Hundreds gathered at the Saxon Pub on Sunday afternoon for a celebration of the life of Brenda Nicholas, the owner of longtime Hill Country restaurant the Hilltop Cafe who died June 18 from leukemia.
Brenda’s husband, Johnny Nicholas, has held down a Wednesday residency at the Saxon Pub for many years. “I didn’t know if I could play, but then I realized that’s all I could do,” Johnny said midway through the event, which helped raise money to pay for alternative treatments Brenda had undergone to fight the disease.
Musicians including Ray Wylie Hubbard, David Grissom, Denny Freeman and Augie Meyers performed as friends and well-wishers filled the Saxon’s front room. In the back, bids were entered for items in a silent auction, including a signed guitar donated by Eric Clapton, a family friend of the Nicholases. (Bids on the guitar will be accepted through July 16 at the Heritage Auctions website.)
Two days earlier, those responsible for presenting the June 18 “I Still Miss Liberty Lunch” reunion reconvened at ABGB to donate proceeds from the event to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. On hand were Liberty Lunch co-owners Mark and J’net Pratz, ABGB co-owner Mark Jensen and HAAM representative Reenie Collins and Rikki Hardy.
Between a silent auction of Liberty Lunch memborabilia, sales of posters for the event and donations to tip jars from those who packed ABGB for sets by Fastball, Joe King Carrasco and others, nearly $6,000 was passed along to HAAM.