My eyes struggle to adjust to scattered Christmas lights as I seek refuge from the bitter-cold night. I fend off shaky pool cues as I pass a busy quarter table in Austin’s Eastside entertainment district.

Long-time local guitar slinger Chris Ruest is tuning up his vintage Airline on the corner stage at the White Horse as tourists pull together a string of tables. Couples rest after shaking their feet at happy hour two-step lessons and feast on Mexican street fare from Bomb Tacos’ esteemed food truck.

An antique chandelier dangles above the dance floor as soft notes from Chicago’s Rob Stone swirl around the room. Ruest is hosting the vocalist and harmonica player for the entire week, lining up six dates that showcase a fast-paced style rarely seen in a city known for the twang of Willie Nelson’s Trigger.

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