February 24 2021

Like Texas Rain

Texas Rain was an album released in 2001. The album was subtitled the Hill Country Recordings. In the late 1980’s Texas singer/ songwriter Townes Van Zandt began re- recording his classic compositions. He envisioned a box set of music he would call NEWOLOGY. Of these recordings, 12 resurfaced in Texas Rain. The album is essentially a series of duets with the legendary Townes, and an all-star lineup of country and folk musicians. The Texas Rain album featured Freddy Fender, Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, James McMurtry, Augie Myers, Willie Nelson, Rubin Ramos & The Texas Revolution, Kimmie Rhodes, Calvin Russell, Doug Sahm, Jerry Jeff Walker, John Inmon and the Chromatics.

“I was just tapped on the shoulder from above and told to write these songs, as opposed to wanting to be a success in the music business.”

Townes Van Zandt

Texas Rain” is also a new single by Rockwall, Texas native Graycie York. Her, “Texas Rain” has risen to the #22 spot in Texas Music Pickers most streamed Texas/ Red Dirt singles this week.

The song is something of a breakup song. A song about being unable to put up with someone, even though you love them and how hard it is to be without them because you love them so much. The musical element of the song is not twangy country music yet it is more a rock and up beat tempo.

Graycie York has been singing and performing most all of her life. Information I obtained from her webpage indicates she recalled singing in the backseat at the age of two.

She has a great voice and she has ambition and hope to become somebody in the music industry soon. I believe in her and her music. The weather in West Texas is constantly changing. There is nothing like a Texas rain storm to cool the air and settle the dusty landscape. Often after a rain the beauty of the driest and the most rough terrain is revealed. I find this beauty in Graycie York’s music.

“My dream has always been to just do music…I’m trying to be as humble as I can, because that’s how I was raised…Things are happening really fast.”

Graycie York

Like Texas Rain

Pancho.

January 25 2021

Somedays You Write The Song

There always has been a turmoil going on inside of my own mind as to who was the greatest song writer ever. Some days I am stuck on Kris Kristofferson. Sometimes, I think Townes Van Zandt might just be the best. Steve Earle is responsible for the infamous quote:

“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

What if Townes hadn’t died so early? Imagine the masterpieces he would have written if he only had a little more time? Or Gram Parsons same as Townes, gone too soon.

Ray Wylie Hubbard is most likely in my top 20 and of course Willie is in there somewhere. There is Steve Earle and there was Billy Joe Shaver and Jerry Jeff. Dylan was great. I could switch genre and throw in so many more, Paul Simon, Graham Nash, McCartney, Stephen Stills, even Lennon. Oh, and don’t forget Keith Richards.

Guy Clark once sang,

“There’s no rhyme or reason

Ain’t a damn thing you can do

Some days you write the song

Some days the song writes you.”

I consider Guy Clark one of the best ever. He wrote so simple and natural. He had a knack to tell a story and to draw on one’s emotions. His song lyrics might make one laugh and cry in one single song.

Today I guess the Wolf in my brain that is winning would pick the Guy, as the greatest songwriter ever. You never know though. Because my mind is like the weather in West Texas and it will change in the blink of an eye.

I love music from all generations and genres and I have enjoyed talking about it here in Under The Sound. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I have enjoyed writing. Drop a comment and let me know!

Pancho.

January 17 2021

J.T.

Today is singer/ songwriter Steve Earle’s birthday. He was born on this day in 1955.

Earlier this month Steve Earle and his band the Dukes released a new album J.T. in tribute to Steve Earle’s late son, Justin Townes Earle.

J.T. released January 4, 2021 on what would have been Justin Townes Earle’s 39th birthday. The album covers 10 songs from the Justin Townes Earl catalog, and one new song by Steve Earle, “Last Words,” that he wrote in tribute to his late son.

Steve Earle has released tribute albums in the past. Tributes to Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark who were his friends and mentors through his earliest days in music. J.T. was different. Not only was he reliving the pain of losing his son and fellow band member, he began working on the album only months after his son’s death.

Townes was released in 2009, it won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Guy released in 2019, the album is a reminder of the greatness of the words and wisdom of the Great Guy Clark.

Justin Townes Earle died alone in his Nashville apartment of what is reportedly an accidental drug overdose August 23, 2020.

J.T.’s middle name Townes was given to him by his father and yes, he is affectionately named for the late Townes Van Zandt. In my opinion Justin Townes music is very similar to the darkness of Townes.

Justin Townes Earle began writing at an early age. He spent some time on the road with his father’s band the Dukes and was also part of the bluegrass band the Swindlers and of the rock band the Distributors. He created his own style of music a mixture of folk, blues, and country.

From his website, www.justintownesearle.com,  Justin Earle says this of the sound:

“I see it the same way that Gram Parsons did,” he says. “There’s this idea of moving forward and playing with newer sounds and different modes, but at the same time making sure you keep one foot firmly planted in the past as you feel out the future. I think it’s really important to leave a trail, you know? Put down some breadcrumbs behind you.”

Besides Justin Townes Earle’s debut album, Yuma, He released eight full-length albums. In 2009, Justin was recognized with an Americana Music Award for Emerging Artist of the Year. In 2011 he received Song of the Year for “Harlem River Blues“.

“All my records have been written to be records, rather than writing a group of songs and seeing if they fit together.”

Justin Townes Earle

When this old world seems to be spinning out of control, I am grateful that I have music to fall back on. Life is a little smoother with artists like Steve and Justin Townes Earle streaming music to my ears. Though J.T. may not be here in the physical earth, his spirit and his music will live on for many moons to come.

You made me laugh, you made me cry
You showed me truth, you told me lies
You tore my heart apart and then
You brought me back the piece again
Now I don’t know what I’ll do
Until the day I follow you
Through the darkness to the light
‘Cause I loved you for all your life

– Steve Earle “Last Words

I cannot say it any better about some of my favorite musicians,

Pancho.