by Dan Ferguson
Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream
His songs have been covered by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson and he's been the subject of tribute tunes by Lucinda Williams and the late Townes Van Zandt. When writing and singing songs in his Austin home base in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, the late Blaze Foley flew way under the radar. Songwriter/instrumentalist/producer Gurf Morlix, a Foley accompanist during those days, has made a mission of righting the wrong of that lack of recognition. It began by helping resurrect old tapes for release on Lost Art records and culminates with the coyly titled tribute Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream. The stellar and honest outing is as good a salute as you'll find and will hopefully open an ear or two to Foley's brilliance with a song. Visit www.gurfmorlix.com.
The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1
New West Records
Galloping out of Dallas in the early 1990s, by virtue of their first couple of releases for then insurgent country outpost Bloodshot Records, The Old 97s quickly became alt country darlings. It was the peak of the movement and majors were hungry for acts of that ilk with the annual South-by-Southwest confab the pinnacle for getting signed. Suffice to say Elektra Records grabbed the band and did not do a half-bad job taking them to the next level. Sure the romping twang went a little more pop, but the songs remained ever catchy thanks to the talents of front man Rhett Miller. As things go, alt country become passé after a time and Old 97s went the way of such. 15 years later along comes The Grand Theatre, Volume 1 which hearkens back to those early days displaying a seasoned band as fresh, twangy, and rockin' as ever. Visit www.newwestrecords.com.
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 - 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)