February 13 2021

BLUE WING

BLUE WING- WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY TOM RUSSELL

He had a blue wing tattooed on his shoulder

Well, it might have been a bluebird, I don’t know

but he’d get stone drunk and talk about Alaska

The salmon boats and 45 below

Well, he got that blue wing up in Walla Walla

and his cellmate there was a Little Willy John

and Willie, he was once a great blues singer

so Wing & Willie wrote him up a song

It’s cold out today. Been sleet and snow all day. Currently, it is 19 degrees outside. The West Texas winds are making it feel like 8.  Too cold for this desert rat. I am glad I’m in Texas and not in Alaska. Plenty cold here without 45 below..

I have been thinking for years about a cover up tatoo. I currently have this ugly Salamander or Lizard looking thingy on my left shoulder. It was one of those drunken nights many years ago. Hey that looks bad ass. So I did it. One of those things you regret when you get sober. I would like to get the Blue Wing on top of it. I love the chorus of the song and what the Blue Wing tattoo meant to the blues singers.

They sang, it’s dark in here, can’t see the light

but I look at this blue wing when I close my eyes

and I fly away, beyond these walls

up above the clouds, where the rain don’t fall

on a poor man’s dreams

I would like to close my eyes sometimes and just fly away. Life gets stressful. I am grateful today that I have found ways to deal with it. Writing this blog is one way and My music.. Flying high above the clouds. I love to drift away in a song.

Blue Wing” was written by Tom Russell. The song was released in 1989 on Tom’s album, Poor Man’s Dream. The song has also been covered by Dave Alvin, Thad Beckman, and many others. It is said that Johnny Cash once recorded it, but I have been unable to find the video or audio for the Cash cover.

Well, he drank his way to L.A., and that’s where he died

and no one knew his Christian name, and there was no one there to cry

but I dreamt there was a funeral; a preacher and a cheap pine box

and halfway through the sermon blue wing began to talk

He said, it’s dark in here…

I do hope Blue Wing flew away. High above the clouds. I hope he found a better place and he is still making his music on the other side.

Pancho.

October 6 2020

Quaransing

Every day, I follow my favorite artists on the world wide web. Ryan Bingham does a video each day, he calls The Cantina Sessions. Tom Russell has now produced two online music festivals, and has had several online concerts. James McMurtry and Aaron Watson play free online concerts every Wednesday. Many other artists are doing the same. In this time of quarantine these guys and gals are still trying to make a living. I call this Quaransing.

Ray Wylie Hubbard posted yesterday on his Facebook page that he will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Austin City Limits.

The taping for the show will be on October 21st however the shows date to broadcast has yet to be announced.

So far, Upcoming Episodes on PBS  for Austin City Limits 46th season are:

October 10 – British soul singer/songwriter Yola will headline her album “Walk Through Fire

October 19- Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 years on: This hour long special will feature the highlights from the Texas blues man’s incredible performances on ACL spanning three decades.

October 24- Rufus Wainright

October 31- ACL Presents: 50 years of Asleep at the Wheel

November 7- John Legend & Roots

November 14- Jackie Venson and an encore from Bonnie Raitt

November 21- The Mavericks

The rest of the lineup in this 13 week season is yet to be announced. Viewers can visit acltv.com for more news and information.

Don’t go looking for tickets to the taping in October like I did. Unfortunately due to the Corona virus this is a taping only, and there will not be an actual audience.

The ACL music fest for 2020 has also been cancelled these were for the dates October 2-4 and October 9-11. This information was confirmed by a tweet as well as on the ACL Fest Website.

RWH thinks it might be a little weird as the crowd at those tapings adds to his vibe. He said however, he’s played before when there wasn’t an audience and it wasn’t at Austin’s Moody Theater. He is grateful to be invited to play the Austin City Limits.

Austin City Limits is the longest running TV show in history. Austin City Limits TV has been awarded the Peabody award, and it is the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts.

ACL is an Official Landmark according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The show Austin City Limits was created by AUSTIN PBS, KLRU-TV.

As of the 40th Anniversary of the show, in 2014, the show established its own Hall of Fame which includes Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lyle Lovett and more.

Austin, Texas known as the “Live Music Capitol of the World” is a haven for innovative musicians. Austin is celebrated for it’s folk, blues, jazz, bluegrass, Tejano, and indie music scenes.

I do have some fear about these times of quarantine. Music Venues and concerts have all but shut the doors. I am thankful for places like Austin City Limits who are willing to produce a show even if there isn’t an audience present. When the World gets back to normal I vow to go to more Live Concerts. For now I will just watch the quaransing, and pray that life will get back to normal soon.

We all need to support our musicians. Keep buying music, and merchandise.

A trip to a live taping of Austin City Limits is on my bucket list, I hope I can get there soon.

Pancho.

October 1 2020

Wedding

On March fourth of this year, I married my soul mate in Lincoln County, New Mexico. We like to say we got married March forth as it was on that day that we marched forth to new beginnings. Prior to this journey, which was approximately a 4 hour car ride from our home, I created a playlist. On my Itunes account it lives. The playlist simply called “Wedding”. This playlist consists of 15 songs and lasts 55 minutes.

Every time that I get to hear one of these songs it reminds me of her, my best friend, the love of my life, my UnNi.

#1- Blessings by Florida Georgia Line.

First time I met you, knew I never could forget you, girl you always saw the blue skies past the rain clouds in my eyes.

The very first line in the song says so much. We first met at a conference I attended for Alcoholics Anonymous in the Spring of 2010. I had spent some time away as a ward of the State of Texas and had only been out of a halfway house for a month.

I was learning to live sober. UnNi was going to school to become a substance abuse counselor. She worked in a treatment center. She was so beautiful. I had feelings for her from the very first time I saw her.

#2- Millionaire by Chris Stapleton.

They say love is more precious than gold Can’t be bought and it can’t be sold.”

I used to think that I was measured by the possessions that I had. Money and Power were status symbols that I thought would either make or break me. UnNi showed me that love was the “ultimate gift”. I know that she loves me and I love her. I would lay down my life for her. I will do anything in my power to give her everything I have. She also showed me how to reconnect with my Higher Power, my faith and find the never ending love of the Holy Spirit and of Jesus Christ the Son of Man.

#3- Prayed For You by Matt Stell. UnNi and I first saw this guy at a concert we attended with our friends Matthew and Sondra. Matt Stell was the opening act for Clay Walker. This song really touched me and UnNi too.

Cause every single day, before I knew your name I couldn’t see your face, but I prayed for you.”

Matt Stell

These lyrics really touched me deep down. I had been in other relationships. I had been married before. I thought I had been in love once or twice, but I had never considered praying for what God wanted for me.

Up to this point I had lived most all of my life on impulse. It was a roller coaster of highs and lows, only considering what was good for me and what made me happy for the moment.

I had met UnNi years before we ever dated. We hung out some and talked. I considered her a good friend. She had been there for me through some rough patches in my life. She had seen me go through some things as I had also seen her life change in many ways.

I was going through a pretty rough patch. I was ending another relationship, had lost control of my children and was only seconds away from throwing in the towel on my sobriety. When one day I sat down to truly seek God for some sort of direction.

It was conference time again and I knew that every time I would make the trek to Ft Davis I would see her face. I hoped this time it would be the same. So I messaged her on Facebook and she said she would go. We made plans to hang out.

We reconnected our friendship and soon began to date. I know God put her in my life. I know she was my answered prayer. I am forever grateful that UnNi is in my life. I still can’t believe that she’s my wife!

#4- Your Smile Takes My Breath Away– by Ryan Kirkland. Just before we planned to marry, My second cousin Ryan Kirkland recorded his first song. The song is available on Itunes and Amazon.

You can bring me to my knees, with just one wink, your smile takes my breath away.”

Ryan Kirkland

I feel that way every time I look at my UnNi. She takes my breath away every single day. I feel like the luckiest guy on earth just being able to wear her wedding band on my finger.

I heard from an old timer in AA just the other day, that he would never leave his “Honey Bunny”. Not only had he made a commitment to her that day in that church, He had a made a commitment to God.

I shall never forget that commitment I made that day in early March of 2020. The start of a new beginning and the start of a long and happy life with the person who God intended for me.

#5 Stealing Electricity by Tom Russell. This is the strangest love song you ever heard. UnNi thinks my music is strange.

This song starts out with a guy who dies while trying to steal electricity and how the voltage running through him made his heart go “d-da”.

Hey baby, ain’t that just like you and me? Love is like stealing electricity, Two hearts go D-da, d-da, d-da, da.”

Tom Russell

Our hearts beat to the same music. We made our commitment. We became one. The bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:12 A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

The three strands represent UnNi and I. Our hearts only beat because God, The Third Strand gives us the “electricity”. He is our power and our light. He holds us together.

#6 Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison.

“Slipping and sliding All along the waterfall with you My brown-eyed girl.”

My wife has these big brown eyes. I could look into them all day long. It’s in those big round eyes that I can see her thoughts. They sparkle when she’s happy. They fade when she’s angry. They are wet when she’s sad.

I hope I make her brown eyes sparkle more often than not. I love my brown eyed girl. She makes my heart smile. We have a lot of laughs together and we enjoy many of the same things. She is my rock. My brown eyed girl.

#7 In Spite of Ourselves by John Prine. UnNi and I both enjoy singing karaoke. One year for Christmas, we bought each other a karaoke machine. Valentines Day of 2017 we recorded ourselves singing this song, in the style of John Prine and Iris Dement. It will forever be our song.

In spite of ourselves, We’ll end up sittin’ on a rainbow, Against all odds, Honey, we’re the big door prize.”

John Prine / Iris Dement

I often have to remember to look beyond the end of my nose. I can be selfish and self centered. That causes a lot of trouble in my relationship. This song reminds me of the prize and to play the tape to the end. I have to pause and think before I act or react.

UnNi has done more than she knows to teach me these things about myself and to show me to treat others in the way that I want to be treated. She has taught me to stand up for what I believe in. Yet, she also shows me how to do it tactfully and respectfully. Sometimes I still fall short on this concept, but I am certainly a better man than I was and I owe that all to her.

#8 Loving Her Was Easier by Kris Kristofferson. I have always believed this was one of the prettiest songs ever written.

Last October, UnNi and I got to see Kris Kristofferson live at the Wagner Noel. This was one of those concerts I got to scratch off of my bucket list.

I can’t pick a favorite line in this song. Every line is perfect poetry. Every line reminds me of her. She is perfect and hearing this perfect song with such a perfect partner is one of the highlights of my life.

“Talking of tomorrow and the money, love and time we had to spend.”

Kris Kristofferson

If I die tomorrow, this is one of those songs I would want played at my funeral. I hope UnNi knows how special she made each day of my life.

#9 Just Breathe by Willie and Lukas Nelson.

“Did I say that I need you? Did I say that I want you? Oh if I didn’t I’m a fool you see, no one knows this more than me.” 

Willie Nelson/ Lukas Nelson

This is a song that relaxes me even on the worst of days. UnNi and I have tried to sing it a few times. We can’t seem to hit those high notes. We discovered this song together. It means so much to us both.

We both have our own struggles and issues and we are both seeking solution rather than creating more drama and chaos. When we are together we are much stronger than when we are apart. When we remember to just breathe and not let the things we do not have control of overwhelm us, our life is better.

UnNi makes me a better man.

I hope that I bring that breath of fresh air into her life as well.

#10 Love Abides by Tom Russell and Iris Dement.

Hey look how far we’ve come, do we know who we are? Stranded on a mountain top trying to catch a falling star.”

This is another song we do together in karaoke. This is another song that reminds me that we are stronger together. It reminds me of the perfect love that we have for each other. Remembering where I came from and the direction that I want my life to go.

UnNi is a planner.

I am a dreamer.

Most of the time when I have a dream, she plans on how to make that dream become a reality.

Like for example, this blog.

I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. She set forth a plan to make this dream become a reality. She set up this website and teaches me as she learns how to operate it.

Now, You as our reader, gets to experience this side of our life.

I hope you enjoy what you are reading, as much as we enjoy writing to you.

#11 Love me Anyway and #12 True Love both by Pink. These songs are pretty brutal but it’s an honest description of how our life can be.

Even if I see your scars Even if I break your heart If we’re a million miles apart Do you think you’d walk away?”

Sometimes I hate every single stupid word you say Sometimes I wanna slap you in your whole face.”

Pink

We have had some big fights. Have gone through some pretty big stuff over the years. I choose to stay. She chooses to let me.

We get closer every day. We are learning to communicate and to express our feelings.

In my mind there is absolutely nothing that could keep me away from her. I feel feelings that I have never felt when I upset her. I can see my part today, and admit when I am wrong. She can do that too.

I have never had a love like this.

Once again as an old timer in AA often tells me, “ 9 out of 10 times she’s Honey Bunny, 1 out of 10 times she’s Huffy Bunny and when she is Huffy Bunny, there’s only one person in that situation that can shut the hell up, and that person is me.”

Learning our strengths and weaknesses and learning to put our differences aside has made a huge impact on my relationship.

Pause when agitated.

Sometimes one of us just has to walk away.

I am grateful that we can work through the rough times. We agree that divorce isn’t the option today.

When we are good, we are great.

That is the way it is most days.

#13 Gringo Honeymoon by Robert Earl Keen. Last Christmas mom gave us concert tickets to see Robert Earl Keen.

I personally have seen him play live more times than any other artist. This show was different. Besides being in the front row, I was there with UnNi, My Wife.

“We were so close I could see his tongue moving while he sang.”

UnNi

That’s what she likes to say when I brag about how great the seats were.

She had never heard of REK until she met me. I have showed her a world of music that she still thinks is strange, but I think that it is growing on her.

The day that we walked out of that courthouse in Carrizozo I was the happiest I had ever been. We found a Museum where we stopped to take some pictures. I have a picture of her in her wedding dress, next to a big cactus. She was the sexiest woman I had ever seen. She still is today.

We were standin’ on a mountaintop Where the cactus flowers grow, I was wishin’ that the world would stop. When you said we’d better go.”

Robert Earl Keen

Did I mention she was a planner?

#14 Leather and Lace Don by Stevie Nicks and DonHenley. For a guy who never liked female artists, after meeting UnNi I found a whole bunch I really love.

This song was one I fell in love with around the same time I really started falling for UnNi.

Her brother J and sister in law Heather do a great cover of this song with their band Cowboy Drive. Their video features shots from Ft Davis, one of our favorite places to be. The place we first met, the conference I will never forget.

UnNi likes a section of the mountainous terrain where the natural out cropping of rocks took shapes of almost human form. She calls these “the ancestors.”

I hope and pray that the ancestors will always protect her and guide our lives through happiness and harmony.

I search for something I can’t see.”

Stevie Nicks

The other night we were sitting in our hot tub. It was windy out and UnNi told me “I like the wind. It reminds me of God. Even though I can’t see Him, I Know He is there”

#15 What a difference you’ve made in my Life by Ronnie Milsap.

What a difference you’ve made in my life.”

UnNi, there’s nothing else I need to say about this song. It is pretty self Explanatory.

Pancho

September 25 2020

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IAN TYSON

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