Texas Music

In January 1997, the poet Miller Williams stood on the steps of the Capitol at President Bill Clinton's second inauguration and read a poem he'd written about our country:

We have memorized America,

how it was born and who we have been and where.

In ceremonies and silence we say the words,

telling the stories, singing the old songs.

We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.

There's a certain sort of vacancy to many holiday songs, their picturesque settings and sentiments functioning a bit like portrait studio backdrops, ready and waiting for somebody, anybody to walk into the frame and momentarily own and animate it with their presence.

From Texas Standard: In West Texas, it’s not just the landscape that's long and lonely – the days and nights are too.

The late musician Roy Orbison once described his youth in Wink, Texas, as football, oil fields, grease and sand. At night, when the sky would light up like Christmas, Roy would grab his guitar, sit in in the family car, and sing. It was a way to fill all that empty space, he once said. The car wasn't big enough to contain the voice of a man who would one day become known the world over as the “Caruso of rock.”

 


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