Interview: Jimmy LaFave sings of the "Red River Shore" on new album "Depending on the Distance"
A version of this story appears in Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Jimmy LaFave sings of the ‘Red River Shore’ on new album
The acclaimed Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter, a red dirt music trailblazer who grew up in Stillwater, has just released ‘Depending on the Distance,’ his first album of new material in five years.
Throughout his life and career, Jimmy LaFave has made his way on both sides of the Red River.
So it’s appropriate that one of the highlights of the singer-songwriter’s first album of new material in five years is a poignant cover of Bob Dylan’s epic ballad “Red River Shore,” even if the waterway dividing Oklahoma and Texas might not be the one Bob the Bard had in mind.
“The song ‘Red River Valley,’ the famous cowboy song, is actually about the Red River that runs through Minnesota. And since Dylan’s from Minnesota, I have a feeling he was thinking of his homeland. That’s just my opinion. Then again, you never know. He’s been to Texas and Oklahoma, too. But for me, definitely it brought up memories of the Oklahoma-Texas connection and the Red River that I’ve crossed so many times,” LaFave said in a recent phone interview from the Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, Tenn.
“The lyrics are so cool to that song, too, if you really start listening to what he’s singing about, the nine minutes fly by pretty quick.”
Time also flies when you’re starting your own record label and preserving the legacy of Oklahoma music icon Woody Guthrie, the acclaimed red dirt musician has discovered. It took LaFave, 57, two years to record his new album, “Depending on the Distance,” released last week. It actually is his first collection of new material on his own Music Road Records, the Austin, Texas-based label he co-founded in 2008 with Dallas businessman Kelcy Warren.
“I’ve been so busy getting the label kind off the ground the last few years … and the label’s finally moving along on its own well enough now that I can kind of get back to make my own music on it,” said LaFave, who has been busily touring with his Guthrie tribute show “Walking Woody’s Road” during this year’s centennial celebration of the folk hero’s birth.
“You know, some people they end up working on albums for 10 years and I didn’t want to turn into one of those people,” he added. “It was 70 percent done for about a year or so, I just needed to really go in there and knock out the other 30 percent. So I finally just did it. I just said, ‘I’m not gonna do anything until I get this done.’ So I pretty much just went in nearly every night ‘til I finished it off.”
Red River connection
Born in Wills Point, Texas, about 30 miles east of Dallas, the future roots music champion had a rhythm going behind a Sears & Roebuck drum kit by the time he was in junior high. When he was a teenager, his family moved north of the Red River to Stillwater, where he finished high school and began to dig even deeper musical roots.
He tips his hat to his Sooner State upbringing with the boogie-woogie track “Red Dirt Night,” in which he names “about every town in Oklahoma I can think of that’ll fit into the rhythm of the song.”
Buy Tickets View all
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 17441Oklahoma storms: Profile of Life: Megan and Case Futrell
- 13900OKC Central: Architectural "Worsts"
- 11725'Firehouse' in Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce is set to become new home
- 11253Norman man threatens Oklahoma Gov. Fallin's 'child' and local sheriff in emails
- 8882Was Special Treatment Given in Oklahoma Vice Mayor DUI Traffic Stop?
- 7879Police shoot, kill man holding child hostage in Midwest City
- 7323Live blog: "The Voice" Season 4 live finale
- 7059Brad Lund granted two-year lease to Taft Stadium for soccer team
- 7006Red meat might be delicious, but not as nutritious
- 6837Live blog: "The Voice" Season 4 live finale - performance episode
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients