Have you ever heard a song and wondered, Dang, that’s a good tune. How did they come up with that? Well, we have too. Texas’s songwriting history is rich and well documented, but the creation stories behind some of these hits had yet to be fully explored. So as part of a piece on the stories behind some of Texas’s most famous songs, executive editor Michael Hall has been speaking to songwriters to find out what mix of creative juices it took to wring out timeless classics like “Tighten Up,” “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” and, of course, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen’s “The Front Porch Song.”
Hall spoke to the two very charming and very talented musicians about songwriting, Texas music history, and the early days back in College Station, as part of an interview featured in our July issue, out on newsstands next week.
Below, a teaser of the cover (don’t you want to be hangin’ on the porch with those two?) and a little bit from the interview:
Michael Hall: You two guys started playing music together almost forty years ago—and you’re still doing it. And that song you wrote together back then, “The Front Porch Song,” still resonates today. You realize how rare this is, right?
Lyle Lovett: I’m proud of that song—I feel it represents our friendship, which is very important to me. And it’s really cool to be able to do something in your life that you love to do—to be able to do for a living what you do for fun, that’s the biggest blessing in the world.
Robert Earl Keen: And then having a connection with someone you have a shared experience with—like, the excitement of talking about gigs back then. I remember when Lyle got to open for Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver at Rockefeller’s. We didn’t give a damn about Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, but, “You’re playing Rockefeller’s!” We had a lot of classes together too.
LL: We took summer school together the summer of ’76—American Literature.
REK: That’s when I realized, Lyle’s a much better prose writer than I could ever hope to be. He wrote this amazing piece on how he spent the weekend with his friend Tony Gallucci, and he referenced Hawthorne and he got an A–, and mine was footnoted and everything and I got a B–. The magic of beautiful prose—that’s a powerful thing.