Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Crossing

Barry Walsh's piano record starts the day around here before the carpenters and electricians and tractors roll through.....Barry played with Waylon Jennings and The Boxtops and fashioned an instrumental cd that reminds me of Satie and Eno and a little of Uncle George thrown's available at my Uncle George's "In Between Films" cd is still available at
Somebody mentioned the Stones in a comment: I haven't see the Stones movie yet that Scorcese did...but I saw them a year or two in El Paso, as I've said and they kicked my ass. Charlie Watts rocked steady for three hours. The songs and guitar riffs are unmatchable. I just finished a painting called "Keith in the Desert," except it looks more like the devil sitting among agaves and prickley pears. I have to get it out of the house. It'll go cheap. Also did another bukowski and Ramblin Jack Elliott, circa 1953, with his wife staring at him. Saturday morning. No thoughts. Treading artistic water whilst others are engaged in that "awful rowing towards an unknown God." (Anne Sexton.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Chris Gaffney passed on a few days ago. One of the last Honkytonkers. I've seen George Jones in a big honkytonk in Texas, and I've seen Gaffney in a bar in Artesia California and I'd rate both experiences about equal. Gaffney was a Golden Gloves boxer, born in Austria, and seemingly raised by bob cats in the Arizona desert. A tough and tender guy and a blood curdling singer. He recorded my song "The Eyes of Roberto Duran," and coming from a boxer, it was chilling. He was Dave Alvin's best friend and my heart goes out to Dave. Dave and Chris stopped by my house here in El Paso about ten years ago. I was having deadly problems with the woman I'd moved out here with, and she had just bycycled away, probably looking for a store to buy a gun. Gaffney and Dave tried to calm me - then Gaffney looked up to the top of my adobe house, and spied what he thought was an old gun turret. "You could hide up there," he said, "and pop her off when she comes riding in." He didn't smile. He was a very funny guy with a deadpan delivery. Here was a man who had to make his living putting up dry wall and scraping the rust off the bottom of ocean liners in the San Pedro harbor. A cross between Charles Bukowski, Johnny Paycheck and Roberto Duran. A blood and guts American character. I recorded his great song "The Gardens," on the "Rose of the San Joaquin" record. You can read his obit at:,1,4527969.story?track=rss
Bless him. May the angels above San Pedro carry his songs on and on and on above the harbor lights at dawn. TR

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Mansion on O Street

Played in Vienna,Virginia and stayed at The Mansion on "O" Street in the heart of DC.
This ancient old house is filled with brick-a-brack, art, and rock 'n roll memorabilia. The most interesting piece in the house is a letter from John Lennon to the laundress (some laundry person somewhere) that they were ignorant bastards who "stained his new shirt." Lots of cheap guitars signed by rock stars. Working new songs into the gigs, losing my voice from a peach blossom allergy, and looking for a decent meal in Ashland, Virginia. It's hard in America. Cars full of people jamming deep fried sea food down their throats and washing it all down with diet cokes.
You've got to navigate your way across this country, careful not to step in the dog shit. Played a one hour concert solo on XM Radio's cross country with Jesse. Sang a bunch of new songs. I hear tell that XM and Sirius are merging.
I've been thinking about Fred Neil lately. "Everybody's Talking," etc. What happened to Freddy Neil, Paul Seibel, Peter La Farge, Karen Dalton, Phil Ochs, Tim Hardin and a dozen other good writers from the 60's? I guess Bob Dylan happened. Other people were terrified and bailed out. And anyone who doesn't think Alan Lomax and Pete Seegar were not pissed off at Dylan's total detonation of old, tired, folk music......but I rail on. The songwriter section is sinking in Borders.
I'm high on deep fried bush puppies. Pulled pork. The promised land. I think this blog is being read by about three of them a very literate truck driver roaming the States in a high powered Semi....the other is the ghost of Fritz Scholder. We're headlining Kerrville Folk Festival next month and we begin work on a few records - but I'm saving the originals. Gretchen Peters may cut "Guadalupe," which is my favorite of the new songs. The Mother of the Americas. Take a listen to Fred Neil's version of "The Water is Wide." "There is a ship that sails the's loaded deep, as deep can be.....but not as a deep as this love I'm in...I know not if, I sink or swim." Dig it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hurricane Season

Flew to Fort Worth for Bass Hall, and then down to Charlotte, and finally Myrtle Beach and up the beach to Southport, South Carolina. Swamp land and ocean. Dozen miniature golf courses and crab shacks. Played an ancient theater in Southport and ate fresh fish stuffed with crab. Then a six hour drive back up to Charlotte through swamp land bible belt. Eerie. Nothing moves on Sunday, til the folks come out of church in these small towns - and then they drive out to the highway to the nearest fast food place and have breakfast. Beautiful for spacious skies and grey waves of amber coffee. Towns now seem to exist on the edge of Walmart parking lots, instead of the opposite. Fear on the installment plan. Celine country. Pie in the sky. Baptist, Methodist. What have you. God doesn't seem to be bring people joy round here - except for the blacks.
Fundamentalist Black churches filled with praise, shouting and music. Soul. Laughter.
Charlotte was an oasis. Good crowd at the "Evening Muse" - hip crowd. When we'd left El Paso, the taxes were coming due; the water pump was out and they we're about to tear up our kitchen. I hope they find Don Juan Onate's sword underneath the house when they dig up the plumbing. The Carolinas are a long way from the desert. The rental car has Sirius Radio installed, so we've been listening to Outlaw Country. Some occasional Buck Owens and Merle and Lefty, and the echos of old passion and blood and guts in the grooves. You can request some of our songs on Sirius and XM using the links below. Digital seems to at least offer a platter of
music you might dig for an hour or so before you become dazed from counting the Waffle Houses.
"When Adam ate the apple, Eve tried to hide the core....they ran naked, fearful, wasted...and one thing more....they were as naked as the coat Hank Williams wore." New TR song. Your reporter in the swamps. Heading for the Capitol.

Links to requests on Sirius and XM:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Death of Jimmy Martin

Recieved this message on the My Space. It's from Jimmy Martin's former mandolin player.
"Hey Tom Thanks so much for The Death of Jimmy Martin song, and telling it like it is, he would love it. I had the honor of traveling many miles, and recording several sessions with Jimmy, and can assure you there will never be another like him. I remember playing the Opry with him when I first became a Sunny Mtn. Boy, and seeing him get three encores, and actually four but they wouldn't let us take the the fourth, because of the time limit. I can still see Jimmy standing at the end of the stage with both hands waving to the audience, with big tears streaming down his face. Jimmy knew how to entertain an audience, and would have been great for the Opry, but it just never happened. I just wanted to say THANKS for a great job. Hope you will add me to your friends list, and hope you will visit my website; www. ronnieprevette. com. If I can ever help you, just let me know. And THANKS AGAIN for a great job. Sincerely,Ronnie Prevette"
If you want a good take on Jimmy - look for the little book "A Night with Jimmy Martin" by Tom Paizzola (something like that). It's a wild ride. You can read it in a few hours. Jimmy gets drunk and goes backstage and chooses off half the Opry members, including Ricky Skaggs. The bastards. He was too real for 'em. Country music in the last twenty years has become strip-mall musac, sung by arch twits with faux country accents. Long live Jimmy Martin and passion.