Friday, March 27, 2009

Drew's Blog #4: Marfa, Tucson, Golden Hill

I am afraid to talk about Marfa, Texas. I debated long and hard over it: after all the trash-talking I've done over my rocky relationship with the Lone Star State, when one finds the diamond in the rough, one wants to keep it a secret to themselves....but I'm letting it out:

This little town is my new favorite city in the world. note: next to San Diego, of course :)

Largely popularized since the 1970's by installation artist Donald Judd, this town boasts a whopping 2000 person population. If you can spot someone who is NOT between 20-50, you may have been fooled by mirage. Stuffed to the brim with artists, painters, musicians, writers, vagabonds - Marfa claims only 3 restaurants (in addition to the most amazing mobile snack shack permanently parked year round), 1 venue, a bookstore and a few other basic shops for living. At night, the city lights have a mandatory 8 pm blackout, opening a breathtaking view of the stars near one of the nation's most prominent astronomical observatories. I won't spend all my paragraphs on these, but Google these tidbits: The Marfa Lights. Donald Judd. The Davis Mountains. Big Bend National Park.

No one is paying me to gush over just how struck I was - but after we turned the art gallery attached to our stage set-up into a giant reverb tank for the guitars, to the hoorah of all onlookers, we all knew how unique and wonderful this town was. Because of that, I hope no one ever goes there. That no one paints a smarmy commercial brushstroke over it's singularity - there are other cool places in the world dying out for hype-based reasons (see Portland). So no one else is allowed to know about it, anymore!!! Except for you...if you're good and don't tell no one.

After our stay at a local filmmakers home, we headed out Westward to Tucson, where we performed at the legendary Hotel Congress (the rooftop of which John Dillinger set afire in his final, fated showdown against the law), as a part of their sunset outdoor concert series - the show was great, interactive and respectful and vibey as Marfa was the night before. We crashed out in the hotel, woke up to pick up a harmonica at the the local music store, and drove home.

The Spectral Cities impressed me everyday: partying and playing in every kind of context: rushed, ignored, relaxed, good sound/bad sound, whatever. I wish we could have drank more than PBRs and High Life's dudes, but hey, that's what more tours and more experiences bring! Thanks to all of them: Josh Carlson, Erik Norgaard, James Zyzzyx and our wonderful tour drummer Matt (Bones) Bennett. Coming back, feeling refreshed and with a new outlook, I'll be in my little Golden Hill backyard studio, hunkered down, working out ahead. Thanks for checking out these ramblings....if you likey, my new novella, The Shepherd Journals is available at for digital download, free of charge!

See ya see ya - drew -

Drew Andrews is a San Diego based musician/writer who performs solo with his band Spectral Cities, with The Album Leaf, and still with his first true love of a band, Via Satellite. His debut album, Only Mirrors, is released by Minty Fresh, and available at Itunes, Amazon, record stores, etc.


Lazy John said...

I lived in Tucson from 1995 to 1998. There are plenty of things to dislike about that town, but the music scene is not one of them. It's always been prolific, and the people I've met through the scene there are top-notch - they're down to earth, community-based, and sincere.

Not In Marfa said...

Yeah, I felt that way too about Marfa after a visit and moved there. As the town was discovered and fueled by the hype of the press it changed; too many unfriendly hipsters, wannabes, suck-ups to the rich and egotistical snobs that came there weighed against the friendlier locals, climate and scenery so I had to move. Visiting is a lot different then living there.