The air is warming in Texas. This does not bode well for a temperate summer, when it is heading into the 90's, and it is only mid-April. Reports of particulate matter are high, not just with pollen from Oak, Ash, Willow, and Pecan covering one’s car in sprinkles of tender yellow green. But the weather folks also talk about burnings in Mexico and Central America setting stuff into the air. Agricultural burning happens at this time each year, and the strong spring winds carry the smoke up into South and Central Texas. Here is the NASA map from 2004's burnings. There is something so deliberate about this all, the way it feels, the hex it casts. There is a fabulous song from Mary Gauthier called “Sugar Cane.” Maybe it is the way we are wired, but the danger lurks just at the edge of this, with the senses heightened.
Brian Wright twists it some, as “Maria Sugarcane” is a good old fashioned murder ballad. Brian put out House On Fire just last week. He is Texas born and bred, but needed a change in venue and headed out west. For the last 6 years, he has fronted Brian Wright and The Waco Tragedies based in L.A. He is a rich songwriter, an articulate teller of tales. On this, his third album, he plays virtually all the instruments, too. When he came to the Music Fog Marathon, he performed solo, and the songs shone like embers. Brian plays tonight at The Basement in Nashville, and then the WZEW Hangout Festival in Mobile, Alabama on April 9th. Click here for more tour dates. Here is some inspiration, in the form of the Music Fog version of “Maria Sugarcane.”
- Jessie Scott