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Austin music writer John T. Davis between Texas and Mexico Butch Hancock the country artists that best personify the ,landscape are Texas artists, and it’s even less surprising that these same “county” artists consider the boundaries of country music to be as porous as those of the state ita bit to Lajitas and wade, ankle deep, across the river and see if you don’t know whereof Jimmie Dale Gilmore speaks on Braver Newer World when he sings about finding himself over the line. Go a little further back with Gilmore, to Spinning Around the Sun, and check out those sleeve photos of Mr. High and Lonesome barefoot, walking up into the mouth of Santa Elena canyon, thousands of feet of water-cut stone looming identical on either side of him, one side Mexico, the other Texas, the river trickling by underfoot, unaware. Gilmore, to my mind, is the defining country music presence of this country borderland, but he’s not the only one. Joe Ely has a metaphorical home here with his Spanish-ish balladeering \(I can hardly walk out on my front porch without hearing the strains of “Galleo Del Cielo” whispered in a coming wind that announces itself as sound before its force actually reaches local bar, and Steve Earle is a local favorite with the live bands that playI shit you notaround campfires almost any night of the week. Hell, even Jerry Jeff Walker, as lame as he can be, named his only decent THE COUNTRY ARTISTS THAT BEST PERSONIFY THE LANDSCAPE ARE TEXAS ARTISTS, AND IT’S EVEN LESS SURPRIS-ING THAT THESE SAME “COUNTRY” ARTISTS CONSIDER THE BOUNDARIES OF COUNTRY MUSIC TO BE AS POROUS AS THOSE OF THE STATE ITSELF. album Viva Terlingua! after the nearby adobe-strewn ruins that remind us what the country can do when it decides to re-stake its claim on a millionaire miner’s idea of a company town. And according to a recent newsflash \(word does travel uncannily fast in the traordinaire, prolific recorder of tapes, peripatetic photographer, and designer of the adobe airplane, has recently moved into a little house near the old ghosttown. I saw him perform at Terlingua’s Starlight Theater a few weeks back, standing in the corner with the tiny P.A., just him and a guitar, strumming free for the locals who come here because this, and only this, is where the drinks are, and for the few tourists who still show up to take a guided raft/float through one of the Rio Grande’s incomparable canyons. I haven’t had a chance to ask Hancock, but the porch-talk has it that he’s here to work on a book in the peace and quiet of this particular country \(coincidentally, that’s also one of the reasons I came here, and I earnestly wish Mr. But Hancock is a name brand anomaly in our midst, because here in the country, we don’t get much music from the outside. The only radio anyone can pick up is the static-y strain of an FM powerhouse in Ojinaga, almost seventy miles up the river and across the official border checkpoint from Presidio. Shortwave radios provide a little, if the weather’s right, and if the program isn’t crowded out of its bandwidth by that format’s everpresent evangelicals. Some nights, for no apparent reason, a car radio will pick up signals cloud-bounced down 30 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 28, 1997