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Archive for July, 2009

Contest Is Over

Okay, everybody, thanks so much for being part of my first contest. Congrats to Stephanie, who won the drawing for the free copy of Wedding Bell Blues.

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post for Nikki Duncan about how I can’t listen to music while I write, and about how I really wish I could. To make up for the fact that I can’t, I try to put some songs into my books, usually sung by artists I like a lot. Wedding Bell Blues is no exception, and the fact that it’s about a wedding gives me more song possibilities than ever (my older son gave everybody a custom CD of favorite songs—both his and his wife’s—as a wedding favor, so it’s probably genetic).
So here are the songs from Wedding Bell Blues:
In the first chapter, the characters toss out a few wisecracks about wedding music. Wonder suggests ZZ Top, while Cal, the groom, says he’d prefer Ray Wylie Hubbard. I can’t help much on ZZ Top songs, but Ray Wylie himself says he played “Without Love (We’re Both Just Wasting Time)” at a wedding where they paid him $100 and fed him dinner. Whether that’s actually an appropriate wedding song remains to be seen.
In a later chapter, Billy Kent, the father of the bride, throws a big-time barbeque to celebrate, and he plays Willie Nelson’s “Yesterday’s Wine” for waltzing. Frankly, if you’re a lousy dancer (like me), Willie’s waltzes are great since they have very definite downbeats that are hard to miss. Cal learned to waltz in Venus in Blue Jeans by dancing to Willie’s “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” among other songs.
The main song at that barbeque, however, is James McMurtry’s “Red Dress,” and if I could sell one song from the book, that would be it. It’s one of those incredible songs that make it almost impossible to sit still, thanks to its seductive bass line. It always struck me as the kind of song that would lead to a lot of dirty dancing for people who’d been imbibing. McMurtry calls it his tribute to Winston Churchill, by the way, because one line is a quote from a famous Churchill putdown.
My hero Pete (the best man), like his brother Cal (the groom), is pretty much a non-dancer, so when he discovers he’s expected to lead off with the maid of honor, Janie Dupree, he comes close to panic. Janie helps him out with a late night dancing lesson in the moonlight. She starts off with Lyle Lovett’s beautiful version of “If I Needed You,” which isn’t a waltz but helps Pete get into the spirit of things. Then they really get going with Emmylou Harris’s version of “Cattle Call.” This is another one of those waltzes, like Willie’s songs, that has a very strong downbeat and is so much fun to listen to that it seems like a great possibility for teaching a reluctant dancer how to just let go.
Some other moments in the book don’t have songs but probably should have, like the bachelorette party that the bridesmaids throw for Docia. Since it’s a pretty raucous occasion, the music would have to be raucous, too. I’d go with a couple of possibilities myself, keeping in step with the whole “Texas Music” theme here. My first choice would be Joe Ely’s “Cool Rockin’ Loretta,” one of those long, rockin’ rave-ups that usually has the audience on its feet and screaming at Joe Ely shows. You might also play the Band of Heathens’ “Cornbread” (one of those great double entendre songs that would probably have the bachlorettes in stitches) or “Walking and Talking,” another rave-up like “Cool Rockin’ Loretta.”
Reba keeps the wedding ceremony itself sedate with a string quartet, but the reception would be another matter, or I’m guessing it would be. Pete and Janie don’t make it to the dancing part of things until late in the evening since they have, ahem, Better Things To Do. So you can think of your own reception soundtrack for a kick-ass Texas Hill Country wedding.
So that’s it. You can take my suggestions for music from the book or you can supply the names of songs you’d like to download yourself. Everyone who makes a comment on this post will be entered in a drawing for free iTunes downloads, and for a separate drawing for a free copy of Wedding Bell Blues. Let the comments begin, y’all, go for it!

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Okay, I don’t usually do too much personal stuff on this blog (other than my personal reading tastes ☺), but a couple of months ago I made a huge change in my personal life: My husband and I moved from Texas to Colorado. I’ve been here long enough now that I can begin to process the changes and I thought I’d talk about them here from time to time.
What do I like about my new home state? Well, given that Texas is currently experiencing temperatures over 100 degrees, while Colorado (my part of it anyway) hits highs in the low eighties, that’s a no-brainer. Yes, I know we’ll pay for it with winter cold, but that doesn’t bother me much. I kind of like cool weather. Then there’s the jaw-dropping beauty of the landscape that never gets old. And the way everybody treats physical activity as if it were just a given rather than a huge pain (I know, I know, I need to do more of it myself). What do I dislike? Well, our Home Owner’s Association just threatened to fine us over a dry spot on the lawn. I can’t help thinking what my neighbors in Texas would have done (possibly involving firearms).
What do I miss about Texas (besides friends and family, which is sort of a given)? The Hill Country. The wineries. The music. Most of all, the music. I never appreciated the ease of driving up I-35 to Gruene Hall to hear Joe Ely or the Belleville Outfit or Audrey Auld or Guy Forsythe. Or heading over to Floore’s for James McMurtry or (occasionally) Willie Nelson if you don’t mind standing up for three hours. I even remember seeing Robert Earl Keen at the place where they hold the Kerrville Folk Festival, along with Todd Snider and Trish Murphy. It doesn’t get much better. I don’t know why people in the Denver area aren’t big on Americana, but boy do I miss it.
I don’t miss Texas politics, which almost goes without saying. I hope they get rid of Governor Goodhair and let some grown-ups run the state for a while. I don’t know enough about Colorado politicians yet to know what’s up exactly, but they don’t seem to have as many nutcases to deal with.
So anyway, here I am and likely here I’ll stay—at least for a while. If Coloradoans want to talk to me about things I don’t know, I’d be glad to hear from them. If Texans want to bash me for not loving Governor Goodhair, I’m less glad but I guess I’ll put up with it. Anyway, somebody head up to Texas Hills Winery this weekend and have a glass of syrah for me.

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