There's more >>>In what ways would you say that the crazy and prolific days in Texas in the '70s have continued to shape your work over the years? Those were such incredibly heady days, you know. We didn't know what we were doing we just went and did it and then we learned what we did afterwards by reading about ourselves in newspaper articles. [laughs] I had a vision of what people in Texas responded to and I've always tried to stay with that. I just don't want to leave the one who brought me to the dance. Back in the Gonzo days we were all into The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. We really wanted to infuse that with something that had a Texas cultural feel to it. And then from rock we were folk-rock and country-rock, then cosmic folk with all sorts of eclectic influences. Now in my work I feel like I am going back to the classic and traditional approach to country. I'm not sure if that's a smart idea, but it's the one that appeals to me. After studying the classic music in the genre, I see that it's really not that hard—but it ain't easy. There's a powerful simplicity to a good country song, that can elicit all sorts of feelings and thoughts. There’s like a kernel of universal truth in the best of tunes. Once you get it right, it's really really effective. And you can grow older more gracefully playing country music than rock music. There aren't too many Mick Jaggers out there, who can strut at 75. Tell me a bit about your songwriting process and how it has changed through time. You know, it sort of comes naturally, but it’s not something that I’m really disciplined at, still. I don’t sit down and go to work to write a song, you know, if one forces its way out then I go ahead a let it come. Writing a song, to me, is kinda like taking a final Chemistry exam at UT. It’s something you really dread, but finally you have to sit down and study and knock it out. I consider myself more of a publisher guy, really. You know, a guy who finds tunes wherever they may be. I have several songwriters that have written for me and others who I’ve come by through a publishing company I started back in 1973 or ‘74. Michael Murphey showed me the ins and outs of the publishing world and I became interested in it, not only from a business point of view, but artistically. I find it very satisfying to find a song and get it recorded and have it do what I hoped it would do. Or even more gratifying is finding a song and having another artist record it and have it be successful. That’s the process with publishing, that I really enjoy. That’s what really comes naturally to me. What do you look for in those songs when you’re searching? Whether from a well-known writer or a nobody? Simply put, I look for something that I personally can relate to. I feel like I am the average guy from Texas who has a pride in the state and honors traditional values to a great extent. I love a good song about grandpa, you know. I view myself as a traditional cowboy sort of guy so I try to find tunes or write tunes that would be acceptable and relatable to that demographic of folks. As time goes by, my writing and song selection changes. I used to always focus on being different. Now I’m just concentrating on simplicity. You know, just try to find thoughts that have universal appeal and universal truth about them and just crank those out there and find you a good hook line and repeat. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. I can tell how important and valuable country music is to you. Can you tell me what some of your thoughts are on the current state of mainstream country? Well I’ve got a song called “Where’s the Country in Country Music?” It seems like the city folks have taken over country music and kinda turned it into a semi-rock, pseudo country. It’s hard to criticize people who are incredibly successful it’s a blend of star fever, everybody follows whoever they perceive to be the biggest star at the time You know, I haven’t heard anything it’s all just ‘let’s go party’ or ‘who’s got the biggest truck’ or ‘my girl’s got the tightest britches’ or ‘I’ve got the coldest beer in my truck.’ It’s kind of juvenile and teenybopperish in my opinion. It doesn’t really go to the heart. I mean, that’s my take on it. I’d like things to move a little bit more towards tradition. Gary P. Nunn $12-$15 9pm Sat, July 5 Floore’s Country Store 14492 Old Bandera Rd, Helotes, TX (210) 695-8827 liveatfloores.com
Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.