Volcan's Caballo Loco (mad horse) Saloon opens
Owners of Mana’s Restaurant, Jorgé and Vicki Lopez, had a brilliant idea to cover over a part of their back garden and turn it into a place for music and entertainment. Fortunately the possible high cost of this adventure was offset by the generous donation of time and materials by the loyal patrons of Mana’s restaurant. One suggestion from Musician Larry Denne was to call it the “Stone Pony Saloon.” A local stone carver had a pony carved in stone, this they thought would be a great logo - that was until they found out the price.
General consensus was that a western style saloon would be a perfect fit as many here in the highlands own horses. Jorgé Lopez finally decided on the name (he owns the place so he was allowed) so on the afternoon of July 10th 2015, The “Caballo Loco Saloon” opened.
On the opening day the room was packed to overflowing with 60 plus people and there was a scrambling to find enough chairs and tables.
Visitors to Volcan can drop by every Sunday at 2:30 and here a selection of local musicians. The styles are in the main pop and country hits from the 60’s, to the 90’s. Surprisingly, there is a very high standard of musicianship here in Volcan - an example is guitarist, Josh Glenn.
Regular music providers, Larry and Carol Denne, helped with the construction of this center. Larry, an electrician from Pittsburgh, did all the electrical work. I asked Larry what his thoughts were about the saloon and he felt it would grow into something that the community would be proud of. Larry, a very popular singer, entertains every other Sunday and is joined by his wife Carol. Larry Plays a 12 string Ovation guitar and locally he is known as the “Neil Diamond” of the Highlands.
A new twist in the entertainment started in August with “Poets’ Corner.” This was the brain child of cowboy poet Phil Lawson. Phil is a retiree here, and loves the cowboy folklore. Phil, like many other people donated his time and energy to help with the construction of the saloon. He did many long hours of carpentry on the roof supports, the stage and most importantly the bar.
On Sunday August the 2nd. Phil, nervously walked onto the stage and, for the first time in his life, narrated a poem in front of a live audience. Phil was worried about the normal background noise you hear in a bar - people talking loudly, laughing etc. But I can vouch that when Phil and his fellow poets spoke - you could have heard a pin drop.
Fellow poet Wally Ewen, graced us with a Robert Service classic “The Shooting of Dan McGrew.” Much to Wally’s credit he delivered all 59 lines of this poem from memory. Finally David Dell laid down his guitar and delivered two classics; “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Last Goodnight” by his fellow countryman, Dylan Thomas and the Robert Frost classic; “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
David Dell, 71 years old, hails from Britain and entertains with some classic instrumentals by “The Shadows” on his knock-off Fender Stratocaster guitar. David, surprisingly, can switch, in an instant, from Roy Orbison pop classics to operatic arias by Andreas Bocelli and Pavarotti. That’s the delight of the “mad” horse Saloon - musically you never know what to expect.
Connie Eberle, is a firm favourite with the crowd. Her repertoire includes favourites from the 50’s and 60’s. Connie hails originally from Germany where she entertained the US troops. Her resume reads like a musical who’s who. She has sung with Count Basie, the Platters and Pat Boone. I can’t mention her age or she would kill me, but suffice to say she can still belt out the high notes.
A highlight of many an afternoon is the impromptu renderings of ABBA standards by a mixture of barmaids, customers, and any uninhibited revelers who wander on stage. This motley musical group goes by the name of the “Abbarations.”
Phil Lawson, one of the staunchest supporters of the “community center” would like to see more of the ESR’s (English speaking residents) come out to these get togethers. A sad fact that there are reportedly around 250 to 300 ESR’s in Volcan but at any function rarely do we see more than 70 people. One of Phil Lawson’s goals is to try and encourage more English speaking people to attend these functions.
The Caballo Loco Saloon is family friendly - it is first and foremost a restaurant- so families with children are welcomed. This is a not a male dominated sports bar with blaring TV sets. This harks back to the very origins of American and Canadian culture where people from all different ethnic backgrounds brought their fiddles, flutes and guitars to a local barn - and entertained … just for the fun of it.
Every Sunday afternoon at 2:30 for the foreseeable future there will be live entertainment in the “saloon.” There is no admission charge and the poets and musicians provide their services for free.
See the attached map for directions to Mana’s Caballo Loco Saloon.