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Dick and the Blazers keep the diners entertained most every night at Andy’s. Dick is on the left. “The Blazers” are on the right. Photo by Phil Houseal

Dick and the Blazers perform Monday through Saturday from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Andy’s Steak & Seafood Grille, 413 South Washington in Fredericksburg. There is no cover charge, but Dick always appreciates a tip.

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Dick and the Blazers

by Phil Houseal
Oct 12, 2005

During more than 30 years of dabbling in music, I’ve learned that musicians come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. In various bands I’ve played with meatpackers, school principals, systems analysts, mechanics, and cult members. But Dick and the Blazers is the only act where half the band is a dummy.

Every night (except Sunday) from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m., Dick and the Blazers entertain diners at Andy’s Steak & Seafood Grille, 413 South Washington in Fredericksburg.

“Dick” is the mannequin, and “the Blazers” are (is?) Gary Keeton.

“Dick plays guitar and sings,” Keeton explained with a completely straight face. “He plays really nice listening music.”

Keeton adds rhythm guitar and vocals, and uses what Rusty Cox used to refer to as “electronic wizardry” to fill in bass, drums and backgrounds. He performs mostly 50s and 60s era country standards.

A native of Brenham, Keeton has called Fredericksburg home for three years. But he packs 35 years experience in bands, including a stint with Little Bit of Texas. A few years back he had an epiphany about the economics of the music business.

“I finally realized it made more economic sense to go solo,” Keeton said. “It’s also easier and makes fewer headaches. It’s hard to get five guys together who all get along and agree on how the band should function. I think that’s why you are seeing more small acts these days.”

With that mindset, it’s easy to see why old Dick makes the perfect band mate for Keeton. He is content to sit there and “strum” guitar and smile and wave all night long. In fact, he is content to sit there 24 hours, seven days a week, all year round.

The night I visited, the crowd at Andy’s seemed to accept Dick as a legitimate part of the musical environment. A full house enjoyed the buffet and acknowledged the Blazers’ music with applause and smiles. A few children paused and stared as they walked by, but they quickly accepted the plastic man playing Conway Twitty tunes.

Keeton noted that the music in the Hill Country is different than other places he’s worked.

“There is more original music happening around here,” he said. “Writing your own tunes takes performing to the next level. Older folks still enjoy standards like Ray Price and Hank Williams, but younger crowds expect original tunes.”

Keeton has begun adding originals of his own. But his goal remains to bring in and entertain the crowds.

“Our job,” he said, with a gracious nod to Dick, “is to get people to come inside. We see a good mix of locals and tourists here.”

Dick just smiled and waved.