My Top 5: keyboardist & sidekick Little Jewford

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Photo courtesy of the artist

Our My Top 5 feature showcases Houstonians who are shaping the culture in the city and impacting people’s lives. In turn, they share their own favorite things to do in Houston when they’re not hard at work. This week, we’re very pleased to feature a Galveston-centric edition of our series with Jeff Shelby, best known as  Little Jewford, keyboard player, sidekick and the “last surviving member” of the Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys band. In honor of his upcoming show opening An Evening with Kinky Friedman at The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston Saturday, March 26, we bring you Little Jewford’s 5 island picks.

My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston & Galveston

by Jeff “Little Jewford” Shelby

  1. Space Center Houston – From an early age everything associated with space and NASA fascinated me. The space race competition was exciting to me as a boy growing up in Houston. The Russians had Sputnik and a man in space before us, but then President Kennedy came to Rice University and said we would go to the moon in this decade. Soon after that speech the Manned Spacecraft Center (Space Center Houston) was built – it was thrilling! Space Center Houston is the only one like it in the world. To fully appreciate the historic significance it must be seen and every US citizen should take the opportunity to visit if they can. It’s an interesting (and educational) ‘day trip’ if you live in the area, or a unique destination for out of town guests. Be sure to allow enough time, three hours minimum, four to five is best.
  2. Saltillo Mexican Kitchen – Once after concluding some family business my brother in law, Robert, and I were starving; although neither of us had tried Saltillo Mexican Kitchen before, since we were passing right by, we decided to give it a shot. While studying the menu a neighboring table was served a stunning shrimp cocktail filled with colossal shrimp. It looked so good we had to have one too and we were blown away! As we were leaving, the manager himself came over to thank us for stopping by. He told us the shrimp was Pacific Blue wild caught in the Sea of Cortez and that’s what made it so special. Robert and I talked about it for weeks! They have an extensive menu and I don’t believe there’s a bad choice on it. Another of my particular favorites is the chicken enchiladas verdes.
  3. Stella’s Piano Bar in Havana Alley Cigar Shop & Lounge – Inside the building that once housed Galveston’s infamous Zeak’s bordello is Havana Alley Cigar Shop and Lounge. So why does a non-smoker choose a cigar shop and lounge for My Top 5? The music of course! Almost every Friday and Saturday night Havana Alley transforms to “Stella’s Piano Bar featuring Little Jewford”. I’ve always had a recurring fantasy, if I could go back in time, I’d be a piano player in a New Orleans bordello. Well, here I am…livin’ the dream (minus a couple of obvious details). The lounge offers craft and premium beers on tap, wine, comfortable leather seating, high definition televisions and surround sound. If you’re a cigar smoker, Havana Alley is Galveston’s premier tobacconist; specializing in boutique and high end cigars. It’s a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the music!
  4. Historic Homes on Galveston Island – I always enjoy driving around admiring the different architectural styles in Galveston’s various neighborhoods. Especially those from the early 1900s! Beginning at Broadway and heading toward the Seawall you can see everything from funky to fantastic. Some of the stately old homes, like the Bishop’s Palace, are open for tours.
  5. Galveston to Port Bolivar Ferry – Dolphin-watching while riding the Galveston/Port Bolivar Ferry to Crystal Beach and back is always fun, especially if you’ve never traveled by ferry before. There is so much to observe, from the activity out in the ship channel, the sky, the waves, and not to mention the wildlife. And on your return you can always walk the beach in search of ‘treasures’ brought in on the tides.

About Jeff Shelby

Jeff Shelby, aka Little Jewford, is recognized around the world as Kinky Friedman’s former keyboard player and sidekick; and as an original member of the band, Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys. Friedman, during 1971 formed the band which many take to be a play on the name of the famous Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. In keeping with the band’s satirical nature, each member had a comical name. His act has been described as a Dean Martin and Victor Borge cocktail, with a twist of the Marx Brothers. Most every weekend Little Jewford can be found in Galveston, or venues around Texas, entertaining audiences and making people laugh. Little Jewford will be the opening act for An Evening with Kinky Friedman at The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston on Saturday, March 26, 2016.

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