“I didn’t just burn the candle at both ends, I was also finding new ends to light.”Jerry Jeff Walker
Another one of my favourite songwriters passed away recently, and this line from his obituary got me writing a new tune. I started listening to Jerry Jeff before I was out of high school, and his early hit Mr. Bojangles was one of the first songs I learned to play. He was a brilliant light on the folk scene in New York City before moving to Texas in the early 70s to take part in (and instigate) a seismic shift in country music that became what we now call Americana.
His best recordings were live off the bar room floor, and his classic cover of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother wound up on my band’s setlists to the delight of many a rowdy dance hall crowd back in the day.
The Gypsy Songman has walked on, but his wonderful tunes and expressive voice live on. I know he’s out there somewhere, scaring up a massive party with Waylon and Cash, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and John Prine.