“Feed the pigeons some clay,
and start talking again,
when I know what to say…”
Michael David Fuller (December 18, 1949 – February 1, 1989), better known by his stage name Blaze Foley, was an American country music singer-songwriter, poet, and artist active in Austin, Texas.
There are two great films about Blaze Foley, the documentary, Duct Tape Messiah and Ethan Hawk’s dramatisation of the Blaze Foley memoir by Sybil Rosen, Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze, called Blaze. Both are good movies, well worth checking out.
Blaze Foley was raised in West Texas and sang with his mother, brother, and sisters in a gospel act called the Fuller Family. Taking a pseudonym borrowed from Red Foley, Blaze performed in Houston, New Orleans, and Austin through the 1970s and ’80s, developing a strong following and respect from fellow musicians. But it was the Austin music scene, among friends like Van Zandt and Timbuk 3 — whose work Foley was an early champion of — that would become his spiritual and geographical home.
He only released one album in his lifetime, Live at the Austin Outhouse (on cassette). There have been released some good compilation albums after his, much too early, death.
“Through the bleed of a guitar microphone, you can hear stools squeaking, snatches of conversation, and general bar ambience — but at the center of it all is Foley, his deep gritty voice and songs that, much like Van Zandt’s, seem to emerge from a place of bruised, yet hopeful, solitude.”
– Eric Hage (Allmusic)
My doctor tells me I should start slowing it down – but there are more old drunks than there are old doctors so let’s all have another round.
We create our own unhappiness. The purpose of suffering is to help us understand we are the ones who cause it.
He [Willie Nelson] takes whatever thing he’s singing and makes it his. There’s not many people who can do that. Even something like an Elvis tune. You know, once Elvis done a tune, it’s pretty much done. But Willie is the only one in my recollection that has even taken something associated with Elvis and made it his. He just puts his sorta trip on it…
~Bob Dylan (28 April 1993)
Willie Nelson Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1993):
“I’m trying to define the relationship between man and the universe,….. often it’s between man and man, or man and woman, or man and the cosmos. Whatever song comes through the door I’m happy with.… I’m lucky just to play the guitar and sing.”
~TVZ (on the purpose behind his songwriting)
“Figures like Townes Van Zandt remind us that the wandering bard, that American archetype, is still very much with us—and his music will live long after the voices that declare it in or out of fashion have been stilled or forgotten.”
~Robert Palmer (New York Times/Deep Blues/++)
“I lived in Fort Worth till I was 8, Midland till 9, Billings, Montana, till 12, Boulder, Colorado till 14, Chicago till 15 … Houston till I was 21. And then I started traveling.”
~TVZ (to Contemporary Musicians (CM) in 1992)
Sing Me Back Home is the fifth studio album by singer and songwriter Merle Haggard, released in 1968 on Capitol Records.
“Sing Me Back Home follows the blueprint of Merle Haggard’s first three albums, balancing a hit single with album tracks and a couple of covers, but there is a difference. Where the previous album Branded Man was a transitional album, hinting that Haggard’s talents were deepening substantially, Sing Me Back Home is the result of the flowering of his talent.”
– Thomas Erlewine (allmusic)
Merle Haggard appeared on Austin City Limits nine times over the course of his legendary career. Here’s “Sing Me Back Home” from his appearance in 1978:
Hank Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953), born Hiram King Williams, is regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time. Williams recorded 35 singles (five released posthumously) that would place in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked number one.Hank Williams died in 1953 and Townes Van Zandt died in 1997
John Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997), best known as Townes Van Zandt, was an American Texas Country-folk music singer-songwriter, performer, and poet. Many of his songs, including “If I Needed You,” “To Live is to Fly,” and “No Place to Fall” are considered standards of their genre.