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Amy LaVere "Red Banks"

I would like to coin a term today, in the manner of the adjectives Jeffersonian or Keynesian.  My new word would be Waitsian, and would refer to a particular kind of music; gruff and sparse, growling and noir. Songs like this favorite of mine,  “Heartattack and Vine.”   Yes, Tom Waits has spawned something of a cottage industry in this next generation of musicians, who sat metaphorically at his knee ingesting his art and his aura.   We know that so many people have covered his songs, in kind making them prettier.  The Eagles doing “Ol’ 55,” or “Jersey Girl” from Bruce Springsteen, or Rod Stewart with “Downtown Train.”  

I don’t think it is a stretch to go from there to Amy LaVere.  I am reminded of the expression ‘Still Water Runs Deep.’ She is self-possessed, with such style and such ease with matter-of-fact darkness.  She has recorded three solo projects since 2005.  And she has emerged in film roles as well, including the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line and Craig Brewer’s Hustle and Flow. Her first lead role is scheduled for this year, The Romance of Loneliness, which will be filmed in Memphis next month.

 “Acting is very much like singing,” she says. “It’s losing yourself in a story. My favorite escape.”  Amy’s fourth CD, Stranger Me, will be out in July, and she will hit the road to tour.  Just to whet your appetite a tad, here's "Red Banks," an exclusive track we captured at Threadgill’s during our Marathon in March.  - Jessie Scott


Gary P. Nunn "Taking Texas to the Country"

I don’t know when it happened or how it happened, but I knew that one day I would live in Texas.  And so it has come to pass.  I have lived the ‘hippie gypsy’ life of a radio vagabond, and as such, I have spent time in some of the most beautiful places in the country.  From Florida's  Atlantic coast to Ojai, California, to a hilltop in Nashville, to the Connecticut waterfront, to New York City; they have all left their mark on me.  I remember playing Tanya Tucker’s “Texas When I Die” on the radio at WHN in New York, when it came out in 1978, and I think that is when I decided I had to live here one day.

Texan pride is an amazing thing, it permeates one’s soul.  We extoll the virtues of this state, even though it is hotter than the blazes in the summer.  But that is a small price to pay for the wide open spaces, the food, the music, the friendliness of the people, the cross pollination of cultures.  It just feels comfortable.  Now, I am not saying that other places don’t, nor that I haven’t enjoyed the charms of the other locales. But I am happy to be here.

I had lunch at Guero’s Taco Bar  a couple of days ago with Brian Smith and the folks from the Ghost Ranch Saloon.  We talked about how the spirit of Texas overtakes Steamboat Springs every year during MusicFest.  I can’t believe it was just January that we were there for our first event of 2011, as it seems like so long ago.

We had Gary P. Nunn in the house, what a joy that was! Check out his tour dates, and try to catch up with him soon for a magical night of music.  Meanwhile, enjoy this Music Fog recording of “Taking Texas To The Country,” the title track from GPN’s  fifteenth studio album, which came out about a year ago.

-- Jessie Scott 

Taking Texas to the Country - Gary P. Nunn