Bob Schieffer was almost unrecognizable Saturday afternoon as he sat on the patio of the Occidental Grill.
Not dressed in his usual dark suit he wears on the set of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Schieffer was sporting a white cowboy hat and aviator sunglasses as he sat sipping beer and chatting. He wasn’t there to discuss the latest political stories or moderate a debate, but was instead getting ready for a different kind of gig. His band, Honky Tonk Confidential, was prepping to play for a crowd at the restaurant’s BBQ, Beer & Bourbon event.
Matt Baker, chef de cuisine at the Occidental Grill, said the first annual event was a way of kicking off summer. Being Texas born and bred, Baker said he wanted to incorporate food from back home. And since Schieffer is also from the Lone Star State, Baker said he thought his band, which plays music straight out of Texas, would fit in perfectly.
“I’m from Texas,” Baker said. “I just really wanted to bring Texas to D.C.”
Schieffer began playing with the band in 2006 and sang songs he wrote, such as “TV Anchorman,” and a few covers, such as “Friends in Low Place” by Garth Brooks. With his Texas-sized belt buckle, Schieffer seemed at home behind the microphone as he told the story behind each of the songs.
Schieffer said the highlight of playing with the band came in 2008 when they were invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry, country music’s biggest stage. “The next week I was moderating the presidential debate between Obama and John McCain, and I was a lot more nervous at the Grand Ole Opry than I was at that debate,” Schieffer said.
Organizers said that former Obama aide and MSNBC Contributor David Axelrod was also invited to the event. Schieffer and Axelrod have been caught up in a feud, and organizers hoped the two could patch things up at the event (mayber Schieffer could have dedicated a song to Axelrod?). Sadly, FBDC did not see Axelrod present at the event Saturday.
The restaurant partnered with local nonprofit MicroGreens, which teaches families living on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) how to cook healthy meals on a budget. They received 10 percent of the day’s proceeds.
Baker said the restaurant plans on making the event annual, and said he was pleased with the Saturday’s turnout. Schieffer was also pleased and rather enjoyed himself.
“What a day,” Schieffer said. “How do you beat this?”