GREAT NORTHERN One Sheet

GREAT NORTHERN One Sheet

developments

Terry on "The Singer & The Song" and other Tidbits 

You ask: what's going on? And while I have a lot of thoughts on the various whats that are going, thoughts I will share if prompted or to fill an awkward silence or even the mere the prospect of the same, I suspect your question is more related to the music and the songs and the singing and so this post aims to update you on some of that.

E.g., I had a blast guesting with Rush Evans on "The Singer & The Song" on Saturday at KOOP here in Austin. Rush was kind enough to give me a thumb drive with the whole darn show on it and so I'm sharing it with you because I care about you and things that end up in your ears. 

It was also a pleasure to sit down earlier this year and talk with the Hippy Cowboy about my ongoing journey. A great video of that chat was posted a couple of weeks ago. 

And somehow, for reasons I have as yet not wrapped my head around, Great Northern is one of the top albums of 2018 on Roots Music Report

My shows page tells me that I'm headed out for a brief jaunt through Houston and East Texas this week and then back to Austin for a wonderful show with my friends at NeWorlDeli on Sunday afternoon. And that's what's going on.

Dreams Sometimes Come True 

I first started heading down this road a few years ago and I thought I'd be writing songs for other people to sing. But then I heard Jimmy Daddy Davis say that "Nobody's going to hear your songs if you just sit on your couch" and I started to get out and play at open mics. First just here and there, then more and more. I started booking shows. I made a record. And now I call myself a performing songwriter.

When the wonderful Kacy Crowley restarted the Cactus Cafe open mic last year, I went the very first night. I made the list -- not a foregone conclusion -- and I played "Watchman". It was the first song I played at Kacy's magical Strange Brew open mic, a performance that spurred Kacy to start booking me there, and so it just felt right to play at it the Cactus.

That's the night I met Scott Martin. He played his song "The Place I Call Home" about Everett Ruess, one of a number of tunes he'd written about folks who had gone missing. It's a hell of a song and we hit it off immediately. I think we both sensed a kinship, though I'm not sure either of us could quite put a finger on what the source of it was. The following week, Scott and I were both selected as Regional Finalists in the Kerrville New Folk competition and we agreed to drive out to Kerrville together. We realized on that drive that our journeys were kind of similar. We both have kids (his are a little older). We both have amazing, inspiring, incredible spouses. We both played music (Scott more seriously and competently than I), left it behind, and then came back to it. We just connected. And it was easy, the way good friendships are.

On the drive back from Kerrville, Scott and I talked about writing a song together about the Roanoke Colony. Remember them? They were a group of 120 colonists in 17th century North Carolina and they simply disappeared without a trace from the face of the Earth. It's a story that's always fascinated me. We wrote the song over the course of a few sessions and called it "Virginia Dare", who was the first English baby born in the New World. I think we both knew we had something.

And now Scott has put "Virginia Dare" on his beautiful record, Missing, which he made with the great Mark Hallman at The Congress House Studio. Here's a link for you to find out more about Missing.

This is my first songwriting credit on a record other than my own (more are on the way -- credits *and* records of my own) and that's a milestone. We artists are prone to overlooking such happy things in favor of self-flagellation. But when Scott put this disc in my hands a few days ago, I had a moment. I sighed. I felt happy. I felt lucky to work with an artist with Scott's talents and generous spirit. 

You can bask in these good feelings with me, Scott, and Joel McColl on Wednesday, March 14th at New World Deli. We have a show at 7. It's free and its all ages and it's a good way for you to ease into your SXSW experience. And you can congratulate Scott on this excellent record he's made. See you there!

Folk Alliance Mini-Tour Recap 

The Folk Alliance mini-tour extravaganza is in the books. Here is the curated, way-too-long recap you've been craving. 

Monday 2/12 -- I played at Opening Bell Coffee with Jordi Baizan. We wore essentially the same thing, which photographs super well, I have to say. Bill Nash sang for us and any day that happens is a good day. 

Tuesday 2/13 -- Dave Rogers is not on Facebook but he made me and Jordi bacon and eggs and then Jordi and I went on Notably Texan in Commerce and it was awesome. We drove through the rain to the The Blue Door and played with Susan Herndon, who let me play lead with her and who sang in French and who is just really the best. Jordi and I got burgers, beer, and a chocolate chip cookie each after and I'm not sure if I just needed them or what but I don't think anything will ever taste that good again. 

Wednesday 2/14 -- Valentine's Day! (Sorry, Lindsay Sobel!) We drove to Kansas City, through the Flint Hills that will never not take my breath away. I walked into the lobby at the Westin and asked myself what the f-ck I was doing there and then I saw Jaimee Harris in a jumpsuit and I was all squared away. I sang with John Louis and Shawna Caspi for sweet Lou DeMarco. I introduced Jackson Emmer to people and they all thanked me because DUH. I walked past my heroes, rode in elevators with them, etc., and tried not freak out (you can just imagine I cut and pasted this sentence in each of the following days). 

Thursday -- I woke up with a headache for the ages. I sat with Randy Brown and pretended to not be in pain. There was the DJ reception, in which a room full of a zillion introverts almost had a collective aneurysm. Mary Gauthier's official showcase and then Ruthie Foster's official showcase back to back were just I don't know but it doesn't get better. I walked into Carrie Elkin's spoken word showcase at like two in the morning but didn't realize it was a spoken word showcase and so we had a conversation in the middle of it (we'd never met) and the people listening started maybe getting a little frustrated.  

Friday -- I woke up and did it all again. I played a neat showcases in Laura Thomas's room with Darling West, who are from Norway and sang better jet lagged in English than I could if roles were reversed (*gets idea to try to play a whole set singing in Norwegian; rejects idea*). Jordi and I and Nichole Wagner and Gaby Harvey had dinner with Mia Rose, who shared her idea for an important project on vulnerability in public spaces. It will be really special, guys. I saw Tim Easton in the Alaska room at 3 a.m. with a stuffed black bear.  

Saturday -- I saw Jaimee Harris's official showcase and I wasn't crying you were crying. I saw Gretchen Peters's official showcase and I wasn't crying you were crying. The Los Texmaniacs with Flaco Jimenez showcase had me reassessing my priorities on this Earth. I dropped an empty cup in Hope Dunbar's purse but I'm not sure if she knew it was empty (sorry, Hope! Also, everyone check out Hope Dunbar). I played a showcase in which I attempted to deconstruct a Randy Newman song apart that bothers me. I failed. I sang "Better Luck Next Time" in the same showcase and people sang with me and that was better. 

Sunday -- Jordi (who is my brother now) and I woke up after not sleeping enough and drove back to Texas. I didn't start to hallucinate until I was driving through Temple.  

That's a wrap, y'all.

Year-End Tidbits 

I spent the end of the year out in California watching the tide's ebb and flow (and doing other things). While I was out there, some things happened.

1. Larry Hillberg at KVMR was kind enough to include Great Northern on his list of his favorite 2017 albums. I don't know Larry but he is a gentleman and a scholar.

2. Theo van der Horst and René van Schendelen included Great Northern on their ten-best lists, too.

3. Noel Casey in Dublin included Great Northern on his year-end list

4. Great Northern somehow insinuated its way into the December 30th iteration of the Top 50 Texas Album Chart and Contemporary Folk Album Chart on Roots Music Report. I have no idea -- like NONE -- how this happened. I'm happy it did.

A year ago today I was finishing up the second day of tracking. If you'd told me then that all this (and a lot more) would happen with this little record, well, I'm not sure how I'd have reacted. I always believed in the songs. But the players and Ron and Walt took them and made them into little worlds -- sad ones, funny ones, sparse ones, lush ones -- unto themselves. My initial goal was just to make a darn record (which recalls to me that my goal arguing before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York was to not upchuck on my wing tips). But at some point, and it may well have been a year ago on this very day, I decided that my goal was to make a record worth listening to. And you know what? I think I did.

Best wishes for 2018, y'all.  

 

Houston Music Review Praise for Great Northern 

I sat next to James Killen at lunch during the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance conference. When I wasn't spilling pasta salad down my shirt, we were having a good conversation about the state of country music. At the end of the lunch, I handed James a copy of Great Northern. He gave it a close listen and wrote some nice things about me and my songs in the Houston Music Review. Here's a link.

 OLDER NEWS THAT IS ALSO GOOD

Terry talks songwriting on Chris Strand's "Is There A Cover" Podcast here.

Watch Terry on the Underbelly (WEMF) here.

Listen to Terry on Radio Zeke (WMFO) here.

Terry is featured on the May 27th edition of Out of the Woods Radio here.

Great Northern is featured on Americana Boogie here.

Terry is featured as one of "Rich's Picks" on Midnight Special here.

Terry talks songwriting with the Austin Songwriter's Group here.