October 28 2020

Live Forever

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I’m gonna live forever

I’m gonna cross that river

I’m gonna catch tomorrow now

Songwriters: Eddy, Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver Crossed that river today after suffering a massive stroke yesterday. Shaver was 81 years old. Texas has lost yet another songwriting legend.

Some have said that Shaver was one of the greatest living country songwriters. His song “Live Forever” was written by him and his son Eddy Shaver. John Edwin “Eddy” Shaver crossed his river on December 31, 2000. The song was recorded by them twice. Once, on the 1993 album Tramp On Your Street and again in 1998 on the album Victory.

The song was also performed by The Highwaymen and Joe Ely. Robert Duvall performs it in the movie Crazy Heart.

You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

Nobody here will ever find me

But I’ll always be around

Just like the songs I leave behind me

I’m gonna live forever now

These are just a glimpse of the words Shaver turned into song.

Billy Joe Shaver may be gone in the flesh, but as I believe as did he, Shaver isn’t gone for good. Shaver wasn’t afraid to talk about his faith and beliefs of the afterlife.

Shaver found religion after his son Eddy had died. One of his favorite sayings was, “If you don’t love Jesus, you can go to hell.

He even recorded a gospel album in 2007 called Everybody’s Brother that featured duets with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Tanya Tucker.

The songs that Shaver left behind are treasures for us all to enjoy in this earthy life. I am sure he is up there in Heaven now singing with the angels.

Billy Joe Shaver was born in Corsicana, Texas August 16, 1939. He was mostly raised by his grandmother while his mother, Victory Watson Shaver, worked in nearby Waco, Texas. Shaver left school in the eighth grade in order to help his uncles pick cotton.  

Shaver on occasion would accompany his mother to her job at a night club in Waco called the Green Gables. Shaver penned the song, “Honky Tonk Heros” about these experiences at the Green Gables.

Billy Joe Shaver spent a stint in the Navy, enlisting at the age of 17. After completing his military duties, He worked a series of odd jobs. Billy Joe had an accident at a saw-mill which caused him to lose two of his fingers off of his left hand. It was then, when he taught himself to play guitar and had dreams of becoming a songwriter. Shaver told CMT in 2012, that he had made a deal with God.

“When I cut my fingers off, I made a deal with God, If You get me out of this, I will go on and do what I am supposed to do.’”

Billy Joe Shaver

Hitch hiking his way to Nashville, Billy Joe found work as a songwriter for fifty dollars a week.

Shaver’s big break came when Waylon Jennings recorded the album, Honky Tonk Heros in 1973. All but one song on the entire album was written by Billy Joe Shaver.

Waylon, having once heard Billy Joe Shaver perform, “Willy The Wandering Gypsy and Me” had told him he would like to record it.

Enlisting the help of radio deejay, Captain Midnight, Billy Joe tracked Waylon down. Waylon, who was bothered by the intrusion of this, gave Midnight a hundred-dollar bill, just to have Billy Joe Shaver “Go Away.” Shaver wouldn’t take NO for an answer.

Billy Joe finally got a chance to speak to Waylon, who he recalled at the time,  had two big bikers with him.

I’ll tell you what I want … If you don’t listen to these songs, at least listen to them, I’m going to whip your ass right here in front of God and everybody.”

Billy Joe Shaver

Waylon decided he had better listen to one, then another. In his biography Waylon told:

His songs were of a piece, and the only way you could ever understand Billy Joe was to hear his whole body of work.

Waylon Jennings

Billy Joe talked the way a modern cowboy would speak, if he stepped out of the West and lived today.

Waylon Jennings

Shaver secured his own record deal, and continued writing and performing his music. His songs were recorded by many including Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Patty Loveless. He enjoyed wide appreciation from his peers.

Billy Joe Shaver continued his music until the very end. He received numerous awards and accolades along the way. He performed on the Grand Ole Opry in 1999. In 2006, Shaver was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2019, Shaver received the Poet’s Award from the Academy of Country Music.

Remember Someone really loves you

We’ll live forever you and I

Pancho.

October 27 2020

Hollywood Gold

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Parker McCollum’s, Hollywood Gold has become the highest-selling debut EP of 2020, according to ABC NEWS radio.

Hollywood Gold is the newest album from this rising star. It features his debut single “Pretty Heart.”

Currently “Pretty Heart” is in the top 10 on the Billboard’s Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts. The song was written by Parker McCollum and Randy Montana.

This album takes it’s name from a horse that Parker McCollum’s Grandfather once owned. Parker’s Grandmother told him the story more than once in his childhood.

Hollywood Gold was an Australian Racehorse. It was stolen not long after his Grandfather had purchased the horse. They eventually found the horse, but it took months for him to find.

“My Grandad would go out looking for this horse for months and months at a time, I kept hearing Hollywood Gold and I said Man, What a great name for the album.”

Parker McCollum

McCollum co-wrote five of the six songs on the album. “Like A Cowboy,” was the one song that McCollum didn’t have his pen in. It was written by Chris Stapleton and Al Anderson.

The 6 songs on Hollywood Gold bring out McCollum’s Texas roots. Parker was born in Conroe, Tx near Houston. He grew up listening to classic Texas musicians like Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle. Parker worked alongside his Grandfather on the family ranch.

The Houston native musician that some call the Limestone Kid, is now based in Austin. The music Capitol of the World. This up and coming singer songwriter has definitely struck Gold on this new album. The 6 songs on the album all tell the stories of Texas from a Texan’s perspective.

When I ride like a thief on the run

Say goodbye to the things that I’ve done

And I fly like the wind to the sunset

Just like a cowboy should do

Just like a cowboy should do

LIKE A COWBOY/ PARKER MCCOLLUM

Songwriters/ Stapleton/Anderson

Pancho

October 26 2020

Happy Anniversary Waylon and Jessi

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On October 26th of 1969 Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter were married in Phoenix, Arizona. The two instantly became the Outlaw movements “It” couple. The marriage lasted until Waylon’s death February 13, 2002.

Kris Kristofferson once described their marriage,

“A beautiful love affair.”

Kris Kristofferson

Waylon had been married three times prior to his wedding with Jessi. Waylon’s song, “This Time” had been inspired by his string of marriage and divorce.

Jessi Colter was born, Mirriam Johnson, May 25 1943 in Phoenix. Her professional name came from a story her father once told her about an associate of Jesse James, Jesse Colter.

Prior to her marriage to Waylon she had been married to guitarist Duane Eddy.

Eddy’s records were produced by Lee Hazlewood. In the late 1950’s and early 60’s Eddy was known for his “twang.” He had sold 12 million records by 1963.

After meeting Waylon, Jessi Colter pursued her career in country music. She was one of the few female artists in the genre of “outlaw country.” She released her first LP “A Country Star is Born,” In 1970

A Country Star is Born” was released on RCA. The album was produced by Waylon Jennings and Chet Atkins. The album was not successful in the country market and Jessi soon left RCA.

Jessi signed with Capitol Records and released “I’m Not Lisa” in January, 1975. This would become Colter’s first hit. The song charted Number one on the Billboard Country Chart and number four on the Billboard Pop Chart.

In 1976 Jessi would record again at RCA along with her husband Waylon, Willie Nelson, and Tompall Glaser, on a compilation album “Wanted! The Outlaws.” The album would be the first country music album to sell over a million copies.

In 1976 Jessi would also release two more albums at Capitol. “Jessi,” and “Diamond in the Rough.”

Shooter Jennings, the couples only child was born in 1979. Shooter has been an active musician since 1996 in the outlaw country and southern rock genre.  

In 1981 Colter and her husband would release a duet album “Leather and Lace.” The albums first single, “Storms Never Last” was written by Jessi Colter. The album was certified Gold in sales.

In the early 1980’s Waylon and Jessi nearly divorced due to Waylon’s substance abuse.

“Jessi went through hell,” Waylon told People Magazine.

I’d go out and sit by the pool in the dark and think about what it was going to do to me, to my people and to my family.

Waylon Jennings

With the help of Johnny Cash, Waylon, who once had a 1500 dollar a day cocaine habit sobered up completely in 1984.

Stevie Nicks, who wrote the title track of the album, heard that Jessi and Waylon might divorce. She also released “Leather and Lace” as a duet with Don Henley that year. It peaked at number 6 on the pop chart.

Colter has released several more albums since 1981 but her popularity has faded. To date, she has 11 studio albums and 3 compilation albums. Her latest albums are “Out of The Ashes,” and “The Psalms.”

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Happy Anniversary Waylon and Jessi

Pancho.

October 25 2020

Greenlights

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“A man should always have his diary on him. That way he’s guaranteed to have something incredible to read.”

Matthew McConaughey.

Recently, Actor Matthew McConaughey has had time to sit down with these diaries and share his experiences with the world. Some funny, some sad and some are pretty inspirational.

Greenlights” is Matthew’s Memoir. It is a self-revealing story of how he got to where he is today. It is a book about Matthew, by Matthew.

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Greenlights was published by the Crown Imprint of Crown Publishing Group just 5 days ago.

In my personal experience, I went to high school and was pretty good friends with Madison McConaughey, who is Matthew’s Nephew, And Erica (Madrid) McConaughey, Matthew’s sister in law.  I know his brother Mike “Rooster” McConaughey. I first met Rooster, when he would play golf at the country club I worked in High School. Rooster’s wife’s family owned a Mexican Food restaurant that I frequented. Rooster and I often would sing karaoke and drink beer together. I have always liked to be around this family they made me feel welcomed and always kept me laughing with their antics.

I got to meet Matthew at the restaurant once. I saw him again later at Rooster and Erica’s wedding. I do not know him on a personal level.

Greenlights” is Matthew McConaughey’s way of saying to move forward in life.

Matthew feels one of his biggest successes in life was becoming a father. He talks a lot of his on father in the book.  He is proud of the values that his own father instilled in him and his brothers.

McConaughey’s first notable movie was Dazed and Confused in 1993. His breakthrough as a leading man came in A Time to Kill in 1996.

My favorite McConaughey roles are when he plays his more series character. Like his 2011 role of Mick Haller a defense attorney who does business out of his Town Car in Lincoln Lawyer.

 In 2013, He played Ron Woodruff, an AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club. A role that would earn him an Academy Award for Best Actor.

In college, Matthew McConaughey read the 1968 book by Og Mandino “The Greatest Salesman in The World.” He credits the book a bottomless resource for Successories posters. “The Greatest Salesman” is one of my own personal favorites, a book that I would recommend to anyone. I proudly display the Og Mandino collection on my own bookshelf today.

McConaughey lives by a core philosophy he calls “livin’”.

“Life is a series of commas, not periods.”

– Matthew McConaughey

Throughout his book he gives his insight to “livin’”.

Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don’t look back at it too long. OG MANDINO

Pancho.

October 24 2020

VIVA TERLINGUA

Album Cover
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When I was ten, my dad built a fort in our backyard. He used the existing picket fence to make up two sides of the structure. My fort was “two story” and had a roof which I sometimes climbed up on and used as my “third story.” The first floor was actually a doghouse, but the second and third were all mine.

From the “third story” I had a great lookout of what was going on in and around the neighborhood. I could see about 4 or 5 dumpsters, who was coming and going, and what they were throwing away. Being a dumpster diver at ten wasn’t a bad thing. I often found useful items to keep in my fort.

The best find I ever had was one day when the man across the alley, which I later learned was getting divorced, was moving out. He threw boxes and boxes of good stuff into the dumpster. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

It was on this occasion that I found a bright yellow sign that read: Lower Turtle Creek Road. The sign hung for years near a windmill and stock pond that my family owned. Later it hung at our lake place at Oak Creek Lake near Bronte Texas. Today the sign is proudly displayed in my back yard overlooking my hot tub.

I also found a whole collection of Playboy magazines, which until right now I am sure that my parents knew nothing about. My mom often reads my blog, So mom if you are reading this now, I am sorry and I only read the articles.

The greatest treasure I found in this dive, was a record album. Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Viva Terlingua.” I would have to say, that this album was my first taste of Texas Singer- Songwriters. This is a passion that I still carry with me today, 35 years later. I still have that original album.

Viva Terlingua is a live album that Jerry Jeff Walker and the Lost Gonzo band recorded at the Luckenbach Dancehall, August 18, 1973. The album was released in November of that year by MCA Nashville Records. It’s genre is outlaw country, and it captures Walker’s laid back country base with notes of “outlaw” rock, blues and traditional Mexican norteno and Tejano styles.

Side one features Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” A song I thought for many moons actually belonged to Jerry Jeff.

Side two gave me my first taste of Ray Wylie Hubbard with “Up against the Wall Redneck Mother”.

Side two opens with Jerry Jeff Walker’s Voice.

“This song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard”

Jerry Jeff Walker

The album ends with, “London Homesick Blues,” a song by another great Texas Music Pioneer, Gary P. Nunn.

I learned through a text message from my dear friend Jody this morning, that the world had lost Jerry Jeff Walker. The musician died Friday, after a battle with throat cancer.

Walker was a pioneer in the Texas music scene. He gained popularity for his 1968 song “Mr. Bojangles.

Mr. Bojangles was inspired by a street musician Jerry Jeff Walker met in a New Orleans drunk tank.

A few years ago I built a dog run in my back yard out of pickets and I gave the dogs a window to look out into the rest of the yard.

I have been collecting signs, ever’ since I found the “Lower Turtle Creek” one.  I began to proudly display these on my fence. This idea came from the Viva Terlingua album cover and of Luckenbach, Texas.

I think I accomplished the look I was after.

Jerry Jeff, Thank You for the years and the miles of giving me companionship with your words and music.

Well, when your down on your luck /And you ain’t got a buck /In London you’re a goner/ Even London Bridge Has fallen down /And Moved to Arizona /Now I know why

I wanna go home with the armadillo/ Good country music from Amarillo/ And Abilene/ The friendliest people and the prettiest women you ever seen.”

Pancho.

October 23 2020

Stardust

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Everybody has a favorite. Willie Nelson has always been mine. Out of all of his Albums, I have a hard time deciding which one is the best, but I do know that Stardust is near and dear to my heart.

In 1977, Willie Nelson decided to record a collection of American pop standards. He chose ten songs from among his personal favorites. The list started with Stardust. Nelson also picked for the album “Georgia on My Mind“, “Blue Skies“, “All of Me“, “Unchained Melody“, “September Song“, “On the Sunny Side of the Street“, “Moonlight in Vermont“, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and “Someone to Watch Over Me“. This would become the album Stardust. Nelson’s twenty-second studio album was born.

Executives at Columbia Records feared that the album would be a failure. They were unsure of success with a pop and jazz record.

Willie had already established himself in the Outlaw Country scene. He had built a huge following in and out of Nashville with his previously successful albums Red Headed Stranger and Wanted! The Outlaws.

Wanted! The Outlaws is a compilation album by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser, released by RCA in 1976. It was the first country music album to be certified Platinum.

Stardust only took 10 days in the recording studio.

The album was produced by Booker T Jones. At the time, Jones and Willie Nelson were neighbors in Malibu.

Jones was once the front man of the band Booker T and The MG’s. Often Jones is associated with the saxophone. Jones was a session musician for Stax Records and  played with Stephen Stills on his Eponymous album . Jones was familiar in R&B, soul, and electric blues.

Vocals and instrumental credits to the album :

Willie Nelson – vocals and guitar Bobbie Nelson– piano Paul English– drums Rex Ludwig– drums Jody Payne– guitar Bee Spears– bass Chris Ethridge-bass Mickey Raphael-Harmonica Booker T Jones– organ and piano

The cover of the stardust album was designed from a painting done by Guy Clark’s wife, Susanna Clark. The rear features a photograph by Beverly Parker of Willie Nelson wearing a top hat. The hats band has a beaded tribal design.

Stardust released in April 1978. The Album peaked to number one in Billboard Top Country Albums.

Songs fromthe album, “Blue Skies” and “All of Me” charted number one and three on Hot Country Songs.

By December of 1978 Stardust had been certified as Platinum. It was named Top Country Album for the Year 1978.

Willie Nelson became the highest-grossing concert act in the United States.

 In 1979, Nelson won a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for “Georgia on My Mind.” Soon after “September Song” peaked at number fifteen in Billboard’s Hot Country Singles.

Stardust spent two years on the Billboard 200.

Rolling Stones ranks Stardust at #260 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

I gotta go, it’s time to turn the record over. I can listen to this music all night long.

Pancho.

October 23 2020

White Oaks, NM

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Growing up my family would often vacation to Ruidoso, New Mexico. We would set up our base camp in Ruidoso and each day would go In a different direction to see the sites.

My Parents recently purchased a cabin in Ruidoso and I have been blessed to begin to carry on this tradition as I have gotten older. I make the drive from my home in the West Texas flatlands to the Sierra Blanca mountains as often as I can. There is plenty of things to see and do within a 60 mile radius of this majestic mountain village.

As a child, my dad owned several Ford Broncos. When we would travel, he would remove the back seat and put down a thick foam pad in the cargo area. I had a bed, a play area and a comfortable spot to travel.  These were the days before seat belts.

Often I would sit on the console in between my Mom and Dad. Mom is one of those who can instantly fall asleep once the road trip starts.  So it would be my dad driving and me “navigating” from my spot on top of the console. Dad spitting sunflower seeds in a brown paper bag and I would suck all the salt off of them, and do the same. I hadn’t figured out I was actually supposed to crack the shell and eat the seed so I wasted a lot of good seed.

I remember Willie Nelson would be on the stereo. We had a new cassette tape, Willie Nelson’s  Greatest Hits and Some That Will Be. Later the song stuck in dads tape deck during our travels would become Highwayman. Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.

There always seemed to be a light rain as we would make this particular drive. It is such a vivid memory of mine to be seated up on that console, it would be getting dark and the window would be slightly cracked to let in a cool mountainous breeze and Willie’s voice in the speakers singing tunes like “Railroad Lady”, “Uncloudy Day”, and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”.

I often still listen to both of these albums and sing along.

My Favorite songs on The Highwayman album are “Jim, I Wore a Tie Today,” “ Committed to Parkview” and “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos).”

I have heard several versions of Deportee, including the original Woody Guthrie version, and the Highwaymen definitely perform this song as if they own it! The harmony is perfect as well as the musical accompany.

Even today when I reach Roswell NM, heading up towards the cabin in Ruidoso, I still listen to the Red Headed Stranger. It is sort of a tradition. This particular trip, I didn’t even select Willie on my playlist, and Pinkie reminded me.

“Shouldn’t It be time for Willie?”

(Pinkie) Jennifer Watson ( My UnNi)

I have told her this story every time since we have started coming up here together.

Today, Pinkie and I drove over to White Oaks, New Mexico.

White Oaks was once one of the largest cities in New Mexico. Today it is mostly a ghost town. There was a gold mine there at one time, but it was abandoned. The railroad missed the town, choosing nearby Carrizozo instead. This further caused the town’s demise.  

A few of the original buildings and homes are still standing. There is a museum in the old School House circa 1895. A bar with the name of “No Scum Allowed Saloon” exists in a building that was once a law office.  

Due to the corona virus ,the museum and the bar were both closed. But it was still a beautiful day to get out and see the scenery.  

The drive over from Ruidoso took about an hour. It is only 44 miles but the trip included  twisting and turning  on two lane road through the mountainous passes. Many times the speed limit was only 25-30 miles an hour due to the sharp curvature of the roadway.

We left the Evergreen forests very quickly after leaving Ruidoso and drove through a scenic “High desert”, the most Colorful outcroppings of rocks, Yucca and Sage Bush. The sage was magnificent this time of year the tops were flowering into these beautiful cream colored  cat tail like flowers.

We looked through an old cemetery just before reaching White Oaks. Many of the graves there were dated in the 1800’s. Some of the tombstones weren’t stones at all. They were made of wood. They had been in place for so long that the information upon them had vanished.

I saw several graves of soldiers from the American Civil War. I found one grave that was marked Spanish American War. There was also a Korean War veterans grave there.

I found it interesting, how this cemetery had spanned so many different generations of people. It gave me a clue as to the area and it’s inhabitants.

All of the graves were positioned in the usual East- West orientation except for one. It was facing North to South. I was doing some research and actually stumbled upon a YouTube video that explained this. This odd facing grave was John V. Winters. He had recorded the first gold lode claim in the White Oaks Mining District. His grave was facing his “claim”.

While in White Oaks, the Yellow signage advertising White Oaks Pottery interested us. We followed the bright Yellow signs another four miles down a caliche road which led us the Potters studio.  

Most all of the foliage along this route were green cedar trees. Standing alone in the middle of all of this green was a lone cottonwood tree whose leaves had turned a brilliant shade of Yellow with the change of the seasons.

The proprietor and artisan at this studio was a very friendly and talented woman named Ivy Heymann. This Potter explained to us that she had lived and worked on the property for 45 years.

“I camped here for 3 days in a tent trying to convince the owner to let me see the property.”

Ivy Heymann

She also reminded me never to give up on my dreams.

Figure out what you want to do and then put your all into it.

Ivy Heymann

Ivy had put her all into building the pottery and gallery. She built it by hand using adobe. In the back of the  pottery is a propane fired kiln she made with fire bricks recovered from the Ancho Electric Plant.

We purchased three unique pieces from her. Glazed Yellow of course.

See more about this fantastic potter, Ivy Heymann on her website. www.whiteoakspottery.com.

White Oaks is definitely worth the visit if you ever find yourself wanting to explore New Mexico’s history and heritage. Besides being a favorite spot of Gunfighter Billy The Kid the town was an important part of taming the western frontier. And don’t forget to go visit Ivy and check out her amazing pottery.

It was a beautiful day to spend exploring and spending time with my beloved Pinkie.

Pancho.

October 20 2020

Feelin’ Good Again

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott has officially declared this day “THREE TWENTIES AND A TEN” DAY in the great State of Texas.

I saw this on Robert Earl Keen’s fan page on Facebook earlier today, and I did realize that Three Twenties and a Ten was in reference to REK’s song Feeling Good Again.

I had no earthly idea why our governor would designate it Three Twenties and a day. It just hit me.. Today’s date- 10-20-2020. There you have Three twenties and a ten. Absolutely fantastic play on words. Or in this case numbers.. And what a great tribute to this absolutely fantastic TEXAS SINGER-SONGWRITER.

The song is loosely based on a real bar in Bandera Texas. A place called Arkey’s Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon. When Robert Earl Keen lived in Bandera, it was a place that he could go to decompress. The real “Arkey” is said to have built the place, because he had been kicked out of every other saloon in Texas.

Some of the people in the song are based on real people including the one he saw “standin’ on the the stair.”

I looked across the room and saw you standin’ on the stair

And when I caught your eye I saw you break into a grin

Feels so good feelin’ good again

Robert Earl Keen Told Rick Moore of American Songwriter, that the love interest in the song is in reality, Kathleen, his wife, who would come down to Arkey’s to check on him from time to time.

The lyrics to the song are like reading from a novel. My cluttered mind gets a perfect image of the town, the bar, the feelings,even what Dan and Margarita look like. Not many songs are written with that depth. Add the guitar picking and you’ve got one of the most perfect songs.

Feelin’ Good Again” was written by Robert Earl Keen. The song was first featured on the album Walking Distance that released in 1998 on Arista Records. All but one song on this album were written by Robert Earl Keen. This was Robert Keen’s eight album release.

The song always leaves me in a better place than I was in before giving it a spin. I love that about Robert Earl Keen. His music is worth listening to over and over. I have seen him do this song live at least four times and it is still as good as the first time that I heard it.. 10/20/2020 I’m happy to be celebrating THREE TWENTIES AND A TEN DAY here in TEXAS!

God Bless Governor Abbott and the great State of Texas.

But I reached into my pocket found three twenties and a ten It feels so good feelin’ good again.

Pancho.

October 19 2020

Guitar Town

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One of my favorite road songs is “Guitar Town.”

About this time last year, I recall going on a trip with my oldest daughter. I had made a playlist of all my favorite songs. I titled the playlist “songs I like to sing.” I pressed the shuffle key on my iPhone and off we went. It seems we heard Guitar Town more times than any of the other songs on the list.

Hey pretty baby are you ready for me It’s your good rockin’ daddy down from Tennessee,” blasted from the speakers in my Chevrolet truck.

“Are you going to play that song again dad?” My daughter questioned.. rolling her eyes.

I simply turned the volume up a little louder and kept moving on down the highway.

It wasn’t until 1986 that Steve Earle had written and recorded “Guitar Town“, the first single from his first full length album. “Guitar Town” was the song that defined Earle as a solo artist in Nashville. Although, his influence had already been in Guitar Town for over 10 years.

Steve Earle once ran away from his home in San Antonio Texas with expectations of meeting his idol singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt.

A few years later he did get to meet Townes. Steve Earle was only 16 but had already dropped out of school and moved to Houston with his uncle who was also pursuing a career in music.

One of Steve Earle’s most noted quotes is:

Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.

Steve Earle

In 1974 at the age of 19, Steve Earle moved to Nashville Tennessee and began working by day and playing his music by night. He became a staff songwriter for the publishing company Sunbury Dunbar, and became the bass player in Guy Clark’s band.

While in Clark’s Band, he sang on Clark’s 1975 album “Old No. 1.”

Guy Clark became one of Steve Earle’s greatest mentors and greatest friends.

Steve Earle then made an appearance on the 1975 film Heartworn Highways, a documentary about the Nashville Music Scene.

The Heartworn Highway soundtrack includes Steve Earle’s, “Mercenary Song” and “Elijah’s Church”.

Heartworn Highways included David Allan Coe, Guy Clark, Townes van Zandt and Rodney Crowell.

I have been a fan of this group of musicians all of my life. So many people have heard the songs they wrote but have no idea who the original artists were. Everyone of these guys became great song writers and in my opinion, no-one else can do their songs like they do them.

I have a low tolerance for mediocrity in music and life. I’m into pain and joy and the in-between doesn’t interest me.

Steve Earle

Since those early days in Guitar Town, Earle has released 15 studio albums. He has received 3 Grammy awards. His songs have been recorded by artists like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, The Highwaymen, Travis Tritt, Bob Seger and Emmylou Harris.

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and Everybody told me you can’t get far on 37 dollars and a jap guitar.

Pancho.

October 18 2020

Panhandlers

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On a lonesome plateau in the Chihuahuan Desert is the small desert city of Marfa Texas. It is a city known for it’s arts and is the gateway to the Big Bend. Marfa is most noted for the mysterious phenomenon called the “Marfa Lights.”

Recently, four of Texas’ most noted singer songwriters gathered in Marfa to collaborate and write. They ended up creating a chart topping album. They formed a new group.

This Texas supergroup is called – The Panhandlers.

William Clark Green , Cleto Cordero, Josh Abbott and John Baumann make up this team of Texas Troubadours.

They recently recorded and released a self titled album The Panhandlers.

The Album was recorded outside of Austin and was produced by Bruce Robison. Released on March 6th 2020 by the Next Waltz label.

“Just Before the World went to hell,”

Bruce Robison says on the labels website about the release.

I have been a long time fan of Bruce and his music. After hearing what he made with the Panhandlers, I even have more respect for his musical talent.

The song that led me to this group was called “West Texas in My Eye.” It is the only song out of the ten songs on the album that wasn’t written by it’s members. It was written by Charlie Stout.

My first impression of the album including the name of the group was a reminder of the Terry Allen song “Amarillo Highway.

Amarillo born Josh Baumann cites Terry Allen as one of the artists that led him into songwriting.

The entire Panhandlers album paints a vivid picture of life on the Texas plains.

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This is the land that I call home. I can relate to every lyric in every song.

Cleto Cordero, the front man,  and primary songwriter of the Lubbock based group, Flatland Calvary is actually from my hometown of Midland Texas.

Josh Baumann also has a song titled Midland.

Baumann’s Midland is A song about the oilfield town that I grew up in.

I have seen boomtime and bust in my own life, and I would not trade it for anything. I have tried to leave this God forsaken land more than once, the oil wells have always called me back home.

In “This Flatland Life“, the second song on the Panhandlers album, the lyrics are about the oilfield I grew up in.

We got folks that say they won’t come back

But they can’t stay away from the ol’ pumpjack

In a place that looks like times forgotten

But all I see is the highest cotton

I got no issue, cause I’m in between

This flatland life and a south plains dream

This Flatland Life/ The Panhandlers/ Song Writers Cleto Cordero, John Baumann, Josh Abbott

“It’s story telling music”

Cleto Cordero

This original record is true to it’s Texas roots. All four of the members hail from this great state.

Josh Abbott who originally founded Josh Abbott band in 2006 while attending Texas Tech University in Lubbock was born in Gatesville North Carolina. However,  grew up in the windswept plains of Texas in the small farming community of Idalou.

William Clark Green is from East Texas he was born in Flint. He also attended college in Lubbock at Texas Tech giving him a first hand view of life on the Texas plains.

William’s brother Pat Green is one of my all time favorite Texas Country artists.

“We wanted to release a collection of lonesome West Texas Songs- with that vibe of wind, dust, and tumbleweeds.”

William Clark Green

The whole album is a masterful work of art, to a Texas loving guy like me.

My own tribute to West Texas goes like this:

If you are ever headed east on I – two- oh

Out in the cotton fields and where the cactus flowers grow

Pretty soon you are sure to pass

That sweet and sour smell of sulphuric gas

That stinks you might say

I just say it’s the smell of money, the oilfield, the way I earn my pay

Pancho.