Last night we traveled to Waco to see the hardest working musicians in Texas/Red Dirt music, Jason Boland and the Stragglers. In the last year we have managed to catch the sedulous Oklahoman Hell Pony in Houston, Mason, Luckenbach and now Waco. With lyrics like, "And I believe in ghosts and democracy and that each man should leave his legacy, be that mans work great or be it small. I don’t believe in everything like the designated hitter or that diamond rings will make love last forever for one and all..." (Proud Souls) his songs are easy to love. Not to mention he is the only man I trust to sing covers by two of the saints of country, Don Williams (Livin' on Tulsa Time) and Waylon Jennings (Dont y'all think this outlaw bit's done got out of hand).
Despite how this story begins, it is not a story about the gritty heritage sound that Mr. Boland and his Stragglers never fail to deliver, or the amazing interpretive "Appalachia Dance" performed by our cohort on the trip, his eminence, Sir John, or even the moving tale of no pancakes or 5 egg special at Ihop. No.
The story I would like to tell is of the smile that spread across my lips at the camaraderie and celebration of life of a slightly intoxicated Jason and Sir John singing along with Pat Green "Songs About Texas".
I sing songs about Texas,
I sing them often as if she were some old lover,
When the night is real real still,
I swear I could hear a whippoorwill,
She knows there's music in the dirt down there,
So sing me one more song about old San Antone,
it seems like a dream now
it was so long ago,
and old Guy Clark he can be just like a coat from
the cold, well I'm going home
But last night, I looked up and there it was, that fuzzy, hazy blur that many poor, unknowing souls simply assume is cloud. I grinned and nodded. "There you are, my old friend."
My heart is big when I am made small by my place in the Universe.
Photo credit: Starlight Theater Cafe and Bar in Terlingua, TX.