Smile Politely

Too cool to be forgotten

You really can’t beat a tagline like this: “Born in a tree house, killed in a friend’s living room, and 86’d from his own funeral, Blaze Foley is now a bona fide Texas legend.”

The inspiration for Lucinda Williams’ “Drunken Angel,” late itinerant musician Blaze Foley is now the subject of a documentary, Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah. Saturday night at Highdive, following a showing of the movie at 7 p.m., there will be a Q&A with director/producer Kevin Triplett, and Gurf Morlix will perform a set of Foley’s songs. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Here’s the trailer for the film:

Foley’s life story is by turns comic, triumphant, and tragic, and the documentary can be expected to play up the folk-hero aspects of his biography. Born in Malvern, Arkansas, in 1949, Foley is most closely associated with the Austin, Texas, music scene. He was friends with Townes Van Zandt and his songs were recorded by such luminaries as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, John Prine, and Lyle Lovett.

As to the duct tape connection, his Wikipedia page states that “Foley placed duct tape on the tips of his cowboy boots to mock the ‘Urban Cowboy’ crazed folks with their silver tipped cowboy boots. He later made a suit out of duct tape that he used to walk around in.” Williams’ “Drunken Angel” describes him as “a derelict with [his] duct tape shoes.”

Morlix, who will play a 45-minute set of Foley’s songs to close the event, is the formal connection between Foley and Williams, having played with both extensively over the years. Here’s a video of him performing Foley’s “Clay Pigeons” (also recorded by Prine), as well as my favorite original of his, “Hard Road”, which used to be played regularly on the Whip (which is sponsoring the show):

Saturday night promises to be a celebration of talent and self-destruction, genius and dissipation, as well as a lament for days gone by and what might have been. At the end of the day, isn’t that what country music is all about?

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