Marfa Dialogues

Valentine’s Dance with Gary P. Nunn


15 February 2013

Gary P. Nunn
with Primo Carrasco & Friends
15 February 2013
7 pm doors; 8 pm show
Ballroom Marfa
Tickets $10 at the door

Read the Spanish version of this press release here. Special thanks to Cristina Garces for the translation.

By all appearances, the longest-running love affair in Gary P. Nunn’s life is with the state of Texas. Though he’s an Oklahoman by birth, Nunn’s repertoire is defined by songs inspired by his deep affection for the Lone Star State. Fitting then that the storied songwriter will soon serenade the residents of one of the Trans-Pecos’ most romantic towns, joining us here in Marfa for a Valentine’s Dance on Friday, February 15, 2013.

Nunn is best known for his song “London Homesick Blues,” a ballad sung from the perspective of a country musician stranded in England, pining for the armadillos, country music and attractive women with which Texas is oft associated. His anthem was first made famous by Jerry Jeff Walker and David Allan Coe, and then immortalized as the theme song for PBS’s long-running live music showcase, Austin City Limits.

No stranger to the region, Nunn found an early home playing keyboard with The Fabulous Sparkles, a garage band name-checked by Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore as standouts of the ’60s West Texas scene. After moving to Austin to pursue a degree in pharmacy at the University of Texas, he became involved in the nascent outlaw country movement, playing bass for Michael Martin Murphy and Willie Nelson.

Soon he found a home with the infamous Lost Gonzo Band, backing Jerry Jeff Walker on 1973’s Viva Terlingua!, an album that ranks with Honky Tonk Heroes and Shotgun Willie as one of the stone-cold classics of progressive country music. It’s also an expectedly rousing tribute to one of the Big Bend’s last enclaves of undiluted outsider spirit.

Nunn went on to make three more albums with the Lost Gonzo Band, and then began performing under his own name in the ’80s. In keeping with the ethos that defined him early on, he took a hands-on approach to his solo career, avoiding major labels, releasing his own music and gravitating toward Campfire Records, an indie label based in San Antonio, with whom he’s released nine albums.

As he told the Amarillo Globe-News last year,

“I’ve been independent since day one … There was a time you didn’t get a record unless you had a record deal, but I said, ‘Why is that?’ So I’ve always made my own records.

“Really, in my mind, it’s what I’ve always tried to work for, a Texas music industry, and I’ve always tried to set an example for the ones who come along afterward, to set an example of how it can be done from an independent way.”

His most recent effort is 2012’s One Way or Another, which features his first performance of “Couldn’t Do Nothin’ Right,” one of his songs best known as a hit single from Rosanne Cash’s 1979 debut album.

Nunn has never hidden his love for Texas, and in turn former Texas Governor Mark White named him our Official Ambassador to the World in 1985. In 1995 he was included in the West Texas Walk of Fame, and in 2004 he was inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame.

It’s an infectious attraction that goes beyond patriotism into the realm of true love, informed by a passion that will no doubt be on full display when Nunn and his band join us here in Marfa for a night of West Texas Valentine’s romance.

Gary P. Nunn will play at Ballroom Marfa at 8 pm on February 15. Tickets $10 at the door.

    Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten interview with Gary P. Nunn, 15 February 2013.

    The Gary P. Nunn performance has been made possible by the generous support provided by Janie and Dick DeGuerin.

    Special thanks to David Beebe, The Big Bend Sentinel, Biff Bolen, Primo Carrasco, Ross Cashiola, Dan Chamberlin, Rob Crowley, Dirk Fowler, Cristina Garces, Marfa Public Radio, Marfa Recording Company, Tom Michael and Gary Oliver.

    Beer generously donated by Big Bend Brewing Company.