The Road West was originally conceived as a group of songs inspired by the places, events and general attitude of West Texas. West Texas encompasses a rather broad swath of different real estate, but it is arguably considered by general consensus to be any part of the state west of Fort Worth. For us, West Texas is a place of adventure, history, and colorful personal experience. For me, it’s part of my DNA. It’s where I came from. It’s where I hope my ashes are someday scattered. And though I left it many years ago in search of something better, it will always be my home.
So where did all these white people in Texas come from? They were all driven here by various desires and needs, but none of those forces were ever more compelling than hunger. Famine tells the story of a desperate Irishman who had to flee his home to escape the ravages of starvation brought on by the great famine of the mid 1800’s.
The early Spanish explorers dubbed this river Brazos De Dios (The arms of God) because of it’s long winding turns. It was a vital part of the earliest native inhabitant’s lives. It became a prized possession of almost every culture that came to the region in search of conquest.
This Is Where The River Brought Me is the tale of a drifter, down on his luck searching for his calling in a great unsettled section of the country. Companionship is difficult for him, but it is what he desires most. In the end, his best friend is a stray dog, not unlike himself.
Mutt is the other side of the previous story as told from the dog’s perspective, where all of the cares in the world are just about finding creature comforts. And maybe a slightly deeper meaning for existence.
Train From Toyah (To Nowhere) is a story told without words. Toyah, Texas started as a trading post for the local ranchers in the late 1800’s and grew into a small township. It increased in size and prosperity with the arrival of the Missouri-Pacific train line. Soon after the depression the town began to diminish and over time all but disappeared. What remains are a few sun baked structures, a graveyard and a lot of ghosts.
In the early twentieth century the Permian Basin oilfield was beginning to become a huge source of money for a lot of people. By the mid-nineteen-sixties the towns of Midland and Odessa had almost grown into a single city. Although they were geographically united, the two towns were culturally divided. Where Midland became the headquarters of the West Texas oil industry and its white-collar workforce, Odessa was where the roughnecks lived and partied on the money they made in the oil fields. Running north and south nearly midway between the two towns is county road 1788, also known as Telephone Road.
In the Texas Panhandle, dry land cotton farming was the industry of choice for many families. It was a gamble every time they planted a crop. If they won the stakes were huge, but the odds weren’t in their favor. Win or lose, cotton farming was endless work and The Cotton Farmer’s Wife was often neglected during the week’s work. Thankfully there were a few musicians that travelled through the area bringing their songs to people desperate for a little deviation from the toils of the farm. For many farmer’s wives, Saturday night was the one night they could count on being the center of their husband’s attention.