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Old 04-17-2012, 12:57 PM
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Default Texas Monthly article about Texas country music

http://www.texasmonthly.com/2012-04-01/feature.php

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Forty years ago, Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff, and a whole host of Texas misfits grew their hair long, snubbed Nashville, and brought the hippies and rednecks together. Country music has never been the same.
A must-read for fans of country music...
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:22 PM
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or fans of Austin and it's history.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:49 AM
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Loved this line from Tom T. Hall:

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TOM T. HALL had his first top ten country hit with “Ballad of Forty Dollars” in 1968. Kris came to town and created an illusion of literacy. Somebody said once that he and I were the only guys in Nashville who could describe Dolly Parton without using our hands.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:11 AM
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Good stuff.

Wonder where Townes was in all this.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:23 AM
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Good stuff.

Wonder where Townes was in all this.
Good question. Surprised that Steve Earle made no mention of him.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:33 AM
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Good stuff.

Wonder where Townes was in all this.
Yeah, I wondered the same thing. His absence, along with the minimal mention of Guy Clark, was surprising.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:54 AM
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I just read on wikipedia that Townes was living in Nashville during that time. Given his history with drugs and alcohol, I suppose it's possible he didn't realize everyone was gone. Seriously, it mentions his influence on the movement so it does cause one to wonder why he wasn't mentioned.
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Influential in the sub-genre referred to as outlaw country, his Texas-grounded impact stretched farther than country.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:33 PM
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I haven't read thru the article yet, but you have to keep in mind that Townes was always working outside the industry, rather than within it. As much as Willie and Waylon were "outlaw" architects, they had also been square in the middle of the picture in many respect, and for quite some time -- Willie already had American standards to his credit ("Crazy", "Night Life"), and Waylon had been in Buddy Holly's band. They may have wanted to change the system -- and they largely succeeded -- but they had some semblance of working from the inside.

Townes was genius-level as an artist but he never really was in the loop on "changing winds of the industry" or anything like that. Sounds a little artiste-cliche to say that, I suppose, but I think it really was true in his case. (I remember a quote something along the lines of, "It's a miracle if a check for a song I wrote ever finds its way to my mailbox." Keeping in mind also that he was habitually itinerant enough that any mailing-address was usually fleeting at best.)

So he was sort of an outsider to the whole outlaw thing too, even though he could have been in the middle of it, just based on the songs he wrote. It's telling that his biggest hit came long after this outlaw heyday, when Willie & Merle took "Pancho & Lefty" to #1 in the mid-'80s.

That said, yeah, I would think his name would at least come up in such a long piece. Will see whether I have different thoughts once I've checked it out.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:59 PM
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I haven't read thru the article yet, but you have to keep in mind that Townes was always working outside the industry, rather than within it. As much as Willie and Waylon were "outlaw" architects, they had also been square in the middle of the picture in many respect, and for quite some time -- Willie already had American standards to his credit ("Crazy", "Night Life"), and Waylon had been in Buddy Holly's band. They may have wanted to change the system -- and they largely succeeded -- but they had some semblance of working from the inside.

Townes was genius-level as an artist but he never really was in the loop on "changing winds of the industry" or anything like that. Sounds a little artiste-cliche to say that, I suppose, but I think it really was true in his case. (I remember a quote something along the lines of, "It's a miracle if a check for a song I wrote ever finds its way to my mailbox." Keeping in mind also that he was habitually itinerant enough that any mailing-address was usually fleeting at best.)

So he was sort of an outsider to the whole outlaw thing too, even though he could have been in the middle of it, just based on the songs he wrote. It's telling that his biggest hit came long after this outlaw heyday, when Willie & Merle took "Pancho & Lefty" to #1 in the mid-'80s.

That said, yeah, I would think his name would at least come up in such a long piece. Will see whether I have different thoughts once I've checked it out.
And although I've never seen it (on netflix queue now), he was in Heartworn Highways, along with a lot of these guys mentioned in the article.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:25 PM
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And although I've never seen it (on netflix queue now), he was in Heartworn Highways, along with a lot of these guys mentioned in the article.
I've seen Heartworn Highways (well worth the Netflix, btw) and yeah, he has a pretty key role in it. But, a couple things:

1. The film was done in a time-window a tad later (late '75/early '76) than this piece, which is mostly focused on '72-'73.

2. Although there's a little bit of overlap, it's mostly different artists in the film. Don't think any of the "major" players in the Texas Monthly article are in there, with the exception of Earle who's only in a brief bit at the end, filmed in Tennessee. David Allan Coe has a prominent and mostly idiotic role in the film; he only gets passing mentions in the article (which I've now read in full). Guy Clark is similarly just an occasional mention in the TM article but is primary in the film (in a really good way almost polar-opposite to Coe). There's several guys in the film besides Townes who don't figure in the TM piece at all, including Rodney Crowell, Larry Jon Wilson, Steve Young and Charlie Daniels (and John Hiatt in the extended version, if I remember correctly). The film was done sort of back-and-forth between Austin and Nashville.


Having read the piece, though, I think y'all are mostly correct that its focus happened to be during a time when Townes was primarily in Nashville. (And/or perhaps Colorado.) Still, it IS an interesting thing to consider how and why Townes did not have a bigger role in that whole phenomenon, given that he's generally considered the dean of all Texas songwriters at this point. (Him and Guy, but even Guy would cede the higher hand to Townes, I think. Even if their styles are mostly apples/oranges--Guy as craftsman, Townes as poet.)

I do think Townes' disinterest in the business side of things must've been a big part. Had he really been paying attention in that sort of way, he probably would've made sure to put himself in the middle of Austin when all this was going on. Or, like Shaver, do stuff such as continually pestering Waylon until he listened. Just wasn't Townes' style to do stuff like that.

(Also didn't help that Townes seemed to always get involved with the wrong folks on the biz side of things, notably Tomato Records. Had a quality manager and/or major-label A&R person been steering his career from the outset, some of those game-changing outlaw-country records might've reached an even higher bar, per an infusion of Van Zandt material.)


The one guy who seems even more conspicuously absent from BOTH the Texas Monthly article and the Heartworn Highways film is Mickey Newbury. But he wasn't really outlaw, even though he's namechecked in "Luckenbach Texas". His own records were kind of in a category unto themselves. He also left Texas earlier on, and, unlike Willie, didn't go back. (It was also Mickey who was primarily responsible for bringing Townes to Nashville, for better or worse. No doubt some of both.)

Last edited by editionshield; 04-18-2012 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:48 AM
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Thanks, edition. I will check out Mickey Newburry.
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:46 PM
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Thanks for the post. I could only read the first two pages, but that's enough to make me go buy the edition. Before my first marriage, I supported those guys. Still have all those albums.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:55 PM
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Great read and some funny stuff as well. You know Jimmy Buffett's song Margaritaville was inspired by a Margarita he was drinking while in Austin, Texas. Ol' Tenhorn can tell some stories about Earl and Tanya Tucker from the picnic's and other outings. I'm surprised he isn't in the article or pictures. I never knew what Coe was talking about when he sang "I hear the Burritos out in California could fly higher than the Byrds"....thanks to this article, now I do. My uncle used to have Jerry Jeff and Freddy Fender play at parties in his backyard all the time. Johnny Rodriguez would be there from time to time as well. I was only 6-12 years old during that era, but got to experience a lot as my parents were pretty cool. Now, I never took peyote with Shaver, but I stole a Lone Star or two! Hell, I think I'm going to have to stop and have a Lone Star at the Surf Club on the way home now!
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DuvalCountyHorn View Post
Great read and some funny stuff as well. You know Jimmy Buffett's song Margaritaville was inspired by a Margarita he was drinking while in Austin, Texas. Ol' Tenhorn can tell some stories about Earl and Tanya Tucker from the picnic's and other outings. I'm surprised he isn't in the article or pictures. I never knew what Coe was talking about when he sang "I hear the Burritos out in California could fly higher than the Byrds"....thanks to this article, now I do. My uncle used to have Jerry Jeff and Freddy Fender play at parties in his backyard all the time. Johnny Rodriguez would be there from time to time as well. I was only 6-12 years old during that era, but got to experience a lot as my parents were pretty cool. Now, I never took peyote with Shaver, but I stole a Lone Star or two! Hell, I think I'm going to have to stop and have a Lone Star at the Surf Club on the way home now!
I was fixin' to head you in the direction of this thread. Really good and informative piece.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:37 PM
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Watched Heartworn Highways tonight. Really good. Of course, my preference would have been more Texas-centric.

Oh, yeah. DAC is crazy as all get out.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:12 AM
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Watched Heartworn Highways tonight. Really good. Of course, my preference would have been more Texas-centric.

Oh, yeah. DAC is crazy as all get out.

Yeah, the one black mark on that movie is that they bought into Coe's shtick. I really can't quite figure out why anyone ever has. Dude's like the male country Courtney Love.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:03 PM
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Yeah, the one black mark on that movie is that they bought into Coe's shtick. I really can't quite figure out why anyone ever has. Dude's like the male country Courtney Love.
Well, he did have that really cool "rhinestone cowboy" outfit he wore while playing at the jail.

He's a turd. Really a shame he was involved.

Really interesting to learn that Townes' trailer was at 14th and Charlotte in Clarksville. Amazing change in that part of town...
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:53 PM
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I had no idea before reading this article that Michael Martin Murphys song "Cosmic Cowboy" was intended to be a parody of the "cowboys" in Austin at the time. Great read.
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