Friday, March 28, 2008

Four Strong Winds

Drove hwy 25 up to Santa Fe to see Ian Tyson at the Lensic Theater. He's having a little throat trouble but still writing great songs. One of my original inspirations and mentors. Nadine and I spent a few days with him last month at the Tyson Ranch, and he's still up at five in the morning doing horse chores and writing songs. Bob Dylan sang him "Blowing in the Wind" in a bar in Greenwich Village in 1962 and Tyson said: "Hell I can do that," and wrote "Four Strong Winds" and "Someday Soon." That sort of high charged creative magic doesn't happen anymore in this vapid age. Tyson was one of those inventors of the modern "folk" song and went on to create "Country-Rock" and "folk rock" with folks like Dylan, Gram Pasons, Steve Young, Dilliard and Clark and Barbara Keith. All of these people (except Gram and Gene Clark) are still alive and making music. We call it "alt country" and "Americana" and all the other trash words - but the lyrical based song is at the core of it all. Listen to the Bob Dylan Live in 1966 (from the Columbia bootleg series) then Ian and Sylvia Tyson's "Great Speckled Bird" album, then on to Gram Parson's "Return of the Grevious Angel," to Steve Young's "Rock, Salt and Nails" on A & M records, to the first Barbara Keith record on Reprise. She's out there playing with her family's bar band somewhere. Steve Young is prowling the supermarkets at four a.m. and Tyson is feeding horses at sunrise and then playing guitar along with Tigres del Norte cds. I was fortunate enough to see all these folks as a kid - in the clubs along the west coast. I think of that everytime I pick up the guitar and try and write a few lines. Inspirators of the steel string code. Try and get on that train with Eliza Gilksyon and Ian Tyson and myself in October - I doubt wether we'll get Tyson to do another. Check maybe they'll accept payments.
Gotta go. My kitchen is being delivered.


Karamojo said...

That workshop at Elko with you two was a real inspiration.

Got two keeper songs since.

ElGibby said...

Ten young bands (including a couple not so young) are staging a tribute to Gram tonight in St. Louis. These musicians get it, and that spirit is alive, as you'll see from their comments at

Sorry Tom, I used some of those label words in the story...!

Saddle Tramp said...

TR . . . as always, you take us a little deeper into the mine and hence, closer to the source.
Road report from Buffalo Bill's Scouts Rest Ranch. Never be another and that is as it should be along with the litany of all the rest, sung and unsung. I am en route from Sauk Centre, MN where I stopped for some literary refreshment at The Sinclair Lewis Museum. Destination and turnaround point is Tipton, CA where I will turn it again for another 2,000 mile plus jog. Came down through the Sand Hills against a stiff head wind. Yellow grass bent to the ground.
Fists up! - ST

Saddle Tramp said...

TR . . . here's a straight jab. Not sending kisses and bouquets. Is this a Katy bar the door blog or do you want me to, in trucker's parlance " drop down to a private channel? It's your show Tom and with all due respect to your guest commenters. Holding back my (punches).

" Regarding any categories in art. There are two types. True or false. Once you have sifted through that, it is a matter of quality that cannot be mathematically proven. It moves you or it does not. It will be argued forever. At best they are inaccurate maps ". Thanks for the TRuth TR

Al said...

Barbara Keith's Verve lp wasn't too shabby either. "Midnight Vow" can still send shivers down my spine.

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