To live is to fly
Low and high,
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the sleep out of your eyes.
-Townes Van Zandt
She wanted to get there, to arrive graceful and airy in some strange other country and walk along its level land beneath its secret sky. -Eudora Welty/At the Landing
I grew up watching Austin City Limits. You could go outside and turn the antennae (at just the right angle toward the barn) and before long you’d hear the Austin City Limits intro of Gary P. Nunn’s “London Homesick Blues.” I’d sit glued to the living room floor with my JC Penney imitation hummingbird guitar and play along. I learned my first set of chords from watching the likes of Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Somewhere in the early 2000s, I switched on an episode of ACL and was blown away by a little tambourine-shaking fireball named Tift Merritt. For the first time in a long time, I was vacuumed into a performance… it was like I was 9 years old sitting in the living room floor all over again. If you don’t know Tift’s music, you should. I’ll just introduce Tift Merritt to you as John Prine would introduce Iris Dement (you know, right before they sing that song about big old hearts dancin’ in their eyes?), …”She’s my favorite girl singer.”