But all of that was only the prelude for the epic artistic journey of Salas-Humara, who would carry the Silos name with him long after the original lineup had run its course. He went on to forge equally intriguing connections in both Austin and Los Angeles, forming the “poor man’s supergroup” the Settlers with Alejandro Escovedo and Michael Hall (of the Wild Seeds) and working with the likes of Tom Freund and Jon Dee Graham, before launching a new version of the Silos back in New York just before the end of the ’90s. And he’s continued to record and perform prolifically ever since, both as a solo artist and under the Silos banner. In 2022, he released the Silos album Family, which he describes thusly: “Over the decades, the Silos have morphed time and time again, expanding and expanding, not only the territory we cover, but the membership in our little community. The band is a Family to me, hence the title of the new album. There are members all over the United States and in parts of Europe.” Included in that big family now (as featured on the album and at a handful of roadshows to date) are Joe Reyes, Erik Sanden, and Odie of the San Antonio art-pop band Buttercup. Buttercup, of course, memorably first played our listening room in 2022 and again last spring, and we look forward to having them back this year as Silos for Salas-Humara’s Bugle Boy debut!

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

Folk to Funk and all things in between

Michael O’Connor & Jeff Plankenhorn

Soulful vocals and top-notch songwriting from two of the best guitarists in Americana

Between the two of them, Michael O’Connor and Jeff Plankenhorn have played on enough albums to program at least a solid week’s worth of Grade-A Americana radio. On that station you’d hear many of the biggest names in Texas music of the last 25 years, from Ray Wylie Hubbard and Joe Ely to Terri Hendrix, Slaid Cleaves, Ruthie Foster, Adam Carroll, Patty Griffin, and Milford Milligan — all artists who have called on O’Connor and Plankenhorn to accompany them onstage many a time, too. But in addition to being two of the best guitar-slinging sidemen in the Americana music world, they’re also both excellent songwriters with critically acclaimed solo careers of their own. O’Connor’s heartstring-tugging tenor vocals bring a disarming warmth to his gritty Gulf Coast blues, with lyrics inspired by a lifetime of hard-won life experiences both on and off-stage giving him a keen insight into the world of the rough, the faithless, the romantic, and the unlucky — all of whom find refuge in his songs. And Plankenhorn (or “Plank,” as he is affectionately known in music circles) has a soulful voice as resonant as his renowned dobro playing — both perfect instruments for his stirring blend of not just roots, rock, and folk, but gospel, bluegrass, and Motown. Side by side, trading songs and stories back and forth with the natural easy and familiarity of blood brothers in arms, they put on a show not to be missed. And now they’ve even bottled that lighting on their first duo album together, aptly titled Nothing to Prove!

Official Texas State Musician!

Sara Hickman

Duo Performance

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Grammy-nominated Official Texas State Musician (2010) Sara Hickman is a gifted artist and songwriter whose music is uplifting, connective, and full of joy — qualities that were in evidence going all the way back to her earliest performances in high school and college and first captured on record with 1988’s Equal Scary People. Originally released independently, her debut was quickly picked up by a major label, introducing her to a national audience and leading to her first of two appearances on The Tonight Show. She has since released more than a dozen more albums, including a trilogy for young children and 2006’s aptly-titled Motherlode (a double album decidedly not for children), while also working tirelessly on behalf of a number of charities and advocacy groups both domestically and abroad.

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

Melodic and soulful folk singer-songwriter

Pierce Pettis

"I have loved Pierce's music for many years now - he has the gift of a true inner compass." — Eliza Gilkyson

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After a lifetime of crafting finely-wrought, heart-touching songs, singer-songwriter Pierce Pettis feels that he’s finally found his comfort zone. “The biggest change,” he says of this point in his career “has been getting over myself and realizing this is a job and a craft. And the purpose is not fame and fortune (whatever that is) but simply doing good work.” Pettis has been around the block a few times. An Alabama native, he began his career at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. Later, he contributed to Fast Folk Musical Magazine in New York, recorded for Windham Hill/High Street Records in Los Angeles, and spent a decade as a staff songwriter for Polygram and Universal Music Publishing in Nashville. His songs have been covered by Dion, Art Garfunkel, Garth Brooks, and Joan Baez — as well as David Wilcox, Tim O’Brien, Dar Williams, and Claire Lynch … to name a few. His latest album, Father’s Son, was released by Compass in early 2019 to widespread critical praise.  During the recent lockdown, Pierce stayed busy writing and demoing dozens of new songs which he’s now showcasing since full-time touring resumed. His music is distinguished by his uncanny ability to capture universals in human experience by drawing on the humor and trials in daily life. Beautiful melodies, strong guitar work, and Pierce’s rich vocals are a constant throughout his body of work.

“One of the more vital and critically acclaimed folk stars of recent years.” ​— Performing Songwriter Magazine

“Pierce Pettis bares a gentle soul with a keen eye, a soulful voice, and perfect guitar accompaniment for his beautiful songs – a masterful poet treasure.”  — Darryl Scott

Crowd-pleasing, harmony-laden acoustic folk from the Land of Enchantment!

The Rifters

"Acoustic music doesn't get any better." — Country Standard Time

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Formed in 2002 by Don Richmond, Jim Bradley, and Rod Taylor, three veterans of the fertile and creative Americana scene of Taos, N.M., the Rifters employ a wide range of acoustic and electric instruments and soaring three-part harmonies to provide a mesmerizing variety of music ranging from driving bluegrass to ethereal desert beauty. As the Rifters described the mix themselves, in the liner notes of their self-titled 2004 debut, “It’s music that comes from where we come from — both from the high desert and mountain landscape of our home and from the background and experiences of our lives: Sort of a laid-back, high-energy gentle giant old blue-buffalo-grama-grassy, cowboy, folky, shake-a-leg with a smile sort of thing.” Years of playing to the dance crowds in northern New Mexico has given their music a toe-tapping rhythm that is engaging and undeniable, and their songs have been covered by such fellow Southwestern icons as Shake Russell, Bill Hearne, and Michael Hearne.

CLOSED EASTER WEEKEND
March 29th & 30th

An enchanting cocktail of fiddle-fueled folk, roots and swing!

Phoebe Hunt with Susan Gibson

Performing with special guest Susan Gibson!

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THIS JUST IN: We are excited to announce that Phoebe Hunt will be bringing her good friend SUSAN GIBSON with her! Susan, who of course needs no introduction at the Bugle Boy, will be sharing the stage (and set list) with Phoebe, with both women accompanying each other on their respective songs throughout the whole show!

Phoebe Hunt’s sparse and vulnerable new album, 2023’s Nothing Else Matters, feels like an exercise in stripping things away — peeling back all the layers to get to the heart of who and what she really is. After years of writing, recording, and touring as a band member (Texas’ Belleville Outfit) and bandleader (Phoebe Hunt & the Gatherers), the Austin native’s latest recording finds her as a woman standing alone, just her voice and her fiddle. In that empty space left behind, Nothing Else Matters is an album that asks many questions, the most central being, “Is this enough? Am I enough?” Whereas the fiddle and voice are often the final elements, or icing on the cake of a full band recording, this project explores what it sounds like when the fiddle and vocals represent the whole cake. Drawing from 30 years spent studying the violin/fiddle, Hunt interweaves her classical upbringing with Appalachian Old Time, Texas Swing, and a maturity of songwriting that creates an unfiltered, raw expression dripping with palpable vulnerability.

“With a twang in her voice and her trademark energetic fiddling, Texas singer-songwriter Phoebe Hunt tells the story of a woman who is determined to make her own way in the world.” — NPR

Country-rocking Lubbock Troubadour

Jay Boy Adams

West Texas songwriting with a West Coast groove!

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Texas troubadour Jay Boy Adams spent the better part of the 1970s and early ’80s touring 200-250 dates a years, sharing huge festival stages with many of the biggest artists of the era — from ZZ Top and the Allman Brothers Band to Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and the Kinks — and releasing two very fine albums on Atlantic Records, 1978’s Jay Boy Adams and 1979’s Fork in the Road. But he left the road and the spotlight in ’82 to raise a family, and wouldn’t return to performing regularly again until more than a decade later — after his friend Lee Roy Parnell invited him onstage one fateful night in 1997. That was all it took to rekindle his passion for playing music in front of audiences, and he’s been at it full-tilt again ever since. Following the 2007 release of his come-back album The Shoe Box, he returned to the road as a special guest opening for Stephen Stills, and also joined the Southern rock supergroup Brothers of the Southland. In 2014, he released another solo album, Let It Go — a title that seems loaded with both meaning and irony for an artist who once did “let it go,” only to later come back around to picking up right where he left off and beginning anew — reinspired, recharged, and ready to let the good times roll all over again.

Country, folk, blues and French chansons!

Albert & Gage

"Masters of the art of the live show." — Dirty Linen

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Christine Albert and Chris Gage have a personal and musical chemistry that radiates from the stage. The joy they experience making music together is evident as they travel through their musical roots, moving from country and folk to blues and French chansons. Since teaming up in 1996 the couple has released six Albert and Gage albums on their own MoonHouse Records label, as well as their solo projects and releases by other artists. Austin songwriter Jimmy LaFave once described Christine Albert as a “wondrous singer with a beautiful focus and unrestrained grace.” She had a prolific recording career as a solo artist before meeting Gage, including the acclaimed “Texafrance” series, a bilingual tribute to her European family roots. Her most recent solo album, Everything’s Beautiful Now, explores the richness of loss, an issue she deals with every day as Founder & CEO of Swan Songs, a non-profit that fulfills musical last wishes. Gage, the Academy of Texas Music’s “Musician of the Year 2011,” spent  years on the road with Red Willow Band, Roy Clark, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Jerry Jeff Walker. He’s a member of the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and an inductee into the SD Friends of Traditional Music Hall of Fame, and is also a member the all-star house band for the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame show.

“An upbeat celebration of songs and the art of singing them.” – Houston Press

Irish Americana sung with "raspy melodic soul" (Austin American Statesman)

Pat Byrne

“He’s one to keep an eye on.” — Stuart Munro, The Boston Globe

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More than a decade after winning the first season of The Voice in Ireland, singer-songwriter (and former punk rocker) Pat Byrne is now considered one of the preeminent voices on the Austin music scene. He moved to Texas in late 2017,  eager to refocus his career post major-label and reality TV show fame, and made a powerful first impression with the following year’s Rituals, a record he’d started back in Ireland but finished in Austin with producer/guitarist Rich Brotherton. Since then he’s taken the United States by storm, with breakout performances at the 30A Festival, SXSW, Kerrville Folk Festival and the Americana Festival. Byrne’s sophomore U.S. release, Into the Light, featured an edgier feel underscoring both emotional depth and greater confidence, while blending new influences with his rich Irish heritage. As Peter Blackstock of the Austin American Statesman put it best, “the raspy melodic soul of Byrne’s voice recalls the emotional spells the late Austin troubadour Jimmy LaFave used to cast, though Byrne’s songwriting bears a distinctive Irish stamp. He’s more contemporary than strict traditionalists, putting him more in the league of Glen Hansard or Luka Bloom.”

Piano-driven songs steeped in mystery and hauntingly beautiful melodies

Bukka Allen

Duo Performance w/ Mike Hardwick

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“It was pretty easy to get involved with the arts,” singer-songwriter and keyboard player Bukka Allen once told the Houston Chronicle. “It was something that was always around … I never second guessed it.” Of course, he would eventually come to understand that not everybody grew up in such a creatively fertile environment, with not one but two highly esteemed artists for role models: his father, Texas songwriting legend and world-renowned visual artist Terry Allen, and his mother, the actress, writer, and performance artist Jo Harvey Allen. Music was the discipline Bukka pursued himself, winning a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of Music on the strength of a Lloyd Maines-produced album he wrote and recorded while still in high school. He moved to Austin after college and quickly became one of the city’s most sought-after session musicians and sidemen, recording and touring with artists ranging from his father (naturally) to the Flatlanders, Ian Moore, the BoDeans, Joe Walsh, Jack Ingram, Ryan Bingham, James McMurtry, and the Court Yard Hounds, among dozens more. But he’s also made time to write and record his own music, too, scoring a handful of independent films with his production team, Screen Door Music, and releasing two strikingly arresting solo albums, 1998’s Sweet Valentine and 2007’s ‘Confidante’. Bukka’s songs are invariably marked by a hauntingly dreamlike quality, steeped in mystery and twilit beauty but shot through with undercurrents of tension and jolts of apocalyptic force.

Blues, Roots-Rock, and Gospel

Shelley King

Official Texas State Musician!

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Superlative, smart and savvy are only a few of the adjectives used to describe Shelley King, the first woman appointed by the Texas Legislature to represent the state as its Official Texas State Musician.  Raised back and forth between Arkansas and Texas, her music is a hearty Americana gumbo of roots-rock, blues, and gospel, seasoned with heart and soul and served with a powerhouse voice dripping with honey and sass. And if the title of her ninth album, Kick Up Your Heels, suggests a party, well, that was her goal from the get-go — and the good vibes kept going all the way through the follow-up, 2023’s Madam Mystic. Guests on the album include the Grammy-winning steel guitar and dobro virtuoso Cindy Cashdollar, Shawn Camp, John Magnie and Steve Amedée of the renowned New Orleans group, the subdudes, and King’s longtime friend (and frequent tour mate) Carolyn Wonderland.

“Shelley King is a singer-songwriter with soul sister pipes, and she works harder than anyone I know.” – Marcia Ball

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

MS 150 Closure – April 27th

Honky-Tonk Country, "Ameripolitan" Style!

Dale Watson

Rare solo performance!

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Although born in Alabama, Dale Watson is as Texas as the Panhandle or a smokey plate of BBQ. Seriously, how many people can say that Willie Nelson is their biggest fan? He came to country music early and naturally. His truck-driving father moonlighted as a country singer, and his older brothers had bands as well. Dale remembers receiving his first guitar at age 7 and starting to write songs shortly after — “the same stuff I’m writing about now,” he says with a laugh. A man with more than one life’s experience under his belt, he has entertained crowds all over the world, including appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and PBS’s long-running Austin City Limits. Dale has been inducted in the Austin Music Hall of Fame and even founded his own genre of music — “Ameripolitan,” complete with its own annual awards show. But just so long as it’s understood that we’re talking about the real-deal stuff, the 100-proof kind of hardcore honky-tonk that can fill a dancehall floor with two-steppers and a 12-pack of longnecks with salty tears, go ahead and call Dale Watson’s music what it was from the first time he set boot on stage, what it still is today, and what it will always be, long after we’re all gone but there’s still at least one working jukebox playing the good stuff: COUNTRY.

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

Two of Austin's finest singer-songwriters on one stage!

Graham Weber & BettySoo

Song-swap packed with arresting Americana-folk and breathtaking balladry

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Austin troubadour Graham Weber was originally set to play this date introducing his latest rock ’n’ roll outfit Restos to the Bugle Boy, until a scheduling issue with a key member of the band necessitated a quick change of plans. Luckily, when you’re as long established as Weber is in a scene as rich with talent as Austin, rustling up a peer on the level of BettySoo to help save the day is always a happy option. So while we hope to rebook Restos somewhere down the line, we couldn’t be happier to have two of the finest singer-songwriters in Texas sharing the Bugle Boy stage together. Houston native BettySoo, who Acoustic Guitar Magazine says “may well have the most gorgeous voice in Texas music at the moment, if not in all contemporary folk,” is a Kerrville NewFolk winner who has appeared on E-Town, Mountain Stage, WoodSongs, and BBC with Bob Harris. She’s released a handful of acclaimed solo albums over the last 20 years, recorded with friends Grace Pettis and Rebecca Loebe as the band Nobody’s Girl, and also performed both on record and on stages across the country with such folk and Americana luminaries as Eliza Gilkyson, Chris Smither, and James McMurtry. Weber’s resume is just as impressive. Since moving to Austin from his native Ohio in the early 2000s, he’s recorded prolifically both as a solo artist and with the bands So Long Problems, Western Youth, and most recently, the aforementioned Restos, and also spent several years helping to run the world famous House of Songs.

Brutally honest and raucously funny socio-political contemporary folk!

Grant Peeples

"He's the musician walking most closely in Woody Guthrie's footsteps." — Greg Johnson, Oklahoma City's The Blue Door

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A self-described “tree-hugger that watches NASCAR,” Grant Peeples is known for his axe-sharp socio-political tunes, raucous humor and heart-tugging ballads. He is the recipient of the Focus Foundation Award for Creative Excellence, which cited the “humor, compassion and wisdom of his songs,” and their “unflinching social insight and cultural acuity.” The Tallahassee native has been a keen observer of the American condition for five decades, ever since a friend introduced him to the music of Bob Dylan. Through many years on the road, running a night club/music venue in Tallahassee, and after a 10-year stint on an isolated island off the coast of Nicaragua, Peeples turned to writing with a vengeance. He wrote poetry and songs that turned a critical eye on American culture and identity, the very definition of contemporary folk music. He has since toured coast to coast, become a regular performer at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, the 30A Songwriters Festival, and the Florida Folk Festival, released 11 studio albums, and published three books of poetry. 

Soulful Texas Country Troubadour

Zac Wilkerson

Rockin' Americana and Soulful Country

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Zac Wilkerson cut his musical teeth in church, where he started singing at 4. At a young age, he discovered his parents’ country, soul, Motown, rock, and folk records, and by 12 he was playing several instruments, including piano and guitar, and had even begun to write his own songs. But despite that early head start, his music career might never have happened if not for the scheming of a good friend who coaxed him out to an open-mic night at the Blue Light Live in Lubbock in 2011. What the friend slyly neglected to tell him until they got there was the fact that the supposedly no-pressure setting was in fact a songwriting contest — a contest which Wilkerson ended up winning, the prize being a solo acoustic set at the 2012 Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival in Stephenville. Wilkerson was still a full-time worship pastor at the time, and by his own admission, “the entirety of the Texas music scene was completely alien to me.” But by the end of that LJT Festival, he felt like he and his music had found a home. He has since etched out a strong following across the Texas music scene and beyond, with his fresh take on rock, soul, country, and Americana appearing in nationally syndicated and regional radio as well as local and prime-time network TV. He released his self-titled full-length debut in 2014, followed two years later by Dustbowl Soul. His third album, Evergreen, was released in 2020.

A potent mix of soulful Americana, roots and rocking blues

South Austin Moonlighters

"One of the best bands in Austin." — Examiner.com

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The South Austin Moonlighters (SAM) are Lonnie Treviño Jr., Chris Beall, Hunter St. Marie, and Daniel James. The band formed in 2011, when Treviño got together a group of fellow local music veterans to occasionally play together for the sheer joy of making music. Pretty soon it became evident that something special happened when they played together, and what was originally intended to only be a “moonlighting” side-gig for the four of them became their main gig. Their 2019 album, Travel Light, showcases the Moonlighters connecting with each other like never before, solidifying their vision and their voice, often unpacking heavy subject matters through grin-inducing, multi-part harmonies.

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

Two Austin favorites from "Across the Pond"!

Giulia Millanta & Ben Jones

"An Italian and a Brit walk into a Texas listening room ..."

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Giulia Millanta and Ben Jones both travelled a long way to find their home away from home in Austin, but it didn’t take long for the Live Music Capital of the World to embrace them as two of the best singer-songwriter in town. Born in Florence, Italy, Millanta started playing guitar at age 8 and playing professionally in her late 20s — after earning a degree in general medicine. She already had two albums under her belt by the time she moved to Austin in 2012, and since then she’s recorded half a dozen more, including 2016’s rocking Moonbeam Pride (praised by the Austin American-Statesman’s Peter Blackstock as “a fascinating album that defies genre classification”) and 2022’s “startlingly intimate and vulnerable” Woman on the Moon. Jones, meanwhile, is a native of the U.K. best known as the British half of the dynamic duo Beat Root Revival (which also features Belfast export Andrea Magee.) But he’s also an accomplished solo artist with years of touring and recording on his own under his belt. His most recent album, the delightful Souvenir, was released in 2022. This will be Millanta’s second time playing at the Bugle Boy and Jones’ … well, we kinda lost count! But it will be their first time playing the Bugle Boy together, sharing songs, stories, and undoubtably a whole lot of fun!