Marfa Dialogues

Terry Allen with the Panhandle Mystery Band

7 July 2007


Terry Allen with the Panhandle Mystery Band
Saturday, July 7th, 2007
Live at Liberty Hall
9pm. $20

Maverick. Visionary. Renaissance man. Discussions of Terry Allen are impossible without running through every superlative in the book. There is Allen the sculptor, visual and installation artist, with fellowships from the Guggenheim and the NEA to his name. There are Allen’s theatrical designs, as well as his touring productions and dance collaborations. There are lauded radio plays, essays, poetry, stories, screenplays and film projects. His creative energy has pushed unerringly in multiple directions for decades. Throughout, though, there is Terry Allen’s music.

Terry Allen is too offbeat and multi-faceted to fit easily into the wellworn mold of the Texas singer-songwriter, and he’s way too incisive to ever court mainstream success. Allen’s albums, song-cycles, and musical projects glitter with a broken glass assortment of misfits, eccentrics, and true personalities – good, bad, Texan or otherwise. Recorded when he was already established as a visual artist in Los Angeles, Allen’s acclaimed ode to his hometown, 1979’s Lubbock (On Everything) remains perhaps his best known release. All of Allen’s albums, however, are suffused with his sharp, observational style and the backing support of veteran Texas country musicians like Lubbock’s Panhandle Mystery Band. From his earliest release (1975’s Juarez) to his most recent (Salivation), there is soulfulness and the stark sense, too, that Allen has truly lived his music, so gracefully does he summon the alienation and weird, poignant reality of the sun-baked fringes.

Terry Allen has been creating music since the mid-’60s. He’s also written, performed and created art for as many years. Ideas and characters jump from canvas to stage, from song to the written word, and back again. As with Dugout, a recent collection of Allen’s art, prose, poetry and drama, his concepts bleed across media and disciplines. Allen’s vision is unified in a way that his music cannot be easily separated from its artistic, literary or theatrical conception.

Terry Allen in concert is this vision come to life. In honor of the upcoming release of Allen’s Best of the Sugar Hill Years CD retrospective, he’ll be reuniting with the Panhandle Mystery Band at Ballroom Marfa’s Liberty Hall for a special, one-off appearance on Saturday, July 7th. We hope you’ll make the journey to West Texas for what is certain to be an historic evening with Terry Allen, a legend of art and Texas music.