September 26 2020

Falling and Flying

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Growing up in a record store in Ft Worth, Texas owned by his jazz drumming father was just the beginning for a singer- songwriter and actor Stephen Bruton.

Stephen’s father, Sumter Bruton was a highly regarded jazz musician from New Jersey. He would often tell Stephen, “If you are going to listen to music, listen to the best music.”

In my own personal reflection, this statement by Bruton’s father is a reminder of what my own Dad is always telling me.

As long as you are dreaming, dream big

Jerry Wayne “Fathead” Watson

Bruton would spend his teen years recording tracks in a makeshift home studio with musician T- Bone Burnett. He and pals like Lubbock musician Delbert McClinton would pick bluegrass by day and then soak up those soul grinding blues rifts by night on the “other side of town”.

The local clubs in Ft Worth at that time were highlighting guys like Freddie King . King’s power house voice along with a distinct guitar style soon inspired many musicians.

Stephen would soon set his sails East to Woodstock. By chance , while on his way to a gig in Manhattan he’d run into old friend Kris Kristofferson. He was offered the guitar gig in the rising stars band , launching two decades of roadwork with Kris.

Stephen would also tour with Bonnie Raitt, Christine McVie, and others.

As a studio artist, He would record with Raitt, Delbert McClinton, the Wallflowers, Ray Wiley Hubbard and too many more to list.

Stephen Bruton was inducted into the Texas Heritage song writers Hall of Fame.

Through Bruton’s long association with Kris Kristofferson, he took up acting. Appearing in films “A star is born”, “Heaven’s Gate”, and “Miss Congeniality”. He appeared alongside Kris in the movie “Convoy”. Stephen would appear on TV in a mini series titled “Amerika” and on the series, “Matlock.”

Stephen Bruton co-wrote many of the songs from the soundtrack of the movie “Crazy Heart”. He consulted Jeff Bridges and was a guitar teacher to him on the set.

Sadly , Stephen Bruton lost his battle to cancer shortly after the movie was made. “Crazy Heart”, was dedicated to this Ft Worth artists life and influential music.

My little brother turned me onto the song “Fallin’ & Flyin’ ” , not long after I sobered up. I believe the song paints a perfect picture of the insanity my life had become because of my addictions.

It’s funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
For a little while
Funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’
For a little while

Song by Colin Farrell and Jeff Brides
Songwriters:Gary Nicholson / Stephen Bruton

September 25 2020

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IAN TYSON

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Ian Tyson was born September 25, 1933 to immigrants in Victoria B.C. Canada. Ian’s impeccable career has earned him numerous awards and recognitions.


This Canadian Singer Song-Writer was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Mariposa Hall of Music. His song “Four Strong Winds” was deemed one of the most influential songs in Canadian history. CBC radio named it the greatest song of all time. On American soil , the song was recorded by Johnny Cash and Neil Young.


The Western Writers of America placed two songs penned by Ian among the top 100 western songs of all time. “Summer Wages” and “Navajo Rug
Navajo Rug” has been recorded by Outlaw Country singer Jerry Jeff Walker, and Singer Songwriter Tom Russell does my personal favorite version of the song.


Tom Russell describes Ian’s Music as Nova Beat.

Nova Beat : characterized by “different beat” that altered the harmonies with the introduction of unconventional chords and an innovative syncopation of traditional samba from a single rhythmic division. Therefore, the “bossa nova beat“, then, is characteristic of a samba style and not of an autonomous genre.

Webster’s Dictionary

Per Wikipedia, Ian’s genre is classified as Country Folk Western or Americana , but as I listen to his music and yodel , He is most definitely Nova Beat.

A real life rodeo cowboy and ranch hand. Ian learned to play the guitar in his late twenties while recovering from a fall. His songs are soulful cowboy ballads and true confessions of the Wild West and the cowboys way of life.

Bob Dylan and the Band released a version of his song “One Single River” in Woodstock NY in 1967

From 1970 to 1975 Ian and his partner Sylvia hosted the Ian Tyson Show. A public broadcast in Canada. The show earned the nickname of Nashville North as it helped spread music from Nashville and Beyond across Canadian Soil.

Even into his 80s Ian is still a writer and producer of western music. He has written several works of literature and poetry on the subject as well. Most recently he published “La Primera” and has a song of the same title about the origins of the Wild Mustang.

Pancho

September 25 2020

Starting Over

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I was trying to wake myself this morning and going through my normal blah of scrolling through endless Facebook posts and came across a video on Facebook Watch.

Those who know, know that I am not a fan of the modern country on today’s radio. I caught a video this morning however, that I will endorse. “Starting Over” a new song by Chris Stapleton. The official video release was just this week, September 19, 2020.

This video directed by Becky Fluke gives viewers a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to make music in RCA’s historical Studio A in Nashville.

The video features the song “Starting Over” another masterpiece written by Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson. The duo is previously known for songs like “Broken Halo” , and “Midnight Train to Memphis”.

The video also features Stapleton’s wife Morgane Stapleton on backup vocals. Morgane, a song writer herself, made her own space on Music Row writing songs like “Talk is Cheap” for Alan Jackson, “You Ain’t Right” for LeAnn Rimes, and Reba’s, “Ain’t Got Nothin’ On My Pain”.

Don’t go looking for the song anywhere soon. “Starting Over” isn’t set to release yet. Chris Stapleton tweeted that he is releasing 14 new tracks on his 4th Studio Album on November 13th.

I appreciate the way Chris writes and performs his music. His music is a reminder of the outlaw country that I grew up on.

Stapleton is an amazing performer. His ability to jump across Multiple genres of music is a bonus. He can be a Rockstar, a blues man, and a rockabilly all in one set.

Looking forward to hearing the new stuff. Maybe it will help promote today’s country radio into “Starting Over”.

Let’s get back to real old fashioned country music. If I wanted to hear rap rhymes, I would just read poetry.

Pancho

September 24 2020

You Didn’t Dance

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“‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Pretty certain that Ol’ Matthew would have been a folk singer if he were alive today.

One of these days I’m going to write my own song. I’m pretty certain that it will have these Lyrics in it somewhere.

September 23 2020

Spooky Wagons = Shakey Graves

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After Some drunk guy yelled “spooky wagons” during a night of drinking and picking around a campfire during the Old Settlers Music Festival in 2007, a friend had the idea to give each other Native American Guide names.  Alejandro Rose-Garcia will forever be Known as Shakey Graves.

Shakey Graves  is  an Austin based up and comer in the Americana Genre . His groove consists of his unique voice coupled with country, folk, and bluegrass roots. He has already received an award for Best Emerging Artist at the Americana Music Awards in 2015. I see him growing into something greater than he already is.

Shakey can be a bit unpredictable at times, but his music is refreshing to the soul in this age of poor tastes. He is known for his one man band set up. A refurbished suit case becomes a kick drum and tambourine stand. A tap of his foot keeps the time while he belts out powerful poetic lyrics and plays amazing tones on his Gibson ES guitar.  He has performed on the Conan show, Late Show with David Letterman and on May 6, 2015 he performed on an episode of Austin City Limits.

Shake’s 2011 self released album Roll the Bones , features him most entirely performing solo. He is a singer, lead guitarist, bassist and rhythm section packed all in to one vinyl case. Shakey said he got the idea for the set up because he got tired of asking to borrow kick drums and high hats.

Multiple labels have hoped to work with him, however he has contracted with Dualtone Records. Since working with them he has added other musicians to his recordings and on stage.

On June 30, 2017 the band released “The Donor Blues “ and “Nobody’s Fool” as a collection titled The Horse He Rode in On. In 2018 Shakey Graves released the album Can’t Wake Up. This year, he is proud to have released Look Alive EP.

All these Albums are worth a spin and I am definitely adding them to my ever growing collection. I am personally looking forward to a light at the end of the tunnel when the Earth returns to some form of normalcy and great musicians like Shakey Graves will be back in the saddle, touring in a city near you.

Pancho

September 22 2020

King of Country

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Dean Dillon says, “country music is going to hell if it don’t change it’s ways.”

Who is this Dean Dillon you ask? Dean Dillon is the man responsible for most of George Straits biggest hit songs. To date, he has written 62 songs for the King of Country Music. Dean is, in a sense, to George Strait who Bernie Taupin is to Elton John. The Man behind the music.

“The end game for songwriters today is just to get a song on the radio.” Dillon explains “I just want to write a great song.”

In Dean’s words he lives, eats, and breathes songwriting. He started writing his songs at the age of seven. He starts by looking for a great hook. He mostly finds his hook just by listening to other people’s conversations. This is where the country song originates.

This talent for finding the right hook scored him his first hit when George Strait recorded “Unwound” a song that almost instantly landed at #6 on the country charts.

Since then Dean has written “The Chair”, “Marina Del Ray”, “Ocean Front Property”, and many more. Hit after Hit he writes, time and time again.

Besides just writing for the King of Country, Dean Dillon has written for recording artist Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, Vern Gosden, and Pam Tillis.

Dean wrote the song “Tennessee Whiskey” and originally pitched it to George Strait, but he declined. Another George however decided to record it, George Jones. The song was recently re-recorded by Chris Stapleton.

A documentary detailing the story of Dean Dillon produced by Cole Claassen and released in 2017 is available now on Amazon Prime Video. It is called Tennessee Whiskey: The Dean Dillon Story.

In George and Dean’s 36-year history they have created fans from all walks of life and have created the most wonderful music and lyrics together.

Twenty-two thousand fans watched as George Strait called Dean Dillon onto stage at “Strait to Vegas” in 2016 to thank him for an amazing partnership.

George was planning another “Strait to Vegas” tour in 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena but as of now has postponed as he is prioritizing his fans’ safety through this ongoing pandemic.

~ And this is where the Cowboy rides away ~

Pancho

September 20 2020

The World Needs More RWH

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I recently received a copy of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s newest creation the album CO-STARRING for my 45th birthday from the in-laws. There’s not a bad song on this album, and yes, it’s a real live album (vinyl record and all) CO-STARRING, released July 10 2020 by Big Machine records gets its name from an impressive lineup of stardom including Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, and country great Ronnie Dunn.

Ray Wylie Hubbard is a Poet. Ray Wylie told Pete Gile and Carley Evans on the “Troubadour” a podcast that he was featured on, that his father an English Teacher who preferred reading him The Raven over the Three Little Pigs, taught him that lyrics were important. Ray went on to speak of learning to fingerpick at age 42. This is when his musical career began to change direction for the better.  “I was able to mix deep heart felt lyrics with a deep groove of blues.”, Ray says.

 Ray who is now in his seventies, got sober at age 41 along with the help of the late blues artist Stevie Ray Vaughan. One of the first things that drew me to this new album was a video for the song “Bad Trick.” The song inspired by Ray Wylie’s wife Judy after he had come home from a gig that didn’t go so well, is Co-Starred by Ringo Starr originally a Beatle and Joe Walsh of Eagles fame, both of whom are also sober. Ringo helped select the lineup for this chart-topping sound. The song also features Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes and bassist Don Was.

 The video was created by Brent Carpenter and most of the artists who appear on the video were not anywhere near each other while the actual filming was being done. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak that we have all been experiencing.

Ray is ready to get back on the road and hopes the virus will soon pass. I hope he can begin a tour someday soon myself. I have his name on my personal bucket list as someone I want to see live in concert.

My mom knew Ray Wylie Hubbard from her youth. She said “He was just this guy we (my mom’s cousin Deb and her) hung out with in Red River. He was just called Ray then.”

RWH grew up in Oak Cliff, a neighborhood in Dallas County.  It was there he created his first band. Three Faces West. They eventually ended up in Red River, New Mexico working odd jobs by day and playing their folk music by night. It was in Red River that Ray wrote his first big song “Redneck Mother”

Ray is among my personal top five favorite songwriters. He includes two of my favorites in his own favorites list (Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark). I would encourage radio stations everywhere to play More Ray Wylie Hubbard. The world needs more poetry and less political B.S.

Pancho

September 19 2020

In My Hour of Darkness – In Memory of Gram Parsons

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On September 19, 1973, the World lost Gram Parsons, yet his music still echoes today across the Cap Rock Parking lot at Joshua Tree National Park, California and beyond. Gram was only 26 years old at the time of his death, but he had already touched the world through music and song.

 In GP’s relatively short career he was influential at blending the country and rock genres to a point that they could not be distinguished from one another.

This former member of the International Submarine Band, The Byrd’s, a cofounder of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and solo recording artist posthumous awards include the Americana Music Association “President’s Award”.  He still ranks 87th on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest artists of all time.

~ Pancho

September 18 2020

Waiting Around to Die

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 “Sometimes I don’t know where this dirty road is taking me” Echos loud in my mind. This electric Townes Van Zandt verse of a track that he originally recorded in an apartment closet sort of sums up his whole life. The songs title “Waiting around to die”

 Townes did die eventually and in my humble opinion way too soon.

 Townes was truly Texas Born and Texas Bred. His roots go back to a time before Texas was a state of the Union.  Van Zandts great grandfather Isaac Van Zandt served the Republic of Texas as ‘charge d’affaires’ to the United States, his appointment was by then President Sam Houston. When Isaac died in 1847 , he was seeking election for Governor in the newly created State of Texas. Van Zandt County near Dallas is named for him.

  Other Van Zandts were civic leaders. The Townes family built a dusty dangerous cow town into what is now the city of Ft. Worth. Townes own son , John Townes Van Zandt II said that his dad was being groomed into becoming a Texas lawyer, maybe even a senator. He attended the University of Colorado and later law school in Houston. His 1st wife called him a genius . In fact he was , with an IQ score higher than 140. However, Townes had other ideas, filling his college days with picking his guitar for fun and playing records of musicians like Lightnin Hopkins and Hank Williams. 

 Townes Van Zandt got his first guitar when he was only nine. A Christmas gift from his parents after they had seen Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show. Later Townes would play that same guitar in the honky tonks of Houston, opening for the acts he once listened to on record. Lightning Hopkins, Guy Clark, and Jerry Jeff Walker. In an interview by Austin radio deejay Larry Monroe Townes told that after hearing Bob Dylan’s “The Times they are a Changing “ he knew that songwriting was what he wanted to do. 

  So write he did. Texas Monthly calls him the best Texas songwriter of all time. If you don’t believe that , ask Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, or Nanci Griffith. 

 Townes Van Zandt fought a long battle with his addictions and inner demons, he spent quite a few trips into treatment centers and sanitariums. His own mothers greatest guilt was to permit doctors to give Townes electro shock and the Belladonna treatment. After 3 failed marriages, and an unstable musical career Townes would die . In Smyrna Tennessee New Years Day 1997. The same way his hero Hank Williams Sr. had gained some angels wings on the New Year’s Day in 1953. 

September 18 2020

Don’t Let it End Like This

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“ Don’t let it end like this. Tell them, I said something.” Pancho Villa

These were reportedly the final words of the famous Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. “Don’t let it end like this”As a writer and storyteller, I am here to tell you that this is only the beginning.. My wife Jennifer and I are creating this page to share our story and our views and poems and music to the world.. our beginning, our middle and our end is entirely up to us , and we hope our future followers will enjoy following us and provide the feedback and direction of this page.
My opinions are mostly my opinions. I am influenced by great people who came before, other poets, storytellers and the singer songwriter. I am a fan of Folk and Americana music.
  I have an attachment to the desert and the mountains and finding beauty in all Gods creations like  the rocky, dry sands of West Texas and the rivers that run through it.
My goals here are to paint you a picture through my words of this land called West Texas. It’s people and it’s music.

~Pancho