Perhaps in U.S. cultural terms, I may be headed to the exact opposite of Boulder, CO. I'm packed up and headed to Odessa, TX. Clearly not heading there for live music but rather following a job and moving back closer to family. As much as I loved living near Denver, I think this move is going to be for good.
So what does Odessa offer as far as music/culture? Great question, I'm glad you asked.
It's not all that uncommon for people to have no idea where or what Odessa is. Friday Night Lights ring a bell? Yes, that's the one. Indie icons Explosions in the Sky hail from nearby Midland. Also, Guy Clark and Roy Orbison came from Monahans and Wink, respectively, Hoyle Nix established western swing in Big Spring and all around West Texas, and of course there's Larry Gatlin, Odessa's own hometown boy. "All in the gold, in California..."
It's not hard to criticize the much lesser presence of live music in the area, but in my new home, it's all going to be about finding the diamonds in the rough. Oddly enough, I have had two great musical experiences in my life in Odessa.
The first time, on the same night that my ex was getting married (My advice - never go, even when you're invited), I took the trip to Odessa to see Modest Mouse play at Dos Amigos. The show was literally played in the middle of a rodeo arena in the back of the venue. This was around the time of Good News for People Who Love Bad News, and it was an awesome show, not to mention much better than going to a wedding you don't want to be at.
The second time, a small group of us made the trek down from Lubbock to see Anathallo and the Colour Revolt play a tiny little honky tonk called Earls II. Pretty crazy place to see two indie bands, but it's one of those places where, when the right person promotes the show, the indie kids just show up. Promoters in this area come and go, but most of the time, someone gets up the energy/courage to start hosting shows again and the shows do fairly well, because the kids want to see live music so badly. Hoping I can play a very small part in making good shows happen from time to time.
But wait, there's more. As it turns out Odessa is a bit less than 3 hours from Marfa, the tiny town in deep West Texas that has turned into a substantial artist community. Unbelievably, this little town has hosted shows by Bon Iver, Jeff Tweedy, The Secret Machines, Yo La Tengo, Califone, Yeasayer. The list goes on and on. This place truly is an oasis when it comes to music offerings in the middle of the desert. In addition, Railroad Blues in nearby Alpine has a solid regular music calendar as well.
My musical landscape is changing, not ending. The blog will probably also change a bit. Expect general interest material about the West Texas region in general. This may include, but is not limited to Midland/Odessa, San Angelo, Lubbock, Marfa, Alpine, and Terlingua. I won't make any broad and bold statements about what will come of Windfarm in the next few years, but I hope to promote arts and culture in West Texas as much as time will allow.
Any West Texans who run across this blog, please feel free to pass along West Texas music events to me.